On Friday, February 24, members of Tenby and District Arts Club were entertained by Tudor Thomas whose subject was ‘Myths and Legends of Pembrokeshire’. He started by saying that every stately home and castle MUST have a resident ghost.
Tudor mentioned such inhabitants as the ghosts in Roch Castle, Scolton Manor and Stackpole Court - which include a demon steward, a headless coachman and Lady Mathias.
Closer to home at Carew Castle we heard about the Barbary Ape, the Mediaeval Lady and the Lady in White, thought to be Princess Nest.
Scotsborough House, although now in ruins, was apparently a very expensively furnished residence and the owners there were thought to have made a pact with the owners at Trefloyne House which involved wrecking ships and splitting the proceeds from the cargoes between them.
The Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh stories, includes two which are connected with Pembrokeshire.
Tudor also talked about some interesting customs which were carried on in the area including knocking at doors with a wren in a cage and asking “Please to see the King!” This was a request for money, the King being on the coins. At one time, while the Julian Calendar was in use, Twelfth Night fell on New Year’s Eve and it was thought that the wren represented the old year, and had to be killed by a robin, representing the new year.
Further stories came thick and fast, including tales of the bridge over Holloway Water; Allen’s view (known as Gallow Tree Hill); St Catherine’s Island with its barely-known basement area, and tales of ghostly sightings by the children of Broadhaven Primary School in 1977. Tudor himself had sensed a “presence” in Monkton Priory and his wife had seen a man behind her while going through the lychgate, but Tudor had seen no-one.
He concluded his talk by warning members not to walk home in the dark alone! - although the evening had been fascinating and not in the least frightening.
At the next meeting Tenby Arts Club will be listening to Eleanor Hodgson and Helen Stoddard entertaining us with music. That will be in St John’s Church Hall, Warren Street, at 7pm. Members £3, non-members £5, to include tea/coffee and biscuits.
This Saturday, March 4, there will be a fund-raising coffee morning in aid of Tenby and District Arts Club in St Mary’s Church House from 10am to 12 noon. Donations of cakes and/or raffle prizes would be most welcome.