Over the years many stories and fables have emerged about Devauden and the local area.



Several books on the subject of folklore in Monmouthshire include references to Devauden and its neighbouring communities. For example:

  • "Folklore of Gwent: Monmouthshire legends and traditions collected by the Reverend T. A. Davies, Vicar of Llansishen" Folklore, vol XLVIII (1937)
  • "The Folklore of Gwent" by Alan Roderick, Village Publishing (1983).

Some of the tales in these books are summarised below.

The Devauden Conjuror

In days gone by rural communities of Britain often relied upon "conjurors" or "charmers" for their medical help and other services. These men used their "mystical" powers to cure ailments, find stolen property and perform supernatural feats. One such conjuror was Nicholas Johnson of Devauden whose deeds are recounted by T.A. Davies in his collection of Monmouthsire legends.

Nicholas Johnson lived in the late nineteenth century. He is referred to as "The Devauden Conjuror" and was believed to be able to summon the devil. This is a power which he demonstrated to his drinking companions one night in Wentwood after a session in local inn. Apparently Johnson caused a cloven hoofed, horned devil to appear by reading from a book and was able to make it vanish by reading the book backwards.

Amongst his other powers Johnson was able to heal wounds and cause a small oak tree to grow in his kitchen.

Kilgwrrwg Church

According to folklore the location of the church at Kilgwrrwg was decided by two cows. Local people were unable to agree on the position of the church so they tied two heifers together and agreed to build the church wherever they lay down to rest. This could explain why the church is in such an isolated location.

Nantycelli Ghost

Natycelli Farm at Wolvesnewton was haunted by a ghost who was held to ransom by the devil. In life, the ghost had hidden some money and had sworn that the he would rather the devil had it than his wife. After death the devil kept the ghost in limbo until he kept to his word. The ghost persuaded a servant from the farm to retrieve the money and throw it into a stream so that the devil could have it. After this the ghost (and the money) disappeared.

Big Cats

Are the sightings of panthers in the Wye Valley and the speculation about the origins of these cats an example of modern day folklore? Visit the British Big cats Soceity website for more information.



Originally published as www.devauden.org.uk//devauden_folklore.htm