Llanddona Witches

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, it is said, 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 well remains to

our days. This miracle decided their fate. The strangers were allowed,

consequently, to land, but as they still practised 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


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, but before this

last remedy was resorted to the men fought like lions, and only when

their strength failed them did they 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.

The following tales of the doings of witches will throw light upon the

matter under consideration.

Little Silver's Dream Of The Shoji Llandegla Spirit facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail