On This Day: August 4, 1165

One of the most famous battles between the Cymry and the Saeson (Saxons) was fought in the woodlands of Crogen, above Dyffrn Ceiriog (Ceiriog Valley – near Wrexham in northeastern Cymru[Wales]). All of the Cymry had united under the banner of Owain Gwynedd – one of the great rulers of the House of Gwynedd, son of Gruffudd ap Cynan.

The select few of Owain’s soldiers threw themselves into the battle against the army of Henry II, with merciless effort into their midst. Despite Henry’s greater numbers, the Saxon army was stunned by the ferocity of the Cymry. For many years following this battle, the Saxon’s used “Crogen” as their word for courage.

Owain Gwynedd was excommunicated from the Church when he married his cousin. In spite of this, Owain remained cadarn (true, solid) to his wife, his children, his family and his tylwyth (people, clan, tribe). He is esteemed by his countrymen for his strength of purpose.

Tylwyth Teg is the Welsh for Fairy Folk.

Dyffryn is a wide valley, often with a river running through it. Cwm is a narrow valley, surrounded by mountains.

Pendyffryn, the location of my series, Pendyffryn: The Conquerors, is based on a valley in the southeast of Wales where there is an actual place called Gaer (fort), the name of the farmstead that Gwennan Pendyffryn defends against the foreign invasion led by Jehan-Emíl deFreveille. Not far away is a village called Cwmdu (black valley), where I have set the books about Christophe Maides and Caryl Gernant in the series.

Neither Gaer nor Cwmdu in my books are the actual locations, but very interesting coincidences.  I chose the names for these places before I saw them on a map, happily close enough together to seem very strange indeed since I created this fictional setting.

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2 Comments

Filed under Cymraeg/Welsh Language, Hanes Cymru/Welsh History, Rhamant/Romance, Y Cymry/Welsh People

2 responses to “On This Day: August 4, 1165

  1. Interesting that coincidence of names. I’ve had similar things happen in my writing. Enough to give me shivers sometimes!

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    • I was looking at an online map and satellite images in the area, to get a sense of this mountainous region when I spotted Gaer. Not more than about five miles away was Cwmdu. I did feel a strange sense of having ‘known’ this but without being aware that I knew it. Thank you for commenting, Michele. Much appreciated.

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