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Dr Price (RCT Digital Archive)
Dr William Price was an early campaigner for the legalisation of cremation. Trained as a doctor, Price set up one of the first workers' medical schemes at the Brown Lenox Chain Works in Pontypridd. He was a Chartist and led an eccentric lifestyle which included vegetarianism, naturism and free love!

Price was born in the wrong century - his ideas would have fitted into the 1960s more comfortably than with 19th century Wales. As a youth he scandalised prim Llantrisant by going for long walks in the nude. He wore a fox pelt on his head, called his son Jesus Christ (Iesu Grist) and proclaimed himself Arch Druid of a lost Celtic faith.  

He trained as a doctor in Caerphilly and London and practised among the newly emerging mining communities in the south Wales Valleys, working at the Brown Lenox Works in Pontypridd.

He was vigorously anti-smoking, refusing to treat patients who did so. His own herbal potions were dispensed to the sick along with some druidical chanting to aid the process.

A convinced republican, he supported the Chartists and was forced to flee to Paris, disguised as a woman, after the failure of the Newport rising in 1839.

Many years later, in his eighties, he met and fell and in love with Gwenllian Llewelyn, a young woman many decades younger. Price christened their son Jesus in a move apparently designed to enrage local churchgoers.

Jesus died in infancy, prompting the action for which Price is most remembered. On January 18th 1884, he burned the child’s body in front of onlookers on a Llantrisant hillside. Price believed that cremation was in accordance with ancient Celtic practice.  

Price was prosecuted but the court ruled in his favour, establishing the legality of cremation once and for all.

Dr Price's Round House, Pontypridd (RCT Digital Archive)
Where to Visit?

Statue outside Model House, Llantrisant

Birth: Rudry, Caerphilly 04 March 1800
Death: 23 January 1893
Dr William Price
Ingenious Heroes