SACRED and  Ancient Celtic  SITES

FAERIE GLEN, Betwys-y-Coed

Tylwyth Teg are Welsh Fairies, and they are said to have been seen here in the Fairy Glen which is a delightful spot that is named after them. Visit this place where the Conwy river is forced into a narrow ravine, to simply experience its enchanting atmosphere with calm waters and deep rich foliage.



All I can say about the Faerie Glen, is how much I love it and cannot get enough of the beauty and serenity.  In this author's opinion, it is the loveliest place in all Britain!



The Cat Witches of Betws y Coed
A long time ago a local magician named Huw Llwyd was summoned by desperate law men to a coaching in near Betws y Coed.

The inn was once a popular stop for travellers, but following a bought of late night thefts, it began to get a bad reputation.

Upon his arrival, disguised as an Army Officer, Huw Llwyd discovered from the landladies (two sisters) that money had been stolen in the middle of the night from rooms that had been locked from the inside.

The investigator spent that evening in conversation with the two old sisters. He talked to them about this and that and mentioned that he was carrying a great deal of money on his travels.

When he finally retired from the evening Huw Llwyd carefully positioned candles around his room and lay on the bed, his sword hidden by his side, and he waited ... and waited ... and waited.


He was woken, hours later, by a faint noise. He looked into the darkness and to his amazement he saw the outline of two black cats and he followed them with his eyes as they explored the room with their whiskers.After a few minutes they found what they were looking for and stopped. 

One of the cats carefully reached into Huw's jacket pocket, trying to get hold of his purse full of money.

All at once the magician raised his sword and lunged towards the thieving animal, striking it on the paw. Hissing and screaming with pain the cat, followed by its companion, fled as quickly as it had arrived and was gone.

The next morning, Huw's suspicions were aroused when only one of the two sisters arrived to serve him for breakfast, the other apparently sick in bed. Following his instincts he told the landlady that he wished to bid farewell to her sick sister before he left that morning, and he followed her into the private part of the house. He reached out to shake the woman's hand and, low and behold, her hand was wrapped in a blood stained dressing, obviously injured.

(entry to path below)

It's worth any trouble to find and visit!




Like many other stones and circles, the Rollrights have a legend of petrification; people, usually wrong-doers, being turned to stone as a punishment, and in the days when people believed in fairies and giants, goblins and witches, it did offer some explanation to them as to why they were there.

The circle of stones is on a long ridge about twenty miles NW of Oxford, between Little Rollright and Great Rollright, with the village of Long Compton about a mile to the North.

The stones are said to be uncountable, which in a way they are - some

are so small, and with others it is difficult to ascertain whether two pieces really belong to the same stone. Just outside the ring, on the opposite side of the road, is the King Stone, a magnificently shaped stone whose shape can indeed resemble a cloaked figure when viewed correctly. At the far edge of a field to the East are the ruins of a portal dolmen, known as the Whispering Knights, a truly lovely grouping of stones, supposed to be the traitorous Knights, plotting against their King.

There were at one time, numerous round barrows in the area, which have unfortunately been ploughed out by the farmers; these do suggest that the area was once a Bronze Age burial centre.

The stones were probably erected about 3000 BC, were still in use in the Bronze Age, and excavations have shown some activity in Roman times.

We first hear of it officially in the early fourteenth cantury in the writings of a cleric in Cambridge, when he mentions the stones, but declared that there was no knowledge of when, or by whom, or for what purpose they were erected. The petrification legend was not mentioned until 1586, when they were said to be men turned to stone. By 1610, however, they had become a King, five Knights and an army!

There are legends illustrating how calamitous trying to remove a stone could be! A farmer named Boffin needed eight horses to drag away the King Stone, returning it easily with just one horse after it had shifted from its new position in the night. Boffin was drowned in his own well by the Roundheads. Two men were killed in the carting away of one stone just the mile away to Little Rollright.

By the eighteenth century, the petrification legend had become fully fledged. A witch met the King, bent on conquering England, and in theory promised him easy success, with the words:

"Seven long strides shalt thou take,
And if Long Compton thou canst see
King of England thou shalt be."
But the mound prevented him from seeing Long Compton, and so the witch,
cackling, continued:
"As Long Compton thou canst not see
King of England thou shalt not be.
Rise up stick and stand still stone
For King of England thou shalt be none.
Thou and thy men bleak stones shall be,
And I myself an eldern tree"

By the nineteenth century, naturally for that time, the stones had accumulated marriage and fertility legends. Running round the stones naked would enable unmarried women to see their future husbands, and rubbing their naked breasts against the stones enabled childless women to conceive.

Much work has been done in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries examining the stones, their alignments, their possible astronomical significance and their relatioship to other stone circles. These are summarised in issue number two of the Right Times, the magazine of The Friends of the Rollright Stones, which if you join the 'Friends', you could possibly get a copy of!!

King Stone, Rollright group


The King Stone lies 73m to the north-east of the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire and not far from a burial chamber locally known as The Whispering Knights.This 2.5m (8ft) tall and 1.5m (5ft) wide standing stone is placed behind an iron fence, across the road that runs between the menhir and the circle. In fact this twisted stone, bent like a hunched hag and still undated, lies in another county: Warwickshire. Recent excavations indicated that the stone could have been a marker for a burial mound and a round cairn was discovered a few meters across, to the NNW. A natural mound which once stood nearby, called the Archdruid's Barrow, is now reduced by ploughing.
The legend says that all the stones in this area were once human beings: a
king and his army. They were met by a witch who owned the land over which the ambitious conqueror marched. She said to the king:

Seven long strides shalt thou take,
If Long Compton thou can see
King of England thou shalt be.

And the king shouted:

Stick, stock, stone,
As King of England I shall be known.

But when he had taken the seven strides, all he could see was the Archdruid's Barrow, which blocked his view of the village in the valley below.
The witch cried:

As Long Compton thou canst not see,
King of England thou shalt not be.
Rise up stick, and stand still stone,
For King of England thou shalt be none.
Thou and thy men hoar stones shall be
And I myself an eldern tree.

So the King became the solitary King Stone, his men the Rollright Stones circle and his knights the Whispering Knights burial chamber.
The King Stone may originally have been somewhat bigger than it is now, because people used to chip pieces off it as good luck charms. They inlcuded soldiers who took the chips into battle, and Welsh drovers who came by with their herds of cattle. There are many other legends attached to the King Stone. It is said that dreadful noises were heard when a man, using 24 horses, removed the stone to his house; so when he took it back only two horses were needed for the return journey. Another story tells how the King Stone go down to a spring in Little Rollright spinney to drink, but only when he hears Long Compton church clock strike midnight.
According to the 18th century antiquarian William Stukeley, near the King Stone was a flat area of turf where young people meet at a special time and make merry with cakes and ale. People also used to gather there on Midsummer Eve. In 1895 A.J.Evans reported that they stood in a circle round the King Stone, and when the elder (the eldern as the witch said) tree was cut and bled, the stone was said to move his head.





One of the most famous circles in the British Isles, Rollright consists of 77 stones

This magnificent group consists in a stone circle (The King's Men), a standing stone (The King Stone , 73m/239ft NE) and a burial chamber (The Whispering Knights, 357m/0.2mi ESE). Dating back probably to 3000 BC, there are about 77 lumps of weathered limestone around the 31.4m (103ft) perfect circle, some nearly lost in the short turf.
In 18th century, the antiquarian William Stukeley described this circle as The greatest Antiquity we have yet seen... corroded like wormeaten wood by the harsh Jaws of Time. Early in the 17th century only 26 stones were standing; in 1882 there was a major re-erection of the remaining stones. Most of them are under 1.2m (4ft) high and they look like huge rotted teeth.
There is no other stone ring near the Rollright Stones, but the circle lies in an area of henges. Its name has nothing to do with any supernatural rotation of the stones, but it may derive from Hrolla-landriht as early spellings like Rollindricht suggest, the land belonging to Hrolla.
According to a legend, the Rollright Stones were once human beings: the army of a King which story is explained in the
King Stone page. There are other legends, though; one is that the King's Men are uncountable. A baker who tried to ascertain their number by placing a loaf on top of every stone was not successful, because he did not have enough loaves. Another story tells that at midnight on New Year's Day the stones go downhill to drink at a spring in Little Rollright spinney.



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