The children of Porthcawl and the surrounding area believe Candleston Castle to be haunted. It is easy to understand this for the decayed ruins have an aura of mystery; and the setting of the place - a dell with it’s trees being slowly strangled by the ever encroaching sand - gives the locality a ghostly appearance, especially in the moonlight.
The truth is that Candleston is not a castle at all but a fortified manor house belonging to the Norman family of Cantelupes (Running Wolves). Because of this some say that the name Candleston was originally Cantelupestown. The family held a small manor stretching from the ‘castle’ to the sea, obtained by fighting. We do not know for sure but it seems possible this was the origination of the de Cantelow line, whose descendants were the Craddocks and the Herberts.
The ghost spoken of by the children probably emanates from a mystifying are nearby which was, according to legend, an ancient oratory belonging to a Celtic chapel. Several old stone crosses have been found there, one called the Goblin Stone. Near this stone there was supposed to be a ghost which caught passers-by and forced them to embrace the stone, after which their hands and feet became entangled in the intricate carvings. They then had to adopt a position of prayer - and no doubt they then prayed very hard.
The biggest mystery of Candleston is however, is the lost village of Treganllaw. This is Welsh for ‘the town of a hundred hands’, a peculiar names, the origin of which is obscure. (It could also have been Tre’r Can Llyw, meaning ‘Residence of the Lord of the Hundred‘). It is thought that the village was situated near the manor house, for there are heaps of stones scattered around there. But what happened to the houses and their inhabitants we have no means of telling, More than likely the sands engulfed it, as at Kenfig. Whatever reason the region reels of mystery and disaster today.
The Legends of Porthcawl and the Glamorgan Coast
Author: Alun Morgan
Author: Alun Morgan