As has been previously been described the waters of the River Ogmore were once considered magical and this legend was also believed in the village of Newton, which lies only two miles from the mouth of the river. One specific belief, which persisted until the last century, was that the Ogmore was a depositary for treasure. It was thought that if hoarders of money or jewellery hid their wealth and then died before revealing it their spirits never rested until the treasure had been found.
But it was not as simple as that. The hoard had to be found ‘by a living hand’ and then thrown into the River Ogmore downstream. Upstream was no good: if that were done the thrower himself was in danger of having no peace; but done correctly the action ensured that the poor tormented spirit, which always haunted the area in which the treasure had been buried, would be freed from its earthly bonds and find rest in the spirit world.
Such an apparition was seen at Newton at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It took the shape of a tall, ghostly stranger, clad in the dress of bygone years. As was usual with these occurrences, the man had a haggard, unhappy expression on his face and was always seen pointing towards the dunes of Newton Warren. At last a Newtonian, fortified by using the Holy Name (and probably ‘cwrw da’ from the ‘Ancient Briton) plucked up enough courage to ask the stranger the reason for his misery. The ghost beckoned and led the way to a spot in the middle of the dunes; and by pointing indicated that digging was required. The brave Newtonian dug as requested, shovelling away the sand as quickly as he could. Gold and jewels of great value were found.
Next day the hard was taken to the River Ogmore and dutifully thrown in, downstream as the legend demanded. From that time on the ghost of the stranger was never again seen in Newton.
The Legends of Porthcawl and the Glamorgan Coast
Author: Alun Morgan
Author: Alun Morgan
Illustration by Margaret Wooding