Afon Dyfi- Aberystwyth Arfordir Cymru


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Afon Dyfi- Aberystwyth

Afon Dyfi - Aberystwyth: Fferm islaw lefel y mor, boddi teyrnas Cantre'r Gwaelod a hanes enwau strydoedd Aberystwyth. Bedwyr investigates street names in Aberystwyth when he vis...


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-The shores of Cardigan Bay

-are teeming with wildlife...

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-..legends, natural beauty

-and, of course, historical names.

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-They can all be found here.

-This is the coastline of Wales.

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-This week, our journey takes us

-southwards from the River Dyfi...

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-..past

-the sandy expanses of Borth...

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-..and onwards

-to the town of Aberystwyth.

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-The River Dyfi

-is the historical border...

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-..between Merionethshire

-and Ceredigion.

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-The river has its own history,

-character and tradition...

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-..not to mention the virtues of

-Cardiganshire that lies beyond it.

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-"Surpassing every other county...

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-"..Ceredigion is by far the best.

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-"May God protect its virtue. This

-is the land of the generous man."

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-We don't know who wrote this poem

-from the 16th century...

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-..but later came those,

-who should've remained anonymous...

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-..for denouncing

-the county and its people.

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-"The little dark people" wrote

-one geographer from the '30s."

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-It's certainly a land of contrasts.

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-From busy university towns

-to forgotten forts.

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-From barren marshlands to some

-of Wales' most beautiful beaches.

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-They all await us.

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-River Clettwr is the location

-for the first legendary tale...

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-..though its associations with

-Ceredigion are, at best, tenuous.

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-Behind me, lower down the valley...

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-..is the village of Tre-Taliesin.

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-And this simple-looking rock...

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-..is apparently Taliesin's grave.

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-The historical Taliesin was a 6thC

-court bard of the Brythonic kings...

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-..associated with the Old North...

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-..while the grave in the village

-dates back to the Bronze Age.

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-The village was originally called

-Commins y Dafarn Fach.

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-A shameful name...

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-..during the 18th-century

-temperance movement.

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-A building called Neuadd y Bardd

-once stood here...

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-..and the antiquarian Edward Llwyd

-had already referred to the place...

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-..as Taliesin's bed

-in the 17th century.

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-It was a simple matter

-of combining both those things...

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-..and Taliesin's legend provided

-a convenient link to the area.

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-If you're going to rename

-your village after a poet...

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-..you might as well name it

-after the greatest of all time.

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-River Clettwr

-flows from high ground...

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-..and winds around Dol Clettwr Farm,

-whose original building...

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-..dates back

-to the mid-16th century.

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-Rowland Davies' family

-has lived here for generations.

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-What a spectacular view, Rowland.

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-Yes, the north of Ceredigion.

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-Borth in the distance,

-Cors Fochno in front of it.

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-We then pass Banc y Neuadd,

-with Ynys Las coming in to view.

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-Aberdyfi, down the River Clettwr

-and the Dyfi leads to Machynlleth.

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-In what way does the sea

-still affect the land?

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-The farm is situated at sea level...

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-..but the marshland is higher,

-so the water doesn't drain away.

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-They call it a floating bog...

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-..so it moves up and down.

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-When it's wet,

-it doesn't drain away...

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-..which affects us in winter.

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-So it moves up and down

-with the tide?

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-Yes, the entire bog floats.

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-There are several places within

-these level plains called Ynys.

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-That's right...

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-..beginning with Ynys Capel...

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-..Neuadd yr Ynys, Ynys Tachwedd...

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-..Ynys Fergi and Ynys Tudur.

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-They tell me the whole area was

-underwater almost 400 years ago.

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-These farms were once islands

-and they've retained their names.

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-The only raised area of land

-is this mound in front of us.

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-Yes, that's Neuadd yr Ynys Farm.

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-As a schoolboy, I called it

-Banc y Neuadd because of the bank.

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-My teachers back then,

-Miss Owen and Miss Isaac...

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-..recounted the story

-of a big toad living on the bog...

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-..that came to Banc y Neuadd

-to do his business!

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-That's how the bank'd grown so big!

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-That's how the bank'd grown so big!

-

-He must've been an enormous toad!

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-As children, you believe

-everything your teachers tell you!

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-I'm sure

-you have names for fields...

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-..on the farm itself?

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-Yes, in front of the house

-is Cae Cwrt...

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-..and behind the house is Cae Briws,

-a shortening of brewhouse.

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-The Halfway pub in Tre'r-ddol

-housed a courtroom...

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-..and the judges who convened there

-would come to Dol Clettwr...

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-..and where the bathroom

-is situated now...

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-..is where they would

-powder their wigs, ready for court.

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-They'd walk through the field

-to the court within the pub.

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-That's why it's called Cae Cwrt.

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-The history's in its name.

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-Yes, and hopefully it'll remain.

-It's important we retain the names.

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-So this is Cae Cwrt?

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-Yes, that's right.

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-There's stony ground beneath it.

-Only two inches of earth covers it.

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-The rest is peat.

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-And rushes grow in the peat bogs?

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-Yes, that's right,

-plenty grow in the peat.

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-You make

-all sorts of things with it.

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-Yes, when I was younger,

-I'd go fishing in the river...

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-..and one time I spotted

-a child's rattle on top of a pole.

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-I broke it into pieces

-and learned to do it myself.

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-I'll try to make one for you now.

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-The sea's influence is evident here.

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-The village is called Tre'r-ddol.

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-Yes, also known

-as Cockletown to us locals...

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-..because anyone born and raised in

-Tre'r-ddol is called a Cockletonian.

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-The name's derived from the fact...

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-..there were cockle beds

-in the River Dyfi.

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-People would collect cockles

-and take them home.

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-They'd boil them and discard

-the shells in the village's gardens.

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-All you'd see

-were discarded shells in the soil...

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-..because they provided calcium

-for gardening.

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-What kind of people

-are Cockletonians?

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-We're hard people. You should never

-cross us because we never forgive.

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-We're known

-to hold a grudge forever.

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-I'll praise your rattle, then!

-Is it finished?

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-Tie a knot at the top for me.

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-Wrap it around twice.

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-Will it harden once it dries?

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-Yes, it'll be hard once it's dry.

-There you go.

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-A child's rattle for free!

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-A child! How very apt!

-Thank you very much.

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-Borth simply means harbour.

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-The village

-has strong maritime connections.

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-A ferry used to operate

-between here and Aberdyfi.

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-Over the years,

-the sea has washed away...

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-..more than its share

-of interesting tales.

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-Up until the early 20thC, locals

-spread rumours and gossip...

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-..that some of Borth's families

-hailed from Spain...

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-..since a Spanish vessel

-ran aground here...

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-..and its crew seized the

-opportunity to settle in the area.

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-You may think it's untrue...

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-..but the fact is,

-a ship did run aground here in 1742.

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-But it wasn't from Spain,

-it was from Portugal.

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-That might be

-how the story originated.

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-There's a gruesome story

-about a sailor from Portugal...

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-..who was shipwrecked here, and

-whether you believe it or not...

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-..so that the locals could steal

-his shoes, they cut off his feet.

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-The sailor cursed them

-for nine generations as revenge.

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-The sea

-now threatens the village of Borth.

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-The land is eroding quickly.

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-This process is one which has

-continued since prehistory...

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-..with remnants of ancient forests

-uncovered on the shoreline.

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-It's given rise to a legend or two.

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-This spot

-is also the stuff of legend.

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-Sarn Gynfelyn.

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-This is the most prominent causeway

-along Cardigan Bay.

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-Its shape is uniformed, as if

-an architect had designed it...

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-..though its formation

-is completely natural.

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-At the furthest end

-of the causeway...

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-..are the ruins of an ancient fort.

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-The name might be familiar to you.

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-Caer Wyddno in Cantre'r Gwaelod.

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-.

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-Subtitles

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-Subtitles

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-We're on the trail

-of the names and tales...

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-..which enrich Cardigan Bay.

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-We've almost reached the halfway

-point of this series, in Clarach.

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-Dr Rhiannon Ifans...

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-..specializes in Welsh

-medieval legends and literature.

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-As we've travelled

-from north to south...

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-..we've found

-three significant causeways.

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-Sarn Badrig, Sarn Bwch

-and Sarn Gynfelyn...

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-..which, as this maritime chart

-show us, extends into...

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-..a substantial portion

-of shallow water...

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-..which I imagine

-was dry land later on.

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-But it's linked to a period...

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-..according to legend,

-when this was all dry land.

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-The legend of Cantre'r Gwaelod is

-very important to us in this area.

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-So when this entire area

-was dry land...

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-..from Cardigan to Bardsey Island.

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-If you're in Aberystwyth, it

-extends 20 miles into Cardigan Bay.

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-This was once dry land.

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-This was the kingdom of Gwyddno.

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-He ruled 16 cities

-within this territory...

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-..but according to tradition...

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-..this plot of land was overpowered

-by a sudden flood from the sea...

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-..and was sunk.

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-So Gwyddno was a king?

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-Yes, he was a king

-of this coastal territory.

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-If you

-look at the village of Borth...

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-..when the tide

-is far enough away...

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-..you can see tree trunks...

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-..and roots.

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-Some locals believe...

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-..that these are

-the ruins of Gwyddno's kingdom.

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-If you follow Sarn Gynfelyn...

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-..some eight miles out to sea,

-which is now called Patches...

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-Awful, isn't it?

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-The proper name for it

-is Caer Wyddno.

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-Some believe that this was...

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-..the location of Gwyddno's palace.

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-Further northwards is Cored Wyddno,

-the place where he used to fish.

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-We believe that all these elements

-have come together...

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-..to create an explanatory story

-as to how all this land was sunk.

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-How exactly was this kingdom sunk?

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-The legend of Cantre'r Gwaelod...

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-..is the foremost legend

-in this part of the world.

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-It's to do with King Gwyddno,

-who ruled.

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-To protect these beautiful cities...

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-..a sturdy barrage was erected here

-with solid floodgates...

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-..to hold back the sea.

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-One night, a lavish party

-was held at Gwyddno's palace.

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-Everyone throughout the land

-was invited, apart from Seithenyn.

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-It was his duty that night

-to guard the wall.

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-A turbulent storm...

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-..the worst ever to strike

-the coast, rolled in that night.

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-The sea was wild,

-the wind was howling.

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-Poor Seithenyn was out on the wall.

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-He decided the best thing to do

-was to run to the palace...

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-..and have a drop of mead.

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-After the third glass...

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-..he'd forgotten

-all about the wall and the storm.

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-Unbeknown to everyone...

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-..the wind had blown the sea

-through the cracks in the wall.

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-It flooded into the palace...

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-..drowning everyone in its wake -

-everyone except Gwyddno.

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-He managed to escape.

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-If you stand in the spot where

-he sought refuge that night...

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-..on a peaceful night...

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-..you'll hear the bells of

-Cantre'r Gwaelod pealing underwater.

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-It's a wonderful story.

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-Do we know where we need to stand

-in order to hear these bells?

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-When I've heard them,

-I'll let you know!

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-Aberystwyth.

-A lively university town nowadays.

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-But in a previous era...

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-..it was an influential harbour.

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-It's noted that 59 trawlers

-were once moored here...

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-..all fighting for their share

-of herring which populated the sea.

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-If you

-reached Aberystwyth from the sea...

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-..you'd arrive here,

-in the Trefechan area.

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-It was also in Trefechan that most

-of Aberystwyth's boats were built.

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-Not that the people of Aberystwyth

-and Trefechan have always got on.

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-The people of Trefechan called

-the townspeople wild Indians.

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-They, in turn,

-referred to Trefechan as Turkey.

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-Some believe

-it's because Trefechan people...

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-..rescued a shipwrecked crew

-from Turkey many years ago.

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-But it's more likely that it's

-a reference to Turkey Shore...

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-..an uncouth area of London...

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-..that was notorious for its brawls,

-drinking and prostitution.

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-In time, the tag was given

-to any coastal area...

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-..that was considered

-a little barbaric.

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-There are more than one Turkey Shore

-in Wales, as it happens.

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-The most notable of which

-are in Holyhead and Caernarfon.

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-I'm saying nothing!

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-The ordnance map shows two rivers -

-the River Ystwyth from the south...

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-..and the River Rheidol flowing

-through the town of Aberystwyth...

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-..and out into the estuary here.

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-It makes me think why this town

-isn't called Aberrheidol.

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-The mystery over its name isn't the

-only linguistic matter of interest.

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-I hope to be enlightened by the

-historian Professor Gerald Morgan.

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-For anyone

-who's interested in names...

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-..the first thing you notice

-about Aberystwyth...

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-..is that it's the River Rheidol

-that flows through the town.

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-Yes, the town should be called

-Aberrheidol, not Aberystwyth.

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-But during the era...

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-..when the Welsh princes and

-the Normans were at loggerheads...

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-..a castle

-situated a mile from the sea...

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-..above the River Ystwyth...

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-..overlooked the Ystwyth estuary.

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-Back then, both rivers

-were completely separate.

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-However,

-the Ystwyth was redirected...

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-..some time

-before the mid-18th century...

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-..so that it flowed

-into the Rheidol...

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-..to clear the sand

-from the harbour's entrance.

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-In the meantime,

-the name Aberystwyth...

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-..had been passed on to the town,

-as it were, but remember...

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-..during the Middle Ages,

-the place was called Llanbadarn...

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-..because of the ancient settlement

-two miles away.

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-There's some confusion as to why

-the name Aberystwyth won the day!

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-We're enjoying

-spectacular views of the town.

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-I couldn't help but notice

-as I got off the train...

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-..that the sign in the station read,

-"Welcome to Consti!"

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-Consti

-refers to Constitution Hill...

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-..because it's good

-for your constitution...

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-..to walk up the hill

-instead of taking the train!

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-Its proper name is Craig-Lais.

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-We also have Bronglais and Penglais

-and this is Craig-Lais.

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-However, London's influence can

-be seen all over town, of course.

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-There used to be a five-road

-junction near Penparcau...

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-..and the old name for it on maps

-was Piccadilly.

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-But that name disappeared.

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-Bow Street is in the north

-and Chancery in the south.

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-Originally, it was Chancery Lane,

-another London name.

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-This is snobbery

-on the part of the Welsh...

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-..who thought using these names

-would give them more status.

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-At one time

-Aberystwyth was a fortified town.

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-Yes, indeed, and you can see...

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-..remnants of the walls

-on the town's plan...

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-..leading down to the sea.

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-Whether or not there was a wall

-along the seafront, we don't know...

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-..because there are

-no stones to be seen.

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-They've all been used

-to build houses.

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-The Cardis use up everything!

0:19:550:19:57

-Were there gates attached to walls?

0:19:580:20:00

-Were there gates attached to walls?

-

-The main gate...

0:20:000:20:03

-..is referred to as Heol Y Porth

-Mawr in archaic documents...

0:20:030:20:08

-..or Great Darkgate Street,

-which is a great name.

0:20:080:20:11

-Unfortunately,

-it either fell down or was stolen...

0:20:120:20:15

-..before any picture of it

-was recorded...

0:20:160:20:19

-..apart from this drawing...

0:20:190:20:21

-..which depicts one of the towers.

0:20:210:20:24

-That was obviously

-the bottom part...

0:20:240:20:27

-..of the arch,

-if it's genuine, of course.

0:20:270:20:31

-But we

-can't even be certain of that.

0:20:310:20:34

-The street names...

0:20:350:20:37

-..refer to perhaps

-a more uncivilised period...

0:20:370:20:41

-..in the town's history.

0:20:410:20:43

-Several references

-are made in the documents...

0:20:450:20:49

-..of Gogerddan's archives.

0:20:490:20:52

-They owned a large area of the town.

0:20:520:20:54

-Countless references

-are made to Lurker's Lane.

0:20:540:20:58

-No imagination needed...

0:20:580:21:00

-..to understand

-why it was called that!

0:21:010:21:03

-It wasn't a safe place,

-especially not for women.

0:21:040:21:08

-I'm guessing that's

-what's now known as Queen's Street.

0:21:080:21:12

-It's been made respectable!

0:21:120:21:14

-Bridge Street is very old.

0:21:150:21:18

-The archaic name of a street

-I'd like to see restored...

0:21:180:21:22

-..is Shipbuilder's Row,

-which is now a boring South Road.

0:21:220:21:27

-Tan y Cae is its Welsh name today...

0:21:270:21:31

-..which is fair enough...

0:21:310:21:34

-..because this part of the town...

0:21:340:21:37

-..was an open field, though it was

-within the town's walls.

0:21:370:21:41

-Sheep would graze there.

0:21:420:21:44

-Shipbuilder's Row

-is self-explanatory.

0:21:440:21:48

-Yes, it was in Aberystwyth

-that hundreds of ships were built.

0:21:480:21:53

-Influences from all directions...

0:21:540:21:57

-..make it a very interesting town.

0:21:570:22:00

-Yes, that's always been the case.

0:22:000:22:02

-Wales' shores

-are awash with tales and legends...

0:22:220:22:25

-..some of which are based

-on truths and half truths...

0:22:260:22:29

-..while others are left

-to imagination and romance.

0:22:290:22:33

-As far as the colour and wealth

-of our oral tradition goes...

0:22:330:22:37

-..as long as we know the difference

-between the two...

0:22:370:22:41

-..both fact and fiction

-are as valuable as each other.

0:22:410:22:44

-S4C Subtitles by Adnod Cyf.

0:23:000:23:02

-.

0:23:020:23:02

Afon Dyfi - Aberystwyth: Fferm islaw lefel y mor, boddi teyrnas Cantre'r Gwaelod a hanes enwau strydoedd Aberystwyth. Bedwyr investigates street names in Aberystwyth when he visits the town.