David Salisbury's Ghost
: STORIES OF SATAN, GHOSTS, ETC.
I will quote from Bye-Gones, vol. iii., p. 211, an account of this
There was an old Welsh tradition in vogue some fifty years ago, that
one David Salisbury, son of Harri Goch of Llanrhaiadr, near
Denbigh, and grandson to Thomas Salisbury hen of Lleweni, had given
considerable trouble to the living, long after his remains had been
laid in the grave. A good old soul, Mr. Griffit
s of Llandegla,
averred that he had seen his ghost, mounted upon a white horse,
galloping over hedges and ditches in the dead of night, and had heard
his 'terrible groans,' which, he concluded, proceeded from the weight
of sin troubling the unhappy soul, which had to undergo these
untimely and unpleasant antics. An old Welsh ballad entitled 'Ysbryd
Dafydd Salbri,' professed to give the true account of the individual
in question, but the careful search of many years has failed me in
securing a copy of that horrible song.
This Spirit fared better than most of his compeers, for they, poor
things, were, according to the popular voice, often doomed to ride
headless horses, which madly galloped, the livelong night, hither and
thither, where they would, to the great terror of the midnight traveller
who might meet this mad unmanageable creature, and also, as it would
seem, to the additional discomfort of the unfortunate rider.
It is, or was believed in Gyffylliog parish, which is in the recesses of
the Denbighshire mountains, four or five miles to the west of Ruthin,
that the horses ridden by Spirits and goblins were real horses, and it
was there said when horses were found in their stables at dawn in a state
of perspiration that they had been taken out in the night and ridden by
Spirits about the country, and hence their jaded condition in the
It was also thought that the horses found in the morning in their pasture
ground with tangled manes and tails, and bodies covered with mud, had
been during the night used by Spirits, who rushed them through mire and
brier, and that consequently they presented the appearance of animals who
had followed the hounds in a long chase through a stiff country.
There is a strong family likeness between all Ghost stories, and a lack
of originality in their construction, but this suggests a common source
from which the majority of these fictions are derived.
I now come to another phase of Spirit Folk-Lore, which has already been
alluded to, viz., the visits of Ghosts for the purpose of revealing
hidden treasures. The following tale, which I took down from the mouth
of John Rowland, at one time the tenant of Plas-yn-llan, Efenechtyd, is
an instance of this kind of story.