Good Evening. With great pleasure, I present the one and only Hywela Lyn. She has risen on this most sacred of nights to tell a ghostly tale, followed by an excerpt of her latest book. He kisses her on both cheeks and presents her with a goblet of mead. Take it away, my lovely.
THE GHOSTS OF NANTEOS
One of my favourite places is Nanteos Mansion, near where I used to live in Wales. The name means 'Valley of the Nightingale'. I used to keep my horses at the stables and spent many a happy hour soaking up the atmosphere of this historic house, built in 1738.The Mansion has its share of ghosts and an interesting history. Late at night the stables would ring with unearthly screeches, like souls in torment. Actually it was nothing more sinister than a colony of screech owls nesting nearby. (Or so I was told.)
A short distance from the house itself is a little copse used to bury the Powell family’s pets. Some of the inscriptions are quite touching and the owner of the stables, which, when I was there, had been sold as a separate entity from the Mansion, swore he’d heard ghostly hooves galloping past, late at night.
Many legends name Nanteos as the one-time resting place of the Holy Grail, the chalice that Jesus and his disciples are believed to have drunk from at the Last Supper. The cup, known as ‘the Nanteos Cup’ was apparently brought back from the Middle East in AD 63 by Joseph of Arimathea, who settled at Glastonbury Monastery in the west of
I’ve actually seen the ‘grail’, or what was left of it The owner of the house (and the cup) a Major Merrilees, eventually moved to Herefordshire, taking the Nanteos Cup with him. It is understood that it currently resides in a bank vault somewhere. It is a small wooden vessel (5″ diameter, 3″ deep) in a very poor state today, due to pilgrims’ biting large chunks out of it, over the years, in order to aid recovery from their ills. Although the Holy Cup is not at Nanteos anymore, there are still ghosts to be found in the many rooms of the mansion.
|The old stables at Nanteos|
One of the ghosts said to haunt the mansion is the spirit of Elizabeth Powell, the late wife of William Powell, who wanders the hallways looking for her lost jewellery. The story goes that her husband William Powell dearly loved her and showered her with jewels. She could not bear to be parted from her treasured jewellery and dreaded to think what would happen to them after her death. Knowing that she was dying, she rose from her death-bed and hid her jewels. Later that night she died. Today her ghost, shrouded in a long flowing gown, still wanders like a lost soul searching for her hidden jewels. It is said she will haunt anyone that dares look for her treasure.
Parties were often held at Nanteos. One evening the house was full of guests, an army officer present went to dress for dinner. Climbing the stairs to his room he met a striking woman in evening dress, holding a strange looking candle stick. Thinking she was one of the guests he bowed and bade her good evening. The lady did not answer but carried on down the stairs as if she had not seen him. He thought it strange but continued up to his room.
On returning to the party he gazed around looking for the lady. Eventually he asked if anyone has seen this woman. Immediately, he was taken to one side and told never to speak of the lady with the candle stick or there would be a death in the family. That night, the Lord of Nanteos died... and the strange candle the lady had carried was found a week later in a dusty shelf in a corner of the Silver Vault Room.
A phantom horse and carriage is also said to pull up to the front entrance in the middle of the as a forewarning of a death.
The most eerie sighting was from the front door, and was that of what was thought to be smoke in the inner hall. The witness stared in disbelief as the smoke transformed in a figure dressed in a long flowing dress. She began coming towards the front door, terrifying the onlooker so much that he ran to Aberystwyth, not daring to look back.
My favourite story is a rather sad one. One of the windows on the bottom storey has been boarded up for many, many years. The story goes that the lady of the house was watching her husband ride up the drive towards her, when the horse spooked and threw him, killing him instantly. She could not bear to look out of that window again and ordered it to be boarded over and so it remains to this day. She mourned for him the rest of her life and they say his ghost still rides up the drive at night. I like to think she rides with him now.
A keen animal lover, she has two horses. a rescued Jack Russell and two 'ferel' cats.
Her first novel, a futuristic romance released by the Wild Rose Press was followed by a sequel 'Children Of The Mist'. Lyn is working on a third story in the series.
She is a member of The Romance Novelists' Association (UK)