Castell Coch is famous for its ghost stories, but how many do you know? Here are two tales that might make you think about visiting the castle after dark again.
Excerpts from “Turn of the Century Ton” by Roger Brown.
This article was originally published on Tongwynlais.com.
The Ghosts of
The Story of Dame Griffith
Her son, while exploring the castle, fell into an unfathomable pool of black water, from which his body was never recovered. His mother broke her heart and dies soon afterwards, but, for many years thereafter, it was claimed, her ghost haunted the castle and forest around it as she searched for the body and soul of her son.
The Castle Eagles
Legend tells of a passage that connects Castell Coch and Cardiff Castle. The master of the castle deposited money and jewels in an iron chest.
Some years afterwards, a party of stout-hearted gentlemen resolved to explore this subterraneous passage – wherever it might lead to. So, provided with torches and pickaxes, they set out in their expedition. On and on they went, and at least, shining through the darkness, they saw four bright red lights – very bright and very red they were. Nothing daunted their advance, and presently found that four red lights were the eyes of two huge eagles, who were composedly perched on an iron chest. They walked bravely forward, when suddenly the eagles sprung upon them with claw and beak; and very glad they were to make their retreat, while the birds flew screaming back to the chest.
But the men were preserving fellows, and the following day returned armed with pistols and eight good bullets, and when they came within proper distance of the eagles they fired, but with no effect; their enemies flew screaming towards them, beat out their torches with their wings, and sent the invaders back crest-fallen. They then cast some silver bullets, and got them duly blessed, and even persuaded a minister with his holy book to companion them. Again they saw the four red lights – an exorcism was read, which the eagles did not heed – the charmed bullets were fired with no better result than those of lead – a third assault was made by the eagles upon the disturbers of their watch and attackers of their ward, the enraged birds punishing them more severely than on either of their former visits. It is believed that the eagles are still there, though no-one is bold enough to disturb them.
These stories feature in the book “Turn of the Century Ton” by Roger Brown, published in 1982. The treasure in “The Castle Eagles” is believed to have belonged to Ivor Bach, who – according to Edgar Chappell in his 1945 book “Old Whitchurch” – had two of his henchmen changed into eagles. They were to guard the treasure and to live on the birds and the animals in the forest until he returned. If their wild cries meant to keep away the robbers, others suggested that they represented their clamour to be transformed to human form again.