BRYN SAITH MARCHOG
Another attractive hamlet on the A494 (Corwen to Ruthin) is Bryn Saith Marchog (Mount or Hill of the Seven Knights). Both Bryn Saith Marchog and Pandy'r Capel are in the Vale of Clwyd. Again as in so many other parts, the river Clwyd demarcated the old county boundaries of Meirioneth and Denbigh.
Bryn Saith Marchog’s link to history is owed to Celtic mythology with its intriguing interpretation embraced by the authors of eleven tales that contribute so richly to the Welsh medieval masterpiece known as the Mabinogion as well as to medieval Welsh history. There are eleven branches to the Mabinogion and Bryn Saith Marchog’s link is told in the second branch.
The prominent character in the tale is Branwen, daughter of Llyr and sister of Bendigeidfran. At the period of the tale, Bendigeidfran was crowned king of Britain and invested with the crown of London. He was visited by Matholwch, king of Ireland who had sailed to Wales to request the unity of the two families by asking for Branwen to become his wife.
Jealous of this unity, Branwen’s half-brother Efnysien went for the horses of Matholwch and mutilated each one. Matholwch felt he had been insulted by this cruel deed and made for his ships to return to Ireland. However, Bendigeidfran offered Matholwch compensation with a sound horse for each maimed plus a rod of silver as thick as his little finger and as tall as himself.
Eventually when the compensation was paid Matholwch returned to Ireland together with Branwen. During her first year in Ireland Branwen gave birth to a boy, Gwern son of Matholwch. Into the second year there was a great deal of dissatisfaction in Ireland due to the insults Matholwch received in Wales and that there would be no peace for him until these were avenged. In time Branwen was removed from her husband’s chamber and was forced to cook for the court and each day when the butcher arrived to prepare the meat he would physically assault her as part of her punishment.
This incarceration and torture continued for over three years during which time Branwen reared a starling who eventually flew to Wales delivering a letter to her brother at Caer Saint in Arfon. When Bendigeidfran read of Branwen’s punishment he took counsel and an agreement settled to saíl for Ireland and to leave seven men behind as leaders together with seven horsemen. These men were left in Edeyrnion and this is one of the legends how the name Bryn Saith Marchog was given to the township.