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Monday, 18 October 2010

The Druid's Cave



What with all the recent talk about Druidism being recognized as a religion, it's worth reminding ourselves of the strong link which the Druids have with Carningli and the neighbourhood.  Laurence Main, who visits Carningli often, is a practising Druid, and he looks on the mountain as a special and sacred place.  Another place which has a tradition of Druidic connections is the cave in the upper part of Tycanol Wood;  according to local legends (mostly invented by small boys) Druidic ceremonies were conducted there in the days when the Iron Age was on its way out and the Age of the Saints was on the way in.  It's not much of a cave really, but it is just about habitable, I suppose, and here is a charming story about it:

The Man in the Cave

Simon Hughes was a member of a large family living at Fachongle Ganol in the early years of the twentieth century.  He was conscripted into the Army during the First World War and undertook military training, but he became a conscientious objector and “escaped” from his barracks.  He made his way back to Cilgwyn and went into hiding.  Army officers and the police hunted for him, but he moved from house to house and the community closed ranks in order to protect him.  On one occasion he was having dinner in the cottage called Fachongle Ganol when an Army sergeant with a troop of soldiers tracked him down and hammered on the front door.  Mr and Mrs Hughes kept the soldiers talking while Simon escaped through the back door.  For much of the time he was reputed to have lived in the “Druid’s Cave” in Tycanol Wood.  The local police made a great show of hunting for him, but always contrived to fail in their endeavours.  At the end of the war he came out of hiding and left the district.  He became a shop-keeper, ending his days as manager of the Co-operative Store in Tonypandy.

From the sublime to the ... erm, utilitarian.....

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