Spectral Funerals Or Drychiolaeth

This was a kind of shadowy funeral which foretold the real one. In South

Wales it goes by the name toilu, toili, or y teulu (the family)

anghladd, unburied; in Montgomeryshire it is called Drychiolaeth,


I cannot do better than quote from Mr. Hamer's Parochial Account of

Llanidloes (Montgomeryshire Collections, vol. x., p. 256), a description

of one of these phantom funerals. All were much alike. He writes:--

It is only a few years ago that some excitement was caused amongst

the superstitious portion of the inhabitants by the statement of a

certain miner, who at the time was working at the Brynpostig mine.

On his way to the mine one dark night, he said that he was thoroughly

frightened in China Street on seeing a spectral funeral leaving the

house of one Hoskiss, who was then very ill in bed. In his fright

the miner turned his back on the house, with the intention of going

home, but almost fainting he could scarcely move out of the way of

the advancing procession, which gradually approached, at last

surrounded him, and then passed on down Longbridge Street, in the

direction of the church. The frightened man managed with difficulty

to drag himself home, but he was so ill that he was unable to go to

work for several days.

The following weird tale I received from the Rev. Philip Edwards, whom I

have already mentioned (p. 282). I may state that I have heard variants

of the story from other sources.

While the Manchester and Milford Railway was in course of construction

there was a large influx of navvies into Wales, and many a frugal farmer

added to his incomings by lodging and boarding workmen engaged on the

line. Several of these men were lodged at a farm called Penderlwyngoch,

occupied by a man named Hughes.

One evening when the men were seated round the fire, which burned

brightly, they heard the farm dogs bark, as they always did at the

approach of strangers. This aroused the attention of the men, and they

perceived from the furious barking of the dogs that someone was coming

towards the house. By-and-by they heard the tramp of feet, mingled with

the howling of the frightened dogs, and then the dogs ceased barking,

just as if they had slunk away in terror. Before many minutes had

elapsed the inmates heard the back door opened, and a number of people

entered the house, carrying a heavy load resembling a dead man, which

they deposited in the parlour, and all at once the noise ceased. The men

in great dread struck a light, and proceeded to the parlour to ascertain

what had taken place. But they could discover nothing there, neither

were there any marks of feet in the room, nor could they find any

footprints outside the house, but they saw the cowering dogs in the yard

looking the picture of fright. After this fruitless investigation of the

cause of this dread sound, the Welsh people present only too well knew

the cause of this visit. On the very next day one of the men who sat by

the fire was killed, and his body was carried by his fellow-workmen to

the farm house, in fact everything occurred as rehearsed the previous

night. Most of the people who witnessed the vision are, my informant

says, still alive.

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