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Some Notes on The Welsh Triads

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Three seats of the Arch-Druids of Britain.

 

 'Three seats of the Arch-Druids of Britain.

Caer Troia, or Caer Lud, or Caer Llyndain.

Caer Evroc - York.

Caer Lleon - Caerleon.

-The Gildas MS> (Julius, D.xi), Cottonian Library, calls these the three Arch-flamens. Geoffrey of Monmouth appears to have found the same titles in the Armorican version of Tyssilio's History.

Triad 14 'Three Seafarers of the Island of Britain.' 

From earliest times, the peoples of the south- west have been dependant on the sea, for food, for trade and for defence. So it is perhaps not surprising that in the Welsh triads when we are given the names of 'Three Seafarers of the Island of Britain' two of them were rulers in south-west Britain; Geraint son of Erbin and March son of Meirchiawn,

"Geraint son of Erbin,

and Gwenwynwyn son of Naf,

and March son of Meirchiawn.

Geraint is traditionally linked with the site of the present day village of Gerrans on the south-west coast of Cornwall. A few miles to the East is Castle Dore, a site traditionally linked to King Mark ( March ). The famous 'Tristram Stone' stands nearby.

triad 26

It is curious that the pursuit of 'Henwen' in triad 26 ends at the sea in the Menai Straits, just as that of the 'Twrch Trwyth' ends in the sea off the coast of Cornwall, and that both are credited with crossing over the Bristol Channel.

Triad 37 'Three Fortunate Concealments of the Island of Britain'

37. Tn Chud a Thni Datcud Enys Prydein:

Penn Bendigeituran mat) Llyr, a gladwyt yn y Gvynvryn yn Llundein. A hyt tra vei y Penn yn yr ansavd yd oed yno, fly doy Ormes hyth yr Enys hon;

Eu, Esgyrn Gvcrtheuyr Vendigcit a gladwyt ym pryf hyrth yr Enys hon;

~lrydyd, v l)reigcu a giadwys lAud mab Beli yn Dinas Emrcis yn Ervri.

 

37. Three Concealments and Three Disclosures of the Island of Britain:

The Head of Bran the Blessed, son of Llyr, which was buried in the White hill in London. And as long as the Head was there in that position, no Oppression would ever come to this Island;

The second: the Bones of Gwerthefyr the Blessed, which were buried in the Chief Ports of this Island;

The third: the Dragons which Llndd son of Beli buried in Dinas Emrys in Eryni.

 

37 R. Tn Matkud Ynys Prydein:

Penn Bendigeituran uah Liyr, a guduwyt yn y Gvynuryn yn Llundein, ae wyneb ar Ffreinc. A hyt tra uu yn yr ansavd v dodet yno, ny doci Ormes Sacsson byth yr Ynys honn;

Yr cii (M)atkud: y Drcigeu yn Ninas Emrcis, a gudyavd Liud uab Beii;

Ar try dyd: Esgyrn (herthcuyr Uendigeit, ym prif pyrth yr Ynys honn. A hyt tra vydynt yn y kud hvnnv, ny doci ()rmes o Saesson byth yr Ynys honn.

A Ilyna y Tn Anvat(dat)kud pan datgudwyt: A Gvrtheyrn Gvrthcneu a datkudyawd Esgyrn Gvcrtheuyr Uendigeit yr scrch gvrcic. Sef ned honno, Ronnwen bagancs;

Ac ef a datkudyavd y Drcigcu;

Ac Arthur a datkudyavd Penn Bcndigcituran or Gvynnvrynn. Kan nyt ned dcc gantav kadv yr Ynys honn o gedernit nub, namVn or cidav chiin.

 

 

37 R. Three Fortunate Conccalmcnts of the Island of Britain

The Head of Bran the Blessed, son of Llyr, which was concealed in the White Hill in London, with its face towards France. And as long as it was in the position in which it was put there, no Saxon Oppression would ever come to this Island;

The second Fortunate Concealment: the Dragons in Dinas Emrys, which Lludd son of Beli concealed;

And the third: the Bones of Gwerthefyr the Blessed, in the Chief Ports of this Island. And as long as they remained in that concealment, no Saxon Oppression would ever come to this Island.

And they were the Three Unfortunate Disclosures when these were disclosed And Gwrtheyrn the Thin disclosed the bones of Gwerthefyr the Blessed for the love of a woman: that was Ronnwen the pagan woman; And it was he who disclosed the Dragons;

And Arthur disclosed the Head of Bran the Blessed from the White Hill, because it did not seem right to him that this Island should be defended by the strength of anyone, but by his own.

Triad 52:- the Three Exalted Prisoners of the Island of Britain 

Triad 52 of the 'Trioedd Ynys Prydain' tells of the Three Exalted Prisoners of the Island of Britain :

" Llyr Half- Speech, who was imprisoned by Eurosswydd,

and the second, Mabon son of Modron,

and third, Gwair, son of Geirioedd.

And one, who was more exalted than the three of them, was three nights in prison in Caer Oeth and Anoeth, and three nights imprisoned by Gwen Pendragon, and three nights in an enchanted prison under the Stone of Eichymeint. This Exalted Prisoner was Arthur. And it was the same one who released him from each of these three prisons - Goreu, son of Custennin, his cousin."

 

In a note to this triad Bromwich adds;- "Ynys Wair (Gwair) was also an old name for Lundy island and I understand that this name for Lundy still survives in the speech of the locality."

triad 70

70.   Tn Gwyn Donliwyth Ynys Bryclein:

Vryen mab Kynuarch, ac Aravn mab Kynuarch, a Llev mab Kynuarch, 0 Neuyn verch Brychan Brecheinyavc eu m am;

Ar eil, Owein mab \rycn a Moruucl tietch Vryen ac Anarun Archesgobj d~o Voclion merch Aualiach cu main;

Y tryclyd oed Gwrgi  a Peredur, meibon Eliffer Gosgotduavt, ac Ardun eu chwaer, a Dyrw . . . dyl, a Chornan cii march, a Thonilvy(t) eu bvch.

 

70.   Three Fair Womb-Burdens of the Island of Britain:

Unien son of Cynfarch and Arawn son of Cynfarch and Lieu son of Cynfarch, by Nefyn daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog their mother;

The second, Owain and Morfudd daughter of Urien and Anarun archbishop of Llydaw by Modron daughter of Afaliach their mother;

The third was Gwrgi and Peredur Sons of (E)iiffer of the Great Warband, and Arddun their sister, and . . . (by Efrddyl?), and Cornan their horse and Grey-Skin their cow.

 

70.  Pen. 50. Tn Gwyndorllwyth Ynys Prydein:

Unien ac Eurddel plant Kynvarch Hen, y vuant yn un torllwydd yghailon Nevyn verch Vrychan eu mam;

Ar cii, Owein mab Urien a Morwyd y chwaer, a vuant yn un dorliwyt yghailon Modron ferch Avallach;

Y trydyd, Gwrgi a Peredur a Cheindrech Pen AskeH, plant Eliffer Gosgorddfawr, a vuant yghalion Eurddel verch Gynfarch y mam.

 

70.   Pen. 50: Three Fair Womb-Burdens of the Island of

Britain:

Urien and Efrddyi, children of Cynfarch the Old, who were carried together in the womb of Nefyn daughter of Brvchan their mother;

The second, Owain son of Urien and Mor(fudd) his sister who were carried together in the womb of Modron daughter of Afallach;

The third, Gwrgi and Peredur and Ceindrech Pen Asgell (Wing head), children of Eliffcr of the Great Warband, who were carried together in the womb of Efrddyl daughter of Cvnfarch their mother.

Triad 86 -Three Knights of Arthurs Court who won the Graal

86. Tn Marchawc o Lys Arthur a enillawd y Greal, ac eu duc y Nef:

Galaad vab Lawnslot y Lac,

a Pheredur vab Efrawc larli,

a Bort vat) Brenhin Bort.

A(r) ddcu gyntaf oeddynt wery o gyrif. A(r) trydydd oedd ddiweir, am na wnaeth pechawt knawdawl ont unweith. A hynny drwy brovedigaeth yn yr amser y ennillawd ef

verch Brenyn Brangor, yr honn a vu Ymherodres yn Constinobyl, or honn y deuth y Genedllaeth vwyaf or byt; ag or genedlaeth Joseph o Animathia y hanoedynt yll tn, ac o un David brofwyt, mal y tystolaetha rstorya y Greal.

 

86. :Three Knights of Arthurs Court who won the Graal, and it brought them to Heaven

Galaad son of Lawnslot of the Lake, and Peredur son of Earl Efrawg, and Bort son of King Bort.

And the two first were virgin of body. And the third was chaste, for only once had he committed bodily sin; and that, through temptation, at the time when he won . . . daughter of King Brangor, who was Empress in Constantinople, and from whom was descended the greatest race in the world. All three were sprung of the race of Joseph of Arimathea, and of the lineage of the Prophet David, as the History of the Graal testifies.

triad 90 - three perpetual harmonies of the island of Britain.

90.   Tn Dyfal Gyfangan Ynys Prydein: un oedd yn Ynys Afallach, yr au Nyghaen Ga~adawc, ar trvdydd ym Mangor.

 Ymhob un or tn lie hynny yr ocdd 2400 o Wyn Crefyddol, ac or rheini 100 cyfnewidioi bob awr or 24 yn y dydd ar nos yn parhan mewn gweddicu a gwasanacth i 1)duw, yn ddidranc ddiorffwys byth.

 

90.   Three Perpetuai Harmonier of the Island of Britain:

One was at the Isiand of Afaliach, and the second at Caer Garadawg, and the third at Bangor.

 In each of these three places there were 2,400 religious men; and of these 500 in turn continued each hour of the twenty-four hours of the day and night in prayer and service to God, ceaselessly and without rest for ever.

 

In a recent book Twelve~Tribe Nations, the author John  Michell draws attention to the coincidence on a map of alignments through sacred sites and notable promontories or headlands. He mentions one such line which runs from the ancient monastic site of Bangor -is -Coed, mentioned in  triads 90 the three perpetual choirs of the island of Britain, across Worms Head, the westernmost point of the Gower Peninsula, across the Bristol Channel culminating at Lands End in Cornwall. This line crosses Lundy Island.

 

Thirteen Royal Treasures of the Isle of Britain

The Horn of Bran the Niggard

Corn bran galed oedd vn or tn thiws ar ddeg o vrenin-dlysse ynys brydain / ag yno dayth myrddin y erchi y tlysse hyny at bawb lie ydd oyddynt. ag y Cytynoedd pawb os efe gaffe gorn bran galed y Cae gantyn hwyntey / dan dybied nachae ef ddim or Corn / ag er hyny fo gafas myrddin y Corn ag wedy hyny vo gafas y Cwbwl ag aeth ag hwy yr ty gwydyr ag yn hwy byth mwy [sic].

Corn bran galed a gafas erculys ar ben saint tawrys gwedy y ladd / ag yno y gwlychoedd gwraic saint tawrys grys erculys yngwaed saint tawrys a fT an gwisgoedd erculys y Cris fly aliwyd byth y dyny o am dano nes yr Cris y vwytta y Cic ar Croen hyd yr esgyrn a lladd erculys yn varw.

The Horn of Bran the Niggard was one of the Thirteen Royal Treasures of the Island of Britain. And Myrddin came there to ask for those treasures of everyone who had them; and everyone agreed that if he should obtain the Horn of Bran the Niggard he should obtain theirs from them, supposing that he would never get the Horn. And nevertheless Myrddin obtained the Horn, and after that he obtained them all, and went wit!, them to the Glass House, and they (i.e. the Treasures) remain there for ever.

Hercules obtained the Horn of Bran the Niggard from the head of the centaur after he was slain. And then the wife of the Centaur wetted Hercules shirt in the blood of the centaur, and when Hercules had put on the shirt it was not possible ever to take it from off him until the shirt had eaten his flesh and skin to the bone, and Hercules was slain.

 

Enweu Ynys Brydein yv Hynn. /These are the Names of the Island of Britain.

 

The "Names of The Island of Britain, "a pre tenth century Welsh document which has come down to us as part of the Welsh Triads, lists important geographical features of Britain including naming Lundy as one of 'The Three Main Adjacent or Outpost Islands of Britain'

Kyntaf henv a uu ar yr Ynys hon, kyn noe chael nae chyuanhedu: clas Merdin. Ac vedy y chael ae chyuanhedu, Y Vel Ynys. Ac wedy y goresgyn o Brydein vab Aed Mavr, y dodet arnei Ynys Brydein.

1

1.The first name that this island bore, before it was taken or settled: Myrddins Precinct. And after it was taken and settled, the Island of Honey. And after it was conquered by Prydein son of Aedd the Great it was called the Island of Britain.

Teir Prif Rac Ynys yssyd idi,, a Seith Rac Ynys ar ugeint (yssyd y danei. Sef ynt y Teir Rac Ynys: Mon, a Manaw, ac Ynys Weir). A Thri Prif Aber a Seith Ugeint adeni. A Ffedeir Prif Borth ar Dec ar Ugeint, A Their Prif Gaer ar Dec ar Ugeint, a Ffetwar Prif Anryued ar Dec ar Ugeint.

2

2. Britain has Three Chief Outpost Islands, and Twenty-seven (others) are subordinate to it. These are the Three Outpost Islands: Anglesey, Man and Lundy. It has Three Chief Estuaries and Seven score subordinate (ones) and Thirty-four Chief Ports, and Thirty-three Chief Cities, and Thirty-four Chief Marvels.

Sef yv Hyt yr Ynys Hon: o Benryn Blat(h)aon ym Brydein hyt ym Penryn Penwaed yg Kerniv, sef yv hynny: nav can milldir. Sef yw y Llet, o Grugyll y Mon hyt yn Soram, pum can milldir yv hynny.

3

3. The Length of this island, from the promontory of Blathaon to the promontory of Penwith in Cornwall, is nine hundred miles. Its breadth from Crigyll in Anglesey to Sarre is five hundred miles.

Sef y dylyir y daly vrthi: Coron a Their Taleith. Ac yn Llundein gvisgav y Goron, ac ym Penryn Rionyt yn y Gogled vn or Taleithieu, ac yn Aberfra (w) yr eil, ac yg Kerniv y dryded.

4

4. There should be held therein a Crown and Three Coronets. The Crown should be worn in London, and one of the Coronets at Penrhyn Rhionydd in the north, the second at Aberffraw, and the third in Cornwall.

A Their Archesgobot yssyd yndi: Vn yMynyv, ar eil yg Keint, ar dryded yg Kaer Efravc.

5

5. It has Three Archbishoprics: one at St. Davids, the second at Canterbury, and the third at York.

Teir ynys Prydein: Lloegyr a Chymry ar Alban.

6

6. Three Realms of Britain: England, Wales, and Scotland.

Ac nyt oes dlyet y neb ar (yr) Ynys Honn, namyn y genedyl Gymry ehun, Gweddillyon y Brutannyeit, y ddeuth gynt o Gaer Droea.

7

7. And no one has a right to this island except only the nation of the Cymry, the remnant of the Britons, who came here in former days from Troy.

Teif Prif Auon Ynys Prydein: Temys, a Halfren, a Hwmyr.

8

8. Three Chief Rivers of the Island of Britain; Thames, Severn, and Humber.

Teir Prif Porthua Ynys Prydein: Porth Ys(g)ewin y Gwent, a Phorth Wygyr y Mon, a Porth Wytno yn y Gogledd.

9

9. Three Chief Ports of the Island of Britain: Portskewet in Gwent, the Port of Gwygyr in Anglesey, and the Port of Gwyddno in the north.

The substitution of the Isle of Wight for Lundy by some translators

The welsh original uses one of the old names for Lundy - Ynys Weir - 'Gweir's Island'; so named because it was the site of the imprisonment of Gweir or Gwair

 

three royal families that were conducted to prison from the great- great- grandfather to the great-grandchildren, without permitting one of them to escape.

'There were three royal families that were conducted to prison from the great- great- grandfather to the great-grandchildren, without permitting one of them to escape. First the family of Llyr Llediaith, who were carried to prison in Rome by the Cesaridae....'. ' The great-grandfather was Llyr who died in Rome. Bran voluntarily surrendered himself. ' the family of Aulus Plautius was already connected with that of Caradoc (Plautius had married Gladys (Pomponia Graecina) the sister of Caractacus). An engagement existed between Caradoc's daughter Gladys and Aulus Rufens Pudens Pudentinus.

The three blessed sovereigns of the isle of Britain

'The three blessed sovereigns of the isle of Britain;- 1. Bran, son of Llyr Llediath, who first brought the faith of Christ to the Cymry from Rome, where he had been seven years a hostage for his son Caradoc, whom the Romans put in prison, after being betrayed by the plotting, deceit and enticement of Areddig. 2. Lleuver, or Leirwig (Lucius), son of Coel, son of St. Cyllin, son of Caradoc, son of Bran, son of Llyr Llediath, called Lleuver the Great, who founded the first church at Llandaff, and first gave the privileges of the country and nation to all who professed the faith in Christ. 3. Cadwalladr the Blessed, who gave protection within all his lands to the Christians who fled from the pagan Saxons who wished to slay them.' 

Three Knights of Battle were in the court of Arthur

 "Three Knights of Battle were in the court of Arthur: Cadwr the Earl of Cornwall, Launcelot du Lac, and Owain the son of Urien. And this was their characteristic,- that they would not retreat from battle, neither for spear, nor for arrow, nor for sword. And Arthur never had shame in battle the day he saw their faces there. And they were called the Knights of Battle."

Three Fair (Blessed, Holy) Princes of the Island of Britain.

'Owain, son of Urien' appears as one of the 'Three Fair (Blessed, Holy) Princes of the Island of Britain.

 

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