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Beloved Enemy joined Starquest and Children of the Mist to continue the Destiny Trilogy and I'm thrilled to announce was shortlisted for the R.N.A. RoNA Awards 2017 and nominated for the RONE Award 2017

Monday, 25 August 2014

Monday's Welsh legend - King Arthur in Wales

Although all corners of the British Isles, lay claim to King Arthur and his knights, they regularly appear in Welsh mythology and folklore and I, for one, believe him to have been Welsh. (Naturally :) ) Sites throughout Wales are connected with the mighty king and Merlyn his magician - Myrddin ab Morfryn as he is know  in the Principality. (and who features in my Welsh historical fantasy 'Dancing With Fate')

The County Library at Mold is home to the world’s largest collection of books on Arthur, comprising nearly 2,000 volumes.

Arthur’s fame lives on in everyday place names. Caerfyrddin, (Carmarthen) a town in mid west Wales, is believed to  be Merlin’s birthplace, and is named after him. (The name means The fortress of Merlin) There’s Maes-y-Camlan or Camlan Field; Bryn y Cleifion (Hill of the Wounded) which marks the area where the casualties may have been laid and Nant-y-Saeson (Stream of the Saxons) is reputed to be where Arthur's enemies pitched camp. These place are centuries old. The name Arthur comes from the same root as the Welsh word ‘arth’, meaning bear.

He is also supposed to have fought his last battle at Bwlch y Saethau - the Pass of Arrows - which is below the summit of Snowdon and the lake into which Arthur’s sword Excalibur was thrown after his death, according to legends, is called Llyn Llydaw.


Arthur’s Stone stands on the Gowar Peninsular and is said to be a ‘pebble’ that he removed from his boot on his way to the battle of Camlan in AD 539. He threw the stone over his shoulder and it landed seven miles away on Cefn Bryn Common near Reynoldston.

Arthur is said to be buried in the Preseli Mountains, in Pembrokeshire and it is rumoured that if you listen long enough, you can hear him groaning.

File:Site of Old Oak, Carmarthen.jpgMerlin’s Oak stood in the centre of Carmarthen,  and according to legend, the  famous wizard placed a protective curse on it – until it was poisoned, leaving only a stump. The legend said Carmarthen would 'drown' if the oak was ever removed, and some folk even said a curious, pointed notch in the tree was the face of Merlin himself. Sadly, the tree was poisoned in the 1850s by a local parson, who objected to young lovers meeting beneath it, and to the noise made by people holding meetings there, but its trunk was preserved within iron railings.
Merlin's Walk, Carmarthen
 Giving my age away,  I am glad to be able to say that I actually saw that stump, all that was left of the magnificent oak, shortly before it was removed, when someone set it on fire at the end of the 1970s.

Carmarthen then suffered its worst floods for many years. It was later replaced by a young tree on the site of the old one, and there is also a wooden statue of Merlin in one of the Carmarthen streets.


These are just some of the connections King Arthur and Merlin have with Wales, and the Holy Grail, (sometimes known as the Nanteos Cup, which his knights went in search of, is said to have been taken to  the monastory at Strata Florida,where it was guarded by the monks before being taken to Nanteos, a mansion just outside Aberystwyth.  I've seen the grail myself too (or what was left of it) but that's another story.


What do you think?  Is there enough evidence that Arthur and Merlin were Welsh, or do you have another theory?

2 comments:

  1. I love the legend of Arthur. And there's a lot of evidence to suggest he was Welsh so maybe he was... :) (it's not the first time I've heard these theories)

    That poor old oak! How can someone burn something so old!! That's such a sad loss.

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  2. Hi DRC thanks so much for yoru kind comment. As you say there's a lot of evidence to suggest Arthur was Welsh - and even more that Merlin, aka Emrys or Myrddin was! It was so sad to see that poor oak - the real damage was done when it was poisoned, I thnk the firing was just fandalism but it sealed its fate for good. I'm glad there's a new one planted in almost the same spot though.

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