It might be fair to say that, in my last blog, the connection between St. Patrick and the Fae was 'circumstantial'. Based on the evidence of his own 'Confession' it seems that Banwen has a strong case for claiming to be his birthplace, but the fact there are also stories of faeries in the area may be nothing more than coincidence. However, i would like to present to you another story that i have discovered, one in which this particular Saint's faerie connection can't be denied. This story is set just a short distance towards the coast from Banwen and the Sarn Helen Roman road, at a place called Crymlyn (meaning curved lake).
'Crumlyn Lake, near the quaint village of Briton Ferry, is one of the many in Wales which are a resort of the elfin dames. It is also believed that a large town lies swallowed up there, and that the Gwragedd Annwn have turned the submerged walls to use as the superstructure of their fairy palaces. Some claim to have seen the towers of beautiful castles lifting their battlements beneath the surface of the dark waters, and fairy bells are at times heard ringing from these towers. The way the elfin dames first came to dwell there was this:
A long, ay, a very long time ago, St. Patrick came over from Ireland on a visit to St. David of Wales, just to say 'Sut yr y'ch chwi?' (How d'ye do?); and as they were strolling by this lake conversing on religious topics in a friendly manner, some Welsh people who had ascertained that it was St. Patrick, and being angry at him for leaving Cambria for Erin, began to abuse him in the Welsh language, his native tongue. Of course such an insult could not go unpunished, and St. Patrick caused his villifiers to be transformed into fishes; but some of them being females, were converted into fairies instead. It is also related that the sun, on account of this insolence to so holy a man, never shed its life-giving rays upon the dark waters of this picturesque lake, except during one week of the year.' (From British Goblins by Wirt Sykes).
Despite many attempts to drain the lake the area remains boggy and is now a nature reserve. The swallowed town is said to be the original town of Swansea.
Just to finish, i thought you might be interested in seeing this. It is from the 11th Century, much later than the standing stone i talked about in Part 1, and part of a Celtic Cross. It is carved in in the Irish style and thought to show a priest at prayer. It was found on mountain near Banwen. Could it be it's an image of St. Patrick? Maybe they knew something then which has long since been forgotten.