Welsh Folklore and Legend: The Drowned Town of Lake Bala

From #FolkloreThursday.com
By zteve t evans, March 9th, 2017

Drowned Towns and Sunken Cities: The Legend of Lake Bala, Wales

Lake Bala is also known as Llyn Tegid, and in Welsh folklore is known for its legend of having a sunken town beneath its surface.  It is situated in Gwynedd, Wales, and the modern day town of Bala lies on its eastern shore.  There are two different legends that give different accounts of how the flooding took place.  One concerns the spring of Ffynnon Gower or Gower’s Well, and the other involves the wickedness of a prince named Tegid Foel.  This article looks at the legend of Tegid Foel. 

The Legend of Tegid Foel

According to legend, Tegid Foel had a fine palace in the town now underneath Lake Bala and lived a life of opulence and excess.  He had a reputation for cruelty and greed, and oppressed his people.  The gods had sent several warnings and provided opportunities for him to change his ways, but still he unheedingly persisted in his greed and excesses.

When his first grandson was born, he decided he would celebrate the birth with a lavish feast.  He sent invitations to all the important princes in Wales and beyond, and invited all of his family to join him in the banquet at his palace in Bala.  Now, they say a man is known by the company he keeps, and there were many who would not attend the celebration because they refused to associate with this cruel and barbaric prince.  Sadly, like attracts like and the banquet was still attended by many powerful men of ill repute and behaviour.

Advertisements

The legend of the drowned town beneath Lake Bala in Wales

Llyn Tegid is the Welsh name for Lake Bala in Gwynned which is the largest lake in Wales. It is nearly four miles long and covers 1,084 acres and is up to 136 feet deep. Although it is 529 feet above sea level it is situated in a rift valley lying northeast to southwest sloping down to meet the sea at Tywyn. The River Dee flows through the lake which is part of the river’s regulation system. Legend says the waters of the Dee never mix with the waters of the lake, though this has not been confirmed. The modern town of Bala is situated on the northern banks of the lake.

Like other Welsh deluge legends such as Tyno Helig and Cantre’r Gwaelod there is the legendary submerged town of old Bala unLder the waters. This legend differs because Lake Tegid is a freshwater inland lake while the kingdoms of Tyno Helig and Cantre’r Gwaelod were located under what is now sea. Nevertheless, all three were the victims of a catastrophic deluge and they do have some common factors. This work will focus on Lake Bala. and discuss the two different legends which tell how the old Bala town was flooded and the lake was created.  Read more Continue reading

The Welsh legend of the birth of Taliesin

Taliesin was one of the most famous and celebrated bards in Wales and holds an important place in Welsh history, mythology and culture to this day. Although evidence is patchy he was thought to have been born around 534 AD and died around 599 AD and was believed to have performed at the courts of three Brythonic kings. Many legends and myths grew up around him and some of his poems are still available today. The legend of Taliesin’s birth begins before he was born. This seems a strange thing to say but this is how the story went.

Ceridwen’s gift

By Llyn Tegid, (Lake Bala) in Penllyn, lived Tegid Foel who had a wife named Ceridwen. The couple had three children named Ceirwy, Morfran and Afagddu. Now Afagddu was unnaturally ugly and unbelievably stupid. Nevertheless, Ceridwen his mother, who was also a sorceress, loved him greatly and decided that to compensate for these disadvantages she would give to him the gift of knowledge.  Read more Continue reading