Model of guillotine

Contributed by Powysland Museum

Model of guillotine carved from mutton bones 
by French prisoners in Welshpool

Model of guillotine carved from mutton bones by French prisoners in Welshpool

During the Napoleonic Wars from 1803 to 1814 many French prisoners were living in a number of towns in Montgomeryshire.This extraordinarily detailed model of a guillotine was carved from sheep bones by French prisoners of war, stationed in Montgomeryshire during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-15). Over 100,000 prisoners were held captive in Britain, and unlike in previous conflicts they were held for the duration. To pass the time, many made trinkets and models that were sold at local markets. There were prisoners held in Llanfyllin, Montgomery, Newtown and Welshpool to be far away from the coast. Many were officer class and their treatment was fairly light. They had to be in by 9.00 p.m. but were allowed to walk one mile out of their town of residence. The attitude of the locals towards them seems to have been friendly with even romance blossoming. A French prisoner, Dr. Pierre L. Serph, returned to Welshpool after the war, set up practice as a physician, married a local girl and was buried at St. Mary's Church. In Llanfyllin the French Captain Augeraud, fell in love with the rector's daughter, however he was against the connection and had the Frenchman returned to France. In 1813 the rector died and after the war Captain Augeraud returned and married his Welsh love.

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