Sometimes referred to as the ‘Robin Hood of Wales’, though this epithet is often fiercely reputed by bastions of this legendary figure, Twm Siôn Cati is a Welsh figure whose legendary folklore status has built up steadily around him from his death in 1609. Born Thomas Jones in 1530, the man who sparked many a legendary tale was the illegitimate son of Cati Jones, from whom he gains part of his pseudonym.
Once you read of his japes and jaunts, you will see how Twm Siôn Cati came to be drawn in parallel with Robin Hood. Twm was very much a character with two sides: on the one hand; a bard, and a notable genealogist, on the other; a highwayman and an outlaw.
There are countless tales of Twm Siôn Cati marauding passing journeymen, though not tales of him giving to the poor. There are also plenty of stories of his trickery and sly nature, such as the famous tale in which Twm visits an ironmonger’s in Llandovery to buy a porridge pot. While perusing the ironmonger’s wares, Twm lifts a pot to the light and claims that he can see a hole in its base. When the poor, unsuspecting monger comes over to inspect, Twm rams the pot over his head and exclaims that there must be hole in the pot that such a large and bulbous head as the ironmonger’s can fit inside!
There are many of the jaunty tales, which you can read about over on the BBC’s Local Legends page, or on the Twm Siôn Cati website. If you want to experience a living piece of the legend, then a visit to Ogof Twm Siôn Cati (Twm Siôn Cati’s Cave) is a must. This is the cave where it is believed he hid from the law during his highwayman days (before his alleged pardon by Elizabeth I). The cave features hundreds of years’ worth of graffiti etchings in the rock, with the earliest found dating back to 1729. A legendary Welsh site not to be missed, and just an hour from us here at Gliffaes. The cave is located on an RSPB site near Llandovery, so you could see a red kite or two on your walk.
If you would like to see the legendary landscape of the Brecon Beacons for yourself, then why not pay our Brecon accommodation a visit? Book direct for our best rates, or give us a call on 01874 730 371 to enquire.