Friday, 11 May 2018

John Harries of Cwrt-y-Cadno

As faithful readers of the saga will know, Joseph Harries the wizard is one of the key characters in the story.  His character as I portray him is based upon what we know (and that's very little) about the real Joseph Harries who lived at Werndew.  But when I was doing research on what the Welsh wizards of the time believed and acted upon, I had to dig into the story of John Harries of Cwrt-y-Cadno, about whom we know much more.,  The two were contemporaries.

This is a web site entry about the latter:

John Harries (Shon Harri Shon) (c.1785–1839) was probably born at Pantycoy, Cwrtycadno, Carmarthenshire, and was baptised at Caio on April 10th 1785. He was the eldest child of Henry Jones (Harry John, Harry Shon), Pantycoy (1739-1805), a mason, and his wife Mary Wilkins. He was educated at The Cowings, Commercial Private Academy, Caio, and at Haverfordwest grammar school, but it's not clear where he studied medicine before returning to Caio to establish his practice

I had not realised until now that he was an old boy of Haverfordwest Grammar School when he took up wizardry!  So there is a strong Pembrokeshire connection.

Neither had I realised that the National Library holds the manuscript of part of his "Great Book" -- called his Book of Incantations.  It is full of the most extraordinary material.  At the head of the post is one of the pages, and below is another.......

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