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Hunting the Wren PHYLLIS KINNEY Hunting the wren, a custom which took place as part of the celebrations around the winter solstice, appears to have had a long tradition in Britain.1 It is possible that the earliest reference to the custom may be a verse in Llyfr Coch Hergest ('the Red Book of Hergest', c.1382-1410) in which a poet describes striking a wren with a stone and wounding it grievously.2 Apart from that, the earliest description of wren-hunting is by Edward Lhuyd, the late seventeenth-century scholar and antiquarian: Arverant yn swydh Benfro &c. dhwyn driw mewn elor nos ystwylh; odhiwrth gwr Ivank at i Gariad, sef day nae dri ai dygant mewn elor a ribane; ag a ganant gorolion. Ant hevyd i day ereilh lhe ni bo kariadon a bydh kwrw v. &c. A elor o'r wlad ai galwant Kwlli [Kwtti] wran.3 [They are accustomed in Pembrokeshire etc. to carry a wren in a bier on Twelfth Night; from a young man to his sweetheart, that is two or three bear it in a bier [covered] with ribbons, and sing carols. They also go to other houses where there are no sweethearts and there will be ale etc. And a bier from the country they call Cutty Wran.]4 The main features of his description are the locality: Pembrokeshire; the time: Twelfth Night (5 January); the participants: young men bearing a wren in a bier decorated with ribbons; the singing; and the ale. There is also .the suggestion of a fertility custom. In mid nineteenth-century Pembrokeshire, the Tenby procession involved an ornamented wren- house mounted on poles carried by four men, singing as they went and pretending to groan under the heavy weight of their tiny burden. In Marloes, the wren-house was carried in procession on Twelfth Day. Although wren-hunt songs are found in other parts of Wales there are no detailed descriptions of the custom outside Pembrokeshire or its environs. Over a century later, the Revd John Jenkins ('Ifor Ceri', 1770-