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Rhyd-y-Cae Bridge, Pentrefoelas

There is a legend associated with Rhyd-y-Cae Bridge where a local man was enticed into a game of cards with Satan himself. The following account of the story appeared in Elias Owen's 'Welsh folk-lore' (1887).

'Robert Llwyd Hari was a servant in Gilar farm*, and the champion card player of his day. When going home from Rhydlydan, after a game of cards in Aunty Ann’s house, called the Green, he was met at the end of the cross-lane by a gentleman, who entered into conversation with him. The gentleman asked him to have a game of cards. “I have no cards,” answered Bob. “Yes you have, you have two packs in your pocket,” answered the gentleman. They settled to play a game on the bridge of Rhyd-y-Cae, as it was a beautiful moonlight night. The gentleman was very pressing that they should go to Plas Iolyn*, because they would find there, he said, plenty of light, although no one was then living at the place. But Bob positively refused to go there. They commenced the game in downright good earnest on the bridge, Robert Llwyd Hari winning every game. But a card fell over the bridge into the water, and Bob looked over, and saw that the gentleman had hoofs like a horse. He swore by the Great Being that he would not play any longer, and on this his partner turned himself into a wheel of fire, and departed bowling towards Plas Iolyn**, and Bob went home to Gilar.'

* Gilar farm is Grade II listed and available as self catering accomodation.

** Plas Iolyn is a house in Pentrefoelas that was the home in the 16th century of Elias Prys and his son, the adventurer and poet Thomas Prys (Price) (Born approx 1564 – Died 1634)

Note: I have not been able to find the exact location of Rhyd-y-Cae Bridge in Pentrefoelas but I will update the map when the exact bridge is identified.

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Ian Topham
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Re: Rhyd-y-Cae Bridge, Pentrefoelas

According to Elias Owen's 'Welsh folk-lore' (1887), the Devil had not finished with Robert Llwyd Hari:

'When going home from playing cards, on Maesgwyn Bridge Robert Llwyd Hari saw a hoop of fire; he was half inclined to turn back, but took heart, remembering that he had a Bible in his pocket. So on he went, and when passing the fire he was snatched up into the air by the Bad Man, but he was able to utter a certain word to the D---, he was dropped down, and fell dead into a lake called Harry’s Lake.'

I do not know where Harry's Lake is yet.

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