The Great Prophecy of Britain

Armes Prydein Fawr, the Great Prophecy of Britain, is a poem attributed to Taliesin (although could not be his work as it was composed in the 10th century) in which he sings of the return of Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon (the hero in my book, The Last Pendragon) and Cynan, another dark age leader of the Welsh people.  Among the Welsh, it was these two, not Arthur, who would return in the future to save Britain.  The motivation was the same, however, in that the poet desires to drive the invading Saxons out of the land that had belonged to the Cymry. In the poem, Taliesin predicts the allliance of the Irish and Scots with the Welsh towards that purpose.  John Davies, in his book, The History of Wales, writes that the poem expresses frustration with the peaceful, compromising policies of Hywel Read more…

Offa’s Dyke

? In 780 AD, King Offa of Mercia was at the height of his authority.  Prior to his rule, in 750 AD, King Eliseg (immortalized by Eliseg’s Pillar near Llangollen) had swept the Saxons out of the plains of Powys.  Offa, in turn, attacked Powys in 778 and 784, and tradition states that he built the dyke, sometime (or throughout) his reign.  Prior to this, Aelthelbald, King of Mercia, had built ‘Wat’s Dyke’, which extends from the Severn Valley northwards towards the estuary of the Dee (A History of Wales, John Davies p. 62). There is a quote from George Borrow, from Wild Wales, that “it was customary for the English to cut off the ears of every Welshman who was found to the east of the dyke, and for the Welsh to hang every Englishman whom they found to Read more…

Caer Fawr (Iron Age Hill Fort)

Caer Fawr, or ‘The Great Fort’, is the scene of the final battle in The Pendragon’s Quest.  It is an iron age hill fort with extensive fortifications, most of which are hidden now by vegetation.  The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales did a study of Caer Fawr and if you’re interested in the topic, it’s worth downloading:  http://www.rcahmw.gov.uk/LO/ENG/Publications/Electronic+Publications/Gaer+Fawr/ It “occupies a prominent hill 1.4 kilometres to the north of Guilsfield (Cegidfa) and 5.4 kilometres north of Welshpool in the old county of Montgomeryshire, now Powys. The topography of this area is dominated by the River Severn, 4.7 kilometres to the east (Fig. 2). The hills flanking its wide river plain rise gently to the west and more steeply to the east and are cut by the tributary rivers which feed the Severn. A series of Read more…

Sharing some pics from Wales …

My husband has kept these hidden on his drive until now, so I hadn’t even seen them!   These two pictures were taken on a nothing of a road from Devil’s Bridge (east of Aberystwyth) through the Elan Valley to Cilmeri.  The road was protected by a cattle guard on either end, was really only one lane (albeit paved), and we saw two cars and a million sheep for the two hours we were on it.   The rock is broken over the English translation and at first I couldn’t believe what it said.  It is at ‘Llywelyn’s Well’, which you reach by following a narrow path and some stairs behind his monument at Cilmeri.  It should read “Legend has it that this is the well where the head of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was washed.” Dinas Bran:   Dolwyddelan and Read more…

Arwystli

Today is a guest post from Brynne Haug, history major at Whitman College and co-conspirator in the study of all things Welsh. Thanks for stopping by!   _________   Arwystli seems an insignificant place—just a small piece of land in the middle of Wales, bordering on the northern kingdoms of Gwynedd and Powys. But Arwystli became instrumental for Wales’s survival in the War of 1282. In February of 1278, when Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, prince of Gwynedd and Wales, faced down King Edward I of England, on the surface he asked only for Arwystli.   Although Llywelyn had agreed to cede it to Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn, the lord of Powys, when Gruffudd swore fealty to him in 1263,[1] he later laid claim to it on the grounds that Gruffudd had given up his rights when he betrayed him to the English Read more…