The Llanddona Witches on the Anglesey Coastal Path

The Llanddona Witches on the Anglesey Coastal Path

If you walk along the Anglesey Coastal Path you will no doubt hear about the amazing myth of the Llanddona Witches.

Llanddona is a small village on the east coast of Anglesey, set in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

There have been many legends over the centuries on this mysterious island, but the myth of the Llanddona witches certainly captures the imagination.

Over the centuries people have believed in the amazing power of witches to influence society in a bad way. So for example, if a crop failed or farm animals died invariably the community would blame the witches.

Amazingly it was not until the year 1736 that Parliament repealed the specific law, which until then had allowed witches to be executed by hanging for such questionable transgressions.

Not surprisingly, with legends and tales there is more than one version of events, and the witches of Llanddona is no exception.

The first account tells how during one stormy night, a Spanish ship ran aground on the sandy beach of Llanddona. Despite attempts to hold the ship together eventually the power of the waves caused the ship to break up.

In the chaos, the crew struggled ashore in the frothy seas but unfortunately most of them drowned in their efforts to get ashore safely.

By daybreak the survivors had reached the top of the cliff, and when they looked back to the beach, they realised that they would never be able to leave, seeing the wrecked ship below.

So they decided to make the best of a bad situation, and made this piece of land their own. The local people of Llanddona were certainly not happy that a group of shipwrecked survivors decided to camp outside the village.

The myth suggests that the survivors were short in stature, had red hair, and were believed to be from Spain. Despite various attempts by the local people to remove the survivors, in the end they relented and allowed their new guests to remain.

The legend suggests that the survivors had used various circus tricks and magic to confuse the locals.
The villagers of Llanddona began to believe the rumour that the survivors were witches, because they kept themselves to themselves.

One of the survivors, a short woman by the name of Sian Bwt or Short Betty, had two thumbs on the left-hand. Apparently, these were sure signs that the individual was a witch.

The second account tells how a fisherman was walking along the coast one day he observed an open boat carrying wet, bedraggled women that had been swept on to the beach at Llanddona by the very strong tide.

The women appeared very sick, and not surprisingly, if they had been stuck out at sea without food and water for such a long time. Apparently, one of the witches hit the beach with her stick. And amazingly a spring of clear water emerged.

After building themselves a shelter out of wood and stones, the witches began begging for food and cursed anyone who refused. When they visited the local markets, they would not pay for any goods, and on one occasion, they turned themselves into hares so that they could not be caught.

As the years went by, the witches continued to frighten the people of Llanddona. There was one incident, when the witches were smuggling certain goods onto the island. They arrived at night on the beach, and then they began to carry the goods in barrels to the village.

The witches of Llanddona were so confident that they even ignored the Customs officials. When they were challenged, they released hundreds of black flies which flew out and stung the villagers and the officials.

And so the myth go on. Many believe that descendants of the witches still live in Llanddona to this day. So if you come to this island, make a special effort to visit the Anglesey coastal path around Llanddona.