During the late 17th and early 18th century there lived in Denbigh a well known dissenting minister by the name of the Reverend Thomas Baddy (d. 1729). Wrexham born, he was a man of excellent standing within the non-conformist community of North East Wales, known for his translation of religious tracts into Welsh. It is fair to say that he was also renowned for his fiery and powerful sermons. One late evening, working by the light of a sputtering candle, he was working on a particularly pungent piece - fearing, as he did every week, that his congregation was beginning to stray for a righteous path. He was pleased with his work, for the words fairly burned from the page.
As he read back his words, he heard a high pitched cackle behind him within the shadows of the room; a cracked cackle that ended in a child-like giggle that made the hairs on the back of Baddy’s neck prickle. Of course, the minister was quick to identify the presence as the Devil himself, come to mock his worthy efforts. With utter disdain, Baddy refused even to turn to face his nemesis, but instead took up a sheet of paper, dipped his quill into the well of ink, and wrote the following Devil wounding verse,
‘At y diben hwn Mab Duw a eglurhawyd, fel y difrodai efe gweithredoedd y diafol.’
‘For this was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devil.’
1 John 3:8
Reverend Baddy held up the piece of paper, the words of the Bible facing the origin of the laugh which immediately came to an end. The minister placed the paper on his desk, and without so much as a shudder, continued with his sermon as if confrontations with the Diafol in a Denbigh study were much to be expected.
Byegones, Aug 1872
Cambro-Briton Vol II, February 1821
A. N. Palmer, A History of the Older Non-Conformity of the Wrexham and its Neighbourhood, Wrexham & Oswestry (1888)
T. R. Roberts, Eminent Welshmen Vol 1, Cardiff & Merthyr (1908)