Anne returned to her parlour and went to the drawer where she had left the note from Erasmus. She thought it may have moved from the position she had left it; as she thought she had placed it near the back beneath a book, but found it on top of the book when she reached for it. However, she thought nothing of it and read the note again. The sight of his handwriting was a comfort to her.

Anne sat through the duration of each day at the window of her parlour, watching the seas for the appearance of a boat; her boat to freedom and happiness. She closed her eyes and dreamed blissfully of her future life with Erasmus. Mornings sat on a white sandy beach, swimming in the warm clear waters of the Mediterranean. She dreamed of him; the times she had spent with him in the gardens and grounds of St Donats; their journey to Cowbridge, one of the best days of her life; and of course, their recent encounter at the foot of the watchtower.

A week had passed, and there was no sign of Erasmus. Anne sat at her window scanning the sea for another week after that, but there was still no sign of any rowing boat on the distant waves.

One dark evening, Anne climbed the cliffs just above St Donats cove. The waters were rough and fierce that night, slamming into the rocks beneath her as a visible stormy blanket of cloud drifted towards the bay from the East. The wind picked up and whistled through the long grass surrounding her. Anne thought she could hear a faint howling sound carried to her along the coast in the wind. She listened again and heard it once more, a distant, anguished howl.

The coast could become a haunting place during a storm with many strange sounds lifted over the cliffs by strong winds. Anne surmised that it was caused by a strong gust of wind howling through one of the caves along the shore, but a natural occurrence or not, Anne felt unsettled by it and chose to return to the castle before the storm hit.

Days went by and tides rolled in and out of St Donats Bay. Anne had grown worried and spent her days in constant agitation at the sill of her window. Yet every day, there was still no Erasmus.

There was a knock at the parlour door.

"Good morning, Anne. Are you well?"

"I am very well, My Lord, thank you."

"I just thought I would come to tell you, My Dear, that I will be travelling to Llandeilo later today. I will only be gone a day."

"Very well, My Lord."

Lord Stradling turned to leave the room.

"My Lord..." Anne began. "I was wondering if you knew of any time soon when Mr Tripp will be returning to trade with us..."

"Mr Tripp?"

"Yes, My Lord."

"Ah, no. Mr Tripp will not be visiting us again."

"He will not?" Anne choked.


Anne noticed she had begun to tremble, but she was beyond controlling her actions.

"...His business at St Donats is done," added Stradling.

He stood and fixed a lingering gaze on Anne, which for a moment made her heart run cold. He turned and left, and Anne stood still, her eyes fixed on the spot where he had stood, unsure what to make of his demeanour.

She turned and paced slowly back to the window. She sat and gazed out to sea for days, waiting; waiting for a boat that never came.




Today, St Donats Castle is known as the United World College of the Atlantic, a selective college which educates students of 16-18 years from across the globe.

The Castle is one of the best-preserved historical monuments in the UK, with not many details having changed since eight-hundred years ago, when it was built. Its students have likened it to studying at 'Hogwarts'.

The quarters around the quadrangle area and banquet hall now house classrooms, a library and a refectory area. The old guardsmen's barracks are now dormitories.

The long, narrow jousting field lies unaltered, complete with stone viewing terrace. The gardens are also unaltered and are in full bloom most of the year. The water spout, although unused for many years, can still be seen on the wall of the rose garden.

The watchtower is dilapidated and overgrown with shrubbery but can still be seen from the air and from the higher terraces of the gardens.


The South Tower is today known as the Lady Anne Tower. It is widely said that one can sometimes see the image of a lady, dressed in Tudor clothing, stood at the window gazing out to sea across the hanging gardens. Students have remarked that before the lady appears, a strong aroma of lavender can be noticed around the Tower.

Another local tale tells the story of one of the Lords Stradling being involved in smuggling. Following a disagreement with one of his tradesmen, he had the man buried up to his neck in one of the two caves in Tresilian Bay and allowed the tide to slowly creep in and engulf the man, drowning him. Legend has it that on a stormy day, the man's howls can still be heard along the coast.

St Donats Castle was owned by the Stradling family for several generations. Lord Edward Stradling and his wife remained childless; and with no heir, the great estate was passed to Lord Stradling's younger brother on his death.


Locals at the time spoke of a son born finally to the family of Owain ap Rhys, a guardsman at the Castle.

It is said that the child had black hair, almond-shaped eyes and dark, exotic features; and looked quite different from the other members of the Rhys family, particularly his flaxen-haired sisters.

The boy was a particular favourite of Lady Stradling, who doted on him, the locals would say, as a result of her inability to have a child of her own.




Author's note:

St Donats Castle is closed to the public, but if you would like to see some photos of the Castle and its grounds, including Tresilian Bay, send me your e-mail address in a private message and I will send them to you. Don't forget to put the word "at" surrounded by brackets instead of the proper "at" sign when you PM me: [at] like so, or your email address won't show!