The White Lady (Ladi Wen)

Lefel Fach is at a point part way along the short stretch of main road between Taliesin and Tre'r Ddôl. There's really not much to see there - on one side of the road some old mine workings and on the other side a gate, with a small stream emerging from under the road to cross the field. I've sometimes trudged past this spot, alone and late at night, without any qualms - but I'll be more wary in future. An elderly villager has told me that this is the place where there is a tradition of night-time sightings of a silent and mysterious Ladi Wen (White Lady). As youngsters, he and his friends were terrified of the Ladi Wen and always hurried past the spot, but it's years since she's been reported, and he had entirely forgotten about her until I asked. Elsewhere I've read that the sightings stopped abruptly when Llain Hir, the nearby lead mine, was opened up. The tradition of a Ladi Wen is quite common across Wales, and there's another story of a Ladi Wen being seen not far away in a cave near Borth. Maybe she went there to get some peace and quiet, away from the noisy mine-workers.

Ogof Morris (Morris's Cave)

There's a geographical feature up on the slopes of Foel Goch, above Tre'r Ddôl, with the name of Ogof Morris. I've not been up there, but somebody who has lived in the village all of his life and used to work up there told me that although there's not actually a cave at that spot, it is the place where a luckless fellow by the name of Morris was caught for sheep stealing, and who was subsequently taken to court and sentenced to death for the crime. I've no way of proving this story but (and maybe it's entirely a co-incidence) there's a report on the National Library of Wales's web site of a Parry Morris, alias Harry Morris, of Llanfihangel Genau'r-glyn, who was prosecuted for the theft of a sheep in Llangynfelyn parish on 9 Mar and again on 22 Mar 1799, found guilty, and sentenced to death. But maybe there was a lot of it about.

Lodge Park

Lodge Park, just on the outskirts of Tre'r Ddôl, was once a medieval deer park, originally called Bod Frigau, and apparently part of the northern boundary ditch and bank can still be seen, but I've not had a chance to explore yet. At some stage the land came into the ownership of the Pryse family of Gogerddan, who owned vast tracts thereabouts. Richard Pryse was created 1st Baronet of Gogerddan in 1641, and Lodge Park was built during the time of one of his sons, Carbery - later Sir Carbery - Pryse. A Mrs Powell of Nanteos wrote in "A Hunting Diary" in 1926: "Lodge Park is modern by the side of Gogerddan and Nanteos, built as it was in the 17th century by Lady Pryse during the prolonged absences of Sir Carbery Pryse in London, whither he was called by parliamentary business. It is a curiosity among houses, the walls being of earth six feet thick. Sir Carbery Pryse, as already said, hunted the family pack for some years about the end of the seventeenth century; the keenest of the keen, he once, in 1693, rode from London to Lodge Park, over 200 miles in forty-eight hours, bent on a day of sport". Elsewhere this ride is said to have been in delight at his winning a 10 year dispute with the Crown over the ownership of a mine on his estate. Sir Carbery died 1694, but his descendants maintained a presence at Lodge Park for many generations. In "A Hunting Diary" it is stated that in 1869 Col Pryse of Lodge Park was Master of Foxhounds, and that a Mr. and Mrs. Fryer were "of Lodge Park". An entry for 1872 mentioned that Pryse Pryse Pryse lived there, keeping up with the tradition of maintaining a pack of hounds. Kelly's 1895 Directory of South Wales mentions that "Lodge Park is the seat of Pryse Pryse Pryse Esq.; the mansion is a stone edifice, in a park of 100 acres, and commands fine views of the surrounding country; Sir Pryse Pryse Bart. and the Bishop of St. David's are the chief landowners". PPP died in 1900 from blood poisoning from a fox bite, and the 1910 and 1914 editions of Kelly's Directory reported it to be the home John James Esq, JP. It was put up for sale along with other parts of the Gogerddan estate in 1930. A Mr. Musty apparently lived there in the 1960s, and the house is currently occupied by a commercial firm, The Hayes McKenzie Partnership, which reportedly provides consultancy services on all aspects of acoustics, noise and vibration. Coniferous forest that had been planted on the estate is now being harvested, and deciduous trees planted in their place.

The Hatters of Tre'r Ddôl

A book I've just discovered recounts how Tre'r Ddôl was once the centre of a thriving little hat-making industry. There had been a fulling mill in the village from at least the 17th Century, and felt hat making grew to become quite a local occupation. Families in the farms above Tre'r Ddôl - Llety'r Fran, Llwyn Wallter, Ynys Tudor, for example - busied themselves making hats and selling them at the markets. However, fashions eventually changed, silk hats came in and hard felt hats went out, and by the 1870s the cottage industry died, having existed in the area for about 100 years.

Reference: "Ottakar's Local History Series - Aberystwyth", © Ottakar's 2001. Published by Tempus Publishing Ltd.
ISBN 0 7524 2298 7