Wales is a country steeped in myth and legend. Ancient tales passed down through generations tell of strange creatures that once roamed the hills and valleys, lurked in the watery depths of rivers and lakes or inhabited the wild rocky shores. Here we share the story of The Mernaid of St Dogmaels.
TALL tales of water nymphs and mermaids abound along the rugged Welsh coast. In the picturesque village of St Dogmaels the lone
sculpture of a watchful mermaid stands alongside the moorings where local fishermen anchor their boats. Legend has it that one day,
whilst fishing for herring out at sea, a man called Peregrine saw a beautiful mermaid sitting on the rocks of Caemaes Head. Unable to resist her flaxen-haired beauty Peregrine caught the mermaid in his net and turned back towards land with his prize. On the journey home, the mermaid pleaded with Peregrine to let her go but he refused. However, by the time the time he’d reached a sand bar in the middle of the estuary, the mermaid’s plaintive cries persuaded him to release her. In gratitude for her freedom, she promised that she would warn Peregrine of approaching storms by calling to him three times. The story goes that on 1st October 1789, Peregrine and the other local fisherman set off from the moorings but when they reached the sand bar the mermaid appeared, warning Peregrine that a terrible storm was coming. Peregrine turned back and tried to persuade the others to follow him but they all laughed and sailed on out to sea. Shortly afterwards a huge storm engulfed the estuary, killing all but Peregrine. St Dogmaels church records from that day document the death of 27 local fisherman in a sudden storm, the tragic event now marked by the statue of a solitary mermaid watching over the sea. Although the St Dogmaels tale is probably the most well-known, similar stories are linked to other villages along the coast such as Aberporth and New Quay.