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February 2001

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Rhiwaedog: Our Ancestral Foulke Treasure

The Bloody Hill of the Red Wolf

Originally published in the Foulke Family Herald, April 1991

Tucked away in the Berwyn Mountains, one and a half miles southeast of Bala, Wales, there is found physical evidence of the rich lineage shared by us, the descendants of Edward Foulke.

This supreme treasure is in the form of a stone mansion known as Rhiwaedog (The Bloody HIll), in which generations of descendants of one of the most powerful 12th century Welsh Lords, our ancestor, Rhirid Flaidd, lived.  So ruthlessly did he rule over his vast land in Northern Wales, that he was known to all as the Bloody Wolf, and this symbol is displayed in his Coat of Arms.  This same Coat of Arms is the one that we display to this day.

To enter the grounds of this structure, is to feel a great sense of awe, wonderment and feeling of being "in touch" with our ancestors who lived on this site from the 12th century to the 17th century.

Access to this magnificent structure is gained through a stone gatehouse, 28 feet wide and 24 feet deep, with wooden steps leading to rooms on either side of the passage.  This structure, the last of its kind to survive from the 17th century, consists of a slate-covered room of unusual beam and wind-braced construction, and gives support to two stone chimneys.  That the gatehouse was used for passage rather than as a residence is evident from the four stone steps leading to the original studded door, and from the fact taht the passage is only four feet wide.

Leaving the passage, and taking a short walk along a path of large stones, there stands the front door, over which carved in stone, the date 1664 looms out to meet the eye.

Entering through the front door into the large stone foyer, one instantly experiences the feeling of warmth and hospitality.  To the left is a hall leading to the kitchen; the right, a large room, and ahead, a few stone steps that lead onto a landing and then to massive stone stairs the floor above.  Partitions can be found adroned with the various carvings that comprise the Coat of Arms of Rhirid Flaidd.

Inspection of the cellar area reveals massive 15 foot thick walls, a well, and a subterranean passage from the mansion into neighboring hills, which once served as a place of refuge during previous attacks from rival Welsh Tribes upon the homestead.

Not only does this structure reveal a wonderful sense of charm and antiquity, it holds its own very special history, some of which is tragic in nature.  The "Brides Room" on the second floor is testimony to this.  It was within this small stone and wood paneled room, with large ancient window, that a young bride-to-be, betrothed against her will, dressed for her wedding, and then chose to jump from the window to her death.

There are many other centuries-old traditions unique to Rhiwaedog.  One tradition is the passing from generation to generation an egg-sized crystal, which, it was said, had the power to foretell the death of the head of the household when its brilliant color became clouded.  This crystal, ond other Rhiwaedog treasures, are said still to be hidden.  Many attempts have been made from time to time to find them, even with the aid of a magician searching on moonlit nights, but to no avail.  These treasures, to date, still live within their secret chambers.

To experience a visit to Rhiwaedog (now a Youth Hostel) causes one to feel connected with those past souls from whom we are descended, as well as allows one to experience a re-discovery of our very own sense of self.

Copyright © 1991 Foulke Family Association.

Section last updated February 02, 2001
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