Descriptions and illustrations of Gelert’s grave

Gelert’s grave beneath the two trees on the right; St Mary’s church, Beddgelet on the left; Snowdon just out of view behind the hills in the distance.

This page includes many illustrations and all the known descriptions of the grave.
For further details see:
Summary of the development of the Gelert story
The creation of Gelert’s Grave
Gelert Story Sceptics

Michael Freeman, ‘Early Accounts of the Legend of Gelert the Greyhound and His Grave’, Transactions of the Caernarvonshire Historical Society, vol. 77 (2016-2017), pp. 40-59  Gelert’s grave article updated pdf version with illustrations.

Descriptions and illustrations of Gelert’s Grave
Of the many thousands of people who visited Gelert’s Grave during the 19th century, only about 30 described the grave in their manuscript diaries or published accounts of their visit. Three sketches, a handful of prints and about ten 19th century photographs of the grave are known to survive in public and private collections and at least 50  postcards of it were produced during the 20th century.
The descriptions suggest that there were no stones on the site until 1811, when one was observed and two more were added by 1837.

Print from Black Picturesque Guide through North and South Wales, (1851), p. 186

 

 

 

 

 

‘BEDDGELERT, the Grave of Gelert, no. 182’.
One of a stereograph pair taken and published by Francis Bedford, early 1860s.
The large boulder is visible behind the fence and the top of the tall stone can be seen just to the left of the man by the fence.
(© Michael Freeman collection)

 

Francis Bedford also published a view of the grave (no. 2165) without the fence. This is from an album dated September 1880 which was probably when the photograph was purchased. The photograph may date to the 1870s.

(© Michael Freeman collection)

A circular ?iron fence enclosing ?two trees is shown on raised ground with the barn on a mound beyond, and the Goat Hotel in the distant right. A woman is shown inside the railings by a large stone; another woman is shown sitting on a bench next to the railings, and at least seven other people are shown by or heading for the grave.
Published by Newman and Co of London., 1850s – 1860s

 

Gelert’s Grave from Thirteen views in North Wales for one shilling, Published by Humphreys, Carnarvon, [1863], Series 1, no. 8
This shows three stones, the two tall stones on either side of the central bolder appear to be ‘strangely’ shaped, rather like ‘fairy castles’.

 

Photograph from a 3¼ x 4¼ inch glass negative of Gelert’s Grave, detail below.
(© Michael Freeman collection with thanks to Chris Leadbeater.)

 

By the end of March, 1901 a  monument had been erected on the grave and was soon to be unveiled. Publicity around this reopened recent disputes about the truth of the legend of Gelert. It appears that this monument was in the form of a Celtic cross, bearing the words ‘Gelert’s Grave’. This created some criticism by those who thought it should have been in Welsh.

This monument also prompted two letters in local newspapers, one from a Protestant and one from a Catholic suggesting that it was quite inappropriate to have a cross on the grave of a dog, but it was more appropriate for a Celtic saint, Kelert, after whom the village might have been named.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photograph late 19th century: ‘5308 Beddgelert Gelert’s Grave’ [twice] This shows the three stones but with different trees to those now growing there. The roof of the nearby building is also visible. (© Michael Freeman collection)

Postcard showing one tree and the first English inscription which appears to be black lettering on a white stone.

 

It is said that this inscription (black lettering on a light-coloured stone), was vandalised in the 1940s or ‘50s and all the pieces stolen. It is understood that the Duff family of the old Vaynol estate in Bangor who owned the site paid for a replacement which was inscribed by Richard Williams, monumental mason of Llanrwst.

The new inscription was white letters on a black stone.

The National Trust acquired the Bryn y Felin fields, including Buarth Gwyn and the grave in 1987. The improvements they made to the property, which won a Prince of Wales award, were described in an article by Richard Neale, a former National Trust Warden. The National Trust decided to have two inscriptions at the site, in Welsh and English and commissioned Ken Williams ‘Ken Cerrig Beddau’, son of Richard Williams to inscribe them. They were installed in about 1990. In 2001-2002 the path around the grave was improved by the National Trust.

Photograph of the grave in 2016
(Michael Freeman)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In September, 2018, the grave had a bunch of artificial flowers

 

 

 

The Grave today

The present supposed site of Gelert’s ‘grave’ lies on the eastern edge a large, low mound (NGR SH 5905 4778). Jenkins recorded that it was known as Bryn y Bedd (the Hill of the Grave), and this is the name given to it on modern large scale Ordnance Survey maps which also mark ‘Gelert’s Grave’. Jenkins also suggested that the mound was levelled to facilitate the building of the nearby cow shed at end of the 18th century. Some people thought the mound covered the site of an ancient building but excavations by John Prichard (c.1799-1846, son of David, the original keeper of the Goat Hotel) yielded nothing but stones. Jenkins thought that it was the remains of a mound of stones constructed in honour of an Irish chieftain called Celert. Members of the Cambrian Archaeological Association who visited the site in 1949 recorded that it was a Bronze Age or later burial mound, 300 yds. in circumference, on the skirt of which the faked grave of Gelert was erected by the landlord of the Goat about 150 years ago’. but the RCAHM (Wales) describe the grave as ‘modern, but stands upon a large mound about 260 ft (80m) in diameter, which has been claimed as sepulchural. In the opinion of the Commission, however, it is natural’.

Jenkins, D.E., Bedd Gelert: Facts, Fairies and Folklore, (1899), pp. 24-26
Anon, Arch. Camb., (1949), p. 308; RCAHM(W), Caernarfonshire, vol. 2, (1960), p. 16; RCAHM(W), record CPF/B/03/04.

19th century descriptions and illustrations of the grave.

1808
The first inquiry which naturally suggests itself to the curious traveller on his arrival at this village is, where is the “consecrated spot which contains poor Gelert’s bones?” – not a vestige of the “gallant tomb” now remains to satisfy his research; a place is indeed pointed out by the landlady of the Hotel, as the depository of his remains: but whether this spot is really recorded by tradition, or whether it is indebted to the good lady for its pre-eminence over the surrounding pastures in order to satisfy her anxious auditors, and prevent the fatigue of  numerous useless queries, I cannot determine; but certain it is, the rude hand of time has obliterated all traces of the faithful Greyhound’s tomb, and his master’s mansion; nothing but the name remain which will, in all probability continue according to the prediction “till great Snowdon’s rocks grow old”. After spending an hour most agreeably in this enchanting retreat, we returned to Ystymllyn [sic].
Skinner, Charlotte Jane, Sketch book of Charlotte Jane Skinner, done in the summer of 1808, National Library of Wales, 14537C, p. 107-118

1811
…  a large Rock is still pointed out as the monument of this celebrated Dog, being on the spot where it was found dead, together with the stag which it had pursued from Carnarvon [13 miles away].
Carlisle’s Topographical Dictionary of Wales, (1811), ‘Bêdd Celert’

1811
Llewellyn’s grief was excessive, he buried the hound and built a handsome marble tomb over him – The people show you the grave about two fields from the church but nothing now remains but a large stone.
Hawker, Joseph, ‘Tour of Josh Hawker and Elizabeth his wife through north Wales, 1812’, NLW add MS64B, pp. 31-33

1818
A tomb was erected on the spot by orders of the Prince, a building in which garden tools are kept marks the spot where the tomb originally was.
Alderson, Harriet, (Accompanied Lady Fitzherbert of Tissington, Staffs?), Journal of a tour from Aston to Beaumaris in September 1818, Gwynedd Record Office, XM/2600,

1819
2 filed off old stone shewn as Gelert’s grave
Cotton, Lady Philadelphia, Tour through North Wales, Cambridgeshire County Record Office, 588/F48, p. 4

1819
Beddgelert derived its name from an interesting story related of Llewellyn ap Iorwerth and his faithful greyhound [.] a stone marks the spot of Gelert’s interment.
Anon, but probably E.C Campbell, [Eliza Constantia Campbell, nee Pryce], Journals of Tours in North Wales and the Isle of Wight , NLW Gunley Parcel XXX

1819
The poor dog’s grave is in a field by the church and marked by a large stone
Faraday, Michael, Dafydd Tomos, Michael Faraday in Wales : including Faraday’s journal of his tour through Wales in 1819 [1972], p. 75

1824
{Usual story of Gelert} ‘The prince [Llewelyn] erected a tomb over the grave of his dog called Bedd Gelert. I asked the landlady where the spot was supposed to be she said there were different opinions but that commonly recd was where the chapel was built but there is but a stone or two now on the place
A Journal of a tour, Aug. 16-21 1824, through North Wales by members of the Hawarden Castle family and written by ‘M. Williams’ (a woman), ‘copied from my notes and finished 3.11.1824’. NLW Glynne of Hawarden 56

1826
I think for romantic scenery, Beddgelert surpasses both, and is only inferior to Lymouth. The very name too is touching to the feelings. The grave of Gelert! poor hound, who received death for gratitude : But the most agonizing thought, is the misery of the master on finding his mistake : A few stones in a meadow, near the church, mark the spot of Gelert’s burial, a pleasing meditation, whether true or not.
Freeman, George John, Sketches in Wales; or, A diary of three walking excursions in that principality, in the years 1823, 1824, 1825. (London, 1826), p. 182

1826
[Quoted G.J. Freeman’s comments then]:
So Much for Mr Freeman – the sad tale of poor Gelert is this as we are told – He was the favourite hound of Llewelyn the gift of King John to him – one day Llewelyn went out to hunt but Gelert lagged behind and as the sequel proves returned home, when the chase was over Llewelyn sought his favourite and he ran out to meet his master smeared with blood followed by the hound the Prince goes on to visit the bed of his child but finds it empty and also smeared with blood, this leads him to conclude that Gelert had killed the child and instantly he plunged a dagger into his side at this moment he heard an infant cry and amid a heap of rubbish he finds the child in safety and close to him an enormous wolf which the hound had slain and thus preserved Llewelyn’s heir.
Crewe, Lady Jane, Journals of a tour in Staffordshire and Derbyshire and Wales, 1826, Derbyshire Record Office D2375/M/44/10, [no page numbers]

1827
The lamented and deeply regretted victim of a parent’s intemperate feelings was buried at the foot of a small mound, in a meadow near the river, beneath an enormous stone. The writer leaned against this antique memorial, while he listened to the pathetic explanation of the work Beddgelert, or “the Greyhound’s Grave.”
Caulfeild, Edwin Toby, A tour through part of North Wales, October 1827 [1827?], pp. 10-12

1827
The rain having continued all night & Beddgelert hotel being situated in a valley enclosed with trees & surrounded by mountains we found it damp & therefore just after walking to the church which has nothing to boast of & buying a few crystals from Snowdon & just finding out the stone where the poor dog was buried… we went to Caernarfon
Beecroft, Judith, Excursion to North Wales, Cardiff Central Library, MS2.325, p. 76

1835
Overwhelmed with grief, [Llywelyn] had his dog interred with great ceremony ; and the place in which this incident occurred, acquired the name of Beddgelert—or Gelert’s grave. The grave is still pretended to be shown to strangers, though it is very doubtful whether the exact spot can be pointed out.
Codman, John, A Narrative of a Visit to England, (Boston, 1836), following p. 242

1835
{The Story of Gelert and his grave}
A rough, unhewn stone in a field near the church is shown as the tomb of the faithful Gelert – I made a pilgrimage to the spot.
Pryer, Thomas, ‘A Journey through North Wales in the month of August 1835 by Thos. Pryer’, NLW MS 3138C 

1837 Beddgelert
We went out to visit the celebrated spot from which the village derives its name, namely the grave of Gelert, Bedd signifying grave or burying place. We walked through two or three fields and at length came to this monument of faithfulness, it consists in its present dilapidated state of three large stones, set up side by side, the largest occupying the centre, the whole enclosed by a railing and when the associations are connected with them, even these blocks of stone, are objects of interest, to the curious, and enquiring traveller.
Francis, Horace, Journal of a tour 1837, vol. 2, NLW ms. 11597B, pp. 19-25

1839
This circumstance had such an effect on the prince, that, on the spot where the dog was slain, he caused a church to be erected and a tombstone to be raised over the remains of his faithful animal. A neatly kept footpath leads to the grave (from a little shrubbery in front of the hotel), which consists of a large oblong stone, with two others, of an ancient appearance, at the head and foot an excellent thought of some legend-loving antiquarian; and it if not be the “old original,” it answers the purpose intended extremely well, and numerous are the sketches made of it by sentimental young damsels for their friend’s albums.
Parry, John, (Bardd Alaw, 1776–1851) Trip to North Wales containing much information relative to that interesting alpine country etc. (1840), pp. 28-30

1840
nothing more than three curious old stones surrounded with a clumsy rustic railing and a little dead weeping willow [with good sketch of it].
Maymott, William, Tour in north Wales, Cardiff Central Library, MS 2.848, p. 40

1840
The grave of Gelert is in a field to which a path has been made from the inn it consists of one broad large stone and two tall ones placed  one on each side of it and one small tree there is no inscription and only interesting from the story attached to it.
A journal of a tour through Wales and Herefordshire, undertaken in September 1840 by Elizabeth Sarney of Wargrave, Berkshire. (1840), NLW ms 22892 A, f. 11r

1841
In a field near the village a large stone is pointed out, beneath which the faithful animal is said to be interred. … Llewellyn by way of reparation gave the dog a “decent” burial and called the place de nomine facti.
Anon, ‘Welsh Journal, 1841’, NLW MS 748B, pp. 63-64

1844
We made our pilgrimage, as in duty bound to Gelert’s grave: in a rich meadow stands the little enclosure – one rude block of stone, with an upright of strange moulding at the head and foot.
Anon, An Account of a Tour in Wales c 1830 1844, NLW MS 10566, ff. 75-82.
At the end of the journal is an edited copy of the above story of Gelert, published in ‘The Youth’s Instructer [sic] and Guardian’, no. 1, volume XII, January, 1848.

1844
We took refuge awhile in the little garden [of the inn], worthy in its arrangement of the immediate vicinity of London; and quitting its walks, we gave ourselves up to the guide, who led us across a few fields to a spot enclosed by iron rails, and planted with meagre shrubs; in the midst of which are two grey stones. This is shown as the grave of Gelert, the famous hound of Llywelyn, and here leaves are plucked by curious visitors, in memory of the legend so frequently repeated.
Costello, Louisa Stuart, (1799-1870), The falls, lakes, and mountains, of North Wales. (London : 1845), pp.  137-141
[Costello’s account  was copied and republished several times in various guidebooks.]

1847
In a field contiguous to the churchyard, is a large stone, which is said to mark the spot where Gelert was buried. Near the stone is a building, now used as a cow-house, which is reputed to have been the residence of the prince.
Hicklin, J., (editor), Excursions in North Wales: a complete guide to the tourist through that Romantic Country … (London, Dublin, Chester, 1847).

1848
To Beddgelert where they had lunch, changed horses and carriage, and saw Gelert’s grave.
Parry, John Orlando, (1810-1879), Diary, tour through North Wales and part of South Wales, 1848, NLW 17728A, p. 7

1848
{saw the grave and church} [no detail]
Weston, Elizabeth, (1794 or 1795-1878), Journal of a tour, 1848, NLW MS 24034B, ff. 12v-13

1850
Two grey stones, overhung with bushes, point out the “grave of Gelert,” and a rustic seat is placed near, where visitors may recline and meditate the legend.
Anon, The Tourist in Wales, a Series of Views of Picturesque Scenery, Towns, Castles, Antiquities etc.  with Historical and Topographical Notices  (George Virtue, London, c. 1850), pp. 15-16

[1851]
In a field near the churchyard are two grey stones, overhung with bushes, pointing out the grave of “Gelert,” and a rustic seat is placed close by for the convenience of visitors.
Cathrall, William, Wanderings in North Wales: a road and railway guide-book, comprising curious and interesting historical information … [1851], pp. 179-182

1851
Tradition thus relates the affecting incident which is said to have originated the name of the place :-— Llewelyn the Great, with his family, had a residence here during the hunting season. One day, while engaged in the chase, the prince was surprised by the absence of his favourite hound Gelert, which he had received as a present from his father-in-law, King John. On returning, he was met by his dog, hastening to him with more than ordinary manifestation of pleasure. Observing, however, that the animal’s jaws were besmeared with blood, he became alarmed, and, rushing to the house, he there found his infant’s cradle overturned, and the ground about it bloody. Rashly concluding that the hound had killed his child, he drew his sword, and slew the poor animal while in the act of caressing his master. Soon afterwards, on removing the cradle, he found beneath it his child alive, unhurt, and sleeping by the side of a dead wolf. The truth was at once apparent. During the absence of the family, a wolf had entered the house, and had been destroyed by the faithful dog in time to prevent its doing injury to the sleeping infant. The prince, deeply affected by the incident, carefully buried his favourite, thus slain by his own hand, and built a tomb over his grave. Hence the place is still called Bedd-Gelert, or the grave of Gelert. The poem suggested by this legend, written by the Hon. W. R. Spencer, is well known. There is a Welsh saying which seems to allude to the story: “He repents as much as the man who killed his dog;” and this might lead one to suppose that the sad tale is indeed true. But than the same story, with slight variations, is told in different places, and concerning different persons. It is said to be engraved on a rock at Limerick; it is told in an old English romance; it is repeated in France ; and it is the subject of a Persian drama ! Who, then, can be very confident in its truth?

1851
In a field contiguous to the churchyard are two grey stones, overhung with bushes, which point out the grave of “Gelert” and a rustic seat is placed near, where visitors may recline and meditate the legend’.
Parry, Edward, Cambrian Mirror or North Wales Tourist, (1851), pp. 153-154

1854
The tomb, or what is said to be the tomb, of Gelert, stands in a beautiful meadow just below the precipitous side of Cerrig Llan: it consists of a large slab lying on its side, and two upright stones. It is shaded by a weeping willow, and is surrounded by a hexagonal paling.
Borrow, George, Wild Wales, (1862), pp. 145

1854
{went to see Gelert’s grave} the celebrated hound whose fate has made Beddgelert known all over the world {reference to Spencer’s poem} but whether there is more truth in the tale than that of William Tell … remains to be proved.
Billinghurst, H.P., A Pedestrian Ramble through Oxford, Chester and North Wales, 1854, Women’s Library, London, 7RMB/B/1, pp. 247-248

1859
[LLywelyn] commanded that the dog should be buried with honour in a verdant spot nearby, and caused a large stone to be placed on his grave to mark his resting place. The stone remains to this day in Dol y Lleian, near the village, which, together with the whole parish, was after this called Bedd Gelert.”
Glasynys (Owen Wynne Jones 1828-1870) Llewelyn a’i Gi (Llewelyn and his dog), Brython, April, 1859, pp. 316-319 [in original, pp. 110-111?]
(From an old manuscript, said to be by Ieuan Brydydd Hir [Evans , Evan (Ieuan Fardd or Ieuan Brydydd Hir 1731 – 1788)
Cymru, vol. 7, (1894), pp. 37-40
Glasynys, ‘Llewelyn a’i Gi’ Gwaith Barddonol Glasynys, (1898), pp. 61-65
The above is our own free rendering of Glasynys’s version, from which we have omitted one irrelevant sentence.
Translation in Jenkins, D.E., Bedd Gelert: Facts, Fairies and Folklore, (1899), pp. 58-60, 69-70

1860
Saturday 28th July
Put off the stroll to Gelert’s Grave until the last moment, and on making enquiries, it was pointed out to me in a hay-field in front of, and not far from the great Hotel, above alluded to. Rushed to the sacred spot in almost breathless haste, and gazed for a short time in ecstatic raptures on—a Water Bath! in company with two other vagabond Saxons, who had made a similar and disgusting faux pas. Looked about, and then discovered the solemn site, and tried to feel maudin and “spooney,” but did not succeed! Don’t know how it is, nor why, but poetic feeling will never have anything to do with me when I particularly woo it. But—Gelert’s Grave. Well, sympathetic reader, fancy to yourself a common piece of flat meadow land, enclosed round with palings, some three yards by two (mind, I did not actually measure it). In the centre of this rustic cemetery is a small, but very pretty, tree, of the withy family; and scattered about this enclosure and under the said tree, are three blocks of stone, very old and weather beaten, one of them hewn so as to resemble a mutilated Ourang-Outang, squinting awfully, and otherwise of a most outre phiz. If a person can realize this brief description in his mind, he will know all about the famed Gelert’s Grave which I can tell him, or all he ever will discover if he visits the spot himself. There is no other memento of Prince Llewellyn’s martyred puppy; nor is there any such monumental tombstone and inscription, such as is to be seen at Newstead Abbey, to keep in remembrance Byron’s Newfoundland canine friend.
Anon, The North Wales Chronicle and Advertiser for the Principality, 4th August 1860;
Richards, Richard, Miscellaneous poems; and pen-and-ink sketches, chiefly of Welsh scenery and noted places in Carnarvonshire. Selections from the letters of ‘Welsh Girl’ and ‘Old Mountaineer’, (Bangor: 1868), pp. 45-46

1861
This is the story which, in its Welsh version, records the services and unhappy end of the faithful hound Gelert; whose last “ bed”— “Beth Gelert”—may be seen in the shape of a long green mound by the traveller who descends the vale of Gwynant in Caernarvonshire.
King, Richard J., The Dogs of Folk-Lore, History and Romance, published in Quarterly Review, January, 1861
also in Littell’s The Living Age, 3rd Series, vol. 12, Jan, 1861, pp. 780-800; King, Richard J., Sketches and Studies, The Dogs of Folk-Lore (1874), p. 97

1862
At Beddgelert there are not many objects of interest to detain you. Within a short walk of the hotel is the spot indicated by Dr. Buckland as exhibiting a favourable example of the glacier marks; and in the meadow opposite the hotel is the grave of Gelert, which gives its name to the village. A few irregular upright stones represent the “tomb,” which makes so great a figure in the pathetic ballad story.
{Spencer’s poem, “The spearman heard the bugle sound, … The name of Gelert’s grave.”}
Bigg, William, The ten day tourist, or Sniffs of the mountain breeze: comprising, Ten days in North Wales, (1862), pp. 31-34

1864
we paid a visit to Gelert’s Grave (why isn’t the railing of iron, not wood), and sighed o’er the fate of that faithful hound;
“Doing” Snowdon, By a Party of Three, From Llandudno.
The North Wales Chronicle and Advertiser for the Principality, 10th September 1864

1865
[we] set off for Gelert’s grave, rather a hot walk but short [walk] to Pont Aberglasyn.
Stratton, Gertrude J., Journal of a trip to North Wales in 1865 by Gertrude J Stratton between August – September illustrated with contemporary engravings. NLW 21992A, 2nd September, 1856

1868
so at Beddgelert we entered by a wicket gate opposite the Goat Hotel … ??????? a wooden ?????, – passes over a couple of meadows and there beneath the shade of two or three stunted trees three ancient looking rather worn stones marked the spot from wh[sic] the village takes its name  – the “Grave of Gelert”
Anon, [Rawlins, Charles Edward, (born c. 1811) of Liverpool], Tour of North Wales, 1868, NLW MS 23066C, f. 83v-86r [The handwriting is very difficult to read in places.]

1882
… Gelert’s grave and now we stood beside the spot, and wondered if all of it, or anything of it, could be true. Over the grave grows a solitary willow that must soon wither and die for trunk and branch and topmost bows are covered with deeply-cut names and initials of touristic fools, who thus made a feeble grasp at a notoriety which after all never, probably, in any case extended beyond the little individual family circle of the initial cutting cad himself, who, if caught in the act ought to have been whipped times “thrice three”, and at the double, round and round old Gelert s grave.
Anon, [Visit to Beddgelert] The North Wales Chronicle and Advertiser for the Principality, 9th September 1882

1883
We also saw a few fragments of stone (encircled by some iron railings) said to have once formed part of the monument erected by the Prince [Llewelyn] to the memory of his faithful hound, Gelert.
Sworn, John,  An outline of my trip to North Wales,  Manuscript incorporated in a printed album of Francis Bedford photographs,  NLW Llyfr Ffoto 29f. 4v

1884 (15th August)
The first event of this morning was a visit to the spot which gives the village its name “Bedd-Gêlert” What need for me to repeat here the pathetic story, – so well known? It is the custom in some quarters to speak of it as a myth. Well, perhaps it is for there are similar legends in other parts of the world [a sentence crossed out]. There do seem some reasons for doubt. However, we most of us, like children, love a “true story”. So we went out in the morning mist to see Gelert’s grave. A single rough time-worn stone beneath a willow supplies the place of the great and lavish monument which Llewelyn is said to have raised in his remorse over the faithful hound and this is all that marks “the burial of the dog in the place” as an ancient Celtic ballad has it.
Anon, (Greenly, Edward), Tour of North Wales, 1884, NLW MS 23067B, p. 79

1891
I came to Gelert’s Grave, the grave of the poor dog whom Prince Llewelyn in a fit of temper hastily killed. From the grief which he experienced after discovering that the hound had really saved his child’s life, it is said he never recovered. The grave is a memorial or the prince’s regret for an unfortunate misunderstanding. On the grave there are three stones (a small one at the head, a large one in the middle, and a long one at the foot) in representation of a dog’s form. Around the grave are iron railings. There is a big tree inside, and on the long stone standing at the foot are some carvings of the 12th century.
A Trip to North Wales. [By The Rev E. Rowland, Deaf and Dumb Missionary, Pontypridd.
The Pontypridd Chronicle and Workman’s News, 4th September 1891

1892
{The story of Gelert}
I found the famous grave surrounded by an octagonally shaped iron fence; while two trees and one large stone slab lying flat upon the ground and a narrower slab standing up in a slanting position, are within this historic enclosure. Other visitors besides myself were coming and going to see Gelert’s Grave, so much for the poor dog.
As usual, of course, now … the end of the 19th century, doubts have been cast upon the truth of the whole affair by a new generation of self-styled ‘thinkers’ who believe nothing themselves, and are only useful in pulling down the structures that others have reared, while they put up none themselves in their stead. But the whole world is overrun with people who pretend to call in question the very existence of God himself.
Scott, John B., ‘A Walk through Wales in August and September 1892’ NLW ex 1900, p. 209

1895
There is something at once gallant and touching about the way in which the English tourist places his hand in that of convention, and is led by her, uncomplaining, through very arid places. This … does not … include Aberglaslyn … ; it is for the moment concentrated upon the grave of Gelert, its railings and little stone pillas, erected possibly by the town commissioners to supply a want long felt by tourists of an object for a short walk. The selectors of the site have been carried away by a  sense of fitness probably adhering since the days when they buried their pet rabbits in the back garden, and, with guileless convention, they have erected the tomb of Gelert under a tree, a healthy one of the prime of life …
Do the [visitors] support the venerable fraud who sits outside the Goat Hotel in full Welsh costume, selling rag-doll replicas of herself. It would seem so, for she apparently prospers …
Ross, Martin, [Violet Florence Martin, 1862-1915] and Someville, E., [Edith Anna Œnone] Beggars on horseback : a riding tour in North Wales, (1895), pp. 84-87

1895
The Rhyl Cycling Club on Tour.
We had ample time to stroll out and inspect Gelert’s grave. The only marking of this historic spot was a large tree enclosed with iron railing and two large ugly-looking stones without any inscription whatever. We were rather struck with surprise that we did not have to pay 2d for inspecting this place, but we didn’t, that’s a fact.
Rhyl Journal 20th April 1895

ILLUSTRATIONS
It is very likely that there are more 19th century sketches, prints and photographs of the grave, but despite exhaustive searches, only the following are known to exist in public collections.

SKETCHES AND PAINTINGS

1837
Pencil sketch of the grave ‘Gelert’s Tomb at Beddgelert, September 11th 1837’
by Georgina H., (wife of WFH),
National Museum of Wales, A11539 

1840
A good sketch of the grave
Maymott, William, Tour in north Wales, Cardiff Central Library, MS 2.848, p. 40

1884-1887
A watercolour of the grave showing no fence, three stones, two trees and a row of houses in the distance.
Anon, National Museum of Wales, sketch book, A14296

Newspaper reports about the inscriptions on the grave