Sitting in my garden this July trying desperately to find some shade to cool down I started thinking about refreshing sea breezes, the sound of the seagulls overhead, and the smell of fresh salty air. I just knew I had to get to the coast as soon as possible, and where better to go in my mind that day was Newquay, Cei Newydd, Cardiganshire. I hadn't been there for years but I have such fond memories of childhood holidays there. It was the birthplace of my grandfather and I remember him taking me there as a young child.
I phoned my spouse and he was suitably pleased with the prospect of getting away from it all for the weekend and requested I book a cottage close to the sea. Easier said than done I thought as I pondered on where I could book such a place at short notice just at the start of the school holidays. Ebay sprang to mind so I fired up the Internet and I wondered what would appear if I typed in 'cottage New Quay, Wales'. I was astounded by what the search engine came up with! A beautiful olde worlde cottage, just what I was looking for, 'Mulberry Cottage', 150yds from the beach at Llanina, Newquay it said. Before I knew it I was on my way there and couldn't wait to see it.
'Mulberry Cottage' did not disappoint. It was charming and beautifully furnished. The cottage stands in the grounds of Llanina Mansion and is opposite a churchyard. Little did I know the ghostly history associated with both the churchyard and the manor house. Would it have put me off staying there? I don't think so; I am more inclined to be attracted by such stories. The owners told me that they had heard of sightings of the ghost of a mariner.
Apparently, one Sunday a lorry driver made a delivery of pipes for some building in the area and parked up for the night close to the then deserted Llanina Mansion. He left the lorry for a few hours. Returning late that night to sleep in the lorry he saw what he first thought was a night watchman and he called out to him. His greeting was ignored and as he got closer to the figure he noticed that he was dressed in an old fashioned mid-shipman's outfit – a three-quarter-length coat and a and a soft peaked cap. When within a few yards of him the figure disappeared into thin air! The driver, from Durham, was on his first visit to Llanina and was not to know that the churchyard is reputedly haunted. According to legend an old squire at Llanina was determined that his two sons should go to sea. However, one son only agreed to go on condition that he be buried on land. He was buried in the nearby churchyard - which is now at the bottom of the sea.
I discovered that Llanina Mansion has another curious ghost story attached to it. Sometime long ago the squire of Llanina was an officer in the Royal Navy. Whilst he was away at sea it appears that his wife amused herself with a lover. The squire was returning home after some time away when he was told by an old retainer that his wife was entertaining her lover in the house. Consumed with rage the squire waylaid his wife's lover in the garden and killed him. He then rushed to the house to deal with his unfaithful spouse. Seeing her husband rushing towards her the wife hurriedly tried to fasten the chain on the door, she was too late. Her infuriated husband took up his sword and went to swipe the chain but instead caught his wife's hand and chopped it clean off! The severed hand bleeding at the wrist is said to haunt the house to this day. Apparently it hovers above a bed in one of the guestrooms, although the present owners have not seen it.
I hope to go back to Llanina , I might just get a glimpse of one of those ghostly visions!
Liz Hardie, famouswelsh.com