Molten Metal Flow

Molten Metal Flow

Friday, 23 March 2012

Away with the Fairies

In the summer of 2011 I returned to Pontypool with my wife to visit locations and research various themes in relation to the project Dark. Staying in an old barn conversion on Coity Mountain I was able to explore the surrounding landscape and investigate the legends that have remained a constant source of fuel to the imagination. Looking into the genealogy of my family has revealed many interesting stories and characters. This research has shown we had lived amidst these hills and valleys for hundreds of years.
My Mother Annie had been a church organist and several of her family are interred in the family tomb at Ebenezer Chapel. Cwmffrwrdoer.  Ebenezer Chapel is associated with the rather eccentric Rev Edmund Jones aka the Prophet of the Tranch. The Rev Edmund Jones is fascinating not only for being a man of God but also for believing in fairies. His only education was gained from the curate of Aberystruth, Howel Prosser – a man who actually took part in a fairy funeral.  Edmund Jones had a deep interest in astrology and seemingly possessed a genuine gift of prophecy.
In 1740, Edmund Jones came to live near Pontypool, residing in an old cottage called Lower Pen-tranch. On a personal note I discovered that Lower Pen Tranch had since been owned by the family of my Great Great Grandmother Mary Jane Curtis. My Mother recalls visiting the cottage as a little girl and being enchanted by the old place. The house remains to this day and appears in the same condition as when the Prophet lived there.  The ground floor contains a small room called the Prophet’s Study in which he wrote his books.  These books contain a collection of stories about extraordinary apparitions, or spirits, to all of which are assigned a divine or diabolical origin.  He was noted in the district for foretelling things, for having the ability to predict the future.
Edmund Jones books provide a remarkable insight into life in the valley before the Industrial Revolution. He discovered a predominantly Welsh speaking community immersed in a way of life, possessing diverse customs and folk-lore; Religion being an eclectic mix of Pagan Mythology and Celtic Christianity.
Edmund Jones succeeded in raising sufficient money to build Ebenezer Chapel.  To complete the building he had to sell his beloved books for £15.  For the tiny income of £3 a year, he served his congregation until his death in 1791 at the age of 91. Fairies are said to have been seen playing in the Churchyard, perhaps hiding among gravestones.
I like the sound of the old Rev Edmund Jones; the term ‘away with the fairies’ has been attributed to him by some people.

Hwyl Nofio - Fairy folk funeral - Dark

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