Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Theomania in Llanyre

Since 120 years is hardly any time at all in Radnorshire terms, you will forgive your blogger for being somewhat reticent in naming names and places in the following tale of religious mania from 1890.

The events, which created quite a stir in and around Llandrindod, commenced when two farming brothers began purchasing astrological materials which, together with articles in the religious press, convinced them that they were Moses and Aaron, some reports say Jesus and the Anti-Christ, and that their sister was Miriam. Their behaviour had already set tongues wagging but on one February morning the pair visited neighbours imploring them to come with them as they were journeying to heaven. No-one took up their offer except for a servant girl of sixteen who tagged along as they proceeded from Llanyre towards Llandrindod and then on towards Crossgates, singing hymns and shouting ecstatically as they went.

The servant girl's master rode after the party, persuading a Constable Price to give chase. The pilgrims were eventually overtaken and fisticuffs ensued, Moses and Aaron being subdued with the help of a local farmer and a gardener. The pilgrimage, now joined by curious on-lookers, continued, but this time in the direction of the cells at Penybont police station rather than the promised land. There was no police station in Llandrindod at that time, indeed Penybont was the headquarters of the Radnorshire Constabulary. Safely lodged in the cells, their young convert had wanted to join them but was chased away, the brothers were soon committed to the asylum in Abergavenny. Their sister Miriam, who was gripped with the same mania was deemed safe to remain at home.

The brothers couldn't have remained in Abergavenny very long, within a couple of months the eldest brother had married a sixteen year old bride, presumably their young convert. The couple were still farming in the locality at the time of the 1911 census.

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