The Llandegla Spirit
The parish church of Llandegla is dedicated to St Tecla of Iconium (modern day Konya in Turkey) and though the original building dated from 1273, it was rebuilt in 1866 by Lady Margaret Willoughby de Broke. There is a folk-tale and tradition concerning the haunting and subsequent exorcism of the rectory. The following account of the story appeared in Elias Owen’s, ‘Welsh folk-lore: a collection of the folk-tales and legends of North Wales’ (1887)
The tale of this Spirit was given me by Mr. Roberts, late Schoolmaster of Llandegla. A small river runs close to the secluded village of Llandegla, and in this mountain stream under a huge stone lies a wicked Ghost. The tale is as follows:—
The old Rectory at Llandegla was haunted; the Spirit was very troublesome; no peace was to be got because of it; every night it was at its work. A person of the name of Griffiths, who lived at Graianrhyd, was sent for to lay the Ghost. He came to the Rectory, but the Spirit could not be overcome. It is true Griffiths saw it, but in such a form that he could not approach it; night after night, the Spirit appeared in various forms, but still the conjurer was unable to master it. At last it came to the wise man in the form of a fly, which Griffiths immediately captured, and placed in a small box. This box he buried under a large stone in the river, just below the bridge, near the Llandegla Mills, and there the Spirit is to remain until a certain tree, which grows by the bridge, reaches the height of the parapet, and then, when this takes place, the Spirit shall have power to regain his liberty. To prevent this tree from growing, the school children, even to this day, nip the upper branches, and thus retard its upward growth. Mr. Roberts received the story I have given, from the old Parish Clerk, John Jones the weaver, who died a few years ago.