The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Garth Hill

Round Barrow(s)


It must be notable that the only thermal spring in Wales is at the foot of this hill: Ffynnon Taff (Taff's Well). Wikipedia seems to have a pretty good write-up. They have open days sometimes, which I'm sure would be very interesting. A lovely warm spring (like at Bath) cannot have escaped the attentions of local people in prehistory. And there's some attendant folklore, for example:
A few miles above Cardiff, on the eastern side of the river, there is a thermal spring called Taff's Well. Taff is a corruption of Daf, or David, the patron saint of Wales. This well was much frequented by people suffering from rheumatism. A lady robed in grey frequently visited this well, and many people testified to having seen her in the twilight wandering along the banks of the river near the spring, or going on to the ferry under the Garth Mountain.

Stories about this mysterious lady were handed down from father to son. The last was to the effect that about seventy or eighty years ago the woman in grey beckoned to a man who had just been getting some of the water. He put his pitcher down and asked what he could do for her. She asked him to hold her tight by both hands until she requested him to release her. The man did as he was bidden. He began to think it a long time before she bade him cease his grip, when a 'stabbing pain' caught him in his side, and with a sharp cry he loosened his hold. The woman exclaimed: "Alas! I shall remain in bondage for another hundred years, and then I must get a woman with steady hands and better than yours to hold me." She vanished, and was never seen again.

In connection with this well there was a custom prevalent so late as about seventy years ago. Young people of the parish used to assemble near Taff's Well on the eighth Sunday after Easter to dip their hands in the water, and scatter the drops over each other. Immediately afterwards they repaired to the nearest green space, and spent the remainder of the day in dancing and merry-making.
From Folk-lore and folk-stories of Wales by Marie Trevelyan (1909).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
14th December 2013ce

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