|Sir Bedivere |
Sir Bedivere was known to the Welsh as Bedwyr
Bedrydant or "of the Perfect Sinews" and
was therefore, presumably, a very muscular man. Along
with Sir Kay or Cai Hir (the Tall), he is one of the most
ancient warriors associated with King Arthur. He appears in the Mabinogion tale of
"Culhwch and Olwen" as the handsomest warrior
who ever was at Arthur's Court, "and although he
was one-handed no three warriors drew blood in the same
field faster than he". In the Life of St. Cadog, he was one of Arthur's entourage sent to
pursue King Gwynllyw of Gwynllwg after he had abducted St. Gwladys
from her father's court in Brycheiniog. Bedwyr is also
recorded in the Black Book of Carmarthen as having fought
at the unlocated Battle of Tryfrwyd: "By the hundred they fell before
Bedwyr Bedrydant" for "Furious was his
nature with shield and sword". Geoffrey of
Monmouth named him as Arthur's head butler and Duke of
Normandy. He fought the giant of Mont St. Michel and was
highly active in the King's continental campaigns, during
which he may have been killed. Later literary tradition,
particularly voiced by Sir Thomas Malory, makes him Sir
Bedivere, the knight who returned Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake after the Battle of Camlann. His brother was named as Sir Lucan.
Bedwyr's early appearance in Arthurian
tradition suggests he may well have been a real person.
Little is known of his family. He had a daughter named
Enefog and a son, Amren. His father was Bedrawt.
Bedwyr's Well, the Ffynnon Fedwyr could once be
seen in Northern Gwynllwg, and Welsh tradition says he
was buried at Alld Tryvan, which would appear to be
Din-Dryfan (Dunraven Castle, Morgannwg). Due to Bedwyr's
particular association, therefore, with the kingdoms of
Morgannwg and Gwynllwg, it is likely that he was a member
of the Royal House of Finddu. His recorded father,
"Bedrawt" or Pedrod may have been Prince Pedr
son of King Glywys Cernyw of Glywysing.
Peter C. Bartrum (1993) A Welsh Classical
Ronan Coghlan (1991) The
Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends.
Phyllis Ann Karr (1997) The Arthurian Companion.
Thomas Malory (1485) Le Morte D'Arthur.
Geoffrey of Monmouth (1136) The History of the Kings
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