The legends of the stone at Dolaucothi

Illustration of Pumsaint Stone

Situated in the heart of the Dolaucothi estate stands the old stone of Pumsaint with which many myths and legends are associated. Some of them are simply disregarded as old wives' tales or scary stories to frighten the children of the village so that they would stay out of trouble. What would you believe?

Five good men

A stone’s throw away from our welcome point you’ll find Carreg Pumsaint, a standing stone with mysterious indentations on four of its sides.

The legend goes like this. Five saints had set off on a pilgrimage and were heading to St. Davids in Pembrokeshire; their names were Ceitho, Celynnen, Gwyn, Gwynog and Gwynaro.

As they made their way through this area, the evil sorcerer who dwelled in the mines conjured up a fierce storm to thwart their attempts of reaching their destination.

In desperation, they sheltered against a rock that, today, bears the impressions of their heads and shoulders due to the force of the storm. There are only four impressions as the fifth saint could find no refuge during the storm. Instead, it’s said that he was taken in to the mines and rests in an enchanted sleep, similarly to King Arthur’s fate.

A mystic tale

Another mystical tale about the mine was printed in 1904: 'An inquisitive woman named Gwen, who went to spy on the saintly brothers in their long sleep, was punished by losing her way in the passages of the mine. She, likewise remained in an undying condition, but was suffered to emerge in storm and rain. In the night, when her vaporous form might be seen about the old Ogofau, her sobs and moans were heard and frightened many.'
Not everybody believes the legends of the Pumsaint Stone. Excavations in the 1990s showed that the stone originally rested horizontally. Modern suggestions include the popular idea that the Romans may have used the stone as an anvil for crushing the quartz to extract the gold. But why let the truth get in the way of a good story? The village of Pumsaint, Welsh for five saints, takes its name from this stone and its legend.  

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