First World War
The Chepstow Society produced an interim publication of the effects of the war on Chepstow. Much of this was subsequently incorporated into the Society’s 2017 publication, “Shipyards, Scandal and Pigstyes”.
A Tribute to Linda Mercedes Waters
Linda Mercedes Waters 1955 – 2013
Photograph by kind permission of Forest Review
I should like to pay tribute to a remarkable young women, to many of us still young at heart, taken from us before she had had time to develop fully her extraordinary artistic talent.
The daughter of Ivor Waters, teacher,writer,poet and historian – founder of the Chepstow Museum and the Chepstow Society, and Mercedes Waters, herself a gifted artist, Linda had a formidable mind often seemed entirely omniscient. A fine miniaturist and draftswoman, her attention to detail was astonishing and it is no wonder that the Medici Society sought her out. She also exhibited with the Hillard Society and in Cardiff and Bristol.
She followed her parents in her keen interest in a knowledge of local history and she will be missed for her seemingly bottomless well of information. A void has opened up for all of us, her students, her friends and above all her mother and her brother John.
I myself personally feel that she is now in a state of grace, free from the dire trauma she has undergone. Above all she must be regarding us all with a critical eye, wondering what the fuss is all about. We shall remember her with great fondness for her hitherto cheerfulness, quick wit and active mind.
An illustration of Linda’s remarkable talent is best illustrated in Memoirs of Monmouthshire by Nathan Rogers, privately printed by Ivor Waters in 1978, and to whom we acknowledge our great thanks to the family
Before the 1939-45 war, cheap package holidays were a thing of the future and ownership of a car and foreign travel were the province of the wealthy, or people who had been in a reasonably well-paid job for 15-20years. Thus it would seem unlikely that Mercedes Trilla-Gracia, the daughter of a pharmacist in Barcelona would meet Ivor Waters, starting off life in a poorly paid job as a teacher in Chepstow
However, Ivor determined to travel, sought the cheapest ways of getting to chosen destinations. Amongst those were Spain in 1930 and Italy in 1932. His 1934 trip to Barcelona required a visit to a pharmacy where he had a conversation with the pharmacist who was impressed by his Spanish and invited him to meet his family, which included daughter Mercedes Trilla-Gracia. Correspondence and future visits strengthened the friendship but the Spanish Civil War 1936-39 and the 1939-45 war intervened. After service in the army Ivor was eventually demobbed. He immediately applied for a Spanish visa but was refused because he was believed to be anti-Franco.
The Spanish Government relented in 1951 and his visa was granted. Ivor took no time in heading for Barcelona and to marry Mercedes in the British Embassy, Madrid. So started the life of "Mercedes Waters" in Chepstow.
Now Mercedes Waters, she joined the Chepstow Society of which Ivor was the founding father, and soon enthusiatically joined in the monthly debates. It was only the births of daughter Linda and later son John which interrupted her active participation in the affairs of the Society. She became very interested in the Arts & Crafts Section of the Society, eventually becoming its Secretary, helping in the Annual Exhibitions of both Arts and Crafts which sometimes were held separately and sometimes combined and displayed outdoors or in suitable buildings
In 1970 the Chepstow Society published Number 6 in the Chepstow Society Pamphlet Series consisting of 28 pages of Mercedes drawings of "Changing Chepstow. In 1973 she filled 14 pages in the series with "Chepstow Sketches", whilst in 1978 Ivor printed on his Moss Rose press 26 pages of Mercedes "Conte Pencil Drawings of Humble Landmarks" of the recent past in "Vanishing Chepstow". She also illustrated some of Ivor's pamphlets. IN 1981 Mercedes and Elvira Heredia printed on the left pages of a pamphlet the words of 14 traditional Catalan songs with the English translations opposite
Her remarkable drawings took considerable time and though family bonds were very strong Mercedes felt guilty and offered Linda and John her sincere apologies for clutter up their living space with her improvised artists easel. For Linda and John this was to be their stepping stone to become in Linda a very find miniaturist, and John no mean painter, but now using IT to pursue it
Mercedes considerable energies joined with Ivor to participate in a great many other activities by the Chepstow Society, including walking, playing in the band, and away day trips
Following the death of Ivor, Mercedes continued to support the Chepstow Society, and it gave her great pride and pleasure to see Linda become Chairman of the Society. Over recent years glaucoma had reduced her sight to a shadowy existence, but nevertheless she bravely coped with this, even helping Linda, in her home stays between operations
Rest in peace you lovely lady. It is sad your interesting life should have ended as it did.
Trevor Evans MBE – Society President Honoured
4 Jan 2012
The Society congratulates its President Trevor Evans on being awarded the MBE in the New Years Honours. Trevor, a founding member of the Society, still attends our monthly meeting as our Natural History Officer and gives a report each month on matters of interest. Trevor received his MBE for services to conservation and wildlife in Monmouthshire. His 40 years plus activity saw the publication in 2007 of his mammoth work in the book “Flora of Monmouthshire”, and the Society were proud to be one of the sponsors of the publication.