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Guarded by a gold spectre Jul 28 2005




Wales Of The Unexpected By Richard Holland, Daily Post


VERY exciting news for those of an antiquarian turn of mind is that the Mold Gold Cape is returning to Wales after more than 170 years.

The cape - the largest piece of prehistoric gold found in Europe - was dug out of the remains of a burial mound at Mold in 1833. One of the most important artefacts in the British Museum in London, it will be on show at Wrexham Museum from September to December.

People from all over the world come to see the cape. It is a unique artefact, a sheet of exquisitely worked gold which, thousands of years ago when it was made, would have fitted over the shoulders of a tribal leader or priest.

It also unusual in that it is possibly the only item in the British Museum which is associated with a haunting.

Indeed the presence of the treasure might have been guessed at if anyone who'd known anything about Welsh ghost-lore had been around at the time.

The burial mound which proved to contain the cape stood near the top of a hill called Bryn yr Ellyllon (Hill of the Goblins) in a field called Cae'r Yspryd (Field of the Ghost).

Clearly, the area had been considered haunted for a long time.


The then vicar of Mold, a Mr Clough, and Angharad Lloyd, a keen local historian, both heard tales of a gigantic figure being seen on the mound, a spectre that was "glittering and shining in gold".

The estate manager of the land where the cape was found, a Mr Langford, visited an old lady, a former servant, who had always maintained she had seen this very same ghost 14 years previously.

Nancy was delighted to hear the news of the cape's discovery because she felt it substantiated her story. She also believed the discovery of the treasure would lay the ghost to rest.

It's a recurring belief in Welsh folklore that spirits are tied to the site of a buried treasure and that they will only be free from their earthly bondage after the treasure is found.

The presence of a great big ghost all shining in gold and standing on a prehistoric burial mound should have been a dead giveaway!

Fortunately, the apparition was so terrifying that it scared people away from the site rather than otherwise.

A dressmaker who encountered it one night was said to have gone mad from fright for seven years after seeing it.

True to old Nancy's belief, the ghost has not been seen since the treasure's discovery.

But, who knows, the cape's return to North East Wales might tempt the Golden Spectre to come back from whatever prehistoric otherworld he currently inhabits - just to take another peek at the object he loyally guarded for thousands of years.

icnorthwales.icnetwork.co.uk