Witch Made

by admin on July 16, 2007

Witch Made

Witch Made

The Anglesey Coastal Path and the Llanddona Witches

Take a walk along the Anglesey Coastal Path and you will no doubt hear about the incredible myth of the Llanddona Witches.

Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Llanddona is a small village on the east coast of Anglesey

There have been many legends over the centuries on this mysterious island, but the myth of the Llanddona witches certainly captures the imagination.

Over the years people have come to believe in the amazing power of witches to influence society in a negative way. So for example, if a cow or sheep died invariably the community would blame the local witch.

Amazingly it was not until 1736 that Parliament cancelled the specific law, which until then had allowed witches to be hanged for such questionable actions.

Not surprisingly, with legends and tales there is more than one version of events, and the witches of Llanddona is no exception.

The first account tells how during one stormy night, a Spanish ship crashed on the sandy beach of Llanddona. Despite attempts to save the ship r eventually the power of the sea caused the ship to break up.

In the chaos, the crew struggled ashore in the frothy seas but unfortunately most of them drowned in their efforts to get ashore safely.

By the next day the survivors had reached the top of the cliff, and when they looked back to the beach, they accepted that they would never leave, seeing their wrecked ship below.

So they decided to make the best of a terrible situation, and made this piece of land their own. The local people of Llanddona were certainly not happy that a group of shipwrecked survivors decided to camp outside the village.

The myth tells us that the survivors were short in stature, had red hair, and were believed to be from Spain.

Despite many attempts by the locals to get rid of the survivors, in the end they gave up and allowed their new guests to remain. The legend suggests that the survivors had used various circus tricks and magic to confuse the locals.

The villagers of Llanddona began to believe the rumour that the survivors were witches, because they kept themselves to themselves. One survivor, a short woman called Sian Bwt or Short Betty, had two thumbs on the left-hand. Apparently, this was a sure sign that the individual was a witch.

The second account tells how a fisherman was walking along the coast one day he observed an open boat carrying wet, bedraggled women that had been swept on to the beach at Llanddona by the very strong tide.

The women appeared very sick, and not surprisingly, if they had been stuck out at sea without food and water for such a long time. Apparently, one of the witches hit the beach with her stick. And amazingly a spring of clear water emerged.

After building themselves a shelter out of wood and stones, the witches began begging for food and cursed anyone who refused.

When they visited the local markets, they would not pay for any goods, and on one occasion, they turned themselves into hares so that they could not be caught.

As the years went by, the witches continued to frighten the people of Llanddona. There was one incident, when the witches were smuggling certain goods onto the island.

They arrived at night on the beach, and then they began to carry the goods in barrels to the village.

The witches of Llanddona were so confident that they even ignored the Customs officials. When they were challenged, they released hundreds of black flies which flew out and stung the villagers and the officials.

And so the myth go on. Many believe that descendants of the witches still live in Llanddona to this day.

So come along to our island, and make a special effort to see the Anglesey Coastal Path and you may just meet the Llanddona Witches.

About the Author

David Phillips is the owner and editor of Anglesey Today, a travel, news and information site about the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales, UK.

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