KINGMAKER

SACRED and  Ancient Celtic  SITES


ST. GOVAN'S CHAPEL, PEMBROKE

Built in a cleft between the limestone cliffs, this remarkable chapel measures only 18 feet by 12 feet. It is said to be impossible to count the flight of steps leading down to the chapel for one never gets the same total twice. A niche on the left side of the altar is a hiding place. It must have been a tight fit, for a man who once hid there left his rib marks on a stone. The stone has the power to make wishes come true.

A bell is supposed to be hidden in a rock nearby. It was stolen from the chapel by pirates. Sea nymphs rescued it and put it inside the rock for safety. When the rock is struck the bell is supposed to ring. Gosse wrote: 'I found that this ringing power was possessed by a good many of the boulders in the wilderness of stones over which I had to clamber my way down.'

The well just below the chapel once had the reputation of having miraculous healing powers, particularly for eye complaints. It could also heal cripples: in 1812 Richard Fenton recorded in his Historical Tour through Pembrokeshire that he saw crutches left behind by people who had been healed.

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SHERWOOD FOREST

Robin Hood - Fact or fiction?

Sherwood forest was the greenwood home of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood.


Robin would have been active in the late 1190's during Richard the Lionheart's reign. Evidence suggests that tales about him were popular by 1261. Early accounts of Robin's exploits appeared in print in ballads and poems, such as The Geste of Robyn Hood from the late 1400's, by then an established and popular part of English folklore.

Documentary evidence of Robin Hood, or variations on the name, have been found in early medieval court proceedings and Royal documents . The names Robert Hod and the surname Robinhood have both been found.


The Decline of Sherwood

Whilst Sherwood's fame still lives on, the real Sherwood Forest is a shadow of it's former self. A scatter of woodland and heathland and fragments still survive; the last refuge of ancient, gnarled and decaying oaks.

The woodlands of Birklands and Bilhaugh, listed in the Norman Domesday survey of 1086, survive in part and are home to the famous massive Major Oak. This was reputed to be Robin Hood's meeting place, and is dated by Forestry Commission experts at over 1,000 years old.

Once a prized hunting ground for the kings and queens of England, the great `Shire Wood' covered much of the county of Nottinghamshire, stretching 20 miles from Nottingham north to Worksop and up to 8 miles wide.

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SWALLOW FALLS, SNOWDONIA

Swallow Falls (Rhaeadr Wennol)

Situated about 2 miles from
Pont y Pair is Swallow Falls which can either be reached along the woodland paths from the centre of Betws or by road. Opposite the falls on the road is the Swallow Falls Hotel, so there is ample parking space. However a turnstile requires a 50p coin for viewers approaching from this direction.

From here a winding path takes you down to a viewpoint at the bottom of the falls which are magnificent, particularly following heavy rain or flood. Here the river Llugwy is broken up into 3 large falls, each subdivided again and again by rocks and crags.

Tradition has it that the soul of Sir John Wynne of Gwydir was doomed to remain trapped in the depths of the deep pool at the bottom of the falls, where it would be purified forever.


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