In school I was taught a fair bit of Welsh history but actually its the local history, the history of private grounds, families, buildings and tiny villages nestled in the trees in Gower that really interest me. This bank holiday my fiance, my sister and my dad went exploring south Wales looking for wedding venues and found lots of little histories, like mysteries waiting to be unwrapped.
First there's the story of Old Pennard, the village abandoned to the march of sand and erosion by Three Cliffs bay.
Then there's the story of Llanelen, the Gower village that took in 7 sailors from a ship wreck and buried all the other dead sailors in a mass grave. The sailors were thought to have influenza, caught because they almost drowned. Unfortunately it was the plague and the entire village died and was buried within a week. The village is now ruined under the woods near Llanrhidian.
Then there's the story of Craig y nos castle. Once it was the home of the famous opera singer, Madam Patti who sang for royalty and had many rich and important guests. She even built a theatre where she would give private concerts. After her death it became a home for TB sufferers, including children who were separated from their families and treated with lots of cold air and exercise. many children and adults died there and their ghosts, including the ghost of a little boy are mean to be seen in the windows.
This is the Penrice estate in Gower. The family apparently once owned much of Gower, they still own Oxwich bay.
This is Craig y Nos castle - the haunted ex-TB hospital and home to Madam Patti
This is Madam Patti's personal theatre inside the TB hospital.