Grave of legendary dog Gelert, Beddgelert

button_lang_japanesebutton_lang_frenchGrave of legendary dog Gelert, Beddgelert

This monument, south of Beddgelert village, is associated with the legend of Gelert, faithful dog of Prince Llywelyn Fawr in the early 13th century.

It’s said that Llywelyn had a house or lodge in the area. He was patron of Beddgelert’s Augustinian priory, whose church you can see across the field to the north.

According to the legend, Llywelyn went out hunting one day and entrusted Gelert with guarding his baby. All was quiet until a hungry wolf – larger and stronger than Gelert – entered the building. The baby’s cot was overturned as Gelert struggled bravely to fight off the intruder.

When Llywelyn returned, he despaired at the sight of the upset crib and the blood on Gelert’s muzzle. Leaping to the conclusion that Gelert had killed the baby, he drew his sword and killed the dog. Then he heard his unharmed child cry out and discovered the dead wolf.

Similar folk tales exist in many other countries, always involving the death of a loyal animal which had protected a child from a fearsome attacker. The basic story may have originated in India, centuries before Llywelyn’s time. The Welsh version had become associated with Beddgelert by the 16th century. Bedd is Welsh for grave, but the second element of the name originally related to a person (now unknown) called Celert.

In the early 19th century David Pritchard, manager of what’s now the Royal Goat Hotel, chose this spot on the river meadow for a monument which he described as the grave of Gelert. Today the site is owned by the National Trust, which also owns the ancient Tŷ Isaf former farmhouse in Beddgelert.

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