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Llanymynech Hill

Ancient Mine / Quarry


Llanymynech Hill is topped by a huge Iron Age fort - it is, afterall at a rather strategic spot near the confluence of two rivers. But probably more importantly, the hill has been the site of mining for a Very Long Time, at least since 200BC (and maybe longer - you know how new mining obscures older mineworkings). The metal here is copper (plus some lead and zinc) - which would have been invaluable for making bronze tools and weapons. The Romans certainly made use of the site when they arrived here.

The hill is swathed in metal/mine-related folklore. For example, this from Burne and Jackson's 'Shropshire Folklore' of the 1880s:
'The Giant's Grave' is the name giveen to a mound on the Shropshire side of Llanymynech Hill, where once was a cromlech, now destroyed. The story goes that a giant buried his wife there, with a golden circlet round her neck, and many a vain attempt has been made by covetous persons to find it, undeterred by the fate which tradition says overtook three brothers, who overturned the capstone of the cromlech, and were visited by sudden death immediately afterwards."

There is also the underworld/cave-related folklore which you might expect (this from"Mines of Llanymynech Hill", by David Adams & Adrian Pearce, SCMC Account No.14)
It was explored by Dovaston in the early 19th century and he relates "... Superstition, ever prone to people in darkness with the progeny of imagination, has assigned inhabitants here, such as Knockers, Goblins and Ghosts; and the surrounding peasantry aver, with inflexible credulity that the aerial harmonies of Fairies are frequently heard in the deep recesses. ... Tradition says this labyrinth communicated by subterraneous paths with Carreghova Castle; and some persons aver that they have gone so far as to hear the rivers Vyrnwy and Tanat rolling over their heads, and that it leads down to Fairyland".

"... A writer in Brayley's 1878 'Graphic and Historical Illustrator' .. claimed of the Ogof Cave on Llanymynech Hill "...the main passage is said to extend beneath the village, passing near the Cross Keys {Guns} Hotel cellar. An old blind fiddler is said to have penetrated thus far, and was heard from the cellar, performing upon the violin".


The final written record of legends appears in 1896 and refers to Ned Pugh "... Ned then asserted that he could walk from the Ogo to the Lion Inn at Llanymynech. He was not believed, and then he made a wager that he would on the following Sunday, play a tune, at the usual time that the choir sang, that he should be heard by all the congregation in church. His boasting challenge was taken up. On the following Sunday Ned went to the entrance of the Ogo on the hill carrying with him his harp and he disappeared into the Ogo. As the time came on for the choir to sing, everyone was intently listening for the sound of the harp, and sure enough out of the earth proceeded it's sounds. The people distinctly heard a tune, which the singers took up and when they had finished the harpist too ceased. The poor man though never emerged out of the Ogo. The tune in consequence was called 'Farewell Ned Pugh'.
(Ogof - or 'ogo' as is put here, is Welsh for cave). These latter quotes are part of a long article about the mines and the artefacts that have been found there. This is on The British Mining Database, at
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st March 2005ce
Edited 8th May 2011ce

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