With evidence of settlements dating as far back as the Bronze Age, Margam Country Park has been home to ever-changing civilisations for centuries. Over time, their histories have become shrouded in myth and mystery – and murder has reared its ugly head.
For those seeking the thrills of the unknown, or wanting to delve into the dark realm of true crime, Margam Abbey and Margam Stones Museum offer a truly chilling experience. Join us as we tell the stories that should often be left unsaid.
The tale of the Bodvoc Stone
The most haunting artefacts are those that lie in plain sight. This is certainly the case of the inconspicuous Bodvoc Stone.
Visitors to Margam Stones Museum often walk past this 5ft stone pillar, with some visitors even trying to decipher the Latin script. If they knew the ancient advice, passed down from generation to generation, these visitors would know better than to try and speak the words aloud.
The stone itself dates to the late 6th-century, and originally lay on a prehistoric burial mound at Mynydd Margam. It is one of Britain’s most noted sepulchral stones – meaning it marks a tomb or interment – and is Wales’s oldest known example of a family history or lineage marker.
Used to mark the burial site of the great warrior Bodvoc, son of Cattegren and great-grandson of Brittonic king Eternalis Vedomavus, the Bodvoc Stone is the subject of centuries-old myth and legend.
It was believed that the stone marked the site of buried treasure, and anyone seeking the fortune must face off against the Ghost of Bodvoc. Medieval Cistercian Monks referred to the stone as the “sacred stone”, revering its ancient beginnings.
Mountain passers trekking through our vales and valleys would turn back at the sight of the stone, as it was even believed to lay a curse on anyone who spoke its strange inscription.
Visit the stone yourself and immerse yourself in its mythic history. Just be sure not to read the inscription aloud…
The restless murdered gamekeeper
Robert Scott is perhaps Margam Abbey graveyard’s most well-known occupant. A victim of murder most foul, the story of gamekeeper Robert Scott’s tragic death begins on the evening of 9th June, 1898.
Armed only with a stick, Scott led a team of three to investigate reports of a poacher on the grounds of the Margam Estate. The three went their separate ways to cover more ground, splitting up and disappearing into the imposing, thick woodland. But only two would make it out of the woods alive.
It wasn’t until the following day that Scott’s body was found. He had been shot twice, his head beaten. His wounds were so bad that his wife was forbidden from seeing his body: Vicar Williamson of Margam Abbey had to inform her of his death.
Two men were found to be involved in his murder, notorious poacher Henry Jones and ex-serviceman Joseph Lewis. The trial that ensued was sensationalised by newspaper reporting at the time, appealing to the Victorian thirst for voyeurism and the macabre.
Jones was eventually deemed an accomplice after seemingly giving evidence against the renowned poacher Lewis. Despite his persistent defence of self-defence, Lewis was hanged for his crimes.
Want to discover more about this story? Plan your visit to Margam Abbey. But take caution: the restless spirit of Robert Scott is said to still patrol the Margam Estate, warding off trespassers with his bloodied stick.
Both the Bodvoc Stone and the murder story of Robert Scott are part of the Margam Abbey Trails and Tales tour. Join the tour at 11am on Saturday 28th October for a chilling, thrilling Halloween experience. Find out more here.
Feeling inspired for a spooky staycation to the Dramatic Heart of Wales? Plan your visit today.