Brân "Fendigaid" (the Blessed) ap Llyr Lleddiarth, Saint, Brenin o Silures

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Brân "Fendigaid" (the Blessed) ap Llyr Lleddiarth, Saint, Brenin o Silures

French: Bran Fendigaid De Bretagne, Roi de Silurie
Also Known As: "the Blessed", "The Blessed", "Bendigeidvran", "Bendigeidfran", "Bron", ""the Blessed Sovereign"", ""the Blessed"", "Bran Fendigaid Ap /Llyr/", "The /Blessed/", "Fendigaid"
Birthdate: (66)
Birthplace: Siluria
Death: Died in Siluria,,,England
Place of Burial: to, Rome, abt 40 AD
Immediate Family:

Son of Llŷr Llediath, King of the Silures and Iweriadd . ferch Beli Mawr
Husband of Anna ap Llyr Lleddiarth
Father of Caradog Ap Bran, King of Wales; Penardun ferch Bran Fendigaid; Elis of Britain and Bran (Brons) ap Bran
Brother of Branwen verch LLyr and Manwydan . ap Llyr Lediaith

Occupation: Saint, Brenin "King of" Siluria
Managed by: Erin Spiceland
Last Updated:

About Brân "Fendigaid" (the Blessed) ap Llyr Lleddiarth, Saint, Brenin o Silures

See Darrell Wolcott, "Beli Mawr and Llyr Llediath in Welsh Pedigrees," -- for help in untangling these lines. (May 18, 2016, Anne Brannen, curator)

For his fictitious counterpart from Arthurian legend, see Brons / Hebron.

Bran "the Blessed" King of Britain (Roman)

Born : Abt 20 BC

Father Llyr (Lear) Prince of Britain (Roman)

Mother Penardun Princess of Britain

Marriage ?

- Anna of Arimatha Queen of Britain (Roman)

Children - - Beli Prince of Britain (Roman)

- - Caradog ap Bran King of Wales (celt myth)

Forrás / Source:

Bran the Blessed (Welsh: Bendigeidfran, literally "Blessed Crow") is a giant and king of Britain in Welsh mythology. He appears in several of the Welsh Triads, but his most significant role is in the Second Branch of the Mabinogion, Branwen, daughter of Llyr. He is a son of Llyr and Penarddun, and the brother of Branwen, Manawydan, Nisien and Efnysien. The name "Bran" translates from Welsh as "Crow", often translated in the context of this tale a "Raven", both members of the genus Corvus and the family Corvidae.



   * 1 Role in the Mabinogion
   * 2 The talking head
   * 3 Association with the Tower of London
   * 4 The name
   * 5 Notes
   * 6 References

[edit] Role in the Mabinogion

Matholwch, King of Ireland, visited Bran to ask for the hand of his sister Branwen in marriage. Bran agrees to this, but during a feast to celebrate the betrothal, Efnisien, a half-brother of Branwen and Bran, arrives and asks what was going on. When told, he is furious that Branwen has been given in marriage without his permission, and vents his spleen by mutilating Matholwch's horses. Matholwch is deeply angered until Bran gives him a magic cauldron which restores the dead to life.

Once in Ireland, Branwen is treated cruelly by her husband, Matholwch, and is forced to work in the kitchen. She tames a starling and sends it across the Irish Sea with a message to her brother Bran, who sails from Wales to Ireland to rescue her with his brother, Manawydan. When Matholwch sees the giant, he asks for peace, and as a show of good faith, builds a house big enough for Bran to enter. Matholwch agrees to let Bran live with them and to give his kingdom to Gwern, his son by Branwen. The Irish lords do not like the idea, so they hide themselves in flour bags to attack the Welsh. Efnisien guesses what is happening and kills them in their bags, then throws Gwern into the fire.

In the ensuing war, the Irish at first have the advantage because of the magic cauldron. When the Irish dead are placed in it, they came to life and were able to fight as well as ever, though they cannot speak. Efnisien lays down among the dead and is placed in the cauldron, then breaks it, bursting his heart and dying in the process. The Welsh eventually win the war, but only seven men survived. Bran himself is mortally wounded and orders that his head should be cut off and buried in London. When the survivors return to Britain, Branwen dies of grief from believing that she was the cause of the war; she is buried beside the River Alaw in Anglesey.

[edit] The talking head

For seven years the seven survivors, amongst them Manawydan and Pryderi, stay in Harlech, where they are entertained by Bran's head, which continues to speak. They later move on to Gwales (often identified with Grassholm Island off Dyfed) where they live for eighty years without perceiving the passing of time. Eventually, one of the men opens the door of the hall facing Cornwall and the sorrow of what had befallen them returned. As instructed they take the now silent head to the Gwynfryn, the "White Hill" (thought to be the location where the Tower of London now stands), where they bury it facing France so as to ward off invasion. The imagery of the talking head is widely considered to derive from the ancient Celtic "Cult of the Head"; the head was considered the home of the soul. It is inaccurate to say they were "head hunters" however; it was that the Celts would keep the head of someone they respected, a person previously dead or slain in battle, be it friend or foe.

[edit] Association with the Tower of London

According to the Welsh Triads, Bran's head was buried in London where the White Tower now stands. As long as it remained there, Britain would be safe from invasion. However, King Arthur dug up the head, declaring the country would be protected only by his great strength.[1] There have been attempts in modern times to link the still-current practice of keeping ravens at the Tower of London under the care of Yeomen Warder Ravenmaster, and with this story of Bran, whose name means Raven.

In ordering the head of Bran the Blessed dug up, King Arthur assumed Bran's attributes. This suggests that Arthur himself has taken a seat in the Celtic pantheon, perhaps as its leader. While a great deal has been written about a "historical King Arthur," a few writers instead have concentrated on the mythical role Arthur played, and perhaps will play, in European history. As a highly exalted legendary quintessence, Arthur would, in the opinion of some mythologists, qualify for apotheosis.

[edit] The name

All the Welsh mythological texts of the Mabinogion were recorded between the 14th and 15th centuries in Middle Welsh. As a result there are discrepancies regarding the spelling of names, due to the fact that English translations maintain Middle Welsh orthography whereas Modern Welsh versions use Modern Welsh orthography. In Middle Welsh, there was some variation on the name Bran; other forms include Vran and Uran.

In the Mabinogion, the character is referred to virtually exclusively as "Bendigeituran"; that is, with the epithet "Bendigeit" (blessed or praiseworthy) attached. The only exceptions are in the patronymic of his son Caradog ap Bran and a single reference to his gathering in Ireland as Gwledd Brân, "The feast of Brân (or 'Crow')". This usage is followed in the Welsh Triads. Bendigeituran becomes "Bendigeidfran" or "Bran Fendigeid" in Modern Welsh; Bendigeidfran is the form used in many Modern Welsh adaptations of the Mabinogion.[2] However, earlier references generally do not include the epithet, instead calling the character Bran fab Llŷr or simply Bran.[3] Ifor Williams thought Bendigeit was a late addition, perhaps a replacement for a word that had become obsolete by the time the Mabinogi was recorded.[3] "Vran" appears in an old poem in the Book of Taliesin,[4] while Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr and Prydydd y Moch mention Bran fab Llŷr several times in their poetry, under different spellings. However, Bleddyn Fardd refers to "Benigeitran" in his elegy for Llywelyn the Last, demonstrating that the epithet "Bendigeit" had been attached to Bran since the late 13th century.[3]

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Triad 37. Bromwich, Trioedd Ynys Prydein, pp. 94–102.
  2. ^ For instance, Dafydd & Rhiannon Ifans' Y Mabinogi.
  3. ^ a b c Bromwich, Trioedd Ynys Prydein, pp. 290–292.
  4. ^ Book of Taliesin XIV, "Kerd Veib am Llyr". From Llyfr Taliesin at Retrieved February 7, 2007.

[edit] References

   * Bromwich, Rachel (2006). Trioedd Ynys Prydein: The Triads of the Island of Britain. University Of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-1386-8.
   * Gantz, Jeffrey (translator) (1987). The Mabinogion. New York: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-044322-3.
   * Ifans, Dafydd & Rhiannon, Y Mabinogion (Gomer 1980) ISBN 1 85902 260 X

Bran Fendigaid alias Bendigeitvran

Celtic God of Regeneration

Bran Fendigaid (the Blessed) was the son of the Sea God, Llyr and, maternally, the grandson of Belenos , the Sun God. His name means Raven , and this bird was his symbol. In Celtic mythology, Bran appears as a semi-humanized giant residing at Castell Dinas Bran, the later home of the later Kings of Powys. Though Bran himself was supposed to have been an early King of the Silures tribe of Gwent. There appears to be no archaeological evidence for his worship though perhaps the castle mount was once sacred to him. Geoffrey of Monmouth transformed him into an early British King named Brennius, though his story probably relates to King Bran Hen of Bryneich.

One Irish tale tells how Bran fell asleep, one day, while listening to the beautiful song of a goddess with whom he fell deeply in love. She sang of a mystical Otherworld far away on a Westerly Island. So the following day, Bran and his three foster-brothers and twenty-seven warrior-followers set off in their ships to find this wondrous land. On their journey, Bran encountered his half-brother, Manawyddan, God of the Sea, and eventually reached the land of Women. Here the goddess greeted him and they spent a whole year together happy and fulfilled. Eventually though, some of Bran's men wished to return home, but the goddess warned them that if they were to step foot on the British Isles, they would crumble to dust for, in reality, many centuries had passed since they had left home. Bran, however, ignored her warning and returned home. On reaching the shore, however, the first man to step ashore found the goddess' warning to be true, and his fellow mariners were forced to sail the seas for evermore. Perhaps Bran found some magical way back to his own time, for he is better known from an old Welsh tale, in the Mabinogion, concerning the marriage of his sister, Branwen.

Desirous of an alliance with other Celtic nations, Bran gave his sister, Branwen, in marriage to King Matholwch of Ireland. This was not, however, a universally popular move and his brother, Efnisien was completely outraged. He maimed the Irish horses and caused so much offence that Bran felt obliged to give Matholwch his wondrous magic cauldron in recompense.

Though the Irish King was satisfied with the apology, his people did not forget so easily and after some years, despite Branwen bearing him a son named Gwern, Matholwch was persuaded to eject the lady from the court to work in the kitchens. Branwen therefore sent her pet starling (for which we should perhaps read raven) to seek help from her brother in Wales. King Bran was astonished to hear of the ill-treatment of his beloved sister. He immediately gathered his mighty army and crossed (or waded in Bran's case) the Irish Sea to rescue her. Matholwch retreated westward upon seeing the mighty Welsh forces. Bran helped his men cross several mighty rivers in order to follow him and Matholwch was eventually forced to offer to abdicate in favour of his son and Bran's nephew, Gwern. Bran only accepted on the understanding that a house was also built that was big enough to hold him. Unfortunately, at the feast to celebrate the truce, Efnisien through Gwern into the fire and hostilities quickly are resumed.

In the bloodiest of battles that ensued, the Irish were able to reincarnate their dead using the Magic Cauldron, so the fighting was harder than had ever been seen before. Eventually the battle was ended, but neither side was triumphant. Only seven Britons escaped alive. Bran was not amongst them. He had been mortally wounded in the foot by a poisoned dart, only surviving long enough to request that his head be cut off and buried on Gwynfryn (the 'White Mount' where the Tower of London now stands) in Caer-Lundein (London). Upon his death the harvests back in Britain failed and the land became barren and unworkable.

The seven survivors did as they were bid and returned to Britain. For seven years they stayed in Harlech, entertained by the head which continued to speak and knew nothing but joy and mirth. They later moved on to Gwales (Grassholm Island off Dyfed) where they lived for an incredible eighty years without perceiving the passing of time. Eventually, one of the men opened the door of the hall which faced Cornwall which everthying was brought back to them. They felt they must continue on their journey to London where their buried Bran's head, facing the Continent as a protective talisman against invasion.

Archaeological evidence has clearly shown that the cult of the head was a highly popular one amongst the Celts. Perhaps their was a temple on Tower Hill. Stone-carved heads have been discovered from across the Celtic World and, in Provence on the Continent, a gruesome skull-covered altar has been unearthed. Roman records occasionally refer to Celtic peoples as head-hunters who kept the severed heads of their enemies as trophies. A connected story may hold a memory of how this pagan cult was swept away when Christianity arrived in Britain. King Arthur apparently declared that he needed no talisman to protect his own country and dug up Bran's head as proof that he could perform the requirements himself. Sadly, he did not succeed and internal political squabbles led to his death and the increase of Saxon settlement in Britain. The tradition survives, however, with the Ravens (Bran in Welsh) still kept at the Tower of London. It is said that if they were ever to leave, then Britain would fall to invaders from without. Their wings are wisely kept clipped.

Much of the information available about Bran the Blessed strongly suggests that at least part of his legend entered into later Arthurian romance. His Magic Cauldron is probably that sought by King Arthur in the Welsh poem, the "Spoils of the Annwfn" . As in Bran's Irish tale, Arthur travels to the Celtic Otherworld and, like the Welsh tale, only seven men survive. The vessel was later reborn as the Holy Grail , the cup of plenty or cornucopia found in mythology from across the Globe. The wound to Bran's foot, inflicted by a poisoned spear, which caused his lands to fail is echoed in that of the Arthurian Grail guardian, known as the Grail or Fisher King. His latter title may be related to Bran's association with rivers and river-crossings (such as those he encountered in Ireland). His castle was Corbenic or Castell Dinas Bran, both names deriving from the word Raven or Crow. The Fisher King, like Bran's head, could feast with his followers indefinitely and his forename was said to be Bron (or Brons) in the so-called Didot Perceval : clearly a transformation of Bran. Here, he is given a wife, Anna, the daughter of St. St. Joseph of Arimathea , probably through confusion with his grandmother, Beli Mawr's wife, Anu . Bran may also be the original of other Arthurian characters like Brandegorre, Bran de Lis, Brandelidelin or Ban of Benoic.

Bran supposedly had a son called Caradog. A fact which has, unfortunately, led to his an erroneous identification with the father of the British leader of that name who opposed the Romans at the time of the Claudian invasion (AD 43). Despite this Caradog being a Catuvellaunian, the two became associated with the Silurian tribe of South Wales due to his fleeing there before the British last stand. Unlike, Caradog's real father, Cunobelin, Bran was said to have been taken as a captive to Rome where he joined the household of St. Paul. Returning to Britain, with SS. Aristobulus and Joseph of Arimathea some years later, he became among the first to introduce Christianity to the Island, hence his epithet of "the Blessed". This whole story is a late 17th century fabrication based on misinformation.

In the Bonedd yr Arwyr , Bran is made both of a paternal and maternal ancestor of King Arthur. There is, no doubt an added confusion of Caradogs here, however, as there are far too few generations given.


Bran, King of Siluria, also commander of the British fleet. In the year A.D. 36 (should that be 0136?) he resigned the crown to his son Caradoc and became Arch-Druid of the college of Siluria, where he remained some years until called upon to be a hostage for his son.

During his seven years in Rome he became the first royal convert to Christianity, and was baptized by the Apostle Paul, as was his son Caradoc and the latter's two sons, Cyllinus and Cynon. Henceforth he was known as Bran the Blessed Sovereign. "He was the first to bring the faith of Christ to the Cymry."

His recorded proverb is: "There is no good apart from God." He introduced the use of vellum into Britain.

ID: I69107

Name: Bran of SILURIA

Suffix: King of Siluria

Title: King of Siluria

Sex: M

Death: in after 36 A.D.


Sources: Kraentzler 1763, 1797.

K-1763: Bran ap Lyr.

K-1797: Bran, King of Siluria. Abdicated A.D. 36, became Arch-Druid of the

College of Silures.

Kraentzler takes this line back another 33 generations, with the father of

Bran being Llyr Llediaitha, RIN 7954. I will cut this line off at this point.

Change Date: 12 JUL 2000 at 21:33:18

Brân the Blessed (Welsh: Bendigeidfrân, literally "Blessed Crow", also Brân Fendigaidd) is a giant and king of Britain in Welsh mythology. He appears in several of the Welsh Triads, but his most significant role is in the Second Branch of the Mabinogion, Brânwen, daughter of Llŷr. He is a son of Llŷr and Penarddun, and the brother of Brânwen, Manawydan, Nisien and Efnysien. The name "Brân" translates from Welsh as "Crow", often translated in the context of this tale as "Raven"; both are members of the genus Corvus and the family Corvidae.

Bran appears to have taken power in or around 9 AD from his father. He was the King of Siluria and he was commander of the British fleet. He abdicated the crown to his son Caradoc in 36 A.D. and became the Arch-Druid of the college of Siluria. He remained there until he was called upon to be a hostage for his son.

During his 7 years in Rome, Bran became the first Royal convert to Christ in England. He was baptized by the apostle Paul as was his son Caradoc. This was long before the first Roman Catholic missionaries came under Augustine. He became known as 'Bran the Blessed Sovereign'.

His recorded proverb is: "There is no good apart from God".

   Bran's father is conjecture. It is only there to keep the connection with possible ancestors until I find something more substantial.

Notes From:

  Bran, King of Siluria, and commander of the British Fleet. In the

year anno domini 36 he resigned the crown to his son Caradoc and became Arch-Druid of the college of Siluria, where he remained some years until called upon to be a hostage for his son. During his seven years in Rome he became the first "Royal" convert to Christianity, and was baptized by the Apostle Paul, as was his son Caradoc and the latter's two sons, Cyllinus and Cynon. Henceforth he is known as Bran the Blessed Sovereign. He was the first to bring the faith of Christ to the Cymry. His recorded proverb is: "There is no good apart from God". He also introduced the use of vellum in to Britain. The Silurians were a powerful and warlike tribe in ancient Britain, occupying approximately the counties of Monmouth, Brecon and Glamorgan. They made a fierce resistance to the Roman conquest about a.d.48...their town Venta Silurum (Caerwent, 6 miles West of Chepstow) became romanized. Its massive Roman walls survive,and excavations have revealed a town hall and market square, a temple, baths, amphitheatre, etc.

Sources [S395] royal_lineage.ged, June 2006.

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Brân "Fendigaid" (the Blessed) ap Llyr Lleddiarth, Saint, Brenin o Silures's Timeline

Age 34
Llanilid, Glamorganshire, Wales
Age 65
Rome, Roma, Italy
Age 65
Age 66
Rome, Italy
resigned, King of, Siluria, 36 AD