Charles's new holiday home haunted after five horrific deaths

by LUKE SALKELD 28th December 2006

Previous occupants have reported seeing ghosts in Charles's new house, Llwynywormwood estate in Myddfai, near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire. Llwynywormwood is Welsh for "Wormwood Grove"

When Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall bought their first joint holiday home together, it was considered by many to be a particularly modest choice.

But when it emerged the three-bedroom stone cottage would be let out to the public, the royal link was expected to dramatically increase its rental value.

Now however, holiday makers travelling to West Wales may be less inclined to book a short break in the rural retreat - after it was revealed the building is haunted.

Historians have revealed the estate surrounding the house has been the scene of no fewer than five tragic deaths, while previous occupants have reported seeing ghosts.

The first tragedy associated with Llwynywormwood struck on the estate in 1845, when two young girls died in a house fire.

The identities of the sisters have not been confirmed, but it is thought they had been left at home alone by their parents and died when their clothes were set alight by the flames.

Then in the 1930s a boy from a nearby school drowned in the estate's lake which was later drained.

More recently, the father of a former owner of the cottage, Gilbert Stroud, died when a tractor fell on top of him as he stood in a silage pit.

And in 1997, a neighbouring farmer died when he crashed into one of the estate's stone walls. Legend also has it a 'flaxen-haired beauty' has haunted the area since the Middle Ages after being mistreated by her husband.

Yesterday Mr Stroud, who lived on the 192-acre estate for 35 years, said: "When we moved to Llwynywormwood in 1963, the lake was drained because a boy from the college had drowned. It had been empty for a long time but I refilled it."

He continued: "It (the estate) has seen more than its fair share of tragedies. There are a lot of rumours of ghosts but we never saw any.

"There was a boy working with us who ran in one day and said he'd seen a ghost. I was down there like a shot. I would have loved to have seen it. "But it was just some thistle blowing through the mansion, throwing up dust. It was most disappointing."

The Stroud family themselves were touched by tragedy when Mr Stroud's father Ted was killed ten years ago when he was crushed to death by a tractor.

The following year a local farmer crashed a quad bike into a boundary wall next to Llwynywormwood. Mr Stroud said: "It was really tragic."

But he added: "We had a lot of happy years there and I'm sure Prince Charles won't be put off by some of its history."

Gilbert, 72, and his wife Patricia, 63, raised a family in the three-bedroom coach house which will be the next royal residence when Charles and Camilla complete the sale in March.

And villagers hope news of the estate's tragic past will not put off potential visitors. Farmer's wife Eluned Thomas said: "A lot of people enjoy knowing about the history of places. It adds colour and mystery."

She added: "You have to admit the Royal Family has seen more than a few tragedies over the centuries themselves."

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall fell in love with Llwywormwood in Myddfai, near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, on a visit to the area.

Charles's interest may well have been sparked by the fact that part of the 192 acres in which it stands is an organic farm.

The couple ordered the Duchy of Cornwall, the private estate which provides Charles with his income, to buy it from its current owner.

Stung by criticism of his extravagant lifestyle and the fact that the Duchy, which funds him to the tune of 14million a year, is not subject to corporate tax, Charles agreed to allow the three-bedroom property to be rented out when he and Camilla aren't staying there.

The prospect of sleeping in the future King's bed not to mention using his bathroom and kitchen cutlery had been expected to cause a stampede among holidaymakers eager to sample royal country living.

Clarence House declined to reveal how much the prince paid, although locals say the estate went for upwards of 1million.

A spokesman for the Duchy said planning permission would be sought to provide extra accommodation, and added: "Anyone using the property be able to enjoy all the facilities including the bedrooms, that are used by the royal couple." Llwywormwood, Welsh for Wormwood Grove, is surrounded by 150 acres of grazing and park land and 42 acres of woodland.

There was once a 13-bedroom 19th century mansion house on the estate but that now lies in ruins, leaving the coach house with no immediate neighbours.
Nestling next to the Black Mountains, keen walkers Charles and Camilla will also no doubt make the most of the stunning countryside.