The Welsh legend of Mereid of Cantre’r Gwaelod

Cantre’r Gwaelod was a legendary land situated in Cardigan Bay, Wales, that became flooded by the sea drowning many of its inhabitants and forcing survivors to seek new homes further inland.  There are many different legends which give an account of how this deluge happened and this work looks at the one which casts the blame on a maiden named Mereid, who was responsible for maintaining a sacred well which fed the spirit of a goddess into the land.

Submerged forest, Borth, Ceredigion, Wales – By Richerman – CC BY-SA 3.0

Few people survived the catastrophe that Mereid had let loose.  Seithennin was drowned along with most other inhabitants of the land.  Her father, Gwyddno and his sons survived and a few other people  made it to high ground.  Their descendants scratched out a living among the rugged hills and valleys further inland to the new shoreline. Today, sometimes remnants of the fair land of Cantre’r Gwaelod are sometimes seen at low tides such as the submerged forest near Ynyslas, near Borth, invoking distant memories of a lost land taken by the sea.  Read more Continue reading

The Welsh legend of the sunken realm of Cantre’r Gwaelod

According to Welsh legend, Cantre’r Gwaelod was land inhabited by humans that became flooded by the sea through human neglect and folly. It was situated in what is now an area of sea in Cardigan Bay, Wales. There are many different versions of this legend which attempt to explain how a once rich and fertile land succumbed to the sea. There are also similar versions that exist in the British Isles referring to different locations. Another famous one originating outside of Britain comes from Brittany, France concerning the once beautiful city of Ys and of course there was Atlantis.

Gwyddno Garahir of Cantre’r Gwaelod

The ruler of the land was Gwyddno Garahir. In Welsh legend there are many rulers named Gwyddno but this one was said to be the sire of Elffin ap Gwyddno, who was the foster father of Taliesin the legendary Welsh bard.  Gwyddno Garahir, or Gwyddno Long-Shanks in English, was also reputed to be the keeper of one of the Thirteen Treasures of Island Britain which was said to be a magic basket which caused any food placed in it to multiply one hundred times. His main fortress was Caer Wyddno or Fort of Gwyddno and said to be situated to the northwest of the modern seaside town of Aberystwyth. According to this version around 600 AD a great storm blew out of the south west one night forcing the tide against the sea walls of the dyke.  Read more Continue reading