Welsh Myths and Legends – King Arthur

Wales has a rich heritage that is entwined with magical myths and mystical legends. The stories have been passed down through many generations, as bedtime fables, tales by the fire or shared over a meal and a drink with friends, as people gather, the much-loved and celebrated legends are brought back to life. King Arthur is one of the more famed characters from the stories and his adventures took him all across Wales. The tales of the legendary warrior are still very much alive today, here are just a few of them.

King Arthurs sword in the stone.

The Gododdin

The Gododdin, a sixth-century poem is one of the first writings to mention Arthur’s name. It describes a battle between neighbouring tribes in the year 600, the poem portrays a courageous warrior who is compared to King Arthur for his brave actions in the fight. Such a compliment awarded to the warrior would only mean that Arthur was an influential and very famous man at the time.

The Sword and the Stone

The story of the Sword and the Stone conveys to us that King Uthr Pendragon, Arthur’s father, gave his son to Merlin the wizard on his death bed in a hope that he would grow up to save Britain from hardship and invasions. Many years later and after countless failed attempts by locals and visitors drawn to the Sword in the Stone, a young boy, whose name was Arthur, was able to pull the sword and claim his rightful position as King upon doing so.

Arthur’s Cave

Many people are still searching for Arthur’s Cave, where, so the legend states, a shepherd who was in search of his missing sheep went into the ravine and cut a stick from a nearby hazel tree. When he was later in the market, he met Merlin the wizard who at the time, was in disguise. Merlin asked the shepherd where he got his stick and following their conversation, the shepherd led Merlin to the cave and upon their return, they found sleeping knights and King Arthur. They were awoken, only for King Arthur to say ‘Sleep again! Our time is not yet come’. The folklore states that King Arthur didn’t die and is instead, resting until he and his knights are called to reclaim Britain from the Saxons.

Bardsey Island

It is said that Bardsey island is where King Arthur’s magical sword Excalibur was forged. The island is the resting place for over 20,000 saints, and some stories say it is also where Arthur was buried after his death.

Excalibur Lake, Snowdonia

Snowdonia National Park is home to three of the lakes that Welsh myths claim to contain Arthur’s enchanted sword. The Llydaw, Dinas and Ogwen lakes are found quite close together on the mountain range and are mentioned in many folklores.

The Snowdon Summit

As you reach the top of Mount Snowdon, you may notice a large pile of rocks. In Welsh legends, this marks the grave and remains of the fearless giant, Rhitta, known for making capes out of the beards of his enemies, the giant attempted to claim King Arthur’s. The battle ended with Arthur killing the giant and burying him under the giant boulder.

The Stone of Arthur’s Horse

Legend has it, that the Llyn Barfog (the bearded lake) was once home to a terrifying water monster. King Arthur and his trusty horse, Llamrai, struggled and battled with the monster until they managed to drag the beast from the lake. During the battle, Arthur’s horse left a hoof-mark on one of the rocks along the shores. The stone is still there and has been appropriately named, Carn March Arthur (the stone of Arthur’s Horse).

Maen Huail

Maen Huail is a limestone block, found in the picturesque town of Ruthin. Welsh myths claim that the stone was used by Arthur during the beheading of a young warrior named Huail. The warrior had made the error of raiding the lands Arthur patrolled and spending time with one of his mistresses.

Do you know of any Welsh folklores about King Arthur and his round table of knights? Or have you visited any of the famous sights during your stay at our caravans for sale, North Wales? Let us know via our social media channels!

Posted in

Leave a Comment