Nant Gwrtheyrn Folk Tales: Rhys a Meinir
The secluded Nant is the setting for one of Wales’ most tragic love stories. Both Rhys and Meinir grew up in the Nant, and it was not long until their childhood friendship blossomed into love, and they decided to get married.
The young couple’s favourite spot was under an old oak tree, on the lower slopes of Yr Eifl.
A date was set for their wedding and preparations began. The inviter was Ifan y Cilie, and went about the locality telling everyone that Rhys and Meinir would be married in Clynnog Church on a chosen Saturday. Some of the neighbours were invited down to the Nant the day before the wedding to give gifts to the young couple. They all came, one giving a piece of cloth, another bringing some yeast flour, everyone bringing useful things. All the guests and family were looking forward to the joyful occasion on the following day.
At this time there were only three farms in the Nant- Ty Uchaf, Ty Canol and Ty Hen. The people of Nant Gwertheyrn kept the tradition of the ‘Wedding Quest’.
What did this mean?
The bride would run and hide on the morning of her wedding.
When the big day arrived, everybody gathered in Clynnog Church, except for Meinir who headed for the hills.
Playing their part, Rhys’ friends searched high and low for Meinir, but to no avail. On discovering his bride was missing, Rhys returned to the Nant and frantically searched for Meinir’s hiding place.
Fraught with worry, Rhys spent months searching for his sweetheart, and slowly lost his mind.
Then one stormy night, while out wondering the heath, Rhys took shelter beneath his favourite oak tree. As he cowered beneath the tree, a bolt of lightning struck the trunk, splitting it in half.
To Rhys’ disbelief the splintered tree revealed a skeleton wearing a wedding dress. Overcome by emotion, poor Rhys collapsed and died beside his beloved bride. Look out for the symbolic tree in the village which commemorates Rhys and Meinir.
Did you know?
Visitors have allegedly seen two ghosts moving hand in hand on the beach – a man with a beard and long hair and a woman with hollow sockets for her eyes. It is also believed that no birds will land on the bark of the hollow tree except the owl and the cormorant.