James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Elias: Childhood Memories (1)

(Extracts from Welsh Folk-Lore. A Collection of the Folk-Tales and Legends of North Wales by Elias Owen)

(p. 199)   Lady Jeffrey’s Spirit. This lady could not rest in her grave because of her mis¬deeds, and she troubled people dreadfully; at last she was persuaded or enticed to contract her dimensions, and enter into a bottle. She did so, after appearing in a good many hideous forms; but when she got into the bottle, it was corked down securely, and the bottle was cast into the pool underneath the Short bridge, Llanidloes, and there the lady was to remain until the ivy that grew up the buttresses should overgrow the sides, of the bridge, and reach the parapet. The ivy was dangerously near the top of the bridge when the writer was a schoolboy, and often did he and his companions crop off its tendrils as they neared the prescribed limits for we were all terribly afraid to release the dreaded lady out of the bottle. In the year 1848, the old bridge was blown up, and a new one built instead of it.

(p. 337)   It was thought that the milk of an ass could cure the ‘decay’ or consumption. This faith was common fifty years ago in Llanidloes …

(p. 346)   When the writer was a lad in school in Llanidloes, it was believed that if a white horse were met in the morning it was considered lucky, and should the boy who first saw the horse spit on the ground, and stealthily make the sign of a cross with his toe across the spittle, he was certain to find a coin on the road, or have a piece of money given to him before the day was over; but he was not to divulge to anyone what he had done, and for the working of the charm it was required that he should make sure that the horse was perfectly white, without any black hairs in any part of the body.

(p. 251)   Some fifty years ago, when the writer was a lad in school, he noticed a crowd in Short Bridge Street, Llanidloes, around an aged decrepit woman, apparently a stranger from the hill country, and on inquiring what was going on, he was told that the woman was a suspected witch, and that they were putting her to the test. I believe she was forced to go on her knees, and use the name of God, and say the Lord’s Prayer. However, the poor frightened thing got successfully through the ordeal, and I saw her walk away from her judges. --->