The Robber’s Grave

James Morris died, leaving the farm to his wife, and daughter Jane. Jane’s uncle sent a farm manager, John Newton to help. John was honest and hardworking. John and Jane soon fell in love. Two local men grew jealous of John – Thomas, who had wanted to buy the farm cheap and Robert because he was in love with Jane. They ambushed John, who fought back, but the next day John was arrested for robbery. Thomas and Robert lied to the court and John was sentenced to death. John declared that to prove his innocence, no grass would grow on his grave for 50 years, which became true for ‘The Robber’s Grave’.

Bedd y Lleidr

Ar farwolaeth James Morris, gadawodd o’i fferm, a oedd wedi mynd â’i phen iddi, i’w wraig a’i ferch, Jane. Gofynnodd nhw am help. Daeth John Newton: roedd o’n onest a diffuant, ac er nad o’n gyfeillgar â phobl yr ardal, daeth yn agos at Jane. Cyn bo hir roedd ddau ddyn yn casau John: Thomas oherwydd ei sgiliau ffermio, Robert oherwydd ei fod yn genfigennus o berthynas John a Jane. Ymosododd y ddau ar John, a amddiffynnodd ei hun. Y diwrnod wedyn, cafodd John ei arestio am ymosodiad, ac, am ei fod heb ffrindiau, cafodd ei gondemnio i gael ei grogi. Ar y crocbren mynnodd John ei fod o’n ddieuog, a phroffwydodd na fyddai glaswellt yn tyfu ar ei fedd am hanner canrif, fel arywdd o’i ddinweidrwydd. A dyna be digwyddodd.

And below is a creative take using freeze-frame on the story told in English by young people at Newtown Young Storytellers Club during a meeting at Newtown High School led by storyteller Amy Douglas.

And the image below shows a clip from the Bygones magazine 1893 which a volunteer from Llangollen’s Caffi Stori came across during her researches.

More about the Montgomeryshire Folktales project

In 1947 the Montgomeryshire History Teachers Committee commissioned a book ‘The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories’ of site-specific tales passed down through Montgomeryshire communities for generations, rewritten as a local history resource for schools.

During 2019/20 Mythstories was funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales to turn the 1947 book into an on-line resource.

Mythstories commissioned storyteller Amy Douglas and visual artist Helen Kozich to work with young people in Newtown, Powys and help them re-interpret the tales for their peers. Videos of the young people telling the stories in many different ways are among the Montgomeryshire folktales on this website.

Storyteller Tamar Williams ran two day-long stagecraft workshops for young people at Theatr Hafren, Newtown.

Artists Ed Fisher and Imogen Phillips were commissioned to produce black-and-white illustrations of each location, for a series of postcards and use on this website.

Ashley Thomas edited the videos of the storytellings.

Many volunteers helped:
Members of Bangor University Storytelling Soc. produced the English précis of the stories for the postcard series
Fiona Collins, Alison Layland and Tamar Williams produced the Welsh précis of the stories for the postcard series.
Members of Llangollen’s Caffi Stori visited each of the sites, took photos and reported back to the artists on the locations.

Illustrator Ed Fisher ponders his task surveying the Robber’s Grave. Photo 2019

And organisations leant their support:
Newtown Library and Newtown High School hosted a Newtown Young Storytellers Club and Penygloddfa Primary School, Caersws Primary School and Abermule Primary School hosted “Story in a Day” workshops.
Theatr Hafren hosted the stagecraft workshops and the final celebratory event
Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council funded storytelling performances to school children in Newtown to help promote the project.

Thank You All!

The full teachers resource is at