Gwen Ferch Elis (1542-1594)

The History of the First woman Hanged for Wicthcraft in Wales and her connection with Glan Conwy

Gwen was born in Llandyrnog in the Vale of Clwyd and when young lived at Yale near Wrexham.
In 1588 she and her second husband( a miller) went to live at the the mill in Llanelian yn Rhos.When her husband died she married a third time , a man from Betws yn Rhos.
By profession Gwen was a weaver but she had a talent for healing and the use of herbs she healed both people and their animals. Her incantations always began with “in the names of the father ,the son and the Holy Ghost, and were more likely folk prayers than “spells”.
Because of her abilities. the rich and powerful sought her help as well as ordinary folk. Gwen became invoved with a Jane Conwy of Marl Hall. Gwen’s knowledge of Janes’s affair with Thomas Mostyn of Gloddaeth put her in danger and in 1594 at the age of 42 she found herself in Flint Jail accused of Witchcraft being questioned by the Bishop of St Asaph. Later that year a formal investigation was held in Llansanffraid Church; 5 men and 2 women gave evidence against her. She was accused of driving a child insane  and worst of all killing a man through Witchcraft.The Church Tribunal held in Glan Conwy found her to be a witch and she was sent to Denbigh Court and apperared on a charge of Witchcraft. Justice was not served Gwen ferch Elis ,the Healer and Wise woman was found guilty and hung in Denbigh Town Square. in late 1594