King Arthur, Merlin & Wales.

The legend of King Arthur is rooted deep in Welsh history.

North Wales famed for it’s beautiful and rugged terrain is a land steeped in legend and mystery.

Few are bigger or have more universal appeal than that of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Links to Arthurian mythology are deeply rooted in Welsh history, dating back to the dark ages. Much of the stories come from generations of local folklore, and many of the places mentioned in the tales are located right here in Wales.

Professor Raluca Radulescu, lead of Bangor University’s MA in Arthurian Literature is referencing the Welsh links to the King Arthur stories: “The historical roots of Arthur are in Wales, and more specifically North Wales, and with the story of Myrddin (Merlin of later day) and King Vortigern at Dinas Emrys (Beddgelert).

“With the two dragons fighting, and Llyn Ogwen’s associations with Arthur’s sword Excalibur, one cannot get any closer to the heart of these beloved and internationally-known medieval Welsh legends.

There are several Welsh lakes which are claimed to be the final resting place for the the sword Caledfwlch (Excalibur). Llydaw, Dinas and Ogwen – all of which are in Snowdonia National Park have been linked to the legendary weapon. In Legend of the Sword, Arthur actor Charlie Hunnam throws his sword into one of these lakes, filmed near the valley of Nant Gwynant.

Llyn Dinas is close to the fort of Dinas Emrys and is said to be where Arthur’s knight Sir Owain battled a giant. Local folklore says that the hill by the lake is where Merlin’s treasure is buried.

Tryfan, one of the movie’s locations is said to be the final resting-place of Sir Bedwyr (Bedivere), Arthur’s faithful knight who returned the infamous weapon to the Lady of the Lake at the request of the fatally injured King.

According to one legend, when the sword was thrown towards the lake, a woman’s arm clothed in silk reached up from the depths of the water, catching the blade before pulling it under.

There are conflicting tales over which lake Bedivere threw the sword into – some say Llyn Llydaw, others insist it was thrown into Llyn Ogwen.

Legend says that the summit of Mount Snowdon, Wales’s tallest mountain was the home of Rhitta Gawr, a giant and a tyrant who wore a cape made from beards of his enemies.

When Arthur refuses to part with his facial hair, the monster challenged Arthur to a battle. Arthur overcame the giant with a blow that cut the giant in two.

Arthur’s knights then buried Rhitta, constructing a burial chamber over the body right on the top of the mountain. The area then became known as Yr Wyddfa Fawr, translated as ‘The Great Tomb’.

Eventually it became just Yr Wyddfa which is the Welsh name for Snowdon.

Beddgelert (Gelert’s Grave ), a small village in Snowdonia was thought to be the location of a great fortress built by the Welsh King Gwrtheryn – also referred to as Vortigern – from where he defeated the Saxons.

The myth tells of the struggle the King had with his building work, as each day’s work was destroyed overnight. His advisors told him that he needed to sacrifice a child who had been ‘born of no father or mother’ and use the child’s blood to mix in with the mortar.

A child was found, who was conceived by a demon – his name Myrddin Emrys.

Myrddin dreamt every night, ahead of his slaughter that he knew the answer. He told the King that each night, a great fight was taking place between two dragons, one red and one white, in a pool underneath the building. Following the child’s advice, the King dug up the foundations of the fort and found the dragons. They then plied the dragons with alcohol and removed them from the ground.

Myrddin, who would later become Merlin, Arthur’s mentor, explained the dragons represented the Saxons (white) and the Welsh (red). While the white dragon seemed to be triumphant at first, it was later defeated by the red, symbolising that there would be a time in the future when the Welsh would be freed from Saxon rule.

Hardly anything remains of the ancient hill fort at Dinas Emrys – named in honour of Myrddin – but the pool is apparently still there in the form a small rectangle. filled with tall grass.

It is said that Arthur’s final battle took place on Mount Snowdon. Some stories describe how Mordred, Arthur’s nephew is given control of the kingdom while he is away at war in Rome.

Mordred usurps the throne in his absence and forges a relationship with Arthur’s wife Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere). News reached Arthur and he returns home to fight at the Battle of Camlann.

A huge battle took place where Arthur and his knights fought Mordred and were brought down by enemy arrows. This area is now known as Bwlch y Saethau or the Pass of the Arrows. Mordred was ultimately killed, but Arthur was said to have been mortally wounded.

Legend says that Arthur’s body was was covered with stones, which to this day is still known as still known as Carnedd Arthur (Arthur’s Cairn).

After his death, his knights were said to have buried themselves in a cave on the top of the nearby mountain Y Lliwedd where they lie in slumber ready to fight for Wales against their enemies, led by King Arthur.

Another tale describes how Arthur was taken to Avalon, a magical island, to recover from his wounds.

Today ramblers on the Watkin Path can visit the spot of Arthur’s ‘death’ in Coed y Brenin, located just before the path joins with the Rhyd Ddu path, close to the summit.

According to some mythology, Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island) which is located just off the Llyn Peninsula is in fact the Island of Avalon.

The island is home to around 20,000 saints. Some claim that the island is where Arthur himself is said to be buried however other stories claim the island is the final resting place of Myrddin (Merlin).

Legend tells that the wreckage of Arthur’s ship lies at the bottom of Bardsey Sound – the area of water between the island and the mainland.

Avalon is where the enchantress Morgan le Fay and her nine sisters lived on the island, and was the mystical place where Arthur’s magical sword Caledfwlch (Excalibur) was forged.

By Zara Whelan of The Daily Post

playtime 4

Is it a bird, is it a plane ? No, it’s my big brother.

playtime 5

roar 5

Roar

Appropriate song……  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CevxZvSJLk8

Have a wonderful new week. May this one pass without conflict and with a new understanding and appreciation of those who are a little different than us but are our brothers and sisters nonetheless. There will be faces without smiles and it will bring you pleasure to put one there as it will to give or receive a hug. Be generous with them.           I thank you my friends for your recent understanding. The infection is lessening in my foot but is unfortunately fighting back by starting again higher in the leg. It will still mean I’m unable to spend as much time at the computer as usual. Hugs to you all.

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78 Comments

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78 responses to “King Arthur, Merlin & Wales.

  1. David this was fascinating. Since I was a child I have loved the story of King Arthur and I never really knew the Welsh roots. The photos are beautiful as always but I am quite worried about the infection in your leg and foot. I do hope it heals and you are taking care of yourself. A big healing hug my friend.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it Suzanne. I grew up with stories that Arthur was probably half Roman, half Welsh, Merlin was Welsh and probably the last of the Druids (after the slaughter by the Romans) and that Guinevere was also Welsh, the daughter of a warlord or petty king Arthur wanted to ally himself to. The story may have been created just because a hero was needed, or it may be he existed with his story lost in the mists of time. We’ll never know, but we’ll always need the story to tell our children something of honest and true knights.
      Don’t worry as I have been to the doctor’s twice about this and it’s happened before probably due to diabetes. I always try to look after me.
      Healing Hugs were lovely.
      xxx Gigantic Hugs to you xxx

  2. Have a wonderful new week, too, David. I hope your foot and leg are healing. I’m with you on wishing for a fantastic upcoming week for all. Hugs to you, my friend.

  3. I adore anything Welsh, it is deeply rooted in my ancestry! Thank you for this this mystical and very enlightening post. Please get well soon! those children are sooo adorable! xxx huge hugs!

  4. Such wonderful legends, David.
    I hope your infection clears up quickly and you feel better soon. I imagine the magic of those smiling faces might help a bit. Hugs!

  5. I enjoyed reading your Arthurian precis David – well done. Sorry to hear the ‘foot’ problem has now become ‘leg’too. Do take care and look after yourself, you are missed! Big warm, healing hugs and ‘get better soon’ wishes winging your way. xoxox

    • Thanks so much Pauline, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. At least this story was a bit clearer. It’s funny but the problem first started with the leg and never quite went away despite treatment but it never became as raw as the foot has.,it laughs (ha ha) in the face of antibiotics and sneers at the hydrocortisone. I shall be back as much as I can be now. Your healing Hugs and get well wishes will help a lot.
      xxx Sending Unlimited Hugs xxx

  6. If as you say he is Welsh, why do the Cornish claim him as well??? 😉

    • The Cornish are sometimes known as the CornWelsh too. We are the last bastions of the Celts who occupied Britain and there was a lot of interaction between us. In the stories there were mentioned many places for Arthur one of which was like Cadbury so they laid claim to him too. Even the Scots claim him and Arthur’s Sear is in Edinburgh. He got about a bit that lad.
      Hugs

  7. Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    On all things Arthurian 😉

  8. Great stories of the Arthurian Legend, David. I’ve always heard the Cornish claim also. Sweet pictures of the children. I love to see happy children. Amelie seems to like dinosaurs. xxx Huge Hugs xxx 🙂 — Suzanne

  9. Brilliant!! But it’s always the photos that touch my heart. Thank you, David.x

  10. Thank you for your gorgeous inspiring words, and equally gorgeous kiddie pics!! Massive hugs…. 🤗🤗🤗🤗

  11. Do take lots of care, David and don’t worry about the computer. I’m another big fan of King Arthur and the stories (my grandmother had a collection of comics about Prince Valiant and I adored it. Well I still do) Thanks very much for sharing. And love the pics. They’re growing up so fast!

    • Thanks so much Olga. I don;t want to be MIA too long and be forgotten. The stories of Arthur (and Valiant) had a lot to teach when children put their energy into books. They should teach the code of chivalry in school now and maybe we’ll get a new generation of gentlemen.
      They are growing fast, it will soon meet my shrinkage.
      xxx Hugs Galore xxx

  12. What a wonderful legend, David. I had no idea that Wales was the source of the Arthurian stories, or Merlin. -hugs-

  13. I so enjoyed all the information on the Welsh links to King Arthur. Fascinating stuff. I do hope you get back on healthy legs and feet soon. 🌼🌼🌼

    • Thanks very much Brigid. The first written accounts of Arthur are from Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales) c. 1146 – c. 1223. You have to wonder if it’s possible that Arthur had been a word of mouth story from about 600 years earlier when the last of the Romans were leaving our shores or whether it was a story written purely by Gerald to use perhaps to get people to behave a little more nobly. Without a time machine I won’t get my answers.
      Thank you again, I look forward to being rid of the discomfort of this cellulitis.
      xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  14. Keep moving, David. I hope it clears up soon.
    xxx ecliptic hugs xxx

    • I would keep moving Jemima if I could find new addresses. Thank you, I’m fed up now, it can go anytime. I should slow down my reading, I wondered why you’d send me epileptic Hugs?
      xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

  15. Thank you for sharing, David! Great article, I have learned a lot, added to what I already know.
    Love you pictures. These two are growing too fast 🙂 Amelie is all smiles, little beauty. My youngest was one recently. Where the time goes?
    Please look after yourself and do everything your docs suggest for you.
    Many hugs!!! xxxxxx

    • Thanks for coming Inese, and thanks so much for enjoying the post. I find I’m always learning a little more but I think my head must be getting full as things are dropping out so I can’t find them anymore.
      The kids are growing fast. Reuben was 4 today and Amelie is 20 months next week. Time just runs away now.
      Nothing the surgery has suggested has worked really and I don’t want even more antibiotics, I need those for the bronchitis months.
      Have a great week,
      xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  16. I am a huge fan of the legends and found this fascinating

  17. I love your Welsh stories, David. Wishing you the best of health. Cute photos

  18. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday 22nd August 2017 – Don Massenzio, Jena C. Henry, The Recipe Hunter and David Prosser | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  19. Terrific post David and I can well believe in not just King Arthur but also wizards and dragons. Before I met David I went out with a park ranger and I got to visit many of the places that are cited as being part of the legend. Then David and I explored for another year or so. I am very proud to wear my wedding ring which came from The Clogau mine near Dolgellau. hugs x

  20. I have always been fascinated with the Arthurian legends.The Grail myth is to be found in nearly all cultures (or at least its equivalent). The idea of going out in search of something of meaning and value and when we find it, the sleeping man in the hill (spirit) shall reawaken and the land shall grow green again. x x x

  21. When I taught British literature to college students, they were always fascinated by the Arthurian legends, maybe because of the hopefulness implied in the Grail myth.

    The child photos are so, so heartwarming!

    • I think everyone would like to live when Arthur was King (if it was now) and Arthur and his knights were there to protect you. Everyone else would live by a chivalric code towards all others. I’d like to see that too Marian.
      I’m glad the pictures warmed your heart, despite the odd insulting tag I do love them.
      xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  22. Hello once again, David. I’m truly sorry about your leg and I sincerely hope it gets better soon. Remember, you can always carry a spare! Seriously, Diabetes is a rapacious beast – take care of yourself. Arthurian legend? Yes, I grew up with it too. I was persuaded of that Cornish impostor, but I think I have since seen the light (several lights, in fact: it may be my liver). Whatever, it is the greatest of the romantic legends. I still like to imagine that somewhere Arthur lies waiting, and one day Merlin will break free of his rocky prison to wake him. We could use one of his kind right now, in fact. Hugs, David.

    • I hate to admit it Frederick but I left the spare on the bus and was too embarrassed to reclaim it. Maybe Arthur and his knights fought invaders down in Cornwall and the Welsh folk down there claimed him forgetting where they were. We’ve always swapped miners with them. But it’s much better you’ve seen the Davy light as carried by one of our miners here.
      Yes, a reawakening Arthur along with a freed Merlin might sort out a few ills of our time, anytime soon will do.
      Hugs

  23. You guys have such wonderful, magical legends and myths! We on this side of the pond have none … at least none like this! Thanks for a delightful post, dear David! The kids look to be having a great time, enjoying summer as kids should.

    Now about that leg and foot … take care of yourself, my friend … the world needs you! And you know … they say that sleep is how the body repairs itself, so you might try that every now and then. 😉 Yes, I know … 🙃

    I share your hopes for a week of peace, a break from the hatred that has marked the last few. Have a great week (though it is half over already).

    xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

    • Even though you’re over the pond, your Welsh blood allows you to claim our myths and legends as your own. Maybe the Once and Forever King will wake from his long sleep and deal with the problems that generate so much hate for you.
      I’d have made you laugh last night taking my trousers off ( mind you, taking my trousers off might just cause laughter anyway). I was wearing slim leg jeans, left leg out easily, right leg stuck, it was like an elephant’s. I did manage to get it off without resorting to calling my neighbour to help. I managed to sleep from about midnight to 2.12 am this morning, not too shabby.
      Any idea of peace this week was destroyed after Trump’s ranting speech on Tuesday night. I was glad to see that some of his audience left early. But peace will come, it has too before the irrational happens and civil war breaks out there. Enjoy these last couple of days before the weekend,
      xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

      • Many thanks, dear friend, for allowing me to share your legends and myths! 🙂
        Now … I was, in fact, having a good chuckle while picturing you taking off your trousers, likely hopping around on one foot … UNTIL I got to the part about the leg being the size of an elephant’s. Ahem … oh wait … I was going to yell at you, but I already did that, didn’t I? Hmmmm … what is Yvonne’s phone number again? 🙂 mumbling under my breath {men … stubborn darned men … }
        Yes, Trump pretty much ruined the peace of the week early on. He smashed whatever nice, peaceful feeling I had upon returning from my brief hiatus and now I am back to my grumpy, churlish self. But, that angst makes me a better writer than I am when I’m calm and at piece … the silver lining in the cloud, I guess.
        Now get thee to the telephone and call the doc about that leg!!! Er … um … please?
        Huge Hugs, dear friend!!!

      • Excuuuuse Me ! My removal of trousers shouldn’t be giving you that much of a chuckle. Decorum please madam. The elephants leg is big enough to offer broad support when I’m hopping about on one leg so it does have it’s uses. There’s no point in yelling at me, I left my ear trumpet on an omnibus in 1901. Yvonne’s telephone number…..when hell freezes over, you and she would get on too well.Now you’ve done your wonderful writing you can return to being at ‘piece’.
        Sorry can’t oblige, I haven’t used a phone in over ten years ( other than to text) so the doctor is out f the question and is anyway on Pilgrimage in Siberia, a little beyond shouting range.Now remember your blood pressure and sit down with a cuppa cha.
        xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

      • You, Lord David Prosser, are incorrigible!!!! Whatever shall I do with you? For starters, I shall tell you that you just gave me my biggest laugh of the day! Decorum? I through and through a lady, but I can still have a good laugh at the vision of you removing your trousers while hopping on one elephant foot! Annnnnddd … if I wish to be a nag, I shall do so because I reserve the right to nag a friend whom I care about. So there! Decorum my patootie!

        Left your ‘ear trumpet’ on an omnibus in 1901. Um yeah, right … that would mean you are at least 136 years old or so, and I am not buying that. You probably hear far better than I do. But I do understand the laws of nature. One of which is that if you whisper something about a man who is standing 50 yards away, he will hear every word, but if you speak loudly to one who is standing 2 feet away, and if what you say is something he does not wish to hear, then he will not hear. I was married for 30 years and I learned this quite well, thank you.

        I shall have to ponder some more on how to get in touch with your lovely daughter, the mother of your absolutely beautiful grandchildren. Speaking of whom … I must say their smiles are infectious … just looking at their pictures, I can almost hear the laughter bubbling up in their little voices. Don’t want to call the doctor? Look at Amelie and Reuben again, sweet David. They need you around for a long time yet. As do I.
        xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

      • And I need to learn to spell. I meant “at peace”, not “at piece”. 😦

  24. Those kids are just so crazy adorable!

  25. A fascinating story!
    I hope you get over your infection, soon!
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    • Thanks so much Margaret. I think the story of Arthur will go on for many years yet with all the different claims.
      I think I’ll have to admit defeat and visit the surgery again this week.
      xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

  26. LOVE the dino pic!
    That’s pure gold and it fills my heart with healing light.
    Thanks, buddy.

    • An Epic Production by Cecil B The Pill, 25 Million Years Before Credit Cards.
      I’m glad you liked the pic and it moved you in the right way ( Out of the way of the Dippie la Docus.
      Hugs Robert.

  27. Loved this post, David! I lived in North Wales for a while and loved it. I climbed up Snowdon too, but never knew the legend. I didn’t go up Tryfan, but Conor did… Do you know about the two stones at the top, Adam and Eve? You have to leap across the gap between them. It’s said to be Sir Bedyr’s burial place. Sorry if I spelled that wrong, btw … It’s Bedivere in English. Wales has such amazing mythology. My oldest son, Cai, is named after one of Arthur’s knights. I adore Arthurian myth, it was my passion before I moved to Ireland, and we have a module coming up on it soon at Uni. How is your poor leg? You just can’t seem to shift that damn infection. Hope you’re right as rain soon. At least those two gorgeous little grandkids of yours will be putting a smile on your face. Bet they give the best hugs, too. Sending some Irish hugs your way. Xxx

    • I didn’t know about Adam and Eve at the top of Tryfan Ali. You were close with the spelling, it’s Bedwyr.
      Cai would be named after Sir Kay another famous Arthurian knight.. It’s funny you have a module on the subject coming up. Your interest in it will make sure you do well. Where did you live over here, Bangor? The leg needs some help at the moment but I have appointments today and Friday so I hope something gets done.
      Yes, Reuben and Amelie put a smile on my face but not on Yvonne’s as Reuben starts school today. He was only 4 in August. She’s going to miss him.
      The Irish hugs are much appreciated and enjoyed.
      I send xxx Cwtch Mawr to you xxx

      • I lived near Holyhead. I was stationed at RAF Valley. I lived living in Wales and was very sad to have to move on. It all seems like a lifetime ago now. Well it’s um… er… a good few years ago, that’s for sure! 😂 How did Reuben get on at school? All of my three were only four when they started school too. It’ll be hard for Yvonne at first, but at least she still has Amelie still at home. It will be more of a culture shock when Amelie starts school. Such pretty names they have! Take care of that leg! Cwtch Mawr back to you! Xxx

      • I know Holyhead a bit though that was not my station, I was at Credenhill in Hereford.And don’t even ask me to tell you how many years ago that was. Roobs got on fine though he was sick at the end of day 2. I told Yvonne she’ll soon adjust.I’ll make myself scarce when Ami starts. The leg, the doctors and I all have differences of opinion at the moment I’m trying to keep out of trouble by keeping the family in the dark. Not easy.
        Take care of yourself
        Huge Hugs xxxxxx

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