Dinas Bran plays a prominent part in the medieval tale, ‘The History of Fitz-Warine’. It tells us of a story told to William the Conqueror as he moved into the Vale of Llangollen. Dinas Bran was apparently haunted by the devil possessed giant Geomagog, previously killed by a sturdy kick to the head and subsequent drowning by the knight, Corineus.
Pain Peverell (a cousin to William) declared that he would travel to Dinas Bran to defeat the giant. Accompanied by 15 knights and armed with a sword emblazoned with a cross of azure, he climbed to the summit.
That night a terrible storm of thunder and lightning broke upon the castle, and Peverell’s knights all feared for their lives. Falling to the ground, they cowered and would not move. Although fearful himself, Peverell was made of sterner stuff, it seems. As a good Christian he made to prayer and asked for strength and protection from the devil.
The giant, Geomagog attacked from the dark, enraged by the piety of the knight. Breathing out great clouds of smoke and fire, the flames of which were quite visible in the town below, illuminating the summit. Peverell trusted in the Lord, and more vitally his sword and battle was met. Despite Geomagog’s great size and strength, Peverell’s blessed sword enfeebled the giant, and finally Peverell was able to mortally wound the fiend.
Recognising the power of Christ, Geomagog submitted. Peverell demanded to know who the giant was and why he resided at Dinas Bran. The giant was forthcoming, confirming the tale originally told to William of his death. Having given his soul to the devil, the spirit returned to the Vale and Dinas Bran to protect the treasure hoard collected by the giant and hidden at the castle. His interest piqued by the mention of treasure (the Normans ever were), Peverell demanded to know more of it. He was told of a fabulous wealth of golden pagan figurines, including the mythological stalwart of a golden bull. Indeed, the giant claimed the Vale had once been the domain of evil spirits until banished by St Augustine.
Cutting to the quick of the matter, Peverell demanded to know the whereabouts of the treasure, but was told in no uncertain terms to, ‘speak no more of that for it is destined for others’. And at that, the spirit of the giant hissed out of Geomagog’s corpse and left behind such a stink that Peverell was almost overcome.
William was, of course, much impressed with this tale, and kept the giant’s mace as a source of wonder, having unceremoniously thrown the giant’s body into a ditch somewhere outside of the town. True to form, William rewarded Peverell by granting him an awful lot of somebody else’s land.
The treasure of Geomagog is said to lay somewhere on Dinas Bran to this day, waiting to be found, it is said, by a white dog whose silver eyes can see the wind. It is worth noting, that in the light of Bran’s connection to London as previously stated, that there is perhaps a connection between Geomagog and the legendary Gogmagog, the legendary giant of British folklore and the guardian of London.