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Monument – Moel y Golfa
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Image by Nigel Jones
The inscription is intriguing.

This is certainly one of the most unusual memorials I have seen. This monument was built in 1963 by the son (Uriah Burton) of Ernest Burton, a Romany Chell (Chief). After Uriah’s own death in 1986, a second inscription was added in his memory.

The monument was built by friends and acquaintances of the Burton’s. Allegedly, some contributed their labours under duress. This is not an accessible site, standing atop a pretty steep climb with no easy tracks to the top along which vehicles could travel, and it is a not inconsiderable achievement to have got the massive stones into place on top of the monument.

More here: www.gypsytrailercaravans.webeden.co.uk/#/big-just/4533622715

Here is a transcription of the newspaper article (in the link above) from "The People" Sunday newspaper of November 1963. The item is written by Uriah "Big Just" Burton and tells an amazing story of very hard graft and brotherhood:

It seems that a lot of people have fear of me after the kidnappings last week. I want to explain about it and about the handcuffs.

I want to put things right for the ordinary people who have fears that I might come after them.

Some people have been saying the kidnappings were all a joke. They were no joke. They were real. But everyone who has been taken by me has been connected with me and my men. And they have either given their word to work on the stone or boasted that nothing would persuade them to do so.
This made it a sort of challenge in my mind. I was determined to prove them all wrong.

I am a gipsy and I am proud of it. My word is my bond.
But I will start at the beginning.

The father was a Romany Chell (Chief), a good man, loved and respected wherever he went, especially in Wales, where he was born and lived most of his life.

He was a dealer in cattle and horses and he was a breeder of horses.

With my brothers and sisters we travelled with him. We lived under the stars, out in the country. I have never lived in a house in my life.

As the years passed we had to progress like other gipsy families. Our old caravan disappeared. Motor cars and trailers took their place, but the work was the same and we were still free.

Come spring we would have 50 foals running the road. I helped the father break them in. I learned about horses, loved the life.

Then the father died. He was (50/59?). Before he died, three years back, he had asked us his children, that he be cremated and his ashes spread on the Welsh mountains he knew and loved so much.

I went up into an aeroplane to carry out that last wish.
Some think that was when I decided to put up the The Stone as a remembrance. A time of mourning is not a time to think of actions.

It was later that our family pledged to put up The Stone.
There had been nothing like it anywhere in the country, probably in this whole world.

Moel-y-Golfa was picked because it was the highest of the Breidden Hills and because it was covered in trees. The owner of the land gave his permission. We went to see contractors. They said the task was impossible.

I had made a pledge. It could not be "impossible."

With relatives and god friends we went to Wales to start the job.

It was hard work. We had to make a road up the mountain. The weeks went by. Word began to go around about what we were doing. Some people sneered at us.

Other people, business men, promised to come and help.
Then, when the time came to go to Wales, they said they were too busy with their business.

I found that this was not always true. They were going to parties. They were not too busy for that.

HANDCUFFS
But they had made a promise and should keep it.

That was when I decided to use the handcuffs, mainly as a joke and a sort of insurance that they would not break their word gain.

We had waited a long time for the main stone for a memorial.
It came from Cornwall and we had to wait until they had two pieces big enough for a main part.

I didn’t want an ordinary monument that would crumble away in time. I wanted something that would last forever.

When the stone arrived I started the kidnapping.

It began in Scotland down through England to Wales.
I got a bus to take the men. All the people who had given their word to help, inclduing those who had broken it, were taken by us, put in cuffs and taken to Wales.

That first weekend we had 75 men.

Some didn’t like it. They were mad at us. I wasn’t worried by their threats.

But I had taken them along with me in good faith and had the responsibility for them.

I had to feed them and give them somewhere to sleep. I had my big horsebox, a marquee and an articulator caravan.

£20 ON DRINK

I spent £40 on food for them and another £20 on drink.
All night there were arguments, then the dawn came.

We broke bread together and they began looking toward the mountain top. They wanted to get on with the job. The work was started.

There were all sorts of men there, some very rich men. Many had never done anything like it.

But at the end of the day they came to me and said they were proud to have had the chance to help.

I was ready to pay £4 a day to any man who worked for me.
Of those 75 men, only about ten took money from me.

In the end the others worked away as a matter of pride, to see the job through.

It was a hard job and a dangerous job. We had to move three blocks of granite, weighing 12½ tons, 10½ tons and five tons to the top. The road was a track of mud, in places very steep.
We had been lent an eight wheeler lorry by Mr. Arthur Hepworth of Norton, near Doncaster. He gave it free.

We loaded the granite onto it and with the bulldozers at the front and back we began the job. We would move only five yards at a time. As we went up the men kept blocking and scotching (fastening) the lorry.

Then the lorry stuck. It wouldn’t move at all. When it did it began to slide back.

My brother, Osiah, was in the cab of the lorry. He was the best man for the job. He was calm. I don’t think he knew the danger to him.

"I RESPECT THE LAW"

We put chains on the lorry, but they snapped like candles. With wire ropes we fastened it to trees, but it pulled the trees out by their roots. But somehow we got the lorry moving up again. And we got to the top. It took us two days.
I say that nothing is completely bad. In every man there is good. On that mountain the good in the men I had taken came out.

When we took them home, not one complained to the police. They wouldn’t have done it after being on the mountain.
Mind you, I respect the law. You must have it and I wouldn’t break it.

Today The Stone is nearly finished. I have had thousands of offers to help me since "The People" article last Sunday and when the opening ceremony takes place everyone will be welcomed.

We hope to have a priest there to bless The Stone.
The handcuffs have been put away and will never be used again. I have proved through them that there is good in every man if it is given the chance to come out.

Text below a photo of man in a sack being carried away:
Flashback to "Big Just" in action last week – carrying off handcuffed victim to a ??? big van. Now he says that there will be no more "kidnapping" – that he has put away the handcuffs for ever.

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BAMMM!!!
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Image by Ron,Ron,Ron
Tenuous Link: crooked hood

At 6:53 this evening, our good friend Millie’s face was bashed in by a cop. Millie was just 15 years old. Millie, also known as a 1995 Mazda Millenia S (S used to stand for supercharged), was just sitting there, minding her own business, when a St Louis police officer somehow ended up on the wrong side of the street and rammed her head on. Millie was shoved back about 5 feet, impacting the vehicle behind which was also shoved back, about 1 to2 feet.

I was on Flickr at the time the crash occured. Out in the street was another vehicle, a dark van with a family in it, also knocked aside, missing a chunk of the front left quarter panal and several associated parts.

So how fast was this cop going to first collide with the van, and still have enough momentum to travel another forty feet or so, ram our vehicle backwards and still have enough energy leftover to move the, even heavier, vehicle behind us.

Unbelievably, the cop was completely unharmed, even more remarkable concidering his air bag didn’t deploy. This was a very big fellow, standing a good head taller than myself. I’m 6 foot. I kept looking at his forhead to see if he had at least bumped his head. I asked him several times if he was ok. Finally he engaged in conversation. He couldn’t belive he had come out unscathed either. He said, with a sweep of his arm, and this IS a quote, "Yeah, I was racing through here,," He stopped himself and recovered with a, "well, not racing,,,." Then he referanced realizing he was sliding toward our car and thought, "This is gonna fu__ing hurt" Then he laughed, shrugged his shoulders and mentioned something about how after the crash, when he realized he was ok, he says he "wondered if MAYBE?" he should check on the family in the van.

I guess he did. I checked the street for "slide" marks. There were none. Given his vehicle certainly has ABS there shouldn’t have been slide (skid) marks, so I wonder what this "sliding" was he was referring to.

I’m thinking he was going kinda fast and attempted to swerve around a vehicle that was in his way, clipped it pretty good and carried through into our car. Don’t know for sure, didn’t see it,,, just that this seems like what would have happened if he was indeed "racing through here" as he let slip. It is also interesting that neither his siren or emergancy lights were running.

Fortunately, no one was injured at all. Well, except for Millie’s face being bashed in.

Later, when we were able to settle back into the evening, we realized we had missed one of our favorite shows,,, "Cops" ,,, or did we?

May update,,,

The driver and two other cops cooked up a story about how they were running with lights and sirens trying to get to the front of a string of stopped vehicle, There were like 4 other cars behind the van that was making a legal left turn into a parking lot. They claimed that the driver of the van (with wife and children on board) ignored their lights and sirens and turned in front of them anyway. It’s such a load of bull,,,, how in the heck did this guy get up to the speed required to cause this string of damage if all he was doing was "advancing" to the head of traffic (5 car lengths?) And if that was all he was doing, why the heck didn’t he slow down when he got there. He had to drive on the wrong side of the street and would have easily seen it was a short line of cars,,, what if there had been an elderly person crossing in front of these cars… he would have killer them for sure.

The truth is that he was NOT simply advancing to the head of a string of stopped cars, he was going full blast intending on PASSING them. He was doing exactly what he said he was, "racing through" there!

I had to pay for a copy of the FALSE police report and actually read this garbage. Despite the fact that there are several witnesses (at least 11) to dispute the claim of sirens, and a so-called ivestigation by "internal affairs" the matter has not been resolved. The family in the van saw no lights, and a witness who looked out their window just seconds after the crash, recognized the cop car from the street lights and it was only seconds after that that the cop thought to turn on his flashers.

An insurance company is pursuing the matter as well.

Dirty, dirty, lying cops. Don’t care who you hurt (in what ever manner) just so long as you cover your own butts. I hope you filthy animals read this, so you can know just how dirty low down you are. I know,, every witness knows it and YOU know it! The only thing in question is, "Do you have the guts to tell the truth?!!"

Now, it would be easy for me to say, "Hey, if the cops say it was the van driver’s fault then it must be his fault and so his insurance provider should pay for these damages." But, that would make me as crooked as you now wouldn’t it? I could just take the easy way out, get paid by his insurer and be done with it,, but,, again, that would make me part of the problem,, wouldn’t it? No,,, I’ll wait,, I’ll fight and if i have to I will go just as public as I can to make sure a much brighter light shines on your crooked behinds.

Defenders of the law, my eye!

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