|A bit more about St Aelhaiarn's well, one of the springs below the fort. This is from Lives of the British Saints by Sabine Baring-Gould (1907).
S. Aelhaiarn's well is an oblong trough of good pure water, by the road side, in which the sick were wont to bathe, and there are seats of stone ranged along the sides for the accommodation of the patients awaiting the "troubling of the waters," when they might step in, full of confidence, in expectation of a cure.Baring-Gould's book also gives the saint's story from the Itineraries of John Ray (1760). Please indulge me as it is so full of ancient weirdness.
This "troubling of the waters" is a singular phenomenon. At irregular intervals, and at various points in the basin, the crystal water suddenly wells up, full of sparkling bubbles. Then ensues a lull, and again a swell of water occurs in another part of the tank. This is locally called "the laughing of the water," and it is said in the place that the water laughs when any one looks at it.
The Well now supplies the village with water. It was walled round and roofed by the Parish Council in 1900, after an outbreak of diphtheria in the village. The entrance is now kept locked.
"We were told a legend of one St. Byno , who lived at Clenogvaur, and was wont to foot it four Miles in the Night to Llaynhayrne, and there, on a stone, in the midst of the River, to say his Prayers; whereon they show you still the Prints of his Knees. His Man, out of Curiosity, followed him once to the Place, to see and observe what he did. The Saint coming from his Prayers, and espying a Man, not knowing who it was, prayed, that if he came with a good Intent, he might receive the Good he came for, and might suffer no Damage; but if he had any ill Design, that some Example might be shown upon him; whereupon presently there came forth wild Beasts, and tore him in pieces.
Afterwards, the Saint peceiving it was his own Servant, was very sorry, gathering up his Bones, and praying, he set Bone to Bone, and Limb to Limb, and the Man became whole again, only the part of the Bone under the Eyebrow was wanting; the Saint, to supply that Defect, applied the Iron of his Pike-staff to the Place, and thence, that Village was called Llanvilhayrne.
But for a punishment to his Man (after he had given him Llanvilhayrne) he prayed (and obtained his Prayer) that Clenogvaur Bell might be heard as far as Llanvilhayrne Churchyard, but upon stepping into the Church it was to be heard no longer; this the People hereabout assert with much Confidence, upon their own experience, to be true. The Saint was a South Wales Man, and when he died, the South Wales Men contended with the Clenogvaur Men for his Body, and continued the Contention till Night; next Morning there were two Biers and two Coffins there, and so the South Wales Men carried one away, and the Clenogvaur Men the other."
The story of the restoration of Aelhaiarn out of his bones, one small bone being missing, is an adaptation of a very ancient myth. It occurs in the Prose Edda of Thor on his journey to Jotunhein. It is found elsewhere. The duplication of the body of Beuno has its counterpart in the triplication of that of Teilo.
Posted by Rhiannon
15th April 2013ce
Edited 15th April 2013ce