|Ysgyryd Fawr - the Skirrid - is the easternmost of the Black Mountains. It has a distinctive shape - the great cleft in its side was allegedly split open in an earthquake at the moment of Christ's death.
This is an extract from Mary Trevelyan's 1909 'Folk-lore and folk-stories of Wales':
It was formerly the custom of Welsh farmers and peasants to obtain earth from certain important places, for the purpose of sprinkling through their stables, pigsties, gardens and even their house, to avert evil. Portions of this earth were also strewn over the coffins and graves of their relatives and friends.
Earth from the fissure of the Skyrrid Fawr, in the parish of Llantheweg Skyrrid, Monmouthshire, was used [in this way]..
A Kentchurch woman told this story in 1903 about Jack O'Kent, giving a non-Christian explanation for the Skirrid's scar:
"Jack did some wonderful things in his time. Why, one day he jumped off the Sugar Loaf Mountain onto the Skirrid, and there's his heel mark in the Skirrid to this day. An' when he got there he began playing quoits; he pecked [threw] three stones as far as Trelleck (and there they stand to this day).." (from B A Wherry's 'Wizardry on the Welsh Border' in Folklore 15).
Posted by Rhiannon
8th March 2005ce
Edited 26th June 2007ce