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Tales of Penyard Castle

Our tale this week takes us to the south of beautiful Herefordshire near to Weston Under Penyard to a place where Penyard Castle once stood.

Legend tells that one day a local farmer set out on an adventure to make himself a rich man. For he had heard that beneath the ruins of Penyard Castle was a treasure so vast that the finder would never again know hardship. The thought spurred him on, his mind raced with excitement thinking about all the things he might do with his newly acquired wealth.

He knew the task ahead was not going to be easy, for he had discovered two iron doors beneath the castle ruins and knew he would need some help prising these open. So he gathered together a team of twenty oxen. The farmer was also a man who heeded superstitions and who believed in witches and evil, so for protection he he took with him a whip made from Rowan and slipped a splinter of wood from a Yew Tree into his trouser pocket. Now he was ready.

As he approached the ruins his heart was racing with anticipation and excitement, the job of opening the doors was not an easy one as he had predicted. It took some time and effort by the oxen but finally the doors came apart and there before him were two large caskets of treasure. But not just that, sitting on the caskets was the biggest, most ominous looking Jackdaw. Perching protectively, his dark soulless eyes looked right at the farmer. The stare made the hairs on the back of the farmer’s neck stand up and he felt himself shudder with fear.

It was now or never! Lunging forward with enthusiasm and a glimmer of greed in his eye, the farmer was suddenly taken by surprise. Before he had had a chance to step inside the ruins, the doors which had taken him so long to open, slammed shut in an instant. Then he heard a loud deep throated voice bellow out “Had it not been for your quicken-tree goad and your yew tree pin, you and your cattle had all been drawn in.”

The farmer fled from the ruins, oxen in tow, his mind racing, thinking how close he had been to laying his hands on the treasure. But how close he had also been to death too. He had had a lucky escape and an adventure that he didn’t care to repeat again!

These stories are curated from many sources and retold in our fun ESL style, in the true spirit of Folklore.

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