There is a legend down Radnor way, that a dragon, perhaps the last in Wales, sleeps under Radnor Forest; he sleeps an unnatural slumber, kept at bay by a ring of Churches, all dedicated to St Michael – he who defeated Lucifer, in the battle in Heaven… In Wales, there were many dragons once, so the legends go.
One of those Churches, dedicated to St Michael, is to be found at Cascob, out in the middle of nowhere… or so it would seem…
The first thing you notice when going through the gate is the peaceful setting, it seems like you only have sheep in the fields around the Church as company… oh and the dead.
When I was there, some summers ago now, the tower was being restored… maybe the dragon snored too loudly and shook the foundations…? Who knows.
The Church is kept locked, a sad sign of the times we live in, but the key is kept nearby and always available to anyone who dares to knock. It’s large, as all good keys should be, turned by many a hand, it’s weight is not just in it’s metal… once inside, it’s clear the Church is a simple place, much like Pillith, but not so feminine, for this is Michaels lair – he who is found at the tip of the land of Britain on St Michaels Mount
and his warm request is felt here too, as in all his Churches; come join me…
he beckons… but I, we, were not there that day to pray.
We were there to see the Cascob Charm.
Strangely, this charm is not held in some museum, as is the Glyn Charm, but instead it hangs on the wall of the Church opposite the door… try as I might, I could not get a good photo of it but will direct you here, Dear Reader to a photo which is very good indeed.
What is interesting about this charm, is it’s not the only one! A similar charm is held in the museum at Welshpool! I’ve heard talk of a third too – all of the same format. Who could have been casting such charms and could who ever it was, have a connection with the one at Gelli, up the Nantyr? Even if it is a long one… Charming seems to flow along family ties, so who knows.
But back to the charm at Cascob; or as it’s sometimes known, the ABRACADABRA charm… it is, of course, an ant-witchcraft charm, to keep one Elizabeth Loyd (sic) safe. Apparently it was found in the Churchyard after some 200 hundred years buried there!
“In the name of the father,son and Holy Ghost amen xxx
and in the name of lord Jesus Christ I will delive (relieve)
Elizabeth Loyd from all witchcraft and from all
Evil spirites and from all evil men or women or wizards or
hardness of hart Amen xxx
(follows doggerel Latin)
And into that universal nature God will interpose
against skill diabolical Amen xxx
He raised up my hart, I indite a good matter touching the king.
O Lord open thou my lips and my tongue shall shew forth
they praise, to turn aside the grass of the wicked
and the malignant. Lord Jesues Christ saviour
of mankind I breach the preserver of
Elizabther Looyd from all witchcraft evil men or women
and from all spirits or wizards evil men or women
and from all spirites or wizards or hardness of the hart
Amen xxx and this I trust in the
Lord Jesus Christ my Readeemer and Saviour
from all witchcraft and from all other
men or women and from all assaults of the Devil
and that he will relive Elizabeth Loyd
from all witchcraft and from all evil spirits by the same
power as he deid cause the blind to see, the lame to wake,
& the dum to take & that thou finest with unclean spirits
to be in there one mines Amen xxxxxxx
pater pater pater Noster Noster Noster ave ave ave
Maria Creed ro paclorn X onX AdonayX
Tertragrammaton X Amen & in the name of
the Holy Trinity & of Hubert preserved the above mind and body
from all deceases & from all witchcraft & from all other
salts of the Devil, Amen. O Lord Jesus Christ
we beseeth thee fro thy mercy grant
that this holy charm ABRACADABRA
may cure thy servant Elizabeth Loyd
from all evil spirits and from all there desesis
Jah Jah Jah.”
Following on from the narrative comes the astrological symbols for the sun, moon, Jupiter and Venus. The latter two planets are considered benevolent, and with them are found two more ‘good’ astrological symbols; trine – a triangle and sextile in the form of a star… it would seem poor Elizabeth Lloyd was not well at all, and possibly, as she worsened, despite all attempts to cure her, a ‘Cunning Man’ was sought to cast the charm.
It’s interesting that no Welsh was used, as in the Glyn charm, the text is in English, with a little Latin, probably for good measure as it would seem the kitchen sink of magic resides in this charm, leaving no chance for them evil spirites – I wonder if it worked? Or was it buried with or near Elizabeth when she died?
Lastly we find a symbol which looks allot like something from the Seal of Solomon, a talisman which can be found in many a grimiore of the period this dates from; 1700AD.
Perhaps the reason why the charm is still in the Church is that someone my think it helps keep that dragon at bay; or, perhaps more likely it protects the church from any attempt to raise the dragon by witches? Who knows, but if you’re ever down Radnor way, it’s worth setting the satnav for Cascob…
Oh, by the way, did I mention those Churches, you know the one’s set in a ring around Radnor Forest?
It’s not a ring at all… when I plotted it on my OS map of the area it looked more like an inverted pentagram…..
Charms, Charming & The Charmed. G. St.M. Nottingham.
Myths and Legend of Britain and Ireland.
13th September 2016 ~ an update.
As so often happens, I was browsing through a digital copy of an old book on Welsh folklore, when I came across this very charms exact wording – under the heading of Cattle Charms I found a rather interesting snippet; namely that a version of this charm was also effective against Foot and Mouth, but, and slightly more of interest the written charm was often worn by the cattle, and even sometimes, the charm was rubbed over the animals, a certain number of times as if the protective nature of the charm could be transferred by contact. It was then folded carefully and kept somewhere safe in the cow house.
The two charms from Llanidloes are mentioned – these are now kept at Welshpool Museum – but the publication also goes on to mention a charm used in Llansillin, written in Welsh. The first time I have seen or heard, mention of a charm for cattle in this language; interestingly Llansillin is only a few miles inside Wales, and not far from my home town, where the book I found it in was printed.
For those of you who like to peruse such things the link to this page can be found HERE.
Happy reading 🙂