Monday, 12 March 2012

Merlin lived here

View of Merlin's Hill from Llangunnor church.

Not in my house of course, but here in Carmarthenshire. Legend has it that he was born in a cave just outside of Carmarthen. There is a Merlin's Hill (where the cave is supposedly to be found) and a Merlin's stone in a field in the Towy Valley, below and close to the hill and we used to have Merlin's Oak, though that was a relatively "new" tree planted around the time of Charles II and poisoned in Victorian times.

Did he actually exist though? Was he purely an embroidered figment of Geoffrey of Monmouth, loosely based on Myrddin Wyllt, a North Byrthonic poet (and madman apparently) and Ambrosius Aurelianus, a Romano-British leader - Merlin Ambrosius ? He was apparently born of a mortal woman by an incubus from whom he inherited his magical powers. Was Geoffrey of Monmouth drawing on local Welsh legends and trying to give them more credence in his book, Historia regum Britannia.

Looking towards Merlins Hill from near Colomendy.

It would take me all day to write a precis of Merlin's history and his connections with Arthur, so I would direct you to these links:Link
HERE is a link to an interesting site which tells you about Merlin's Prophecies. HERE is a Wikipedia link which tells you about Carmarthen and its history, including Merlin. HERE is the Wikipedia link about Merlin, which is excellent.

Forgive me for the abruptly shortened nature of today's post, but two paragraphs in and I became aware that my brain was not in the same room as my body . . . I will try to do better tomorrow!


Carmarthen Castle. Not a lot remained of it after they built a jail there in the 1700s.

As for Merlin's tryst with Nimue, the Lady of the Lake, here in Carmarthenshire we have a legend associated with Llyn-y-Fan-Fach. As with Merlin's there is a Lady in the Lake associated with magic (the Magicians of Myddfai are said to be descended from her). Makes you wonder doesn't it? But that's a post for another day.

Mysterious Llyn-y-Fan-Fach at the roots of Bannau Sir Gaer. Here is an amazing link to a panoramic view. Enjoy.


  1. Did he actually exist though

    Living in Glastonbury, I'd have to say YES! There are 2 old oaks here called Gog and Magog who are said to have been mischievous witches, turned into trees by the wizard.

    Great photos!

  2. I'm a romantic, and want to think he existed, and was just "talked up" a bit about his lineage and achievements. As for Arthur, I'm more inclined to think he was an amalgamation of several warriors of that name, particularly as he is "hefted" to several quite different areas depending on your belief - Scotland, Wales, the West Country etc. Though why he now has to reside in a hillside at Alderley Edge is beyond me - perhaps he's waiting for a Footballer's Wife to find him!

  3. Oh I hope he existed, we all need a little magic in our lives. Though he probably is after Pippa Middleton, I think he has royal connections,

  4. Fi - I think you're right there! On both counts.

  5. I have read some fascinating fiction centered on Arthur and Merlin---both may well be 'larger-than-life' beings. I like your suggestion that there may have been some blending of several real persons, at least as far as Arthur is concerned. I don't suppose we'll ever be sure-- but whether we label it 'history' or 'folklore' it is an interesting puzzle.
    I also appreciate your comment about brain leaving the room while one is occupied with some endeavor!