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Richard The Tailor Of Langattock Crickhowell


The town of Crickhowell and the village of Langattock face each other over the River Usk. Wirt Sykes in his ‘British Goblins’ (1881) recounts the following story of a gentleman called Walter Jones being taught a lesson by a local inn keeper thought to dabble in witchcraft.

‘The landlord of the inn at Langattock Crickhowel, in Breconshire, was a man called Richard the Tailor. He was more than suspected of resorting to the company of faries, and of practising infernal arts. One day a company of gentlemen were hunting in that vicinity, when the hounds started a hare, which ran so long and so hard that everybody was prostrated with fatigue; and this hare disappeared from view at the cellar window of the inn kept by Richard the Tailor. The circumstance begat a suspicion among the hunters that the hare which had so bothered them was none other than Richard the Tailor himself, and that his purpose in taking that form had been to lead them a dance and bring them to the door of his inn at an hour too late for them to return home, thus compelling them to spend their money there. They stayed, however, being very tired. But they growled very hard at their landlord and were perfectly free with their comments on his base conduct. One of their party, having occasion to go out-doors during the evening, did not come back; his name was Walter Jones, and he was well known in that part of the country. The company became uneasy at his absence, and began to abuse the landlord roundly, threatening to burn the house if Walter Jones did not return. Notwithstanding their threats, Walter Jones came not back all night. Late the next morning he made his appearance, looking like one who had been drawn through thorns and briars, with his hair in disorder, and his whole aspect terribly demoralised. His story was soon told. He had no sooner got out-doors than invisible hands had whisked him up, and whirled him along rough ways until daybreak, when he found himself near by the town of Newport, helping a man from Risca to raise a load of coal upon his horse. Suddenly he became insensible, and was whisked back again to the inn where they now saw him. The distance he traversed in going to and fro was about forty miles. And Walter Jones, who had hitherto been an ungodly man, mended his ways from that time forth.’

[As the Inn was not identified in the story, I have targeted the map on a generic location between Langattock and Crickhowell.]


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