Category Archives: Sacred sites

St. Margaret’s church & well, Binsey, Oxfordshire

St. Margaret’s church & well, Binsey, Oxfordshire

Midnight, and monks by candlelight

Although less than 2 miles from Oxford’s city centre St. Margaret’s is hidden behind trees and shrubbery at the end of a long and winding country lane. The church is a strange, isolated and moody little building sometimes welcoming and warm while at other times slightly sinister. It is lighted only by oil lamps and candles as it has no electricity supply.

St. Margaret’s was once the living for a priest called Nicholas Breakspear, who became England’s only Pope, Adrian lV, in 1154.

The church is also famous for its holy well and its legendary connection to St. Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford. I strongly suspect that Frideswide is really the ancient Briton’s goddess and saint, Ffraed.

This was the ‘Treacle Well’ of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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The Meeting of Ancient Paths

I referred to Graham Robb and his book, The Ancient Paths, at the end of my article, Grave suspicions. It’s the builders’ fault. Well, I’ve had a few moments free time to scan through it, and there are some quite amazing synchronicites.

Several times I’ve mentioned how elements of the Mabinogion have cropped up while on this journey with Ffraed, and how there are noteworthy connections concerning Pembrokeshire and Oxford – a place where I have spent the greater part of my life. There is a strong Welsh connection with two colleges, Pembroke and Jesus Colleges. I’ve previously too talked about Dragons and their affinity with Oxford, in so many ways.The centre at Oxford is a Dragon location in the Mabinogion. We have also discovered that Y Ddraig Ffraed leaves the coast of the Isles at St. Bride’s.

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Llanwnda Well

It was a little after noon when I sauntered into Llanwnda, following the indications of my divining rods.

Very soon the road peeled away and across the grass (where once upon a time, it is said, stood a huge stone circle), ahead of me was the glorious sight and ever more powerful scent of a magnificently blooming may tree. On an ash tree by the hawthorn, hung a slate tile, upon it was painted a cross and the legend, ‘Llanwnda Holy Well’. A really nice simple sign.

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Parc-y-Meirw (Field Of The Dead)

 

parc y meirw 1809 by Colt Hoare

 

Parc-y-Meirw (Field of the dead), Llanllawer, Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Stone Row
Not on the Ffraed
Grid reference: SM998359
Ordnance Survey

The name actually refers to the field, not the stones. Parc-y-Meirw (Field of the dead), is so called because generations-old local folklore says this field is  where the fallen from a battle (Mynydd Carn – 1081¹) between the Welsh princes were laid to rest. Two megaliths, once part of a straight row of giant bluestones, now act as the gateposts to this field.

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The holy well at Llanllawer is a special place for me.

I first visited on 30th April 2016 and was at once taken by its aura of beauty yet sadness, as well as a strange tension pervading its structure and footprint. I hadn’t clocked it at the time but this was the Eve of (the calendar version, Church then) Beltane.

Over the following three months (and a bit), I was drawn to the lonely little well that’s tears now ceased to puddle in its dry chamber; they had been almost all there was for wetting and to throw a few coins into; that and hard rains that regularly flushed through except for when they didn’t. (1)

Now, it’s none of my business what your beliefs are, but I’m going to lay this out up front because it is integral to what I am going to impart here: I am psychic, and I have had encounters and communications with Otherworlds and denizens of said, throughout my life.

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