Flying Serpents

The traditional origin of these imaginary creatures was that they were

snakes, which by having drunk the milk of a woman, and by having eaten of

bread consecrated for the Holy Communion, became transformed into winged

serpents or dragons.

These dangerous creatures had their lurking places in many districts, and

they attacked everyone that crossed their paths. There was said to have

been one such den on Moel Bentyrch. Old Mrs. Davies, Plas, Dolanog, who

died 1890, aged 92, told the Rev. D. R. Evans, B.A., son of the Vicar of

Dolanog, that once, when she was a young woman, she went to Llanfair

market, and on the way she sat on a stile, and she saw smoke and fire

issuing from a hole on Moel Bentyrch, where the Gwiber, or Flying

Serpent, had its abode. She ran, and never stopped until she had placed

a good distance between her and the hill. She believed that both the

smoke and fire were caused by the serpent. There is also a tradition

still current in Dolanog that this flying serpent was destroyed by

wrapping some red material round a post into which sharp nails were

driven. The serpent, attacking this post with furious onslaughts, was

lacerated by the sharp spikes, and died. A like tradition is current in

Llanrhaiadr-yn-Mochnant in connection with the Post Coch, or

Post-y-Wiber, or Maen Hir y Maes-Mochnant.

Mr. Hancock in his History of Llanrhaiadr-yn-Mochnant, writes as


The legend connected with this stone pillar is, that it was raised

in order to prevent the devastation which a winged serpent or dragon

(a Wiber) was committing in the surrounding country. The stone was

draped with scarlet cloth, to allure and excite the creature to a

furor, scarlet being a colour most intolerably hateful and provoking

to it. It was studded with iron spikes, that the reptile might wound

or kill itself by beating itself against it. Its destruction, it is

alleged, was effected by this artifice. It is said to have had two

lurking places in the neighbourhood, which are still called

Nant-y-Wiber, one at Penygarnedd, the other near Bwlch Sychtyn, in

the parish of Llansilin, and this post was in the direct line of its

flight. Similar legends referring to winged serpents exist in

various parts of Wales. In the adjoining parish of

Llanarmon-Dyffryn-Ceiriog there is a place called Sarffle (the

serpent's hole).--Montgomeryshire Collections, vol. ix., 237.

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