Important Historic Welsh Figures

St David

For those that don’t know St David is the Patron Saint of Wales and a beloved figure in the country’s history. He was born sometime between the years 462 and 515 CE in Pembrokeshire near a city that has since been named after him. He was born into nobility, his father being Sandde, the Prince of Powys and the son of another the founder of Ceredigion, King Ceredig. It is thought that Sandde actually impregnated David’s mother, Non, through violation, she later became a nun and was canonised. David’s legend was recorded much later by an 11th century author named Rhygyfarch, this however was quite a while after his life so many details are considered questionable and much has clearly been embellished in order to amaze future readers. Nevertheless, he is an important figure and is said to have performed many miracles and aided the Welsh many times over, he has even been attributed to their love of leeks.

St David
St David

Owain Glyndwr

The last native Welshman who ever held the title, the Prince of Wales, Owain Glyndwr has gone on to become a prominent figure in Welsh nationalism thanks to his rebellion against invading English forces and trying to make Wales a free country. His war of independence was both long running and fierce though ultimately futile due to the enemy’s superior resources. He too was a descendant of the Princes of Powys and was born in the year 1359, dying in the year 1415. His death elevated his status amongst the Welsh to something of a legendary figure, one of many who would one day return to save the country and free them from their oppressors.

Owain Glyndwr
Owain Glyndwr

Iolo Morganwg

Iolo Morganwg was the bardic name of the man born Edward Williams in 1747. He is a man that has a somewhat bittersweet legacy attached to him, he was a poet, a collector and a Welsh antiquarian. In his time he was considered a leading expert and collector in the field of Medieval Welsh literature, however after his death in 1826 it was discovered that he had in fact forged many of the works he had “collected”, most notably perhaps would be parts of the Third Series of the Welsh Triads. Despite this he is still made quite the impact on the countries culture and is credited with founding the Gorsedd of the Bards, an establishment which cherished the Welsh language and has done much to keep it alive today.

Iolo Morganwg
Iolo Morganwg

King Arthur

The British figure that has gone on to become of the greatest legends in history supposedly finds its origins here in Wales. There are many spots across the country that tie into the many stories of Arthur, Merlin and his Knights of the Round Table. Some of the oldest recorded tales of him are thought to come from the Mabinogion. Despite his legendary status many believe Arthur to be real, possibly taking inspiration from the Roman Duke of Britain, a man whose efforts kept Britain free from the Saxons for half a century.

King Arthur
King Arthur