A Pembrokeshire Ghost Story

Image courtesy of mystic Art Design at Pixabay

One morning long ago, in the early days of the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth, the fishermen of Tenby set sail from the harbour. It began as a glorious summer day, so folk were expecting a trouble-free hunt and  a safe return, their nets brimming with the abundance of a light sea.

As the day wore on, the skies began to darken ominously and the sea began to heave and boil. The fishermen hauled in their nets and hurriedly set sail for the safety of the harbour while their families came together on Castle Hill watching and praying for their safe return.

Counting the boats in one by one, it was these watchers who first noticed a large ship far out in the bay in difficulty.

Those that spoke of the event after were clear that this ship was not one known to any of them. It certainly wasn’t local, and more mysterious were the lights that danced upon the deck and the ghostly shapes that moved through the rigging.

Stranger still, none of the watchers could make out who or what was at the helm, though something certainly seemed to be guiding the vessel to safety.

It was night before the ship ran aground with what was described as a noise like thunder. The watchers raced to the shore to offer what assistance they could to the crew of the stricken vessel but when they arrived on the shore they found nothing, neither ship nor crew.

Understandably the good people were frightened and fled to their homes where they were  tormented through the night with wailing voices and odd noises carried by the howling wind.

When morning came, the skies were clear and bright again and some of the braver folk of Tenby walked down to the beach to see what they might find.

There was no evidence of a ship, either whole or wrecked, but much to everyone’s amazement there was a lone man, strangely dressed, lying at the top of the beach in a deep sleep.

The man was taken in and kindly tended by one of the townsfolk but when he eventually woke, he would not satisfy their curiosity as to his origins and how he had come to be where they had found him.  Furthermore, he refused all offers of help and hospitality. Instead, as soon as he was able, he took himself off to St Catherine’s Island where he remained.

It was to a local shepherd who brought him food that he finally made his explanation for the strangeness of his arrival. The shepherd was later to relate how the stranger had told him that he had lived a wicked life as a pirate and had been responsible for the murder of many sailors while plundering ships along the coast of Wales. The stranger explained that in a jealous rage he had killed his lover and how his own ship had been taken over as punishment by the ghosts of all the other innocents he had murdered. These were the lights and shapes the local people had seen and heard on the night of the storm and his arrival on Tenby shore.

In great distress the old pirate went on to explain that he was plagued now by sea maidens who called to him with messages from his dead lover, telling him that she was happy at last and wanted him to join her.

The shepherd said that as the stranger told him this tale his agitation grew to such a pitch that, all of a sudden, he leapt up screaming that he longed for peace and was coming to be with her, his lover. With that, he ran to the cliff edge, threw himself into the waves below and was drowned.


Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for pembrokeshire.online, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says "Pembrokeshire.online has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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