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Wales: Latest Posts — Folklore

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Maen Beuno (Standing Stone / Menhir)

About a mile east of Berriew, on the green by the side of a lane, is a stone about five feet high, called, on the Ordnance Map, Maen Beuno, but by the people in the neighbourhood "the Bynion Stone." A man who told me (in 1891) that he was fifty years of age, said he had been told by old men when he was a boy that it was intended to have built a church on the spot where the Bynion Stone stands, but that every night the stones which had been placed in position were carried away and put down on the spot where Berriew Church now stands. (1891.)
Scraps of Folklore Collected by John Philipps Emslie
C. S. Burne
Folklore, Vol. 26, No. 2. (Jun. 30, 1915), pp. 153-170.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st October 2006ce

Tinkinswood (Burial Chamber) St. Nicholas, near Cardiff, a man told me that his mother took him to 'Castle Corrig' (a cromlech near St. Nicholas, perhaps the biggest existing in Britain), when he 'had a decline' as a boy, and she spat upon the stone, rubbed her finger in the spittle and rubbed him on the forehead and chest.

... I feel convinced there is a good deal of this sort of thing, but I cannot get it out, or else it exists among a residuum which feels such a gap to exist between student and peasant that freedom of speech becomes impossible. But I have felt the sort of thing to underlie many ordinary stories, from certain turns of expression.
From 'A Fisher-Story and Other Notes from South Wales' by E. Sidney Hartland and T. H. Thomas, in Folklore, Vol. 16, No. 3. (Sep. 29, 1905), p339.

Perhaps he could have got more out of his informants if he didn't use words like 'residuum' on them. It's a shame though.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
25th September 2006ce

Maen Ceti (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

.. I found some five years ago that there were [magical rites] connected with Arthur's Stone (Gower), though denied by my informant. But she "did hear that gels went and walked round it to see their sweethearts - a long time ago - and if they didn't see him they took off their shawls and went on their hands and knees - nobody is so fulish now." This from a young girl at Port Eynon.
Oh right. Just their shawls then is it. From p339 in 'A Fisher-Story and Other Notes from South Wales' by E. Sidney Hartland and T. H. Thomas, in Folklore, Vol. 16, No. 3. (Sep. 29, 1905).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
25th September 2006ce

Gaer Llwyd (Burial Chamber)

An old man of Newchurch, near the Gaerlwyd Cromlech, told the writer that Jackie Kent and the Devil threw the stone forming the Gaerlwyd Cromlech at Newchurch West - the same tradition as that about the Trelech maenhirs.
From 'Folklore of Gwent'by T. A. Davies, in Folklore, Vol. 49, No. 1. (Mar., 1938), p. 30.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
24th September 2006ce

Castell Caer Seion (Hillfort)

This fort is on the summit of Mynydd y Dref (Conwy Mountain). It has 24 hut circles inside, and some outside its walls. There's the remains of a larger building (a 'citadel' so Coflein grandly says) at one end of the fort.

This from 'Notes and Queries', March 12,1870.
I have [examined repeatedly the] remains on Conway mountain. They are intensely interesting.. They consist of a multitude of circular structures partly sunk below the ground, with rough walling a little raised above, evidently the substructure for huts... They are called by the country people "Cyttiau Gwyddelod," which is generally interpreted " the huts of the Irishmen," but which in its primary meaning is "the huts of the savages," or wild men, in contradistinction from the Gal, or agricultural race.
'Cytiau' (so I understand from the dictionary) does imply a rude kind of hut, more of an animal shelter, so this could be a dig at the Irish?? Or maybe not at all. Maybe a Proper Welsh person can explain the subtleties of the phrase for me.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
9th September 2006ce

Bryn Gwyn (Stone Circle)

An intersesting encounter with the Arch Druid of Anglesey reveled something of the folklaw of these stones. Until quite recent times these stones formed the only stone circle on Anglesey (his words), then the stone masons set to work! These two large stones which frame Snowdon, were reputedly cursed and they were left untouched! Well I'm not sure how he came across this piece of unrecorded history, but Francis Lynch (Prehistoric Anglesey) notes that in the Mid 1700's there were indeed 3 standing stones and the broken remains of a fourth. I also noticed the large stone set into the wall perhaps 30m from the site back towards the road. Posted by MikePlant
7th September 2006ce

Plumstone Mountain (Round Barrow(s))

There are a number of round barrows and cairns on this hilltop. A contributor to Notes and Queries (March 5th 1870) found some folklore referring to them in Fenton's 'Tour through Pembrokeshire' (1811). "In the midst of this convulsed chaos (Plumstone Mountain) are three rocking-stones, and a cromlech ; and on the top of one of the highest fragments, in an excavation on the surface, I found water, said to be always there, and probably, as this was the 22nd of July, after a long run of dry weather." Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th September 2006ce
Edited 5th September 2006ce

Hoyle's Mouth Cave (Cave / Rock Shelter)

Mr. P. H. Gosse, in his interesting work, Tenby: a Sea-side Holiday, 1856, p. 80, informs us that" the people talk a good deal of a curious cavern called Hoyle's Mouth, about which they have some strange notions. It opens at the end of a long lime-stone hill, or range of hills, about a mile inland; and the popular legend is, that it is the termination of a natural subterranean chasm which communicates with the great cave called, the Hogan, under Pembroke Castle, some eight miles distant.

It was once traversed, they say, by a dog, which, entering at one end, emerged from the other, with all his hair rubbed off! A gentleman is said to have penetrated to a considerable distance, and found ' fine rooms.' But the vulgar are very averse to exploring even its mouth, on the ostensible ground that a boar,' a wild pig,' dwells there; I fear, however, that there are more unsubstantial terrors in the case. I walked out to look at it; and if I found no dragons, nor giants, nor pigs, I enjoyed a most delightful rural walk."
From Notes and Queries, October 12, 1861.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
26th August 2006ce

Gaer Llwyd (Burial Chamber)

At Gaer Llwyd, about half way between Chepstow and Usk, is a cromlech—I believe the only one in Monmouthshire—the origin of which is thus accounted for by popular tradition.

"Once upon a time," which may be token to mean in the heroic ages of Gwent, there lived one Twm Sion Catti, who was on more familiar terms than a Christian gentleman (if he was one) ought to have been with his Satanic Majesty, with whom he one day engaged in a friendly game of quoits. It seems to have been a trial as much of strength as accuracy of aim, for the quoits consisted of the stones which now form the cromlech. A believing imagination points out the steps by which each cast was matched by another as good, until on Twm Sion Catti throwing a stone which literally capped them all, and now measures upwards of twelve feet by four, his adversary gave in.

Now, as there was a Tim Sion Catti who flourished in historic times—a kind of Welsh Robin Hood of the period of Queen Elizabeth—we must suppose that tradition, with its usual readiness to group all marvellous actions around one popular hero, has confounded his name with an earlier one associated with the cromlech.
From Notes and Queries, July 27th, 1878, our correspondent being J F Marsh.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
19th August 2006ce

Mynydd Melyn (Enclosure)

There's all sorts on the 'yellow mountain' - enclosures, cairns, possible standing stones.. and some of the stones round here had a strange reputation for curing people who had been bitten by mad dogs..

"[A] remedy consisted in a visit to the wonderful stone at Mynyddmelyn [William Howell, "Cambrian Superstitions," pp. 23, 25.]. A bit of this stone reduced to a fine powder and mixed with milk was given to the sufferer and the cure "never failed." Friends of the person bitten made a pilgrimage to the stone for the purpose of obtaining a small portion of it, or else the patient was conveyed to the stone, where, with bound hands and feet, he was forced to lick it."

Quote from Marie Trevelyan's "Folk-lore and folk-stories of Wales". Published in 1909. Online at V Wales:
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
18th August 2006ce
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