Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/64

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Sacred Wells in Wales.

rag is not put in the water at all, but is only put on the tree for luck. It is a stunted, but very old tree, and is simply covered with rags."

My next informant is Mr. D. J. Jones of Jesus College, Oxford, a native of the Rhondda Valley, in the same county of Glamorgan. His information is to the effect that he knows of three interesting wells in the county. The first is situated within two miles of his home, and is known as Ffynnon Pen Rhys, or the Well of Pen Rhys. The custom there is that the person who wishes his health to be benefited should wash in the water of the well, and throw a pin into it afterwards. He next mentions a well at Llancarvan, some five or six miles from Cowbridge, where the custom prevails of tying rags to the branches of a tree growing close at hand. Lastly, he calls my attention to a passage in Hanes Morgamug, 'The History of Glamorgan', written by Mr. D. W. Jones, known in Wales as Dafydd Morgan wg. In that work the author speaks of Ffynnon Marcros, 'the Well of Marcros,' to the following effect:—"It is the custom for those who are healed in it to tie a shred of linen or cotton to the branches of a tree that stands close by; and there the shreds are, almost as numerous as the leaves." Marcros is, I may say, near Nash Point, and looks on the map as if it were about eight miles distant from Bridgend; and let me here make it clear that I have been speaking of four different wells, three of which are severally distinguished by the presence of a tree adorned with rags left on it by those who seek health in the waters close by; but they are all three, as you will have doubtless noticed, in the same district, namely, that part of Glamorganshire near to—north or south of—the G.W.R. as you travel towards Milford Haven.[1]

There is no reason, however, to think that the custom of tying rags to a well-tree was peculiar to that part of the Principality. I came lately, in looking through some old notes of mine, across an entry bearing the date of the 7th

  1. On hese four wells cf. Folk-Lore, iii, 380-1