Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Hanged Man

There is a strange incident which happened to William de Breos' father (William) and step-mother Mary. The following was taken from a display in Swansea Museum:

William Cragh and Trahearn ap Hywel were hanged on Gibbet Hill in 1289. (Cragh meant ‘scabby’ , he was really William ap Rees).
Williams was accused of rebellion. The gallows broke and they were strung up again (Trahearn was a big man). People in the castle, at Swansea’s West Gate (near our Dragon Hotel), and on the town wall saw it all. William’s body was eventually carried to the house of a burgess in High Street.

“His whole face was black... his eyes had come out of their sockets (which)... were filled with blood. His mouth, neck and throat, and also his nostrils, were filled with blood... his tongue hung out of his mouth the length of a man’s finger, and it was completely black and swollen and as thick with the blood sticking to it... (as)... the size of a man’s two fists together.”

And yet that night Williams started to breath and stir! Lady Mary de Breos, wife of the Norman Lord, had prayed to St Thomas de Canteloup to bring William back to life. Some days later, with William de Breos, father and son, and the revived William Cragh, she travelled to Hereford where the resurrection was proclaimed a miracle.

This authentic account is based on Professor Robert Bartlett’s very well researched book “The Hanged Man” (Princeton University, 2004)
I have read the book "The Hanged Man" and it is fascinating, not only in telling the story, but in giving lots of details about life at the time. I strongly recommend it. This was before Alina's time, but would likely have left a deep impression on her father.

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