Swansea Miracle by Ann Marie Thomas tells the gruesome story of one William Crach, a ‘notorious brigand and evildoer’, who was hanged in Swansea in 1290. Later that night, he started moving and breathing. After about ten days he was walking about and speaking. It was a miracle!
But if being hanged and then gawped at by curious strangers wasn’t bad enough, poor William was then made to walk barefoot all the way to Hereford on a pilgrimage!
What makes this death-defying incident so intriguing is the sheer volume of eyewitness accounts recorded at the time. Also, it was the subject of a Papal Commission no less, which meant that many of those witnesses were formerly interviewed and their accounts preserved. All of this is brought vividly to life in this book, which also features beautiful illustrations by Carrie Francis.
The top three things I learned from reading Swansea Miracle are:
- Hanging was a very unreliable form of execution.
- William was hanged in the very place I used to live!
- In those days there were a hell of a lot of people called William.
You don’t have to have a connection to Swansea to enjoy this account of the hanging (and subsequent revival) of William Crach. It’s part of the ‘horrible history’ of Britain that deserves to be told, retold and never forgotten.
Thank you, Ann Marie.