You will immediately see this attractive inn in Llangybi as your number 60 bus (Newport/Monmouth) passes the appealing little village near Usk - but you may not realise how much else there is to see and learn about. There is a lovely church and an ancient well apart from the historic interest of the pub itself.
The name: Llangybi
St. Cybi's well
If you walk down the sign-posted road behind the pub you will come to the well on your right after a couple of hundred yards: it was the village's main water supply for many years. It is under a stony flower-covered mound and leads through to a picturesque stream on the other side of a tiny bridge: there is a silver coloured ladle chained there so that you can taste the clear water by spooning some onto your cupped hand. It is a highly evocative experience and I took many minutes savouring it.
The well is believed to be the subject of a poem by T.S. Eliot who went on a ten-day tour of Wales with his friend Frank Morley in 1935:
Do not suddenly break the branch, or
Hope to find
The white hart behind the white well.
In case this is not about this well, I wrote my own verse which WAS composed here:
A dipping well, a day in June
Blue silence hanging from the sky,
St. Cybi's spirit stands beside
My right arm. Now he leans to guide
It waterwards. He smiles as I
Sip crystal from the silver spoon.
This dates from the 11th century and contains medieval wall paintings of St. Christopher, the Creed - and a remarkable Christ of the Trades. Such images, also known as the Sunday Christ, show Jesus surrounded by objects, often the tools of various trades, wounding him afresh: they were a warning to tradespeople not to work on days which should be devoted to God. The church itself was shut when I visited but I enjoyed the spectacular views of the countryside around. In the churchyard is the communal grave of William Watkins, his wife and their 3 youngest children (Charlotte, 8; Alice 5 and Frederick 4 years old) all gruesomely murdered one July evening in 1878 by Joseph Garcia, a 21 year old Spanish sailor. He was hanged before an enthusiastic crowd in Usk: the events were celebrated in verse and drew hordes of sightseers.