"King Arthur and Bardsey"

Romance abounds around the legend of King Arthur and many regions have over the centuries laid claim to the fact that the legends were based in their area. Standing stones, cromlechs and local customs have been named after him. But all these antiquities were erected thousands of years before Arthur’s time. The cromlech at Cefnamwlch is known as ‘Coetan Arthur’ and another name for the chuff (which is a celtic bird) is Arthur’s bird., and on the slopes of Garn Fadryn there is a rock known as Arthur’s Rock or The King’s Table.

In the book ‘A journey to Avalon’ by Chris Barber and David Pykitt ( Blorenge Books, 1993) they come up with the theory that backs up local tradition in Llyn. They have amassed a great deal of evidence and argue strongly that it was in Llyn close to Porth Cadlan that the Battle of Camelot took place and that Bardsey Island was indeed Avalon. It is said that it was in 537 AD or 542 AD, when Cadfan was the Abbot of Bardsey that this battle took place between Arthur and Medrawd one of the knights of the Round Table who turned traitor.

Having concluded that the battle took place near Porth Cadlan and that Arthur’s family had witnessed it all it must be assumed that his mortally wounded body was then taken to Bardsey.

Tradition has it that Arthur’s ship ‘Gwenan’ was lost either in Bardsey Sound or to the south west of the island, the old name for Bardsey Sound was ‘Ffrydiau Caswennan’ (The Streams of Caswennan).

Jeffrey of Monmouth refers to Avalon as ‘Ynys Afallech’ and it was said that Myrddin (Merlin) and Taliesin took Arthur to ‘Ynys yr Afalau’ to recover from his wounds. If Arthur had been seriously wounded in the Battle of Camelot, they would not have wanted to take him far in his condition. On the island he was laid to rest on a golden bed and Princess Morgan and her nine handmaidens tenderly attended and cared for him.

According to some manuscripts Avalon was situated between Borth, Cardiganshire and Arklow in Ireland.  This makes it even more likely that Bardsey was the real Avalon and we here in Llyn can proudly lay legitimate claim to the ‘Legend of King Arthur’.


Thanks to Mr Elfed Gruffydd for allowing us to use extracts from his book ‘Llyn’.

See also Isaac Rowlands ‘Bardsey and its inhabitants’ 1913

Map or Safle                Website Map

Copyright © Rhiw.com