Example of South Wales tradition of taking of Wives, Fairies in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Tregaron Wales
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Category: Fairies
Sub Category: Fairy Ladies Marrying Men
Title: Example of South Wales tradition of taking of Wives


It is a curious fact, that a singular testimony to wife snatching in ancient times is indicated by a custom once general, and still not obsolete in South Wales, of a feigned attempt on the part of the friends of the young woman about to get married to hinder her from carrying out her object. The Rev. Griffith Jones, Vicar of Mostyn, informed the writer that he had witnessed such a struggle. The wedding, he stated, took place at Tregaron, Cardiganshire. The friends of both the young people were on horseback, and according to custom they presented themselves at the house of the young woman, the one to escort her to the church, and the other to hinder her from going there. The friends of the young man were called “Gwyr shegouts.” When the young lady was mounted, she was surrounded by the gwyr shegouts, and the cavalcade started. All went on peaceably until a lane was reached, down which the lady bolted, and here the struggle commenced, for her friends dashed between her and her husband’s friends and endeavoured to force them back, and thus assist her to escape. The parties, Mr. Jones said, rode furiously and madly, and the struggle presented a cavalry charge, and it was not without much apparent danger that the opposition was overcome, and the lady ultimately forced to proceed to the church, where her future husband was anxiously awaiting her arrival. This strange custom of ancient times and obscure origin is suggestive of the way in which the stronger party procured wives in days of old


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