Curled up in my armchair watching the new detective series on B.B.C., 1 Wales, Hinterland, when they mentioned the folk tale Devils Bridge that I posted in February 2012 and then another Welsh folk tale, The Bells of Aberdyfi. It was the time when the West Wales coast was been lashed by devastating flood tides and gale force winds. To me that added realism to the tale we are about to tell.
It took place in the 6th Century,the Kingdom of Ceredigion had great wealth and vast lands but none were more fruitful than Cantre’r Gwaelod,low lying land that stretched into the sea. This prime agricultural land was protected by huge man made dykes. The guardianship of these dykes was awarded to two Noblemen, Seithennin andTeithrin.
Seithennin was a famous warrior, but he had one great vice, he drank too much. Where as Teithrin was devoted and dedicated to caring for the dikes.
One day, when Teithrin was on his daily duties inspecting his dykes, the wind got up and he heard a voice in the strong winds saying “Beware! The oppression of Gwenhudin is at an end” The reference was obvious, Gwenhudin a mermaid known to all as The Shepherd of the Waves. Other people heard the warning, were afraid and hurried to the higher ground seeking the King’s protection.
Teithrin thoroughly checked his dykes and in so doing noticed that the neighbouring dykes looked very unsafe and went to warn Seithennin for him to start repairs immediately. He took no notice of the dangers, insisting that the dykes had stood for years and would repel the seas fo many more. He invited Teithrin to stay the night and join him first in fun ,frolics and feasting, insisting that the faraway seas and foretelling, the formidable dykes would hold against them.
Before Teithrin could remonstrate about their repairable condition, a roar and the crashing of stonework aroused Siethennin from his drunken daze. Like a true warrior, he unsheathed his sword, leaped from the battlements brandishing his blade. The invaders the waves had scant respect for his bravery, engulfing and washing him away, never to be seen again.
The stormy seas seeking revenge, returned, reclaiming the land that was theirs. Breaching the dykes flooding Cantre’r Gwaelod, thus the oppression of Gwenhudin was at an end.
Thankfully Teithrin survived and joined the farm folk who had heeded the warning. After awhile life went on and the people’s of Ceredigion stopped sea as a stealer of their bountiful land an more of a highway to success. The Kingdom gained a reputation for shipbuilding and their ports becoming the most busy in the country. Trading with all the nations of the known World, including the Phoenicians, highly respected and valued, who came for tin and called the land Bri-tin, isle of tin.
Should you visit this exciting and attractive coast line, you will see plenty of evidence of the lost land of Cantre’r Gwaelod with tree stumps,and ruins uncovered at low tide. If you are lucky hear the chiming of the bells way out under the waves.


  1. Stephen Delwyn says:

    Really interesting. Never knew the Phoenician connection to Bri-tin.

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