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Y Ffor (Burial Chamber)

I suppose this chamber could well be the stones referred to in the story:
Hundreds of years ago they used to keep the Collection money in the Church. One time, thieves broke into Llanfaelrhys Church to steal the money. Somehow, while at their work they were seen by passers by, who went into the church. When the thieves saw this they fled for their lives and they were followed by their pursuers until they came to the top of Rhiw, there the thieves were caught, on the road by a place called Terfyn. After catching the thieves they killed them on the spot, that was the punishment in those days for thieving. The two were buried in Four Crosses Field, Rhiw, and to show where they were buried big stones mere placed on their graves and till today these stones are called Lladron Maelrhys, but few people know of them today. It's a pity that old things become lost.
From "Recollections" by Rowland Willlams
Bryn Golau, Rhiw.
Written in April 1946, when he was 72 years old.
This is online at Rhiw.com, here:
http://www.rhiw.com/pobol/rowland_williams/rowland_willlam_03.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
26th March 2007ce

Llanddyfnan (Standing Stone / Menhir)

[Saint] Dyfnan is reputed to have been a son of Brychan Brycheiniog, but his name is not found in either version of the Cognatio. He is the patron of Llanddyfnan, in Anglesey, where he is buried, according to tradition.
You would imagine, due to the proximity of the church to the stone, that there would be a story to connect the stone with the saint. But I don't know of one.. Surely there's one out there somewhere.
p396 of Sabine Baring-Gould's 'Lives of the British Saints', part 3. 1907
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
17th March 2007ce

St Govan's Well and Chapel (Sacred Well)

More, on the strange indentations that Kammer mentions.
On this part of the coast of Pembrokeshire, between Tenby and the entrance to Milford Haven, is a small bay, steep in its sides, and so lashed by surf as rarely to permit a boat to land. Here is the hermitage (or chapel) of St Gawen, or Goven, in which there is a well, the water of which, and the clay near, is used for sore eyes. Besides this, a little below the chapel, is another well, with steps leading down to it, which is visited by persons from distant parts of the principality, for the cure of scrofula, paralysis, dropsy, and other complaints. Nor is it the poor alone who make this pilgrimage: a case came more immediately under my notice, where a lady, a person of some fortune, having been for some time a sufferer from a severe attack of paralysis, which prevented her putting her hand in her pocket, took up her quarters at a farm-house near the well, and after visiting it for some weeks daily, returned home perfectly cured.

From the cliff the descent to the chapel is by fifty-two steps, which are said never to appear the same number in the ascent; which might very easily be traced to their broken character. The building itself is old, about sixteen feet long by eleven wide, has three doors, and a primitive stone altar, under which the saint is said to be buried. The roof is rudely vaulted, and there is a small belfry, where, as tradition says, there was once a silver bell; and there is a legend attached, that some Danish or French pirates came by night, and having stolen the bell from its place, in carrying it down to their boat, rested it for a moment on a stone, which immediately opened and received it. This stone is still shown, and emits a metallic sound when struck by a stone or other hard substance.

One of the doors out of the chapel leads by a flight of six steps to a recess in the rock, open at the top, on one side of which is the Wishing Corner, a fissure in the limestone rock, with indentations believed to resemble the marks which the ribs of a man forced into this nook would make, if the rock were clay. To this crevice many of the country people say our Saviour fled from the persecutions of the Jews. Other deem it more likely that St. Gawen, influenced by religious mortifications, squeezed himself daily into it, as a penance for his transgressions, until at length the print of the ribs became impressed on the rock. Here the pilgrim, standing upon a stone rendered smooth by the operation of the feet, is to turn round nine times and wish according to his fancy. If the saint be propitious, the wish will be duly gratified within a year, a month, and a day. Another marvellous quality of the fissure is, that it will receive the largest man, and be only just of sufficient size to receive the smallest. This may be accounted for by its peculiar shape.
ROBERT J. ALLEN - (Vol. vi. p96)
Bosherton, Pembroke
From p204 of 'Choice Notes from Notes and Queries - Folklore', 1859.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th February 2007ce

Some rock-related folklore for the spot. 'Ringing' rocks aren't an unusual motif?
ST. GOVEN'S BELL.
The following legend is current in Pembrokeshire. On the south-west coast of Pembrokeshire is situated a little chapel, called St. Goven's, from the saint who is supposed to have built it, and lived in a cell excavated in the rock at its east end, but little larger than sufficient to admit the body of the holy man. The chapel, though small, quite closes the pass between the rock-strewn cove and the high lands above, from which it is approached by a a long and steep flight of stone steps; in its open belfry hung a beautifully-formed silver bell. Between it and the sea, and near high-water mark, is a well of pure water, often sought by sailors, who were always received and attended to by the good saint.
Many centuries ago, at the close of a calm summer evening, a boat entered the cove, urged by a crew with piratical intent, who, regardless alike of the sanctity of the spot, and of the hospitality of its inhabitant, determined to possess themselves of the bell. They succeeded in detaching it from the chapel and conveying it to their boat, but they had no sooner left the shore than a violent storm suddenly raged, the boat was wrecked, and the pirates found a watery grave; at the same moment by some mysterious agency the silver bell was borne away, and entombed in a large and massive stone on the brink of the well. And still, when the stone is struck, the silver tones of the bell are heard softly lamenting its long imprisonment, and sweetly bemoaning the hope of freedom long deferred.
Originally in Vol xii, p201, this was included on p257 of 'Choice Notes from Notes and Queries - Folklore', 1859.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th February 2007ce

Garn Fawr (Hillfort)

So you can see Ireland and the Llyn.. but what else can you see from up here? Chapter 2 of John Rhys's 'Celtic Folklore, Welsh and Manx' suggests the following:
Mr. E. Perkins, of Penysgwarne, near Fishguard, wrote on Nov. 2, 1896, as follows, of a changing view to be had from the top of the Garn, which means the Garn Fawr, one of the most interesting prehistoric sites in the county, and one I have had the pleasure of visiting more than once in the company of Henry Owen and Edward Laws, the historians of Pembrokeshire:--

'May not the fairy islands referred to by Professor Rhys have originated from mirages? During the glorious weather we enjoyed last summer, I went up one particularly fine evening to the top of the Garn behind Penysgwarne to view the sunset. It would have been worth a thousand miles' travel to go to see such a scene as I saw that evening. It was about half an hour before sunset--the bay was calm and smooth as the finest mirror. The rays of the sun made a golden path across the sea, and a picture indescribable. As the sun neared the horizon the rays broadened until the sheen resembled a gigantic golden plate prepared to hold the brighter sun.

No sooner had the sun set than I saw a striking mirage. To the right I saw a stretch of country similar to a landscape in this country. A farmhouse and outbuildings were seen, I will not say quite as distinct as I can see the upper part of St. David's parish from this Garn, but much more detailed. We could see fences, roads, and gateways leading to the farmyard, but in the haze it looked more like a panoramic view than a veritable landscape. Similar mirages may possibly have caused our old to think these were the abode of the fairies.'
Online at the excellent Sacred Texts Archive, here
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/cfwm/cf106.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
17th February 2007ce

Carreg Hir (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The Coflein record, to be fair, isn't sure how old this stone is. It describes it as "an upright slab, 2.8m high by 1.7m by 0.5-0.8m" possibly on a mound.

I think it could well be the one mentioned here in on p186 of "Tales of the Cymry: with notes illustrative and explanatory" by James Motley (1848).
It is reported of a large stone near the end of the old canal, but on the left of the road from Neath to Brittonferry, that there is a charm, not yet discovered, which can compel it to speak, and for once to reveal the secret of its history: but that having once spoken it will be silent for ever.
Online at Google books.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
20th January 2007ce

Maen Ceti (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

Maen Cetti, on Cevn-y-bryn, in Gower, was, says ancient tradition, adored by the pagans; but Saint David split it with a sword, in proof that it was not sacred; and he commanded a well to spring from under it, which flowed accordingly. After this event, those who previously were infidels, became converted to the Christian faith. There is a church in the vicinity, called Llanddewi, where it is said that St. David was the rector, before he became consecrated a bishop; and it is the oldest church in Gower.
From 'Iolo Manuscripts: A Selection of Ancient Welsh Manuscripts, in Prose and Verse' by Taliesin Williams and completed by Rev. Thomas Price (1848).

online here on Google books.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
19th January 2007ce

Harold's Stones (Standing Stones)

..there is another Trelleck tradition. If you ask your way to the three stones you will be answered, "The way to Harold's Stones? Yes Miss," and then directed. Specially will you be so answered if your informant is at all above the labouring class, and the information will be added that "Harold he did set them up because of a great battle he did win, and if you goes on, Miss, you'll see the great mound where they did bury all the dead."

The facts of that battle and that victory are real enough. The late Professor Freeman, in the second volume of his Norman Conquest, under the year 1063, quotes the chronicler Geraldus Cambrensis to this effect, that "Each scene of conflict was marked with a trophy of stone bearing the proud legend, 'Here Harold conquered.'" It is quite possible that Earl Harold may have taken to himself stones obviously not of his own raising, though there is no trace of an inscription on any of the menhirs at Trelleck..
Oh whatever. You lost me once you'd made your snobby comment about the labouring classes, Ms Eyre. She goes on to debate at length and somewhat pointlessly the roots of the legend. From:
Folk-Lore of the Wye Valley
Margaret Eyre
Folklore, Vol. 16, No. 2. (Jun. 24, 1905), pp. 162-179.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st January 2007ce

Y Gaer (Burry Port) (Hillfort)

Cwm Ferman seems to run between this hill fort and 'Waun Twmpath', which Coflein describes as a motte.
My attention was drawn to this valley by a man from whom I asked my way on top of Pembrey Mountain. After answering my question he volunteered the additional information that "Over there is Cwm Verman where the Little People lived."
A week later when trying to find the way to Cwm Verman I asked two people where the "Little People" lived, and they replied, "Oh Bendith y Mammau (i.e. the Blessings of the Mothers) you mean." To find the fairies described in both these ways in the same district is interesting because it is unusual.
The Little People of Cwm Verman
G. Arbour Stephens
Folklore, Vol. 50, No. 4. (Dec., 1939), pp. 385-386.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
23rd December 2006ce

Carnedd Howell (Cairn(s))

The record on Coflein says this 1.8m high mound is now part of 'domestic garden'.
[I examined] a large cairn on the opposite side of the River Ogwen, about a mile south of the village of Llandegai and close to the back of the keeper's house at Llys-y-gwynt. It was called "Carnedd Howel" from the popular belief that it was the resting place of a prince of that name: but it is hardly necessary to say that these associations of prehistoric burial-places with historical personages are generally mythical; they date probably from a comparatively recent period, when history itself had become somewhat legendary, and when past events had become jumbled together in the traditions of the people.

..An old man of 80, named Robert Roberts, told me that, as a boy, he was much afraid of passing here by night, as he had often seen lights dancing about on the Carnedd.
From p309 of
On the Opening of Two Cairns Near Bangor, North Wales
A. Lane Fox
The Journal of the Ethnological Society of London (1869-1870), Vol. 2, No. 3. (1870), pp. 306-324.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
13th December 2006ce
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