Informational Site NetworkInformational Site Network

Welsh Folk Lore - Death Portents.

Another Tale Of A Doctor
I received the following tale from the Rev. Philip Edwards,...

The Corpse Bird Or Deryn Corph
This was a bird that came flapping its wings against the wi...

A Crowing Hen
This bird, too, is supposed to indicate the death of an inm...

A Cock Crowing In The Night
This, too, was thought to foretell a death, but whose death...

The Corpse Candle--canwyll Corph
The corpse candle, or canwyll corph, was a light like that ...

Tale Of A Corpse Candle
My informant told me that one John Roberts, Felin-y-Wig, wa...

Spectral Funerals Or Drychiolaeth
This was a kind of shadowy funeral which foretold the real ...

Cyhyraeth Death Sound
This was thought to be a sound made by a crying spirit. It...

Lledrith Spectre Of A Person
This apparition of a friend has in the Scotch wraith, or Ir...

Tolaethdeath Rapping Or Knocking
The death rappings are said to be heard in carpenters' work...

A Raven's Croaking
A raven croaking hoarsely as it flew through the air became...

The Owl
This bird's dismal and persistent screeching near an abode ...

A Solitary Crow
The cawing of a solitary crow on a tree near a house indica...

The Dog's Howl
A dog howling on the doorsteps or at the entrance of a hous...

Missing A Butt
Should a farmer in sowing wheat, or other kind of corn, or ...

Stopping Of A Clock
The unaccountable stopping of the kitchen clock generally c...

_ Goose Flying Over A House
This unusual occurrence prognosticated a death in that hous...

Goose Or Hen Laying A Small Egg
This event also was thought to be a very bad omen, if not a...

Hen Laying Two Eggs In The Same Day
Should a hen lay two eggs in the same day, it was considere...

Thirteen At A Table
Should thirteen sit at a table it was believed that the fir...

Should any person bring heather into a house, he brought de...

Death Watch
This is a sound, like the ticking of a watch, made by a sma...

The Corpse Candle--canwyll Corph


The corpse candle, or canwyll corph, was a light like that of a candle,
which was said to issue from the house where a death was about to occur,
and take the course of the funeral procession to the burial place. This
was the usual way of proceeding, but this mysterious light was also
thought to wend its way to the abode of a person about to die. Instances
could be given of both kinds of appearances.

I have met with persons in various parts of Wales who told me that they
had seen a corpse candle. They described it as a pale bluish light
moving slowly along a short distance above the ground. Strange tales are
told of the course the light has taken. Once it was seen to go over
hedges and to make straight for the churchyard wall. This was not then
understood, but when the funeral actually took place the ground was
covered with snow, and the drift caused the procession to proceed along
the fields and over the hedges and churchyard wall, as indicated by the
corpse candle.

It was ill jesting with the corpse candle. The Rev. J. Jenkins, Vicar of
Hirnant, told me that a drunken sailor at Borth said he went up to a
corpse candle and attempted to light his pipe at it, but he was whisked
away, and when he came to himself he discovered that he was far off the
road in the bog.

The Rev. Edmund Jones, in his book entitled A Relation of Ghosts and
Apparitions, etc., states:--

Some have seen the resemblance of a skull carrying the candle;
others the shape of the person that is to die carrying the candle
between his fore-fingers, holding the light before his face. Some
have said that they saw the shape of those who were to be at the

Those who have followed the light state that it proceeded to the church,
lit up the building, emerged therefrom, and then hovered awhile over a
certain spot in the churchyard, and then sank into the earth at the place
where the deceased was to be buried.

There is a tradition that St. David, by prayer, obtained the corpse
candle as a sign to the living of the reality of another world, and that
originally it was confined to his diocese. This tradition finds no place
in the Life of the Saint, as given in the Cambro-British Saints, and
there are there many wonderful things recorded of that saint.

It was thought possible for a man to meet his own Candle. There is a
tale of a person who met a Candle and struck it with his walking-stick,
when it became sparks, which, however, re-united. The man was greatly
frightened, became sick, and died. At the spot where he had struck the
candle the bier broke and the coffin fell to the ground, thus
corroborating the man's tale.

I will now record one tale not of the usual kind, which was told me by a
person who is alive.

Next: Tale Of A Corpse Candle

Previous: A Cock Crowing In The Night

Add to Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed 1095