299a MADAWC THE SON OF MAREDUDD.--Page 299.
MAREDUDD AP BLEDDYN, the father of Madawc, after much contest acquired possession of the sovereignty of the whole principality of Powys. He married Hunydd the daughter of Eunydd, chief of one of the fifteen tribes of North Wales, and Lord of Dyffryn Clwyd and Allington, and died in 1129; his son Madawc succeeded him in one-half of his possessions, which thence acquired the name of Powys Fadawc. Maredudd had been one of the most strenuous and successful opponents of the Normans, celebrated by the national records. It was he who checked the progress of Henry I., who, in one of his invasions of Wales, narrowly escaped being slain by a body of archers that Maredudd had dispatched to meet him; an arrow shot by one of their number actually glanced from the breast-plate of the royal invader. But the son of Maredudd was not distinguished for equal ardour in his country's cause; on the contrary, Madawc combined with Henry II. in the attacks he made
upon Wales in 1158, and during that monarch's first and unsuccessful campaign, took the command of the English ships, and ravaged the shores of Anglesey. In this expedition, however, Madawc was defeated with much loss. Powell says of him, that he was "euer the king of Englands freend, and was one that feared God, and releeued the poore." 1
He was a prince of more than common talent, and was highly extolled by contemporary bards and historians. Amongst others, Gwalchmai composed several poems in his praise. 2
Madawc's wonted prudence appears to have forsaken him in the decline of life. There is an anecdote relating to him which, as it exists only in MS., is probably not generally known. 3 It is to the effect that in his later years he took for his second wife an English lady, Matilda Verdun by name, upon whom, and upon any children he might have by her, he settled the Lordship of Oswestry. This lady inveigled the prince to Winchester, where her party was powerful. There, upon some excuse, he was put in durance, and while in that state was prevailed upon to execute another deed, whereby he settled the said Lordship of Oswestry upon Matilda, and any children she might have after his decease. The prince died soon after the execution of this deed, and his body was conveyed from Winchester to Meivod, in Montgomeryshire, the burying-place of his family, where it was deposited in the church of St. Mary, which he himself had built some years before. His widow, Matilda, scarce took time to dry her tears before she married John Fitzalan, who thereby became Lord of "Oswaldstree." 4
By his first wife, Susanna, daughter of Gruffydd ab Conan, Prince of North Wales, Madawc left several children.
He built the Castle of Oswestry, and a castle at Caer Einion, near Welshpool. Several places in their neighbourhood, and in that of Meivod still bear his name.
299bPOWYS WITHIN ITS BOUNDARIES, &c.--Page 299.
THAT part of the ancient principality of Powys, which belonged to Madawc ab Maredudd, extended from the vicinity of Chester to the uplands of Arwystli, now known as the Plinlimmon range of mountains. This is expressly stated by Gwalchmai, in his Elegy upon that Prince, in which he boasts that the sovereignty of his patron reached from the summit of Plinlimmon to the gates of Caerlleon, or Chester.--Myv. Arch. I. 202.
In more remote times Powys was of much greater extent. Powell tells us, in his History of Wales, that "Powys before king Offas time reached Eastward to the riuers of Dee and Seauerne, with a right line from the end of Broxen hilles to Salop, with all the countrie betweene Wye and Seauerne, whereof Brochwel yscithroc was possessed: but after the making of Offas ditch the plaine countrie toward Salop, being inhabited by Saxons and Normans, Powys was in length from Pulford bridge Northeast, to the confines of Caerdigan shire, in the parish of Lhanguric in the Southwest; and in bredth from the furthest part of Cyuelioc Westward, to Elsmere on the Eastside. This countrie or principalitie of Powys was appointed by Roderike the Great for the portion of his third sonne Anarawd, and so continued intierlie vntill the death of Blethyn ap Convyn. After whom, although the dominion was diminished by limiting parts in seueraltie amongst his sonnes Meredyth and Cadogan, yet at length it came wholie to the possession of Meredyth ap Blethyn, who had issue two sonnes Madoc and Gruffyth, betweene whom the said dominion was diuided." 1 Madawc's share was further divided amongst his three children, from whose immediate descendants it was gained, by fraud or violence, by their Norman neighbours. Gruffydd's descendants, the first of whom was the celebrated Owain Cyveiliog, succeeded for three generations, to an unbroken inheritance, but in the fourth it was distributed among six sons, and finally passed away to several remote heirs. One, and apparently the most considerable of them, was represented by the Cheretons, afterwards Gray, Barons of Powys, from whom are the Vernons of Hodnet and other illustrious Norman families.
This passage would lead us to consider the Porfoed mentioned in the Tale, as identical with Pulford, and the locality of this place, added to the similarity of names, favours the supposition. The situation, however, of Merford, a lordship in the parish of Gresford, Midway between Wrexham and Chester, and of which the name
bears at least an equal resemblance to that of Porfoed, renders it doubtful which of the two is alluded to in the text. Merford contains some interesting remains of a British camp, called the Roft, commanding a most extensive view of the counties of Chester and Salop.
The Gwauan, in Arwystli, spoken of as being at the other extremity of Powys, may possibly be one of the several spots now bearing the name of Waun in the Plinlimmon range.
The Cambrian Quarterly gives some ancient lines on the confines of Powys.
"From Cevn yr Ais, and from Chester to Eisteddva Gurig, and from Garn Gynnull on the river Conwy to Rhyd Helyg on the river Wye." 1
299c IORWERTH THE SON OF MAREDUDD.--Page 299.
IORWERTH was the son of Maredudd ap Bleddyn, by his second wife Eva, daughter of Bledrws ab Ednowain Bendew, chief of one of the fifteen noble tribes. His father bestowed upon him the Lordship of Mochnant, near Oswestry, and be went by the name of Iorwerth Goch of Mochnant. Like most princes of his age, Iorwerth was a warrior, and in 1156 he sided with Henry II. against his neighbour Owain Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales, and during the contest that ensued between the English and the Welsh, he took and razed to the ground the castle of Ial or Yale, which Owain had built only ten years previously. The site of this fortress is still to be seen on a tumulus called Tomen Rhodwydd, by the roadside about halfway between Llangollen and Rhuthin. The partiality evinced by Iorwerth to the English interest, caused his nephews, Owain Cyveiliog and Owain Vychan, to unite their forces against him, and they, succeeded in expelling him from his patrimony of Mochnant, which they divided between them, the former taking possession of Uwch Rhaiadr, and the latter of Is Rhaiadr. Iorwerth married Maude, the daughter of Roger de Manley of Cheshire.
It is supposed by some, that the tribe (Gwelygordd) of Iorwerth is celebrated by Cynddelw, in his poem called Gwelygorddeu Powys, under the title of Yorwerthyawn.--Myv. Arch. I. 256.
It is also thought that Iorwerth, after his expulsion from Mochnant, settled on the English side of Offa's dyke, for we find his grandson (some say his son), Sir Gruffydd Vychan, 2 called by the
[paragraph continues] Welsh "Y Marchog Gwyllt o Gaer Howel," the Wild Knight of Caerhowel, living at a mansion still known by that name at Edgerly, in the county of Salop, near the ford on the Vyrnwy, which in this Mabinogi is designated Rhyd y Wilure. His descendants continued in the same county; and among their number we find another "Wild Knight," Humphrey Kynaston the Wild, who during his outlawry, in the reign of Henry VII. was the inhabitant of the cave, in the bold sandstone rock at Ness Cliff, called after him Kynaston's Cave, and concerning whose feats many an old wife's tale is still current in Shropshire.
300a FROM ABER CEIRAWC IN ALLICTWN VER, TO RHYD Y WILURE.--Page 300.
ABERCEIRAWC, as the name implies, is the point of the confluence of the river Ceiriog with the Dee, which is not far below the town of Chirk, and opposite to Wynnstay Park. Allictwn is doubtless to be fixed at Allington in the immediate vicinity of Pulford, which, as we have already seen, was the extreme boundary of Madawc's possessions to the north-east; and Rhyd y Wilure is Rhyd y Vorle, in English Melverley, a ford upon the Vyrnwy, not far from the spot where that river falls into the Severn. We find accordingly that, taking Aberceirawc as the centre of operations, Madawc caused the search for his brother to be made a considerable way to the south, and as far to the north as his dominion extended. It is said also that some of the men that were on this quest, went as far as Nillystan Trevan, which may possibly be Halistan Trevan, now called Halston, near Whittington, the "Tre wen (or white town) ym mron y coed" of Llywarch Hên. Haliston was a sanctuary from time immemorial; if Iorwerth was a fugitive, be might have sought it as a place of refuge.
The river Vyrnwy, "the forkt Vurnway" of Drayton, is too well known to need description; but as its name occurs in the text, it May be permitted to remark, that whenever the bards have occasion to mention it, they do so in a spirit of affection which its beauty could not fail to inspire.
300b KYNWRIG VRYCHGOCH, A MAN OF MAWDDWY.--Page 300.
MAWDDWY was one of the western districts of ancient Powys; it now forms, in conjunction with Talybont, one of the hundreds of Merionethshire. This district includes the wild range of mountains of which Aran Fawddwy is the chief, and was in former times notorious for the wild and lawless character of its inhabitants, too
well known by the appellation of the Gwylliaid Cochion Mawddwy, the red-headed robbers of Mawddwy. The desperate deeds of these men were the terror of all the surrounding country, on which they levied a species of black-mail; and to such an extent did they carry their violence at last, that it was found necessary in 1554 to issue a commission against them, under which about a hundred of their number were hanged. Some of their kinsmen soon after revenged them by the murder of Baron Owen, of Hengwrt, the chief of the commission, whom they waylaid at Llidiart y Barwn, on his journey to the assizes at Welshpool. After this, vigorous means were taken for their extirpation, and they gradually disappeared.--See Cambro. Briton, I. 184.
Iorwerth Goch, the Iorwerth of the present Mabinogi, had a son named Madawc Goch of Mawddwy, of whom the following notice occurs in a MS. Book of Pedigrees, collected by J. G., Esq., in 1697. "One Llywarch ab Cadfan, an opponent of Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, was slain by this Madog Goch of Mawddwy; and in reward the Prince gave him the lands of Llywarch and his Arms, which were, Argent, a Chevron party per pale Gules and Or, inter 3 Eagles sable, their heads and one leg grey, trippant, standing on the sable leg: 3 trefoils argent over each head." A singular piece of heraldry.
It is not impossible that Kynwrig's designation of Vrychgoch may have been given in allusion to the characteristic complexion of the men of Mawddwy.
300c MOELVRE IN KYNLLEITH.--Page 300.
KYNLLEITH is a division of the hundred of Chirk in Denbighshire, and takes its name from the river Kynlleith. One of the most remarkable natural features of this district is the isolated mountain Moelvre, the summit of which, called Cyrn y Moelvre, is more than seventeen hundred feet above the level of the sea, and rises precipitously from Llyn Moelvre, a lake about a mile in circumference, situate on the western side of the mountain. One of the descendants of Madawc ab Maredudd erected a residence at a place called Moeliwrch, at a considerable elevation on the southern side of Moelvre; it continued for many centuries in the possession of his family.
Kynlleith is noticed in Cynddelw's Marwnad Fadawg fab Maredudd. --Myv. Arc. I. 213.
301a ARGYNGROEG.--Page 301.
IN following Rhonabwy on his visionary journey, it may be allowable to suppose him crossing the Vyrnwy at Rhyd y Vorle (Melverley), and then pursuing his course through the Deuddwr between that river and the Severn, till we come to the plains of Argyngroeg. The district traversed is remarkably fertile. The Cambrian pedestrian, David Thomas, in his metrical description of the Thirteen Counties of Wales, sang its praise about the year 1720. After naming two places excelling in luxuriance, he exclaims "Dau le hyfryd," but above all, the "Dolydd Hafren." Upon the Dolydd Havren it was that Gwalchmai composed his "Gorhoffet," in the twelfth century, while he and his troop of North-Wallians were guarding the opposite fords of the Severn against the progress of the English invaders.--Myv. Arch. I. 193.
That portion of the vale that bears the name of Argyngroeg, modernized into Cyngrog, and to which this narrative more particularly relates, consists of two townships, distinguished as Cyngrog vawr, and Cyngrog vach, the former in the parish of Pool, the latter in that of Guilsfield, and both side by side stretching to the Severn. When the Irish and other freebooters were expelled in the fourth century by the family of Cunedda Wledig, his son Rhuvon had a great part of Denbighshire awarded him as his portion, which from him was called Rhuvoniog, a name it retains to the present day. In like manner, it is not improbable that Cyngar one of Cunedda's descendants had a portion allotted to him at this place, which by adding the usual termination og to his name would be called Cyngarog, and abbreviated into Cyngrog. The names of Morganwg and Brycheiniog, from Morgan and Brychan, are of similar origin. In Cyngrog vawr, lies the site of the Cistercian Abbey of Ystrad Marchell (Strata Marcella), Alba Domus de Marcella, or Street Marshall Abbey, as it is vulgarly called. Having probably been built of wood, no traces of it now remain. The house and farm bearing the name of "The Abbey" belong to the Earl of Powis. The Abbey was founded and well endowed by Owain Cyveiliog, Prince of Powys Upper, who, besides much of the upland and sheep pastures of Cyveiliog, and even of Arwystli, granted to its inmates half the fish caught in the river Dyvi. The monks of Marcella were reduced by decimation under Edward I. and finally expelled by Henry VIII.
From Cyngrog, following the Vale of the Severn, we arrive at the tributary stream of the Rhiw, whose Aber, or confluence with
the main stream, gives name by an ordinary abbreviation to the church and village of Berriew; and a little lower down occur, "Rhyd-y-Groes ar Havren," "The Cross, or Ford upon the Severn."
The Ford still remains, but has been from time immemorial converted into a ferry. At this point was carried on the chief communication between western Montgomeryshire, and the adjacent district of Merioneth towards Shrewsbury. Here also are traces of a second way leading westward towards the Gaer, an evident Roman encampment. The intersection of these two roads appears to have occurred at no great distance from the ford, which doubtless derived its distinctive appellation of Y Groes, either from this circumstance, or from the Rood or Cross often set up both in crossways and upon the margins of fords.
The name Rhyd y Groes, no longer borne by the ford or ferry, is now preserved in that of a farm about two miles and a half distant, in the parish of Fordun near Montgomery, the property of Mr. Price, of Gunley.
Upon the farm itself no remains have been discovered, but several tumuli are found in its neighbourhood, the principal of which, "Hên Domen" (formerly Tre' Baldwyn), is of considerable size. There are also British encampments in the adjacent parishes of Churchstoke and Cherbury. 1
Rhyd y Groes is mentioned in the Welsh Chronicles, as the scene of several conflicts between the Welsh and the Saxons; in allusion to which are those lines of Drayton.
"Here could I else recount the slaughter'd Saxon's gore,
Our swords at Crossford spilt on Severn's wand'ring shore."
Lines in which Drayton may probably have had in mind the victory won over the Saxons, in the early part of the eleventh century, by Gruffydd ab Llewelyn, called by way of eminence, "Y tywysog dewr."
The Ford near Montgomery, was named as the place of meeting between Prince Llewelyn ab Gruffydd, and the commissioners of Edward I.
302a IDDAWC CORDD PRYDAIN.--Page 302.
THE treachery of Iddawc or Eiddilig Cordd Prydain, 1 is the subject of more than one of the Triads, 2 where he is said to have betrayed Arthur by divulging his plans. The meeting between him and Medrawd, with their men at Nanhwynain before the battle of Camlan, is spoken of as one of the three traitorous meetings of the Island, for there they plotted the betrayal of Arthur, which occasioned the strength of the Saxons. In another place their ascendancy is attributed to Iddawc's magical arts, which there were not warriors in the Island capable of withstanding, so that the Saxons prevailed. This magic, for which he is also greatly celebrated, was taught him by Rhuddlwm Gawr.
The Triad which ranks Iddawc Cordd Prydain amongst the enchanters is prettily versified by Davydd ap Gwilym, 3 who speaks of him as an Irishman.
Iddawc was also, with Trystan and Gweirwerydd Vawr, one of the three stubborn ones, whom none could divert from their purpose; he is supposed to have afterwards embraced a religious life, probably when he did penance at Llechlas (possibly Glasgow), in North Britain, as mentioned in the Tale. His name is found in the Catalogue of the Welsh Saints. Professor Rees, however, considers this an error for Iddew ab Cawrda ab Caradawc Vreichvras, arising from the similarity of their names. 4
302b CAMLAN.--Page 302.
THE battle of Camlan was the last of Arthur's battles, and that in which he lost his life. His opponents were headed by Medrawd, his nephew, the son of his sister Anna and Llew ap Cynvarch.
The Triads assign two different causes for this battle. The one, the blow given by Gwenhwyvar, Arthur's wife, to Gwenhwyvach; the other, the blow given to Medrawd by Arthur himself. The events immediately preceding it, together with the account of the battle itself as related in the Triads, and by Gruffydd ab Arthur, are briefly as follows,
Lles, emperor of Rome, demanded from Arthur the tribute that
his ancestors had paid, from the time of Caswallawn the son of Beli to that of Cystennin, Arthur's grandsire. The Roman Ambassador, proceeded to Caerlleon upon Usk, when Arthur not only denied their claim, but on the ground of the British origin of Brân and Constantine, both Roman emperors, determined by a counterclaim to retaliate, Medrawd was appointed Regent of the kingdom, whilst Arthur and his Britons crossed the sea, and fought a battle in the Cisalpine territory, in which the Roman emperor was slain, and both parties sustained severe loss. The result of this encounter encouraged Medrawd to attempt his uncle's throne. He seized upon the royal residence of Gelliwig, dragged the queen Gwenhwyvar from her throne (or, according to some versions, appropriated her as his wife), and strengthening himself by making treaties with the Saxons, Scots, and Picts, collected a force of eighty thousand men to oppose his uncle's landing. Arthur, however, disembarked at Porth Hamwnt, and put his rebellious nephew to flight after a hard fought engagement. Medrawd retreated to Winchester, whither Arthur, after remaining three days on the field of battle to bury the dead, followed him, and gained a second victory; upon this Medrawd fled into Cornwall, but was overtaken on the banks of the Camlan, supposed to be the river Camel, in that county. The celebrated battle of Camlan ensued. Arthur there gained the victory, but received a mortal wound at the hand of Medrawd, whom, however, he slew upon the field; he did not himself die on the spot, but was conveyed to Avallach or Avalon, and the crown descended to Cystennin the son of Kadwr, his kinsman. A mystery hangs over the final fate of Arthur.
One of the Triads 1 admits that Arthur died, and was buried at Avalon, now Glastonbury, in Somersetshire, where we learn from other authorities that Henry the II. many years afterwards discovered what were said to be his remains, with the inscription, 2
"Hic jacet Arthurus, rex quondam rexque futurus." 3
They were also visited, and a second time disinterred, by Edward I. and his queen.
Medrawd, notwithstanding the treachery with which his career ended, had always been considered a valiant warrior, and in the Triads 1 he is styled one of the three kingly knights of Arthur's Court, to whom no one could deny any thing by reason of their courtliness. The peculiar qualities to which his persuasive powers were due, were calmness, mildness, and purity.
304a ADAON THE SON OF TALIESIN.--Page 304.
ADAON or Avaon, son of the chief of the bards, and a bard himself, was also celebrated for his valour. He was one of those three dauntless chieftains who feared nothing in the day of the battle and strife, but rushed onwards regardless of death.--Tr. 73.
This courage and daring supported him through all the dangers of war. He fell at length by the hand of an assassin Llawgad Trwm Bargawd or Llawgad Trwm Bargawd Eiddyn, whose name is preserved only as the perpetrator of this crime.--Tr. 47.
The bold and determined character of Avaon appears to have continued even after death, for there is a Triad (quoted, p. 202) in which Avaon is spoken of as one of the grave-slaughtering ones, so called from their having avenged their wrongs from their graves.
None of his poetry is known to be preserved, except the following which is given in the Englynion y Clyweid.--Myv. Arch. I. 173.
"Hast thou heard what Avaon sang,
The son of Taliesin, of the recording verse?
The cheek will not conceal the anguish of the heart."
304b ELPHIN.--Page 304.
ELPHIN was the son of Gwyddno Garanhir, the unfortunate king whose possessions were submerged through the intemperance of Seithenin, the person employed to attend to the sea-banks. Some further particulars concerning him will be mentioned in a subsequent Mabinogi.
304c BATTLE OF BADON.--Page 304.
THE battle of Badon or Badon Mount, was one of the later,--Nennius says the twelfth,--and most successful of the battles fought by Arthur and the British elders, against the Saxons under Cerdic. The Britons not only gained the victory, but were by it enabled for some time to hold the Saxons in check.
The date of the battle has been the subject of dispute. From the persons engaged in it, it must be placed in the sixth century. A passage in the Red Book of Hergest, fixes its chronology 128 years after the age of Vortigern. The later Gildas, named Badonicus, from his birth having taken place in the year of the battle, has left a passage on the subject, which Bede appears to have misinterpreted, and from which Mr. Stevenson, the last editor of Gildas, places the birth of his author, and therefore the date of the battle, in the year 520.
The site of this conflict is also doubtful. Usher, following Camden, fixes it at Bath, and Camden, led probably by the similarity of names, gives his opinion in favour of Banner Down, near that city, upon which, in common, however, with most of the neighbouring heights, are remains of entrenchments more or less perfect. Carte prefers what he calls Mount Badon, in Berkshire. It is remarkable that the latter Gildas speaks of the battle as "obsessio," a siege. He also places "Mons Badonicus" near to the mouth of the Severn "prope Sabrinæ ostium"; but this latter passage has been considered an interpolation. Mr. Freeman, whose historical and antiquarian learning entitles his opinion to respect, suggests that Badon way be identical with Badbury Rings, near Wimborne in Dorsetshire.
To quote more poetical authority, the feats performed by the hero Arthur, at the battle of Badon Mount, are thus prettily celebrated in Drayton's verse.
They sung how he himself at Badon bore that day,
When at the glorious gole his British scepter lay;
Two daies together how the battel stronglie stood:
Pendragon's worthie son, who waded there in blood,
Three hundred Saxons slew with his owne valiant hand."
Cynddelw, and others of the Welsh Bards, speak of this fight with becoming admiration.
304d OSLA GYLLELLVAWR.--Page 304.
OSSA, or Osla, Gyllellvawr has already appeared in the Mabinogi of Kilhwch, pp. 226 and 256, where his prowess in the hunt of the Twrch Trwyth, occasioned the loss of his marvellous knife. From his name, and from the part assigned to him in this Tale, he was probably a Saxon; the Ossa, it may be, of Nennius's genealogies. This conjecture is strengthened by the epithet "Cyllellvawr"; the great or long knife, being in some measure associated with the Saxon name, owing to the massacre of Stonehenge, commonly called the "Treachery of the Long Knives," "Brad y Cyllyll hirion." 1 Hengist on that occasion is said to have invited the British Chieftains to a banquet and conference at Ambresbury, when beside each was placed a Saxon, who, at a signal agreed upon, drew forth his long knife, and suddenly fell upon his neighbour. This scheme was so effectually executed that four hundred and sixty of the British nobles are supposed to have been slaughtered. They did not, indeed, fall wholly unavenged; some defended themselves valiantly, and killed many of the Saxons with the stones that lay around. Eidiol, 2 earl of Gloucester, who was fortunate enough to escape the general carnage, slew seventy Saxons with his own hand; the Triads say six hundred and sixty. The circle of Stonehenge is said, though with small semblance of probability, to have been erected by the Britons as a monument of this massacre upon the spot on which it occurred.
305a CARADAWC VREICHVRAS.--Page 305.
CARADAWC, like Trystan, and many other heroes whose names occur in the Mabinogion, was celebrated both in Welsh and Norman story. He was a son of Llyr Merini, a prince of Cornwall, and himself chief elder of Gelliwig; 3 the royal residence in that part of the Island. His mother was Gwen, grand-daughter of Brychan, through whose right he is supposed to have become ruler of the district of Brycheiniog. 4 According to the Triads, he was one of the battle knights of Britain, 5 and in an Englyn attributed to Arthur himself, he is styled "Caradawc pillar of the Cymry."
His prowess at the battle of Cattraeth, is also sting in the verse of his contemporary Aneurin, 1 who calls several of his fellow-warriors in evidence of his assertion.
"When Caradawc rushed into battle,
It was like the tearing onset of the woodland boar,
The bull of combat in the field of slaughter,
He attracted the wild dogs by the action of his hand.
My witnesses are Owain the son of Eulat,
And Gwrien, and Gwynn, and Gwriat.
From Cattraeth and its carnage,
From the hostile encounter,
After the clear bright mead was served,
He saw no more the dwelling of his father."
From the latter part of this passage, it appears that Caradawc fell in this battle, and the same is again repeated a few lines further on in the passage already quoted in the notes to Peredur ab Evrawc. See p. 125.
Several Welsh families trace their pedigree to Caradawc.
Caradawc's horse Lluagor is recorded as one of the three battle horses of the Island. 2
Tegau Eurvron, the beautiful wife of Caradawc, was no less renowned for her virtue than for her charms. In the Triads she is spoken of as one of the three fair ladies, and one of the three chaste damsels of Arthur's Court. 3 She possessed three precious things of which she alone was worthy; her mantle, her goblet of gold, and her knife. She is frequently alluded to by the bards.
In Anglo-Norman Romance, Caradawc's cognomen of Vreichvras "with the brawny arm," becomes "Brise Bras" and he himself takes his place as a principal hero of the Round Table. His wife preserves her British character and attributes under a Norman garb, and is well known as "faithful among the faithless" of Arthur's Court, the heroine of the mantle, "over her decent shoulders drawn." Sir Caradawc's well-founded confidence in his wife's virtue, enabled him to empty the marvellous Horn, and carve the tough Boar's head, adventures in which his compeers failed. In token of the latter of them, the Boar's head, in some form or other, appears as the armorial bearing of all of his name.
The Trouvères have a pretty story 1 in reference to the appellation of Brise Bras which they rendered the "wasted arm." They tell of an enchanter who fixed a serpent upon Caradawc's arm, from whose wasting tooth he could never be relieved, until she whom he loved best should consent to undergo the torture in his stead. His betrothed on learning this, was not to be deterred from giving him this proof of her devotion. As, however, the serpent was in the act of springing from the wasted arm of the knight to the fair neck of the lady, her brother, Kadwr, earl of Cornwall, struck off its head with his sword, and thus dispelled the enchantment. Caradawc's arm, however, never recovered its pristine strength and size, and hence, according to some authorities, the name of Brise Bras.
In the life of St. Collen, two persons of the name are mentioned, one of whom was the ancestor of St, Collen himself, and was called Vreichvras, because he broke his arm in the battle of Hiraddig, from which injury that arm became larger than the other. He is expressly distinguished from the other Caradawc Vreichvras the son of Llyr Merini.--See Greal, 337.
305b CEVN DIGOLL.---Page 305.
ON the eastern boundary of Montgomeryshire, we find situated Cevn Digoll, called also "Hir Vynydd," or the Long Mountain. From its natural position, it seems to have been considered as a military post of some importance, and is celebrated as the scene of several remarkable events. There is a Triad relating to the conflicts that took place between Cadwallawn, and Edwin, king of Northumbria, on Cevn Digoll, in the early part of the seventh century, and which is said to have occasioned one of the three discolourings of the Severn, when that river was discoloured from its source to its estuary. 2
These engagements are thus alluded to in an Elegy upon Cadwallawn ab Cadvan.--Myv. Arch. I. 121.
"It was on Cevn Digoll that the Welsh maintained their last struggle against Edward I. when Madawc, the son of Llywellyn ab Gruffydd was defeated and taken prisoner by the Lords Marchers. It was also said that Henry VII. encamped on this mountain, on his March from Wales to Bosworth field. On the summit of Cevn Digoll is a circular encampment, called the Beacon Ring. It is several acres in extent, but there is no water within its limits."
305c MARCH THE SON OF MEIRCHION.--Page 305.
THIS prince, whose territory is said to have been in Cornwall, was particularly unfortunate in having such a nephew as Trystan, and such a wife as Essyllt, the Yseult La Belle of the Trouvères.
As a possessor of ships he has been already noticed, the Triad which represents him as such having been cited at p. 193. His grave is mentioned by the Englynion y Beddau, Myv. Arch. II. p. 81.
306a KADWR, EARL OF CORNWALL.--Page 306.
IN the wars of Arthur, as recounted by Gruffydd ab Arthur, Kadwr bore a conspicuous part. He shared the dangers of the expedition against the Romans, and was present at the battle in which the emperor of Rome was slain. He assisted at the coronation of his sovereign at Caerlleon upon Usk. Kadwr is mentioned in the Triads as one of the three battle knights, who fled neither for spear, nor arrow, nor sword, and who never shamed their leader in the day of conflict. 1
His son Cystennin succeeded Arthur in his kingdom. Tegau Eurvron, the virtuous wife of Caradawc Vreichvras, and the heroine of the Mantel mal taillé, appears to have been the sister of Kadwr.
Taliesin alludes to him in his poem entitled the Glaswawd--
He will spare no kindred,
Neither cousin nor brother;
At the sound of Kadwr's horn
Nine hundred are stunned."
Myv. Arch. I. p. 64.
311a OVERLAID WITH FINE SILVER.--Page 311.
THE words in the original are "Gwedy latteinu ac aryant coeth," being lattened over with refined silver. Latten, or laton, was a mixed metal of the colour of brass, and was much employed in the fourteenth century for monumental effigies. For this and many other purposes it was prepared in the form of plate, and hence its name seems occasionally to have been used to express a plate or coating of metal generally, as in this particular instance of silver.
It may be remarked, that the term "latten" is still technically applied to the thinnest manufactured iron plate.
311b RAVENS.--Page 311.
THE Ravens of Owain have already appeared in the Mabinogi of Iarlles y Ffynawn, where they are said to have been three hundred in number, and to have descended to their master from Cynvarch, his paternal grandsire. It seems from passages in the writings of various bards, that the tradition of this singular army was familiarly current in the middle ages. It is alluded to by Bleddynt Vardd, in an Elegy on Davydd, the son of Gruffydd (and brother to Llewelyn, the last of the Welsh Princes), who was imprisoned and put to death by Edward I. about 1283.
A man he was with a battered shield and a daring lance, in the field of battle;
A man proud to seek the furious trampling;
A man whose warriors were proud of their stately array;
A man of the cleaving stroke and broken spear, loving the fight;
A man who caused the birds to fly upon the hosts [of slain]
Like the ravens of Owain eager for prey."
Myv. Arch. I. p. 365.
Lewis Glyn Cothi even mentions the particular staff or shaft, by the uplifting of which the Ravens were inspirited to destroy Arthur's pages and attendants, as related in the text.
"Owain son of Urien overthrew
The three towers of Cattraeth of old,
Arthur dreaded, as the flames,
Owain, his ravens, and his parti-coloured staff."--Works, I. 140.
Another poem of his has also an allusion to the "Vran a'r vaner Vraith."--I. 72.
312a SELYV THE SON OF KYNAN GARWYN.--Page 312.
HE has been already noticed as one of the "grave-slaughtering" warriors of the Island of Britain, who avenged their wrongs from their Sepulchres. A satire upon his father, Kynan Garwyn, is printed in the Myvyrian Archaiology, I. p. 168, among the Poems of Taliesin, to whom it is assigned.
312b GWGAWN GLEDDYVRUDD.--Page 312.
WE find the name of this chieftain twice occurring in the Triads. He is first noticed as one of the three stayers of slaughter 1 (ysgymmydd aereu), and afterwards, as one of the sentinels in the battle of Bangor Orchard.--Tr. lxvi.
His grave is alluded to in the Englynion y Beddau. The passage has been already quoted (p. 33).
The name of his horse, which was Buchestom, is preserved in the Trioedd y Meirch.
312c RHIOGAN.--Page 312.
THIS prince is mentioned in the graves of the warriors.
"Whose is the grave on the banks of the Rhydnant?
Rhun was his name, of the steady progress,
He was a king; Rhiogan slew him."--Myv. Arch. I. p. 82.
312d GWAIR THE SON OF GWESTYL.--Page 312.
IT would seem that this personage was distinguished as being of a peculiarly dismal disposition, for we find him referred to as such by Llywarch ap Llewelyn, 2 in an Elegy on Hywel ap Gruffydd, (who died in 1216,) where he tells us, that through grief for his loss, his friends are become like Gwair ah Gwestyl.--Myv. Arch. I. p. 294.
And Einion Wan, in his Elegy on Madawc ab Gruffydd Maelor, a few years later, has the same expression in allusion to Madawc.
"The man who has become like Gwair ab Gwestyl."
Myv. Arch. I. p. 333.
It is not impossible that he is the same person as the Gwevyl mab Gwestad, of Kilhwch and Olwen, whose melancholy was such that "on the day that he was sad, he would let one of his lips drop below his waist, while he turned up the other like a cap upon his head" (p. 227).
The variation in the names is perhaps not greater than may be accounted for by the errors into which the transcribers of the olden time are well known to have but too frequently fallen.
In one version of the Triads, he is mentioned m one of the
three diademed chiefs of the Island, together with Kai, and Trystan mab Tallwch. 1 But others substitute for his name that of Huail, the son of Kaw of Cwm Cawlwyd.
312e TRYSTAN THE SON OF TALLWCH.--Page 312.
THIS personage is better known as the Tristan of Chivalric, and the Sir Tristrem of Metrical Romance, than in his proper character as a chieftain of the sixth century. In the Triads, 2 he is mentioned as one of the three compeers of Arthur's Court, as one of the diademed Princes, as one of the three Heralds, and as one of the three stubborn ones, whom no one could deter from their purpose. His chief celebrity, however, is derived from his unfortunate attachment to Essyllt, the wife of his uncle, March ab Meirchion, which gained him the appellation of one of the three ardent lovers of Britain. It was owing to the circumstance of his having tended his uncle's swine, whilst he despatched their usual keeper with a message to this lady, that he became classed as one of the three swineherds of the Island. There is a further Triad concerning Trystan, in which he is represented as able to transform himself into any shape he pleased.--Myv. Arch. II. p. 80.
312f MORYEN.--Page 312.
A WARRIOR whose name repeatedly occurs in the Gododin.
312g LLACHEU THE SON OF ARTHUR.--Page 312.
LLACHEU has already been mentioned (p. 60) with Gwalchmai, and Rhiwallon of the broom blossom hair, as one of the learned ones of the Island of Britain, to whom the elements and material essence of every thing were known. He was no less renowned for warlike prowess than for his deep knowledge, and is said to have fallen fighting bravely for his country, in the battle of Llongborth, so celebrated in the verse of Llywarch Hên. The death of Llacheu is thus alluded to, in a curious Dialogue between Gwyn ab Nudd and Gwyddno Garanhir. 3
"I know where Llacheu the son of Arthur
Renowned in song was slain,
When the ravens rushed upon blood."
312h RHYAWD THE SON OF MORGANT.--Page 312.
THE Triads celebrate him as one of the three irregular Bards of the Island of Britain, the other two being Arthur himself, and Cadwallawn the son of Cadvan. He also ranked with Trystan, and Dalldav mab Kynin Côv, as one of the three compeers of Arthur's court. Rhuddfrych was the name of his horse. 1
313a GILBERT THE SON OF KADGYFFRO.--Page 313.
GILBERT the son of Kadgyffro, has already been cited (p. 332) with Gwgan Gleddyvrudd and Morvran Eil Tegid, as one of the three stayers of slaughter. His name occurs again in the Trioedd y Meirch 3, where his horse is said to have been one of the chief steeds of the Island of Britain, and to have been known by the designation of Rhuddfreon Tuthfleidd.
313b GWRTHMWL WLEDIG.--Page 313.
GWRTHMWL, a prince of North Britain, was the chief elder of Penrhyn Rhionydd, one of the three tribe-thrones or royal cities of the Island. The celebrated St. Kentigern was chief Bishop of Penrhyn Rhionydd, during Gwrthmwl's eldership.--Tr. vii.
Gwrthmwl's history is brief. It may be inferred that be was slain by Maelwr of Rhiw or Allt Faelwr, in Cardiganshire, since there are notices in the triads of his sons, Gwair and Clais, and Arthaual, 2 riding against Maelwr, upon Erch their horse, to avenge their father's fate. It was one of Maelwr's customs never to close his gates against a single horse-load, and thus they gained entrance, and slew him. This was one of the three great horse-loads of the Island of Britain. The first of the three was a burthen of seven persons and a half, borne by Du y Moroedd, the horse of Elidyr Mwynvawr, from Llech Elidyr in the North, to Llech Elidyr in Anglesey. The seven were Elidyr himself, and Eurgain the daughter of Maelgwn Gwynedd, his wife, and Gwynda Gyned, and Gwynda Rheimad, and Mynach Nawmon the counsellor, and Petryleu Venestyr the butler, and Arianvagyl his servant, and Gellfeinesin his jester, who held on with his two
hands at the horse's crupper and so was the half person. It does not appear what was the reason of their travelling in so singular a manner.
Gwrthmwl Wledig, was also the possessor of one of the spectre bulls of the Island of Britain, or as another version has it, one of the spectre stags; Carw and Tarw, having been evidently confounded by the copyists. 1 What these sprites were is not explained. According to Beddau y Milwyr, his grave was in the wood of Briavael. 2
316:1 Page 210.
316:2 Myvyrian Archaiology, I. p. 200.
316:3 For this anecdote, as well as for much of the topographical information contained in the notes to the Tale of Rhonabwy, I am indebted to the kindness of the Rev. Walter Davies (Gwallter Mechain).
316:4 John's grandson, Richard Fitzalan, was the first Earl of Arundel of that name. In the time of Edward III. another Richard Fitzalan, fourth in descent from the above-mentioned Matilda Verdun, was at the same time Earl of Arundel, and in right of his mother, Earl Warren and Surrey. He was also Lord of Clun and Oswaldstree, in Shropshire, and Lord of Bromfield, Yale, Chirkland, and Dinus Bran, in North Wales.
317:1 Page 211.
318:1 Cambr. Quarterly, III. 403.
318:2 Sir Gruffydd Vychan was one of the earliest knights of the military order of St. John of Jerusalem.
322:1 Acknowledgment should again be made in this place to the Rev. Walter Davies, for the curious local information contained in this note.
323:1 Possibly Gordd Prydain, the hammer of Britain.
323:2 Triads 22, 20, 50, 90, 78.
323:3 Davydd ab Gwilym's Poems, 207. Cyffelybiad rhwng Morfudd a'r Delyn.
323:4 Welsh Saints, p. 280.
324:1 Myv. Arch. II. p. 4.
324:2 Giraldus Cambrensis, who says he saw the inscription, gives it thug: "Hic jacet sepultus inclytus Rex Arthurus in insula Avallonia."
324:3 It may be here permitted to quote old Lydgate's verges upon Arthur's disappearance and expected return:--
"He is a King crouned in Fairie,
With scepter and sword and with his regally
Shall resort as Lord and Soveraigne
Out of Fairie and reigne in Britaine;
And repaire again the Round Table.p. 325
By prophesy Merlin set the date,
Among Princes King incomparable,
His seate againe to Caerlion to translate,
The Parchas sustren sponne so his fate,
His Epitaph recordeth so certaine
Here lieth K. Arthur that shall raigne againe."
325:1 Triad 118.
327:1 Triad 20.--Gruffydd ab Arthur. Myv. Arch. II. 254.
327:2 Eidiol is associated for his strength with Gwrnerth Ergydlym, who slow the largest bear that ever was seen, with an arrow of straw; and Gwgan Lawgadarn, who rolled the stone of Maenarch from the valley to the top of the hill, which not less than thirty oxen could have drawn.--Tr. 60.
327:3 Triad 64.
327:4 Jones's History of Brecknockshire, I. p. 53.
327:5 Triad 29.
328:1 Myv. Arch. 1. p. 5.
328:2 Trioedd y Meirch, Myv. Arch. II. p. 20.
328:3 Triads 103, 108.
329:1 See Metrical and Prose versions of Perceval le Gallois.
329:2 Triad lxxv.
330:1 Myv. Arch. II. p. 80
332:1 The others were Morvran eil Tegid, and Gilbert mab Cadgyffro.--Tr. xxix.
332:2 Commonly called Prydydd y Moch.
333:1 Tr. xxiii. Myv. Arch. II., p. 12.
333:2 Triads 113, 32, 69, 18, 102. See also the dialogue between him and Gwalchmai (p. 57).
333:3 Myv. Arch. I. p. 166.
334:1 Triads lxxxix. 113, and Trioedd y Meirch, 5.
334:2 Myv. Arch. II. 8, 10, 20, 80. In some accounts only two of his sons are said to have been on this expedition, and one of them is called Achlen.
335:1 Myv. Arch. II. p. 16, 17, 71
335:2 Ib. I. p. 81.