Lady Anne Prendergast
In Haunted Wales (2011), Richard Holland quotes an old account of an experience with the reputed phantom of Lady Prendergast. It was the experience of a farmer named Morus Roberts from Croesor Bach who came across the ghost at Gwernydd in Beddgelert parish.
“When he got near Gwernydd it suddenly became so dark that he could not see his hand……all at once a lady came up, galloping on horseback, and taking hold of him by the collar carried him on her steed away through the air. He knew nothing more until in the morning he awoke to find himself safe at home, but in a very weak state, and there was such a peculiar smell on his clothes that his wife had to boil them in a strong solution of soda, and then put them on a blackthorn hedge, where they had to be left for a long time.”
Lady Anne Prendergast (nee Williams) (Died 15 Dec 1770) was the only daughter of Sir Griffith Williams, 6th Baronet of Marl and Pant Glas, Sheriff of Caernarvonshire (1707-1708) and his wife Catherine. She was said to be reckless, extravagant and to have a dubious reputation.
Anne was Maid of Honor to Queen Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach (Born 1 March 1683 – Died 20 November 1737) consort of King George II.
Her father, Sir Griffith Williams, 6th Baronet died in 1734 and as her brother Sir Robert Williams, 7th Baronet and their father’s heir was still a minor she acted as administrator for his estate. In 1739 she married Sir Thomas Prendergast, 2nd Baronet (died 23 September 1760). Her brother, Sir Robert Williams died in 1745, unmarried, leaving Anne to succeed to his estates of Marle, Pantglas, and Parc.
Anne and Sir Thomas (who was Postmaster General of Ireland) had no children and when he died in 1760, his nephew John Prendergast-Smyth, 1st Viscount Gort succeeded him. Lady Anne Pendergast then caused a scandal by marrying Thomas’s cousin, Terence Prendergast (Captain, 76th Regiment of Foot) by virtue of a special Licence. According to the marriage settlement Terence also took the surname Williams. This second marriage only lasted two years and they separated on 28 December 1762. Anne went to live at Pant Glas. She died at Nant Gwilym and was buried at Llanrhos in the family vault on 21 December 1770. The will of ‘Dame Anne Prendergast otherwise Williams of Pant Glas’ was dated 1766.
Not new to scandal, Lady Pendergast has been described as a wild woman who squandered her wealth and had to sell her estates and all possessions to pay for her lifestyle of gambling and according to J.Y.W. Lloyd in the ‘History of Powys Fadog’ (1881 – 1887) it is suggested, contrary to the above that she died pennyless in a poor-house at Eglwys-Wen or Whitechurch, near Denbigh.
There is a rumour concerning Lady Pendergast suggesting that she was the mother of Lieutenant William Roberts, Royal Navy (Born 1742 – Died 1791) and the father being Prince William, Duke of Cumberland (Born 26 April 1721– Died 31 October 1765). Lt Roberts had been brought up by Lady Pendergast’s brother, Sir Robert Williams, 7th Baronet, until his death, when Anne adopted him. He was living with her at Nant Gwilym when she died. Evidence suggests that Lt Roberts was actually the illegitimate son of Sir Robert and his mistress Margaret Roberts.
Her ghost was reputedly seen either riding a horse or travelling in a coach in the Gwernydd area.
I am not exactly sure Gwernydd is, but if Morus Roberts passed there travelling from Penmorfa to Croesor Bach, I suspect it is in the south of the parish and ths map below reflects this general area.