The Witches of Llanddona, Witches in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Llanddona Wales
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Category: Witches
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Title: The Witches of Llanddona


There is a tradition in the parish of Llanddona, Anglesey, that these witches, with their husbands, had been expelled from their native country, wherever that was, for practising witchcraft.  They were sent adrift in a boat without rudder or oars and left in this state to the mercy of the wind and the wave.  When they were first discovered approaching the Anglesey shore, the Welsh tried to drive them back into the sea and even after they had landed they were confined to the beach.  The strangers, dead almost from thirst and hunger, commanded a spring of pure water to burst forth on the sands. This miracle decided their fate.  The strangers were allowed, consequently, to land, but as they still practiced their evil arts the parish became associated with their name and hence the Witches of Llanddona was a term generally applied to the female portion of that parish, though in reality it belonged to one family only within its boundaries.| The men lived by smuggling and the women by begging and cursing.  It was impossible to overcome these daring smugglers, for in their neckerchief was a fly, which, the moment the knot of their cravats was undone, flew right at the eye of their opponents and blinded them. Before this last remedy was resorted to, the men fought like lions and only when their strength failed them did their wives release their familiar spirit, the fly, to strike with blindness the defenders of the law.| The above-mentioned tradition of the coming of these witches to Anglesey is still current in the parish of Llanddona, which is situated on the north coast of Anglesey. It was thought that the witching power belonged to families, and descended from mothers to daughters.  This was supposed to be the case with the witches of Llanddona. This family obtained a bad report throughout the island.  The women, with dishevelled hair and bared breasts, visited farm houses and requested charity, more as a right than a favour, and no one dared refuse them.  Llanddona Witches is a name that is not likely soon to die.  Taking advantage of the credulity of the people, they cursed those whom they disliked and many were the endeavours to counteract their maledictions.  The following is one of their curses, uttered at Y Ffynon Ocr, a well in the parish of Llanddona, upon a man who had offended one of these witches:| Crwydro y byddo am oesoedd lawer; Ac yn mhob cam, camfa; Yn mhob camfa, codwm; Yn mhob codwm, tori asgwrn; Nid yr asgwrn mwyaf na’r lleiaf, Ond asgwrn chwil corn ei wddw bob tro.| The English is as follows, but the alliteration and rhythm of the Welsh do not appear in the translation:| May he wander for ages many; And at every step, a stile; At every stile, a fall; At every fall, a broken bone; Not the largest, nor the least bone, But the chief neck bone, every time.| This curse seemed to be a common imprecation, possibly belonging to that family.  Such was the terror of the Llanddona Witches that if any of them made a bid for a pig or anything else, in fair or market, no one else dared bid against them, for it was believed they would witch the animal thus bought.  There were also celebrated witches at Denbigh.  Bella Fawr (Big Bella) was one of the last and most famous of her tribe in that town and many other places were credited with possessing persons endowed with witching powers, as well as those who could break spells.


Find information on "The Witches of Llanddona", and Witches, in Llanddona Wales. Celtic and Welsh mythology and folklore in the Walesdirectory.co.uk.