Dodie's Dream World - Complete Chaos! xxx Cymru-Wales
Cymru am Byth
DODIES DREAM WORLD
CYMRU - WALES
A SONG OF THE WELSH
There is a race in an island place that rose in the morning gleam
And made its sword of an olden song, its armour out of a dream;
And its warriors died in a stubborn pride that recked no price of tears,
But followed the call of the singing sword that rang athwart the years.
And the eyes of a nation's hope grew bright, like roses out of the dawn,
But ever the dark of the shadows came and the twilight fell forlorn,
For the feet of the iron legions pressed where Menai sobbed and sighed,
And the Saxons came in a roaring flame; and Arthur swooned and died.
Then rose a host from out the foam, and a tyrant out of the sea,
And harried the race of the singing sword with the hounds of Normandy,
Till the quarry turned, their arrows burned, their lances thrust and leapt
At Evesham grey in the bitter day when the soul of Montfort slept.
And the men of the sword went far abroad when France was a blaze of spears,
And the longbow's dirge was a crimson surge at Crecy and Poitiers.
But over a sunless road they trod when Glendower brake his shield,
Till the song of the sword rang loud and clear in the crash of Bosworth field.
Then lo! afar from Corsica the ravening eagle sped,
From the Midland sea to Muscovy where the trampled snows were red.
And the song of the sword came calling wild, the Picton's henchmen flew
From Badajos through Quatre Bras to the crown of Waterloo.
And now, through the plains that the nations spoil, the new flung legions came,
Their path was a torrent of broken men, their feet were a scorching flame,
But the men of the sword were linked with Gods and neither spell nor truce
Could stem, the spate from the Marne's locked gate to the red, red wrath of Loos.
They followed the sword that gleamed and sang; they held,, they fought, they stood
Where rivers of gloom poured black with doom through raging Mametz Wood;
The held, they fought, they stood, they won; and the skies were molten fire
As they crossed Death's bridge on Pilkem Ridge lest freedom should expire.
And out of the plains of the burning East in the noon-heat and the night
They made their stand in the desert sand - and they won in hero-fight
The City of God that crowns the world, and they looked on the Dolorous Way
Where the star of Richard the Lion-heart had set and had burned away.
* * * * *
Their sword is made of an olden song, their armour out of a dream,
They have seen the rills of a thousand hills the word of the lightening gleam.
Their dream is the soul of a man unbound from birth to eternity,
And the song of the sword is a sounding chant of the psalm of liberty.
And the land they love and the land they made and the place men know them by
Is a land where a tree is a singing thing and the wind is a lullaby,
Where the mists are white in the morning light as a maiden's bridal veil,
In a home that is ever the harp of song and legend and fairy-tale.
Arthur Glyn PRYS-JONES. A Welshman of Denbighshire
Arthur Glyn Prys-Jones (1888-1987) was an Anglo-Welsh poet, writer and
He was born on 7 March 1888 in Denbigh. His mother
died in 1895 and his father remarried and moved the family to
Pontypridd, Glamorgan, in 1898. At the age of 13 he went to Llandovery
College, where he appears to have known the poet Dudley G. Davies
(1891-1981). In 1908 he won a scholarship to Jesus College, Oxford, to
read history, graduating in 1912; he became friends with T. E. Lawrence
there. He went to teach in Macclesfield, Walsall and then Dulwich
In 1919 he married Betty Gibbon of Pontypridd, shortly
before being appointed Assistant Inspector of Schools for
Carmarthenshire, later Staff Inspector for Secondary Education in Wales.
He settled in Cardiff where, in 1932, he became one of the founders of
the Little Theatre for which he wrote plays. He retired in 1949 and
was awarded an OBE. He left Cardiff in 1951, moving to Wimbledon.
produced six volumes of his own poetry, Poems of Wales (Oxford, 1923),
Green Places (Llandysul, 1948),
A Little Nonsense (Cowbridge, 1954),
High Heritage (Llandybie, 1969),
Valedictory Verses (Llandysul, 1978)
More Nonsense (Cowbridge, 1984).
He also wrote prose, including Gerald of Wales (London, 1955)
The Story of Carmarthenshire (2 vols, Llandybie, 1959, 1972).
He edited Welsh Poets (London, 1917), an anthology of Anglo-Welsh poets,
He also co-edited National Songs of Wales (London, 1959).
He regularly wrote reviews in the Western Mail
and from 1937 to 1960 broadcast frequently on BBC radio. In 1970 he
was elected President of the Welsh Academy's English-language section.
He and his wife Betty had two children, David and Barbara. She died in
1976 and he spent his last years in Kingston-upon-Thames, dying there on
21 February 1987, aged 98.
Collected Poems (Llandysul, 1988), edited by his friend Don Dale-Jones (b. 1935), was published after his death.
DODIES DREAM WORLD
As I am sure you all know by now, I am very, very proud of my Welsh Roots. Although I was born in Liverpool of a Scottish Father and Welsh Mother, we return to what I always call my homeland after the death of my Grandfather who was also Scottish as was my Grandmother Welsh. I have just returned home after three weeks holiday in South Korea, with by wonderful husband Peter and I must admit that it is the only country I have ever been to that compares in many ways to my beautiful Wales, and I have travelled extensively, thease Dragon wings are very strong :) It is with these wonderful thoughts of our holiday that I feel I have to add Cicely Fox Smith's wonderful poem.
by Cicely Fox Smith
Have you heard the torrent leaping from the mountain to the sea?
Have you heard the tempest sweeping over Snowdon wild and free?
Have you seen the beacon springing over Cambria's hills and dales?
Have you heard the war-cry ringing to the dauntless heart of Wales?
Oh! A fair land, a clear land, as any far or near land –
God guard the land of Wales for evermore.
It is in the name of freedom that the harp of Wales has rung;
It is in the praise of freedom that the songs of Wales are sung;
It is in the cause of freedom, her wealth, her boast, her pride;
That the sword of Wales has triumphed and the sons of Wales have died;
Oh! A proud land, an old land, a little yet bold land –
God guard the land of Wales for evermore.
Oh, where's the man would palter with a coward word or deed?
Oh, where's the man would falter in the hour of Cambria's need?
No tyrant e'er could tame her or break her soul of yore;
No son of Wales will shame her when the trumpet calls to war;
Oh, a fine land, a fair land, the freemen claim as their land –
"Palter" is to talk or act insincerely or misleadingly.
Dodies Dream World
THE WELSH NATIONAL ANTHEM
I wrote the poem below not long after we moved into our house in Sychdyn. It had been empty a while and the garden was in the most dreadful state. Every plant was being choked by it's neighbour, in fact it was so bad we had to wear our motor bike gloves and jacket to keep the thorns off us. but it was worth it. The picture below is of our home now, after all the hard work of making London Road beautiful we moved here to Pontybodkin and once more it took at least three years getting it in to shape..
As I said before I wrote this piece of poetry on the completion of
" London Road, Sychdyn. Sad to say, the house was resold and the garden has vanished, it is all lawn now. It still has a few bits of us still there, including our beautiful Cairn Terrier Little Kelly, who passed away and is buried in the garden. Hush, I'm not telling you where.
Dodies Dream World. etc.
Strangled by nature, turned brown under sodden strands of wilting yellow. Choked stems try to reach up to catch hold of the suns powerful rays. Thorns dig deep into the fragile growth of youth, gouging out crevasses that will never be healed. Dying....all around the cries of starvation can be heard on the wind. Then new voices are heard, hands wrestle with the undergrowth, pulling, twisting, turning, letting light through to the darkened soil.
Oh sweet relief.... I can feel a breeze upon my face. Look, look, there is a light. There, high above me, a faint light shining. Is this me, saved. Are we all to be saved from this hell that has befallen us. Reach out, reach up, climb the sunbeam to a new life, stretch your backs, flex your arms, lift your heads high. Fresh mown hay gives way to a blanket of green. Birds sing in the trees above us, bees fly deep into our bellies, taste the sweet honey which flows freely from within us.
Days pass by, life gets stronger, hearts begin to beat again. Peach and purple, azure and turquoise, russet and gold. Colour creeps across the horizon like a rainbow reborn. Scarlet fuchsia dance gaily above the chamomile lawn. Tangerine montbretia sway to and fro, like fronds of fire, swaying beneath the lilac buddleia which is, in turn kissed gently by the painted lady.
Sweet... sweet perfume fills the air, carried on the wind to each hidden corner. The sickly smell of the honeysuckle tells us that night is descending, Scented stock adds to the evenings mystic aroma. Tomorrow we shall awake and feel the dew on our petals, see the whiteness of the clouds in the summer sky, feel the softness of the rose petals as they fall upon our delicate blades.
Tomorrow we shall fill our bodies with the silver raindrops as they fall to the sepia ground beneath our leaves. Tenderly stretch our roots deeper into the soft earth below. But now to sleep, to dream in the shadows. Sleeping quietly, waking sometime, then drifting back to sleep. The moonlight kisses us whilst we rest, then comes the morning and we awake knowing we have been blessed.
THIS IS A PERSONAL ADORATION. THIS IS A LITTLE ABOUT DENBIGH AND ITS CASTLE, MUCH REDUCED FROM ITS FORMER GLORY WITH THE HELP OF CROMWELL AND HIS BAND OF BROTHERS. AND OF COURSE WITH THE RETURN OF CHARLES II THE CASTLES FOR DEFENCE FELL INTO DIS-REPAIR AS THEY WERE NO LONGER ANY NEED FOR THEIR DEFENCE ANY MORE.
Oh gosh, I am looking at her in all her glory as she is now and yet in my mind I can see every room, as it stood in years long ago. I must to bed now so I will do my writing bit tomorrow.
The current Denbigh Castle was built on the site of a former Welsh stronghold held by Dafydd ap Gruffydd, the brother of Llywelyn the Last. The Welsh castle originally belonged to Llywelyn the Great. In 1230, an Abbot from England visited Llywelyn the Great at his new castle in Denbigh.
The current stone castle was begun by Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln on territory given to him by Edward I
after the defeat of the last Welsh prince, Dafydd ap Gruffudd in 1282.
The Welsh castle was then torn down and work began on a new English
fortress. At the same time, De Lacy was also granted a Royal Charter to
create a new English borough and town.
But in 1294, the incomplete castle was besieged and captured by Welsh forces during the revolt of Madog ap Llywelyn.
During the subsequent siege, an English force under de Lacy was
defeated trying to retake the castle. However the revolt collapsed and
Denbigh was returned to de Lacy a year later. Building work then
resumed. Following some defensive improvements, the castle and walls
were substantially complete by 1305.
In the 1290s, Edward I had issued a second Royal Charter as the market town of Denbigh had rapidly expanded beyond the town walls
and its borough boundaries. By 1305 there were titled 183 settlers
living outside the town walls and only 52 inside the town's defences.
The castle and its precincts were being superseded by the area outside
the walls which had developed into the town's market centre. A Carmelite Friary was also established in the town just outside the town walls.
In 1400, the forces of Owain Glyndwr attacked Denbigh. The town was badly damaged but the castle resisted a siege and was not captured.
During the Wars of the Roses, Jasper Tudor, the Lancastrian Earl of Pembroke, tried twice and failed to take the castle in the 1460s.
In the 16th century Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, held Denbigh Castle and its Lordship between 1563 until his death in 1588.
During the English Civil War, the castle was repaired by Colonel William Salisbury and garrisoned for King Charles I of England,
who stayed there briefly in September 1645. The following year, the
castle endured a six-month siege before finally being forced to
surrender to Parliamentarian forces. The castle was then slighted to
prevent its further use. But for the remainder of the war, part of the
castle was used as a prison for captured royalists.
But with the restoration of Charles II in 1660, the castle was abandoned and allowed to fall into decay.
If ever you feel like reading four fabulous novels about the early Welsh History, up to the defeat of Richard III and the coming of HenryVII Otherwise Henry Tudor, in Welsh Henri Tyddur.
The four books are by a lady called Sharon (Kay) Penman, they are called in order to read.
Here Be Dragons....... The Reckoning..........Sunne in Spleandour..... Falls the Shadow
now I am wondering if thats the right order, just look at the dates of kings lol
you with information on places to visit, things to do, places to eat, routes to
take, national and local events
also sell crafts, maps, guides and books.
Merlin and the Red Dragon of
CYMRU AM BYTH
THIS WONDERFUL STORY COMES FROM http://www.croeso-betws.org.uk/index.htm Do pay them a visit as you will see some lovely things
Centuries ago in the time after the Romans had left Britain,
the King of all Britain was called Vortigern (or Gwrtheyrn in Welsh). He was
under attack from the Saxons, so he decided to build a fortress in Snowdonia.
He chose a hill at the foot of Snowdon, but every time the fort walls were
built they fell down.
The wise men were consulted,
who said that it was the work of a bad spirit, and that a child without a
father should be sacrificed and its blood poured on the foundations to keep the
spirit happy. The castle could then be built in peace. And so men were sent in
all directions to seek such a child.
Eventually Dafydd Goch came
back with a boy who had no father - this boy was Myrddin Emrys or Merlin!
Merlin questioned the wisdom of the wise men, saying that it was pointless
sacrificing him. He said that two dragons (one white and one red) lived in a
lake under the hill, and it was their fighting that was causing the walls to
fall down. The white dragon represented the Saxons, and the red one the Welsh,
and if they were released they could fight elsewhere so that the castle could
be built explained Merlin. He also said that although the white dragon was
winning, the red dragon would be the final victor.
The wise men insisted that
Merlin was making this up to save his neck. To settle things the King decided
to dig for the dragons. If they were not found, Merlin would be sacrificed. If
they were found the wise men would be killed.
Merlin was proved right and
the dragons were found. The red dragon is the one seen on the Welsh flag today.
The fort when completed was given to Merlin and to this day is still called
Dinas Emrys after him. The King found another site for his stronghold which is
still named after him - Nant Gwrtheyrn (Vortigern's Valley) on the Llyn
Peninsula (now the site of a Welsh language learning centre). Merlin of course
went on to be very wise and helped King Arthur of the Britons, but the 'wise
men' were buried at the foot of the hill!
Myrddin a Draig Goch
Ganrifoedd lawer yn ôl, yn yr amser ar ôl i'r
Rhufeiniaid adael Prydain, roedd Gwrtheyrn yn frenin ar Brydain i gyd. Roedd y
Saeson yn ymosod arno'n gyson, felly penderfynnodd adeiladu caer yn Eryri. Fe
ddewisiodd bryn ger droed y Wyddfa, ond pob tro codwyd waliau'r gaer roeddent
yn syrthio i lawr.
Galwyd y gwyr doeth, a
ddywedon nhw mai gwaith ysbryd drwg oedd y cwbl, a dylai aberthu plentyn a aned
heb dad a thywallt ei waed dros y sylfaeni i gadw'r ysbryd yn hapus. Wedyn
gellir adeiladu'r castell mewn heddwch. Felly anfonwyd dynion i bob cyfeiriad i
chwilio am blentyn o'r fath.
O'r diwedd fe ddychwelodd
Dafydd Goch hefo bachgen a aned heb dad - y bachgen hwn oedd Myrddin Emrys (neu
Merlin yn Saesneg!). Dywedodd Myrddin ei fod yn ansicr o ddoethineb y gwyr
doeth, a fod yna ddim diben ei aberthu o. Roedd yna ddwy ddraig, meddai o, (un
wen ac un goch) yn byw mewn llyn o dan y bryn, ac y ddwy'n ymladd a'i gilydd
oedd yn achosi'r waliau i syrthio i lawr. Cynrychioli'r Saeson oedd yr un wen,
tra bod yr un goch yn cynrychioli'r Cymry, ac os gollyngwyd y ddwy gallent
ymladd yn rhywle arall, ac wedyn gellir adeiladu'r castell, eglurodd Myrddin.
Fe ddywedodd hefyd bod y ddraig wen yn ennill ar y pryd, ond mai'r ddraig goch
fyddai'n ennill yn y diwedd.
Mynnodd y gwyr doeth mai
gwneud y cwbl i fyny oedd Myrddin i achub ei groen. I dorri'r ddadl
penderfynnodd y Brenin i dyllu am y ddwy ddraig. Os doedd yna ddim golwg
ohonynt fe fyddai Myrddin yn cael ei aberthu. Os ffeindwyd hwy fe fyddai'r gwyr
doeth yn cael eu lladd.
Myrddin oedd yn iawn a
chafwyd hyd i'r ddwy ddraig. Y ddraig goch yw'r un a welir ar fflag Cymru
heddiw. Pan orffenwyd y gaer, rhoddwyd hi i Myrddin Emrys, a'r enw arni hyd
heddiw yw Dinas Emrys ar ei ôl. Cafodd y Brenin hyd i le arall i adeiladu
ei gaer, a gelwir y lle hwn ar ei ôl hyd heddiw - Nant Gwrtheyrn ym
Mhenryn Llyn (sydd nawr yn gartref i ganolfan dysgu'r iaith Gymraeg). Wrth
gwrs, aeth Myrddin Emrys ymlaen i fod yn ddoeth iawn a helpodd llawer ar y
Brenin Arthur, ond claddwyd y 'gwyr doeth' wrth droed y bryn!
CYMRU AM BYTH - WELCOME TO WALES Do not go gentle into that good night Dylan Thomas Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on that sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
CYMRU AM BYTH Dodiesdreamworld
RYAN DAVIES 1937 - 1977 - RONNIE WILLIAMS 1939 - 1997
I have just finished watching a short film about the lives of Ryan Davies and Ronnie Williams, and I just had to place this here for you to see. They were on the tv through part of the sixties and the seventies. Ryan was a chronic asthmatic, and working the clubs throughout their stage career, when smoking was still allowed everywhere, helped him not at all. The two split up in 1975, many things contributed to the split, but that's another story. Ryan took his family to America on holiday in 1977, and it was then whilst attending a BBQ that he had a massive asthma attack which killed him, he was just 40 years old. Ronnie's career never flourished after the break with Ryan and he had a
problem with alcohol and severe depression. His final role was in the
comedy film Twin Town. He eventually committed suicide in 1997. Shortly before his own passing, Ronnie Williams said of his former
partner, “Humour is very difficult to explain, It was just in him”. Ryan's son, Arwyn Davies, has been an actor in the Welsh television serial Pobol Y Cwm since 1993.
Meredydd Evans summed up Ryan Davies’ significance: “He was an
artist, he was a performer, but he was also a friend, and having all
that together is something that’s pretty rare. This, to me, is the
glory of the whole thing: that we had in this man one who could stand
as tall as anyone else in entertainment, and he did it in Welsh.”
This picture is of the two actors that played their parts in the film , I'm afraid I didn't catch the credits to be able to tell you who they were I shall try and find out.
I must thank the Oystermouth Historical Association for the picture below. I am lucky enough to have a copy of Clement Scott's actual Lay, from his 1888 book of Lays and Lyrics. Publisher Routledge & Sons
A photograph of Jessie Ace and her sister Margaret Wright
THE WOMEN OF MUMBLES HEAD
Bring, novelists, your notebook ! bring, dramatists, your pen !
And I'll tell you a simple story of what women do for men.
It's only the tale of a lifeboat, of the dying and the dead,
Of a terrible storm and shipwreck that happened off Mumbles Head !
Maybe you have travelled in Wales, sir, and know it north and south; Maybe you are friends with the 'Natives' that dwell in Oystermouth ! It happens, no doubt, that from Bristol you've crossed in a casual way, And have sailed your yacht in the summer in the blue of Swansea Bay.
Well ! it isn't like that in winter, when the lighthouse stands alone, In the teeth of Atlantic breakers, that foam on its face of stone:
It wasn't like that when the hurricane blew, and the story-bell tolled, or when There was news of a wreck, and lifeboat launch'd, and a desperate cry for men.
When in the world did the coxswain shirk? A brave old salt was he !
Proud to the bone of as four strong lads as ever had tasted the sea.
Welshmen all to the lungs and loins, who about the coast 'twas said, Had saved some hundred lives apiece - at a shilling or so a head !
So the father launched the lifeboat, in the teeth of the tempest's roar,
And he stood like a man at the rudder, with an eye on his boys at the oar.
Out to the wreck went the father ! Out to the wreck went the sons !
Leaving the weeping of women, and booming of signal guns,
Leaving the mother who loved them, and the girls that the sailors loved,
Going to death for duty, and trusting to God above !
Do you murmur a prayer, my brothers, when cosy and safe in bed,
For men like these, who are ready to die for a wreck off Mumbles Head ?
It didn't go well with the lifeboat ! 'twas a terrible storm that blew !
And it snapped a rope in a second that was flung to the drowning crew ;
And then the anchor parted - 'twas a tussle to keep afloat !
But the father stuck to the rudder, and the boys to the brave old boat.
Then at last on the poor doom'd lifeboat a wave broke mountains high ! "God help us, now ! " said the father. "It's over, my lads, good-bye !"
Half of the crew swam shoreward, half to the sheltered caves,
But father and sons were fighting death in the foam of the angry waves.
Up at the lighthouse window two women beheld the storm,
And saw in the boiling breakers a figure - a fighting form,
It might be a grey-haired father - then the women held their breath,
It might be a fair-haired brother, who was having a round with death ;
It might be a lover, a husband, whose kisses were on the lips
Of the women whose love is the life of men going down to the sea in ships ;
They had seen the launch of the lifeboat, they had heard the worst, and more ;
Then, kissing each other, these women went down from the lighthouse, straight to the shore.
There by the rocks on the breakers these sisters, hand in hand,
Beheld once more that desperate man who struggled to reach the land.
'Twas only aid he wanted to help him across the wave,
But what are a couple of women with only a man to save ?
What are a couple of women ? Well, more than three craven men
Who stood by the shore with chattering teeth, refusing to stir - and then
Off went the women's shawls, sir ; in a second they're torn and rent,
Then knotting them into a rope of love, straight into the sea they went !
"Come back, " cried the lighthouse keeper, "for God's sake, girls, come back !"
As they caught the waves on their foreheads, resisting the fierce attack. "Come back !" moaned the grey-haired mother, as she stood by the angry sea,
"If the waves take you, my darlings, there's nobody left to me."
"Come back !" said the three strong soldiers, who still stood faint and pale,
"You will drown if you face the breakers ! you will fall if you brave the gale !"
"Come back !" said the girls, "we will not ! go tell it to all the town,
We'll lose our lives, God willing, before that man shall drown !"
"Give one more knot to the shawls, Bess ! give one strong clutch of your hand !
Just follow me, brave, to the shingle, and we'll drag him safe to land !
Wait for the next wave, darling! only a minute more,
And I'll have him safe in my arms, dear, and we'll drag him safe to shore."
Up to their arms in the water, fighting it breast to breast,
They caught and saved a brother alive ! God bless us you know the rest —
Well, many a heart beat stronger, and many a tear was shed,
And many a glass was toss'd right off to "The Women of Mumbles Head !"
The Story of the Women of Mumbles Head.
Carol Powell, MA
The two women involved, Jessie Ace and Margaret
Wright, were the daughters of the lighthouse keeper, Abraham Ace. They,
with the help of Gunner Hutchings from the lighthouse fort, rescued
John Thomas and Williams Rosser, two of the lifeboat crew who had
successfully rescued the crew of the German barque, 'Admiral Prinz
Adalbert of Danzig'. Unfortunately the lifeboat crew then got into
trouble themselves. The disaster took the lives of two of the
coxswain's sons, his son-in-law and another man. The coxswain received
a silver medal from the RNLI and £50; Gunner Hutchings received his
thanks on vellum.
The action of the two women was not recognised by the RNLI but both
received gold brooches from the Empress of Germany for looking after
the barques’ crew. (Subsequently I have learnt that Jessie’s brooch is
now the treasured possession of her great-great granddaughter in
These happenings took place on 27 January 1883, the lifeboat involved
being the Wolverhampton. In those days, the lighthouse keeper, his
deputy and their families lived on the lighthouse island, so were close
at hand when the ship ran aground.
Following this disaster, another lifeboat named Wolverhampton II was built and remained in service until 1898.
It was said of these men and their ilk that 'they were iron men in wooden boats.'
THE TRAVELLING ALPHABET
went to Amlwch to fetch some fish for mam.
went to Abersoch, to see her Uncle Sam.
Bryn he went to Bala, took a boat out on the
biked to Bangor she bought herself a cake.
came from Corwen, He had a funny knee.
Ceridwen went to Corwen, she had a cousin there you see.
he left for Cardiff were the Strady Park was brimming.
she went with him and for once their side was winning.
stayed in Ddol Conwy, a lonely place but fine.
died in Dowlais, she worked down Crawshaw's mine.
came from Ebbw Vale, were the steel is good they say.
stayed in Eglwys Wen where they all knelt down, to pray.
flew from Florida, on holiday I guess.
was a Flintshire girl, she wore a pretty dress.
toured Glamorgan, "I'm in their team" said he
sang a sad old song of Gwendraeth's sad valley.
left for Hiraethog, the sheep dog trials to see
went there with him, but, then she came to visit me.
took his ferrets to Isy-coed and won the show.
took her pet pigs and won a rosette for her sow.
went to Johnston, on his way to Pembroke Dock
knew he was coming and put on her nice blue frock.
was stood in Knighton, not far from Offa's Dyke
came down from Kinnerton, her and her friend called Mike.
Leighton Rees, threw darts well, in Llanrisant, I do believe.
wanted to watch him but ended up in Cefn -y-By.
crossed the Menai Bridge, to watch the trains go by
read the Mabinogion the stories made her cry.
lived in Cardiff where he went to Ninian Park
goes there with him, but to her it's all a lark.
lived in Oswestry yet with friends he climbed the Orme
Olwen helps her father, in spring, when lambs are born.
came from Ireland, settled in Penmaenmawr.
went to Philidelphia, she left from Aberdour.
visited Queensferry, he went o'r the old blue Bridge.
left for Queensland there, she saw the Barrier Reef.
visited Wales on holiday, he went to Rhos, and Rhyl,
kept eating all the rhubarb and then had to take a pill.
ran the Barber's shop, in Sarn, down Powys way.
taught the Swansea children, how to write and play.
Tai-bach Clwyd, had a farm with his brother Tal.
Tal, well he
married Trefina, and they moved to Holywell.
wrote her sweetheart, she was bound for Tenby Town,
he went to meet her, she wore a velvet gown,
lived in Uwchmynydd, it's not far from Bardsey Isle.
took her sister there, phew! they walked a country mile.
worked on Valley, mending aircraft on the ground.
from Lake Vyrnwy bought a little Bassett Hound.
he's from Wales like, he's dark and young, and bold,
she's his sweetheart, and she lives this side of Mold.
is in Dyfed, Ysceifiog's further north, and east
But you can join us all in Clwyd, were we'll share a Xmas feast
been up and down in Zion, from Ynys Mon to Cardiff Bay.
enjoy the journey, why not come another day?
Gosh what a journey and I'll have you know it took me about 55 minutess to write, and 3 hours to get the spelling correct.
You would be surprised how different these names are pronounced and spelt, it depends on where you live. (Punctuation, ouch)
Take my village of Ponty
It is spelt,
it all depends on which road you take, coming into the village.
hugs and kisses, Dodie. xxx
THE WAR SONG OF DINAS FAWR.
As a bare, blunt telling of the brutality of war, which to many poets have hidden under romance, this war song by Thomas Love Peacock stands alone. Peacock's best verses were scattered through his novels. Like Charles Lamb, Peacock was an East India Company's clerk; but he quite understood the savage relish of primative man.
The mountain sheep are sweeter, But the valley sheep are fatter; We therefore deemed it meeter To carry off the latter. We made an expedition; We met a host and quelled it; We forced a strong position, And killed the men who held it.
On Dyfed's richest valley, Where herds of kine were browsing, We made a mighty sally, To furnish our carousing. Fierce warriors rushed to meet us; We met them, and o'erthrew them; They struggled hard to beat us, But we conquored them, and slew them.
As we drove our prize at leisure The king marched forth to catch us; His rage surpassed all measure, But his people could not match us. He fled to his hall-pillars; And, ere our force we led off, Some sacked his house and cellars, And others cut his head off.
We there, in strife bewild'ring Spilt blood enough to swim in, We orphaned many children, And widowed many women. The eagles and the ravens We gutted with our foemen; The heroes and the cravens, The spearmen and the bowmen.
We brought away from battle, And much their land bemoaned them, Two thousand head of cattle, And the head of him who owned them: Ednyfed, King of Dyfed, His wine and beasts supplied our feasts, And his overthrow our chorus....
I am not so sure about the King of Dyfed, Wales really only had one king and that was, Hywel Dda, or Howel the Good, d. 950?. Coins were struck in his name and are still in great demand by coin collectors. Some have been found but we Welsh were funny then, we used to hide everything we could from the English, so I doubt whether many will be found. They are probably in the bottom of one of the many Llyn's (lakes) as we say in Cymraig.We fought as much among ourselves as we did invaders. Princes everywhere, I think Llewelyn Fawr had a Senchel called Ednyfed I shall have to get out my Welsh History book I wrote one year before the website came along.
He brought much
of Wales under a single rule and is credited with the codification of
Welsh laws. The earliest extant texts of the Laws of Hywel Dda
date from the 13th cent. and provide evidence of a developing code of
law; they are valuable sources for social and legal history.
ST DAVID'S DAY 1ST MARCH TRADITIONAL WELSH COSTUME,
ONE OF MANY AS EACH COUNTY OR
EVEN TOWN HAD THEIR OWN DESIGN
St David's Day is celebrated in
Wales on the 1st of March,
in honour of Dewi Sant or St David, the patron saint of Wales. Little
is known about him for certain. What little information we have is
based on an account of his life written by Rhigyfarch towards the end
of the 11th century. According to this
Latin manuscript, Dewi died in the year 589. His mother was called Non,
and his father, Sant, was the son of Ceredig, King of Ceredigion. After
being educated in Cardiganshire, he went on pilgrimage through south
Wales and the west of England, where it is said that he founded
religious centres such as Glastonbury and Croyland. He even went on a
pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where he was made archbishop.
He eventually settled at Glyn Rhosyn (St David's), in south-west
Wales, where he established a very strict ascetic religious community.
Many miracles have been attributed to him, the most incredible of which
was performed when he was preaching at the Synod of Llanddewibrefi - he
caused the ground to rise underneath him so that he could be seen and heard by all.
Gwenllian Llwyd of Llangollen
How much truth is in this account of his life by
Rhigyfarch is hard to tell. It must be considered that Rhigyfarch was
the son of the Bishop of St David's, and that the Life was written as
propaganda to establish Dewi's superiority and defend
from being taken over by Canterbury and the Normans.From the 12th century onwards,
Dewi's fame spread throughout South
Wales and as far as Ireland and Brittany. St David's Cathedral became a
popular centre of pilgrimage, particularly after Dewi was officially
recognised as a Catholic saint in 1120. From t his period on, he was frequently referred to in the work of medieval
Welsh poets such as Iolo
Goch and Lewys Glyn Cothi. In 1398, it was ordained that his feast-day
was to be kept by every church in the Province of Canterbury. Though
the feast of Dewi as a religious festival came to an end with the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century,
the day of his birth became a national festival during the18th century.
Welsh National Dress
Now March 1 is celebrated by schools and
throughout Wales. It is the custom on that day to wear either a leek or
a daffodil - two of our national emblems - and for young girls to wear the national costume.
The popular image of Welsh 'national' dress, of a woman in a red
cloak and tall black hat, is one which largely developed during the
nineteenth century. It was part of a conscious revival of Welsh culture
during a period when traditional values were under threat.
The costume regarded as national dress is
based on clothing worn by
Welsh countrywomen during the early nineteenth century, whch was a
striped flannel petticoat, worn under a flannel open-fronted bedgown,
with an apron, shawl and kerchief or cap. Style of bed-gown varied, with
loose coat-like gowns, gowns with a fitted bodice and long skirts and
also the short gown, which was very similar to a riding habit style.
The hats generally worn were the same as
hats worn by men at the period. The tall 'chimne
y' hat did not appear until the late 1840s and
seems to be based on an amalgamation of men's top hats and a form of
high hat worn during the 1790-1820 period in country areas.
Lady Llanover, the wife of an ironmaster
in Gwent, was very influential in encouraging the wearing of a 'national' dress, both in
her own home and at eisteddfodau. She considered it important to
encourage the use of the Welsh language and the wearing of an
identifiable Welsh costume. She succeeded in her aim mainly because
people felt that their national identity was under threat and the
wearing of a national costume was one way to promote that identity.
CYMRU Gwrach Y Rhibym (a.k.a. Cyoerrath, y Cyhiraeth, Cyhyraeth and
The Gwrach Y Rhibym, or Hag of the Dribble, is a very
hideous spirit of Cardiganshire that can be either male or female. They
are said to have messily tangled hair, long black teeth, and long
withered arms completely out of proportion to the length of their
bodies, when they allow themselves to be seen. They usually walk beside
the one they want to warn while invisible, and if they come to a stream
or crossroads, they will release a ghastly shriek and beat upon the
ground or water while crying, “My husband! My husband!” if warning a
woman, or, “My wife! My wife!” to foretell the death of a woman to a
man. To either they will cry “My little child! My little child!” if
one’s child is about to die. If the listener is unable to understand
what the Gwrach Y Rhibym is screaming it is the hearer’s death the
faery is foretelling.
Cwn Annwn (a.k.a. Cwn Annwfn) –
These Welsh “Dogs
for the Otherworld” are usually seen in packs of small, reddish-gray,
or snow-white, red-eared spectral hounds.
They are death portents, but
never actually destroy anything themselves. When they are near by their
cries sound like those of beagles, but from a distance their voices are
full of wild lamentation. Sometimes one voice among the pack will loose
a cry like that of an enormous bloodhound, hollow and deep. Because
they terrify mortal dogs, a dog howling at night is considered to be a
bad omen, and to hear the Cwn Annwn is considered a sign of one’s
imminent demise. They are said to be hellhounds who hunt through the
air for the souls of the living, to kidnap and lead those mortals who
are damned to infernal regions underground. They are also known as Cwn
Bendith y Mamau (Hounds of the Mother), Cwn Cyrff (Corpse Dogs), Cwn
Wybr (Sky Dogs), and Cwn Toili (Toili Dogs).
The Dysynni Valley
Mother of holy fire! Mother of holy dew! Thy children of the mist, the moor, the mountain side, These change not from thine heart, these to thine heart allied:
These that rely on thee, as blossoms on the blue. O passionate, dark faces, melancholy's hue! O deep grey
eyes, so tragic with the fires they hide! Sweet Mother, in whose light these live! thou dost abide, Star of the West, pale to the world: these know thee true.
No alien hearts may know that magic, which aquaints Thy soul with splendid passion, a great fire of dreams; Thine heart with lovelier sorrow, than the wistful sea. Voices of Celtic singers and of Celtic Saints Live on the ancient air: their royal sunlight gleams On moorland Merioneth
and sacred Dee.
Lionel Pigot Johnson (15 March 1867 - 4 October 1902) was an English poet, essayist
was born at Broadstairs, and educated at Winchester College and New
College, Oxford, graduating in 1890. He became a Catholic convert in
1891. He lived a rather solitary life in London, struggling with
alcoholism and his repressed homosexuality. He died of a stroke after a
fall in the street, though it was said to be a fall from a barstool.
Typical of moorland Merioneth is the Dysynni Valley. The stream rises in Cader Idris and after a short
course of 17 miles reaches the sea at Towyn. The reason why the Dee is termed Sacred
is because of the great veneration in which it was and still is held by
the Welsh People, who once would devoutly bend down and kiss the earth
and then drink of its water before going into battle.
The Celtic Hills
The Celtic hills curl into the dreaming distance the mountain’s brood in
ancient sombre reverie, silver streams sing in elfin voices.
I walk without a care in the world following the butterfly of beauty
beneath tumbling clouds of summery fleecy whiteness,fat contented clouds feeding lazily on the azure
grass of heaven.
I pass a cat on an old stone wall,
his eyes the colour of the salt scented sea, not a cat of this earth, not a cat to be taken lightly.
I pass a dishevelled scarecrow
in a field of yellow poppies eying with mute and profitless indignation a sleek black crow perched on his arm.
I pass an old woman hanging
out washing in her garden.
Does she know the gleaming
road of dreams winds like a rainbow scaled
serpent past her open front door, through the villages and hamlets of men,past the lonely farmsteads and into
the hazy highlands of vision?
Does she see the coloured
ghosts of angels playing tag in the fields with her daughter’s children, or the pipes of the wild eyed Pan as he
leads them dancing through the woodland trees in a whooping, abandoned saraband?
At night, when the towns-folk
are sleeping and the children's souls are out amongst the stars, ancient giants hurl rocks and boulders over valley’s
and ravines, from mountain peak to mountain peak.
Summer lightening flashes in their
senile eyes and their dark and shadowed hearts, thunder booms in their shouts of mad glee, they lost their minds
centuries ago when proud,besotted Merlin compelled them to sell their brothers into bondage,to raise the monolith
stones of corrupt Druid circles in the flatland's to the south.
Old woman, perhaps you are right to
tend lovingly your little patch of earth,the mountains care little for women or men, the giants seldom sleep even in the daylight, but merely dreams of olden
days with one stony eye half propped open lest some other mortal with half-wizardry blood comes to steal their
And in the blue lake’s, deep and as
dark as spinsters tears, the ancient Dragons and Demons prowl and stir, some chained to the roots of the mountains
by great golden chains, some bewitched with mighty runes of sleep, some, perhaps, not fettered or imprisoned at all,
but simply dreaming their long and Dragonish dreams, and when the time comes and the Dragon bellies growl with
hunger, the water will hiss and splutter with steam and fear, and dread will fill the hearts of farmers and villagers.
The Celtic hills curl into
the dreaming distance, the mountains brood in ancient, sombre reverie, silver streams sing with
I walk without a care in the world, following the butterfly of beauty from the Vale of Clwyd to Llangollen, Caernarfon to Cader Idris, along the golden sun-filled paths of youth.
THE WONDERFUL ALEXANDER CORDELL
I must not pass over in silence the mountains called
by the Welsh Eryri, but by the British Snowdon, or the mountains of Snow, which... seem to rear their lofty summits even to the clouds
EVEN IN THE COAL MINES,
THERE'S BEAUTY IN MY WALES
Alexander Cordell was one of Wales' most prolific writers, although he wasn't Welsh. He
was born in Sri Lanka, and came to
Wales to convalesce during World War II. After the War he
moved to Llanelen (a few miles North of Goytre Wharf) where he did most of the research for Rape of the Fair
Country, before moving to Holywell Road in Abergavenny, his home for many years.
This tour will take you
from the rolling countryside of the Vale of Usk, much loved by Cordell, to the landscape of the industrial valleys,
which provided the backdrop for most of the action in Rape of the Fair Country. You will visit some of the more
accessible sites which feature in this powerful story about life during
the early years of the Industrial Revolution leading up to the Chartist uprising of 1839. It is suggested you use
OS Explorer Map 152 and OS Outdoor Leisure Map 13 (Brecon Beacons National Park East) for reference.
Route directions are in bold, quotations from Rape of the Fair Country in italics. Key sites are numbered and marked on the map.
(Thanks to the Wee reference leaflets I picked up myself.
The Big Pit
If you get the chance to go down the Big Pit, you will never forget it.
However be sensible and wear flat shoes and not your Sunday Best Outfit. The last time myself and my husband
went down, there was an American couple with us. They unfortunately decided to go down the pit
on a whim and as she said "It was a bit daft to even attempt it, in three inch heels and a white summer skirt with
navy blouse." Sadly she had to go back to the top after a ten minutes or so. Her husband stayed
on the tour, so I guess he was able to tell her all about it. It truely is very humbling to see just what conditions
these Welsh men and children had to go through. After leaving the pit, we then went to the cottages, they were
the ones that they later used in "Coal House" the BBC One series. "Wow it was fascinating watching the series
and knowing that we had been there. Afterwards we went to the museum dedicated to the most wonderful "Alexander Cordell, whom I might have told you already I had the privileged of meeting once. His books, and I think I can say all his books, the Welsh and Chinese ones and the others.
Brilliant, I have them all, though I did find that the last couple he wrote in the couple of years before his untimely death, where not as fulfilling as his early books. He had lost his second wife and he was very "dwr" after this and I think coming up to my North Wales, was maybe a mountain to many. He died up on the Llangollen moors, not to far from the "Ponderosa Restaurant." Leaving behind him a few photos and a wee letter. His life ended like many of the steel and coal workers he wrote about, lying in the beautiful Welsh countryside after a hard life's work. May Dewi Sant watch
over you My Hero. Dodie x
Beside the peaceful Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal at
Goytre Wharf it's easy to imagine Iestyn Mortymer and his family gliding down the canal on the outing to Newport:
Wonderful to be moving on water. The silky movement is a drug to the senses when you are lying along the prow
of a barge watching the water-lilies and bindweed waving. Soon Pen-y-fal and the Skirrids were well behind us,
and the sun, streaming down through the avenue of trees, cast golden patterns on the barges.
However this quiet
backwater was once a busy industrial site. Take time to walk around and view the historic limekilns and aqueduct,
as well as the South Wales Tramway Exhibition. Tramways were crucial in bringing coal, limestone and iron-ore
down from the hills to the wharves located along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
- at Llangattock, Llanfoist and Llanelen.
There is also a Tourist Information Point where
you can pick up leaflets and advice before leaving Goytre Wharf.
Bryn Roberts, Monday 28th February 1853.
Today has been one of the
worst days of my life. I will be glad to leave this God forsaken canal and the barge, anything than spend another day like this!
To begin with it has been snowing for most of the
day, my feet are cold, my hands are skinned to the
bone where the damned tow rope kept slipping
through them. God how I hate this job.
Ha! A job, I don't even get paid for it. "you've
got to be fourteen before you get any money boyo".
Oh yeah, fourteen before I get any money but six
when I started walking the paths, even towing the
ropes with my brothers when the damn horse went
sick or lame.
No I've had enough, cramped up in a tiny cabin with
three sisters, the oldest not yet nine, the
youngest not yet walking. Maybe that's a blessing
at least one less under my feet. I suppose I should
be grateful that I've got under the table to sleep
by myself now that Iolo has left for the mines. My
heart still grieves for Iolo, still it was his
decision. Poor Mam, she was looking very old this
morning Gone her lovely black hair, now just grey
and going more grey with each rising day.
Old Mostyn Evans died this morning of the Cholera,
they say three of his young ones will be gone in
the next day or two as well. Poor Mrs Evans I
suppose it will be the Workhouse for her and
Myfanwy and Rhian, God help them.
I counted seventeen rats this afternoon down by the
lock gate. It made me wonder if Istyn Morris lost
his leg down at Neath or if the rats ate it whilst
he was asleep. If the Navvies from England kept
their rubbish proper like us Welsh, then maybe
there wouldn't be so many rats.
I heard from Marie Lloyd that two children where
drowned at Resolven Yesterday, two less mouths to
feed. Still t'is sad to think of so many children
dying this way and most of them not reached their
ninth birthday. Still who wants birthday's, nothing
to look forward to there either.
"No money Bryn" Dada would say. "You know what it's
like in winter, and now with these railways taking
all our business we'd probably do better going on a
ship to America along with the Irish."
Well this is me, thirteen in a months time and
nothing to look forward to except more blisters and
chilblains this winter and more sunburnt backs and
arms in summer. Not if I can help it! Not me. I'll
follow Iolo down the pit, not good but nothing
could be worse than this. But how can I go, what
would happen to Mam and Dada. Still it's nice to
Goodnight Dada, I love you Mam. Time to sleep.
A small excerpt from one of the books written by the wonderful Alexander Cordell.
start with "The Fire People" get hooked and then the first Trilogy,
"The Rape of a Fair Country" "The Hosts of Rebecca," and "Songs of the Earth"
as we say in Cymraeg. Very Good we say in English
Puffin Island (Ynys Seiriol in Welsh (SH 649 821)) is an uninhabited
island off the eastern tip of Anglesey, Wales at Latitude 53 31 69 N
and Longitude 04 02 54 W. It was formerly known as Priestholm in
English and Ynys Lannog in Welsh.
Puffin Island is the ninth largest island off the coast of Wales. It is
a piece of Carboniferous limestone, 58 m above sea level at its highest
point and has steep cliffs on all sides. It has an area of 0.28 km².
The island is privately owned by the Baron Hill estate and landing is
not allowed without special permission. Edwin Morris who owns puffin
island paid out £12.4 million pounds for in 1992 and is in process of
making the island a rat free zone for the puffins to come back.
The Welsh name of Ynys Seiriol refers to Saint Seiriol, who established
a monastic settlement on the island and on Trwyn Du (Penmon Point) on
the mainland opposite the island in the 6th century. Seiriol is said to
have been buried on the island. A monastery still existed on the island
in the late 12th century and was mentioned by Giraldus Cambrensis who
visited the area in 1188. He claimed that whenever there was strife
within the community of monks a plague of mice would devour all their
food. Llywelyn the Great issued two charters in 1221 and 1237
confirming the monks, usually called "canons", in possession of the
island and the church and manor of Penmon on the mainland of Anglesey.
The ruins of several ecclesiastical buildings are still visible on the
island, including the remains of a 12th century church.
Much later a telegraph station was built on the north-eastern tip of the island. It is now disused.
Special Report. 1999
Mystery buyer for Thorn Island
Thorn Island cost as much as a London semi
A fortress island off the West Wales coast has been bought less than
two months after being put up for sale.
A businessman, whose identity has not
been revealed, has bought the two-acre island from millionaire owner Peter Williamson. Thorne Island, a mile off
Angle in Pembrokeshire, went on the market for £275,000 - the price of a modest semi in London.
Estate agent Knight Frank has
confirmed it has been sold, but has not named the buyer, who is
expected to carry on running it as an hotel.
Tim Jessop, of agents Knight Frank, said:
"Properties like these are extremely rare and don't come on the market very often.
"It is the perfect hideaway for anyone
who wants their privacy."
The fortress was built on the
two-acre island in 1854 to guard the entrance to Milford Haven against the threat of invasion by Napoleon.
It was converted into a hotel in 1947.
Guests are ferried over from the village of Angle on the mainland.
Ynys Mon: Angelsey The Anglesey Coastal Path and the Llanddona Witches
There have been many legends over the centuries on this mysterious
island, but the myth of the Llanddona witches certainly captures the
Over the years people have come to believe in the amazing power of
witches to influence society in a negative way. So for example, if a
cow or sheep died invariably the community would blame the local witch.
Amazingly it was not until 1736 that Parliament cancelled the specific
law, which until then had allowed witches to be hanged for such
Not surprisingly, with legends and tales there is more than one version
of events, and the witches of Llanddona is no exception.
The first account tells how during one stormy night, a Spanish ship crashed on the sandy beach of Llanddona.
Despite attempts to save the ship, nothing could be done to save her and eventually the power
of the sea caused the ship to break up.
In the chaos, the crew struggled ashore in the frothy seas but
unfortunately most of them drowned in their efforts to get ashore
By the next day the survivors had reached the top of the cliff
when they looked back to the beach, they accepted that they would never
leave, seeing their wrecked ship below.
So they decided to make the best of a terrible situation, and made this
piece of land their own. The local people of Llanddona were certainly
not happy that a group of shipwrecked survivors decided to camp outside
The myth tells us that the survivors were short in stature, had red hair, and were believed to be from Spain.
Despite many attempts by the locals to get rid of the survivors, in the
end they gave up and allowed their new guests to remain. The legend
suggests that the survivors had used various circus tricks and magic to
confuse the locals. The villagers of Llanddona began to believe the rumour that the
survivors were witches, because they kept themselves to themselves. One
survivor, a short woman called Sian Bwt or Short Betty, had two thumbs
on the left-hand. Apparently, this was a sure sign that the individual
was a witch.
The second account tells how a fisherman was walking along the coast
one day he observed an open boat carrying wet, bedraggled women that
had been swept on to the beach at Llanddona by the very strong tide.
The women appeared very sick, and not surprisingly, if they had been
stuck out at sea without food and water for such a long time.
Apparently, one of the witches hit the beach with her stick. And
amazingly a spring of clear water emerged. After building themselves a shelter out of wood and stones, the witches
began begging for food and cursed anyone who refused. When they visited the local markets, they would not pay for any goods,
and on one occasion, they turned themselves into hares so that they
could not be caught. As the years went by, the witches continued to frighten the people of
Llanddona. There was one incident, when the witches were smuggling
certain goods onto the island. They arrived at night on the beach, and then they began to carry the goods in barrels
to the village. The witches of Llanddona were so confident that they even ignored the
Customs officials. When they were challenged, they released hundreds of
black flies which flew out and stung the villagers and the officials. And so the myth go on.
Many believe that descendants of the witches still live in Llanddona to this day.
So come along to our island, and make a special effort to see the
Anglesey Coastal Path and you may just meet the Llanddona Witches.
The End of Maelgwn Gwynedd
Of all the Princes that have ruled over Gwynedd, as the west half of North Wales was called then and is still called
the same today, the most wicked was Maelgwn. Maelgwn was Prince of Gwynedd almost fourteen centuries ago,
and this is his story. In those days there were four petty kingdoms in Wales and the four rulers wished to decide which
of them should be Brenhin Pennaf, or chief king. It was agreed that they would meet on the sands of the
Dovey Testuary, bringing their thrones with them, that the thrones should be placed in a row fronting the incoming tide, with their royal owners sitting on them; and that whichever of the four stayed longest on his throne when the sea came racing in to submerge them should be declared Brenhin Pennaf.
Now Maelgwn had a cunning councellor, Maeldav the Elder, who was determined that his master should triumph. "Maeldav, says the old Chronicle, "secretly prepared a throne of wings" - and we can take it as pretty certain that these wings were made of inflated skins that would act as water wings when the tide came in.
At any rate, the spring tide came roaring and foaming in, and the sea rose higher and higher, until the princes of
Powys and South Wales took fright and splashed their way to the shore and safty. Maelgwn was left to ride the
waves and was declared the winner and therefore the chief ruler of all of Wales.
It was an age when men were accustomed to harsh treatment from their overlords, but Maelgwn Gwynedd
overstepped all bounds of cruelty, he was very, very cruel indeed. The people of his own land cursed him for
the blackness of his deeds, but there was no one strong enough to oppose him and it seemed
as if the sufferings of his many victims would never be avenged. He built himself a palace close to the north coast,
within a bow shot of a hill fort that had been the stronghold of his anestors hundreds of years earlier, and here at
Llys Rhos Maelgwn lived a life of drunkenness and excess, with other evil doings too horrible to be told even on
this page of Dodies
At last the gread bard and prophet
Taliesin foretold an end to the suffering of Gwynedd. This was his prophecy:
wonderous beast shall come up from Morfa Rhianedd, the Sea marsh of the Maidens, to avenge all the
cruelties of Maelgwn. Its hair and its teeth and its eyes shall be yellow, and this beast will be the end of Maelgwn Gwynedd"...
.The Prophecy of Taliesin was fulfilled 547. For in that year the deadly plague which some called the Yellow Death was ravaging Europe, and spread northward into Britain.
As the plague's trail of death approached the land of Gwynedd, Maelgwn's terror of it grew until he was almost mad
with fear. He shut himself in his palace of Llys Rhos with a few of his favourite courtiers and forbade anyone to pass
in or out and for a little time it seemed that he had escaped the plague that was taking the lives of so many of his
subjects in the world outside. But one day hearing his name loudly called from the outer gateway, Maelgwn looked
through the keyhole of the great door. A moment later he fell to the ground, writhing in agony; and his only words
were "The Yellow Beast!"..
. The courtiers fled, leaving their dead prince in the
It was long indeed before anyone would venture in to bring out the body of the Brenhin Pennaf for
burial; which gave rise to the Welsh saying: Hir hun y Faelwyn yn Llys Rhos - The long sleep of
Maelgwn in the palace of Rhos"...
Llys Rhos fell into ruin. But from its stones a new palace named Llys Euryn was built, on the very spot
where Maelwyn Gwynedd wrought - and - paid for his evil deeds....
Their lord they shall
Their language they
Their land they
- Except wild Wales.
..Whether it is still there I do not know,
but there used to be a signpost pointing down a wee path in Rhos on Sea that pointed the way to the Llys Euryn
and Bryn Euryn..
Although Maelwyn Gwynedd (also known as Maelwyn ap Cadwallon), he was also accused
of murdering his wife and his nephew so that he could marry his nephew's widow.. He was also said to
be a great patron of the arts and a skilled lawgiver, although some attribute this reputation to Maelgwn's own
propaganda. He established court at Deganwy Castle, and surrounded himself with an entourage of bards and
artisans who wrote glowingly of his achievements. His son Rhun was also a famous king of Gwynedd, and
some say that another son, Brude, became King of the Picts.
The Isle of Avalon?
Tradition: Several old stories claim that Merlin the Magician's last
resting place was Ynys Enlli, otherwise known as Bardsey Island,
off the very tip of the Lleyn Peninsula in Gwynedd. Here he sleeps in a
magical glass castle, probably of his own volition rather than having
been imprisoned by the Lady of the Lake. He is surrounded by the
Thirteen Treasures of Britain, and is constantly attended by nine
Ynys Enlli is an ancient Holy Island whose religious associations
pre-date the Christian era as indicated by the name given to it by
raiding Vikings, Bardsey - the "Bards' Island". As with so many pagan
centres, the Christians took the site over and St. Cadfan
and his companions founded a monastery there in AD 546. It became a
sort of Iona of Wales, a holy burial place for Royalty and holymen
alike. Some 20,000 saints are said to lie beneath its soil: an
assertion which led to the Pope proclaiming three pilgrimages to Ynys
Enlli to be equal to one to Rome. The place has always been considered
something of a health spot. Giraldus Cambrensis declared of the island
that "no one dies except from old age".
Barber & Pykitt identify Ynys Enlli with the Isle of Avalon where
King Arthur was taken to be healed of his wounds after the Battle of
The battle, they place at nearby Porth Cadlan on the mainland. Merlin's
"Castle of Glass" on Ynys Enlli would appear to be the "Chamber of
Glass" where Queen Morgan
(or Modron) Le Fay lived and worked with her nine sisters (Merlin's
companions) to heal King Arthur on the Isle of Avalon. Avalon, meaning
"Place of Apples," was an aspect of the Celtic Otherworld, usually
called Annwfn: an alternative name appearing throughout Celtic
mythology was Caer Wydyr - the "Fort of Glass". Barber & Pykitt
believe this to have been a sort of early greenhouse, attached to St.
Cadfan's monastery, where Apples could grow, away from Ynys Enlli's
treacherous south-west winds and where infirmary patients could
recuperate in solarium-like conditions.
Possible Interpretations & Criticism:
Barber and Pykitt may have taken things a little far, but their
identification of Ynys Enlli with the Isle of Avalon seems quite sound.
What better place for King Arthur to eventually be buried than the
Insula Sanctorum. A little-known 14th century manuscript known as "The Death of Arthur," apparently
written to replace Geoffrey of Monmouth's terse account of the Great King's demise, does actually state that
Arthur "gave orders that he should be carried to Gwynedd, for he
intended to stay in the Isle of Avalon".
warm monastic infirmary, on the island, with weather beating windows,
the last vestiges of a forgotten Roman art, does hold a certain appeal.
The glass building concept is certainly strong in Celtic
legend. However, if the Isle of Avalon were merely the entrance to the
Otherworld-Avalon, rather than Avalon itself, there is no need to look
for the means to grow apples in this desolate place. Such fruits are
far away in another dimension that only mythology can understand.
Do visit the web site of: A Discussion of Bardsey's identification as Avalon
By David Nash Ford
"These mountains may not unfitly be termed the British Alps,
their steepnesse and cragginesse not unlike those of Italy, all of them
towering up into the aire and encompassing one farre higher than all
the rest, peculiarly called Snowdon Hill though the others... are by
the Welsh termed Craig Eriry as much as Snowy Mountaines... For all the
yeare long these lye mantelled over with snow hard crusted together."
unknown author -
Description of Wales (1599)
THE TORRENT WALK, DOLGELLEY
Across the bridge and thro' the huddled town, Along the oak clad river bank we passed,
Our eyes perforce were ever backwards cast To where dark Moel looked in grandeur down;
But still The Torrent claimed us for its own, And those grey Arrans eastward held us fast, Till sudden,
at the tale of blood aghast. We fronted Offryn, and its hideous frown. We turned to thread a hollow
murmering vale, From step to step a streamlet downwards sprung, Now laughing white, now solemn pool on pool; No more distressed for Cynariac Offryn's tale, From sun to shadow, and from heat to cool,
We heard a torrent speak our English tongue.
written by H D. Rawnsley (1851 - 1920)
Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, Vicar of Crosthwaite and co-founder of the National Trust.
"...full of high mountains, craggy rocks, great woods and deep valleys, strait and dangerous places, deep and swift rivers as Dovey, which springeth in the hills of Merioneth and runneth through Mawddwy...
and so to the sea at Aberdyfi, dividing North Wales and South Wales asunder"
Sir John Price -
History of Cambria (1584)
THE ONE AND ONLY SHELL ISLAND
My favourite holiday site for
kids in the whole of Wales, even the UK, even the World! It is seperated from the mainland twice a day when the tide comes in
and covers the causeway.
Best thing about this site: The
clue's in the name, how you can get so many different types of shell on one beach is beyond
me. Your tent will never be more than a two-minute walk away from the
beach, and some of the highest sand dunes in Wales are found here, too.
There are no ice cream vans zooming up and down, a walk to the nearest
village of Llanbeder, though cars are allowed on and off the island at
all times so if you want to spend loads of money then it is your
choice. Me, when I had a
ll the kids young,
Shell Island and Black Rocks
where our favourite haunts, it used to take
us 90 minutes from Groes to Shell Island.
Brilliant, and when I met the wonderful Peter in the July of 1996, it
is with very fond rememberance that we spent my birthday at Shell
Island. It was wonderful, I think there is a poem about it somewhere.
Sand hills so tall, A conservation of flowers , I tell you happiness is
Shell Island. First to find a complete Scallop Shell, (top and bottom)
has to be given a quid. Wonderful, No Caravans or Camper Trucks allowed
:) Guitars and Barbeques a must. Roll on the Summer..... do try to pick
a sunny few weeks though, camping and rain is only for the real campers.
Kids' stuff: There's a great, safe
outdoor play area at the centre of the "island", while at the south end
those high dunes are just brilliant for running or sledging down.
Unexpected delight: If you get up early on a
calm summer morning you may be lucky enough to watch porpoises or seals from the north beach.
Potential drawback: Shell
Island, 4km by 800 metres, just happens to be the biggest campsite in
Europe (so there), and lots of people know about it already.
This is a family-run campsite with a friendly welcome. You're not restricted
on the size of your pitch or the number of tents you take, just so long
as you camp at least 20 metres away from the next family. There's an
enforced no radios after 11pm policy on site and you can dob in
"nuisance neighbours", too.
Activities: Grab a bucket, a
net and a packet of bacon and go crabbing on the causeway road or
harbour wall. Or the beach is superb for rock-pooling and, you guessed
it, shell-collecting. Evening entertainment programmes are held in the
holiday complex during peak season.
Food and drink: The
on-site supermarket sells locally caught fish, lobsters and crabs and
the on-site pub has takeaways. The nearest other pub is the Victoria in
Llanbedr (two miles).
If the heavens open: The
holiday complex is open all day every day from 9am with games room,
snack bar and Sky TV. Harlech, Criccieth and Caernarfon castles have
the historical edge when it comes to porches in a storm.
Top tip: Check
tide times on the website. The sea covers the entrance road at high
tide for four hours a day at least two weeks of every month.
The Osprey leaving Shell Island North Wales Starfish
"On the highest parts of these mountains are two lakes worthy of admiration… one has a floating island in it,
which is often driven from one side to the other by the force of the winds;
and the shepherds behold with astonishment their cattle, whilst feeding,
carried to the distant parts of the lake… the other lake is noted for a wonderful
and singular miracle. It contains three sorts of fish - eels, trout, and perch, all
of which have only one eye, the left being wanting; but if the curious reader should
demand of me the explanation of so extraordinary a circumstance, I cannot presume to
Geraldus Cambrensis - Itinerarium Cambriae (1191)
HARLECH Above the waves shine out the milk - white sands,
High o'r the sands a headland rock, o'ergrown With ivy, wears a castle for a crown,
And gold with soft sea lichen, Harlech stands. Sighs of a captive maid, the fierce commands
Of Colwyn, mad with Gwynedd, and the frown Of Owen Glyndwr struggling for his own,
And Anjou's Margaret wringing anguished hands - There, Harlech, at thy bidding start from sleep.
But most, when winds are hushed, and tides are low, From thy round towered sanctuary steals
A tramp of men, a clash of armed heels, And by the music's mellow march I know How, four years
long, great David held the keep.
H. D. Rawnsley
“Soon after my arrival in the woods,
another cascade astonished me with its grandeur. From the situation I was in, it formed a vast fall,
bounded on one side by broken ledges of rocks, on the other by a lofty precipice, with trees here and
there growing out of its mural front. On the summit of each part, oaks and birch form distinct little groves,
and give it a sort of character distinct from our other cataracts. After the water reaches the bottom of the deep
capacity, it rushes into a narrow rocky chasm, of a very great depth over which is an admirable
wooden Alpine bridge; and the whole, for a considerable way, awfully canopied by trees. This is
called Pistill Cain, or the spout of the River Cain”