Witches and Wizard (wise men) in Wales were feared or respected and generally left alone. Wizards and wise men had quite an easy time of it, often they were paid well for their healing skills for sick animals. Pretty much every village had its a wise man. (Dyn Hysbys). It was said that wise men increased by persuading ignorant country folk to sacrifice their children to the devil to turn them into wise men. Sometimes bizarrely, it was the local vicar who would be the wizard. Vicar Pritchard of Pwllheli was well known to be able to lay ghosts to rest. What he did with the candle in a lead box buried under a tree, ( see below) is in line with long-held Welsh superstitions.
Witches, on the other hand, were not so well liked. Often said to put spells on peoples’ livestock of anyone that crossed them. They were thought to be responsible for causing butter not to churn and remedies to rectify bewitched butter would include tying a rowan branch over the dairy doorway or to place an iron knife inside the churn because witches (like Faerie) are repelled by iron. The term “witching a pig” meant that a curse had caused a pig to have a seizure. In Gilwern where I live a witch by the name of Molly Davies was said to have been able to make a pig stand on its head. I found an interesting article in Welsh Newspaper Archives and have recreated here for you to read. Printed in 1913, it gives a fascinating insight into Welsh witches and wizards, and the beliefs held about them.
The Cambria Daily Leader Saturday, October 11, 1913
WITCHCRAFT. REMARKABLE STORIES OF WELSH CREDULITY. LAYING GHOSTS.
The belief of witches and witchcraft persists in Wales, and in the current issue of "The Occult Review," some instances illustrating the prevalence of the belief are given by M. L. Lewes. In olden days Wel