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Beddgelert Village by ArwensGrace Beddgelert Village by ArwensGrace
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The tiny village of Beddgelert in Snowdonia National Park,North Wales.

How did the village get its name? A Welsh tale for you......

This tale concerns Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, known as Llywelyn Fawr (the Great) of the House of Gwynedd. He was born in 1173 and resided in Castell Dolwyddelan, sited on the southern slopes of Moel Siabod to guard the western pass across Eryri from Dyffryn Conwy.

To protect his lands and acquisitions Llywelyn swore an oath of allegiance to king John of England upon his succession to the throne of Gwynedd in 1201 and in 1205 he married John's illegitimate daughter Joan and they resided in Arberffraw as their chief Llys. Upon his marriage to Joan he was gifted with a great Irish Wolfhound by John and Llywelyn called the dog Gelert.

Llywelyn enjoyed the thrill of the hunt and he would often hunt in the woods of the mainland. Because of his strength and stature Gelert soon became his favourite and would lead his hunting dogs in the chase. So strong was Gelert that he would pick-up the scent of a stag, give a bark of alert and then follow the hart's scent. He might lose the scent of that stag and gain the scent of another, travelling all the while, so that it was not strange for Llywelyn to find himself far to the south of his realm reaching even the boundary of the Mawddach where he would have to make camp. Sometimes he would be away for weeks at a time. This angered Joan, especially after their son, Gruffudd was born and she implored Llywelyn to build hunting lodges across his realm that she and their son could accompany him on the hunt. Many such lodges was built, one being constructed near the place which today is called Beddgelert.

The Llys would often find themselves encamped by this lodge and it was at times like these that Gelert proved his loyalty to his master. He was gentle and puppy-like in his affection to all who showed kindness to his master and his household. But to anyone who seemed threatening or disrespected his master Gelert would bar the way baring his teeth and emitting a bass rumble of a threatening growl. Being such a faithful guardian Gelert was the only dog allowed to be by his master when he was at table. He would lie quietly on the floor by his master's chair, head cocked to one side, tongue lolling, as his left ear was cocked towards the door and his right ear listened to the table in case some tasty morsel might come his way. Which was more often than not the case, as Gelert had so often been responsible for bringing the meat to table.

By the time Gruffudd had a baby brother, Dafydd, he was old enough to crawl and would hang on to Gelert's tail as the great dog dragged him around the great hall and would even allow the little boy to pull his mane or tug at his ears. He would even sleep by the boy's crib at night, maintaining guard. By the time the young prince was a toddler he and the hound had become inseparable. Such was the bond between dog and child that even when Llywelyn called his pack-leader to the hunt the dog would not come. Indeed, as Llywelyn became more irate and shouted at his charge the dog would bare his teeth and growl back at his master. Eventually the hunting pack gained a new leader and Gelert was allowed to remain behind to protect his young charge.

So confident were they of the dog that Llywelyn and Joan would venture out to hunt, leaving Gruffudd and Gelert together in the lodge. Then, later that autumn, just after the rut, Gruffudd was put to bed and Llywelyn and his wife went out after a stag seen further up the valley earlier the same day. Flushed with success Llywelyn returned triumphantly to the lodge. His elation was soon dampened as the saw the door ajar and the furniture of the main hall in disarray. Taking hold of his sword he ran though the hall and into the private chambers where he burst through into his son's chamber. The sight that greeted his eyes made him stop in his tracks. For his boy's crib lay overturned and broken on the floor, its sheets bloodstained, ripped and scattered all about. Of his son, however there was no sign — only Gelert, pelt matted and jaws mired with blood. Aghast, and able to come to but one conclusion, Llywelyn gave and anguished cry and drew his sword. Believing that the giant dog had turned upon and savaged his little son Llywelyn fell upon the dog, driving his sword into the dog's heaving flank. The sword sank deep and Gelert gave a mournful howl as, mortally wounded, he crashed to the floor.

Blinded by rage and regret, Llywelyn almost missed the snuffling cry of a child. Groaning with rage Llywelyn bodily lifted the broken cot and beneath he found the cowering, still breathing, form of Gruffudd. The child was lying atop the corpse of the largest he-wolf that Llywelyn had ever seen. A wolf whose throat had been torn out and whose blood was pooling and congealing on the floor. With a sob Llywelyn cradled his son in his arms and crossed to Gelert where he kneeled and gathered the faithful wolfhound's great head in his lap. Even in his death throes the great hound made to lick his master's hand but with a final sigh the dog's entire frame shuddered and his eyes glazed over in death.

From the tableau it seemed as if the wolf had entered the lodge in its quest for food. Somehow the animal had made its way to Gruffudd's bed chamber. In defence of his young charge Gelert had met the wild animal head-on and they had fought in a battle to the death. During the struggle the cot had been overturned but Gelert had gained a hold on the wolf's throat and had killed him, saving his charge.

Llywelyn had the faithful dog interred upon the plains before the river Glaslyn and some months later, still grieving for his most faithful of companions, Llywelyn had a memorial stone erected at the site of Gelert's grave. A stone which can be seen to this day, and this is why the nearby village is called Beddgelert (Gelert's Grave).
Add a Comment:
Daliaredocean Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Wingzero0 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2015
Great pic!!!!
LauraW96 Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
This village is possibly the best place ever! Everyone is so lovely and happy and calm!
bloodbytes Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012   General Artist
Stunning...every little detail is crystal clear. A joy to look at :sun::heart:
alipic Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2011
gegenopoluz Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2010
waw... i'll give anything to some one who can take me there.. super shot... like the way take the pic/...
thomasdelonge Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2010
majeana Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2009
I love Wales, it's always hiding the most beautiful of places.
rehtaehart Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2009
Stunning Photo!
untilforeverends Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2009
oh so beautiful i wanna live there
YamiChi Featured By Owner May 3, 2009
This wonderful image has been featured in my journal which can be found here [link] but if you would prefer me to remove it, please let me know

:thanks: :rose:
ArwensGrace Featured By Owner May 3, 2009
Thankyou for the feature! :D :hug:
danUK86 Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2009   General Artist
Beautiful shot :) saw this bridge on Britians Best Drives last night on BBC4 , I think :D
SuzanneHole Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2009   Traditional Artist
Beautiful place, lighting and contrast of sky is very striking.
nectar666 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2009
Very beautiful.
Sabattier Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2009   Photographer
Hi! :wave:

This photo has been featured here - [link]

Grey-the-VIII Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2008  Student Traditional Artist
Beautiful view *faves*
Alvia Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2008
The sight is magnificent! :D
dwth Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2008  Student Artist
This photo have been featured on Thumbs of the Week 41th.:wave:
dcamacho Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2008
Hello there

I have feat this one on my journal [link]
I hope it’s ok!

TricksyPicksy Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2008
Gorgeous village, but that's the saddest story ever.
daidone Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2008
You've been feat. here: [link]
bada Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2008
Such a nice photo! Quite a peaceful place!
mindclover Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Such a cute little village!
Relient-K Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
That story always made me cry as a little kid...
Zer05um Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2008  Professional General Artist
I love that place. Always stop for an ice-cream when I pass through (although now that I live in New Zealand I suspect that won't happen too many times again :( )

Beautiful telling of the tale too.
JulitaKaliostro Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2008
Water is so clear!
wizillusions Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
Wonderful photo and informative artist's comments. :+fav:
AniHime Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2008
I wish I lived there... ;_;
RowanLewgalon Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2008  Professional General Artist
How wonderful. :heart:
Reminds me slightly of Kettlewell, North Yorkshire.
Seems I have to go to Wales :nod:
Vampyre-Lover Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2008
Beautiful Shot!!! This looks like a scene they used in Midsomer Murders... Its a British Murder Mystery with John Nettles as Detective Barnaby.
ArwensGrace Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2008
I know it well, its one of my favourite programes! Actually there are real places called Midsommer and they are in the south-west of England in the county Somerset :)
Ishdia Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2008
It looks like one of those lovely, middle of nowhere places that Wales is full to bursting with. xD
nikko14 Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2008
Great story, great picture! :love:
adivawoman Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2008  Professional General Artist
What a story. Im having to fight back the tears .
Photograph is beautiful also.
mentaldragon Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
I really like all of the details in this shot.
skjon Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2008
Wow ,such a great story,great shot too.
newcastlemale Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2008  Professional Photographer
Beautiful capture, excellent compostion :D
EarthHart Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
I've had many a pint in the pub there, during my time at RAF Valley, and I've felt the cold waters of the Glaslyn :D :clap:
mistress-pandora Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2008
i've never been to wales, but i've never seen a picture make a part of it look so nice XD
MaciejKarcz Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
What a nice place to live :aww:
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Submitted on
September 5, 2008
Image Size
459 KB


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Camera Data

Shutter Speed
1/15 second
Focal Length
10 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jul 13, 2008, 10:12:36 AM