the community of the druids nemeton

Crowsfoot 

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Parish of Haydon Wick

North Swindon.

Wiltshire, UK,

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‘All who approach Sacred Knowledge are changed by It.’

see blog March 2017 - The Hunting of Twrch Trwyth

Because of the meaning of Swindon's name & the Arthurian Myth - Culhwch & Olwen – it was decided to name our OBOD seed group after the powerful Boar 'Twrch Trwyth' (torrrc - troi-ith).

Early history of Swindon ("pig hill" ) - Wiltshire

Swindon is a town in Wiltshire, in the South West of England. People have lived in the town since the Bronze Age. The original Anglo-Saxon settlement of Swindon sat in a defensible position atop a limestone hill. It is referred to in the Domesday Book as Suindune, believed to be derived from the Old English words "swine" and "dun" meaning "pig hill".

There have been settlements around the hill since pre-historic times, but no evidence of occupation on the hill (including no evidence of any fortifications) until the Bronze Age. Digs at Swindon's former quarry sites uncovered the first Bronze Age relics, with burial sites, tools, pottery & later; Iron Age artifacts also found.

Arthur’s Greatest Battle against the Anglo Saxons

Mount Badon, where Arthur defeated the Saxons & for decades halted their conquests, is a British location of legendary fame, like Camelot & Avalon. Yet (unlike them) it was a real place, mentioned by Gildas in the sixth century & Bede in the eighth. The question of where the battle was fought has preoccupied historians since at least the twelfth century, when Geoffrey of Monmouth took Badon as Bath in Western England.

 

The case is simple. Gildas in the early sixth century refers to the siege of Mount Badon as where the Britons won a great victory over the Saxons, halting their conquest of British territory for more than forty years. In his Ecclesiastical History, Bede reproduces what Gildas says, so that the Battle of Mount Badon, in about the year 500, gets into all the history books. But nobody has ever been able to say where it was. Some historians take it as Bath, some as Badbury in Wiltshire, others as Badbury Rings in Dorset. These are all wrong, because the form ‘Badon’ is corrupt. Nobody has ever been able to explain it, even though it must be a British Celtic name...

 

…In contrast Braydon near Purton, which was linked long ago by Professor Richard Coates of the University of the West of England with the Welsh word ‘brad,’ meaning ‘treachery’ – possibly referring to robbers in the vast old Braydon Forest.

 

Mons Bradonicus or Mount Bra(y)don, then is the only place which makes sense & also is the hill with 'Ringsbury Camp' on its summit…It is situated not far from the Roman road from Winchester to Cirencester, & is the natural place where an attack of West Saxons on the Britons of Cirencester (long the capital of Celtic Britain) might be defeated...It is the spot at which, in about the year 500, the Britons won a great victory over the Anglo Saxons, staving off for two generations their conquest of Celtic Britain.

 

Ringsbury Camp is an Iron Age hill fort, thought to date from approximately the year 50BC. It is located in the civil parish of Purton in Wiltshire. The Iron Age hillfort, with rampart of 5m height and 3m deep ditch. The site covers area of 3.4 ha. This little known hillfort is one of north Wiltshire's 'hidden' ancient places - it lies between Wootton Bassett & Swindon & has some lovely views towards the also little known village of Greenhill. The origins of the names of these local place names are:-

  • Pavenhill - The name comes from 'A  

 path on a hill.'

  • Ringsbury Camp - An iron age camp   

 possibly getting its name because of 

 its circular shape.

  • Purton - From Piritoe which means   

 'Pear tree enclosure.'      

King Arthur & the Twrch Trwyth

Cwmamman or "Amanwy" forms part of the ancient legend of Culhwch and Olwen, found in the Red Book of Hergest which is believed to have been written sometime between 1375 & 1425. A fragmented version of the legend is also found in the White book of Rhydderch, which stems back to the mid 14th Century. Culhwch and Olwen is considered to be the oldest Arthurian romance it makes the reference to Amanwy in this ancient work of prose, firmly embeds the Amman Valley in the magickal world of King Arthur.

 

The complex story is a tale of good & evil, love & challenge, the quest for adventure, sometimes grotesquely violent but deeply symbolic & magickal throughout.

A brief overview is given below:

 

'Culhwch, although the son of a king, was born in a pig enclosure after his expectant mother went into labour after becoming frightened by some pigs. He was thereafter raised in secret by the swineherd who was taking care of the animals.

 

Following the death of Culhwch's mother, his father Cilydd Wledig marries another king's widow who later plans to marry off her own daughter to Culhwch, who refuses. The angry queen puts a curse on Culhwch, so that he can marry no-one but Olwen, who was the daughter of the cruel giant king named Ysbaddaden Pencawr.

 

Although he has never witnessed Olwen's beauty, Culhwch becomes infatuated with her and seeks help from his famous cousin, King Arthur whose court was in Cornwall. Arthur's scouts search for Olwen to no avail and after a year, Cei (Sir Kay) suggests to Culhwch that they go on the quest themselves. Arthur selects six of his finest warriors including those whose names might be associated in later Arthurian legends as Sir Kay, Sir Bedivere and Sir Gawain. Another of the six who was named Menw is able to magically transform into the shape of a bird.

 

During the search, Culhwch finds his aunt who is visited by Olwen every Saturday. On seeing Olwen's beauty, Culhwch's infatuation with her turns to love. Alas, her father Ysbaddaden Pencawr is under a curse himself and will die should Olwen marry.

 

Culhwch and Arthur's warriors were given many challenging tasks by Olwen's father, which must be completed before Olwen is allowed to marry, including killing the Twrch Trwyth, an Irish king whom God had turned into a wild boar for his wickedness. The Twrch Trwyth is accompanied by seven young pigs, men who had also been turned. Between the ears of the Twrch trwyth were shears, a comb and a razor. The ferocious beast itself was adorned with toxic bristles.

 

After several adventures in which they obtain a special sword, a hound and a boars tusk, all of which are necessary to kill the Twrch Trwyth, the band of seven questers journeyed to Ireland, a third of which had been laid waste by the beast. King Arthur, along with an army accompanied them. Repelling Arthurs force, the Twrch Trwyth crossed the Irish Sea and landed in Dyfed. Arthur, along with a large force of men chased the Twrch and its fellow beasts through Wales, Arthur's army suffering many casualties during the fighting.

 

Following a fight at "Dyffryn Llychwr", the Twrch Trwyth and his small herd fled to "Mynydd Amanw" where three of the pigs were slain, two of whom were named Twrch Llawin and Gwys. Two more of the pigs, namely Banw and Benwig were killed at "Dyffryn Amanw", generally accepted to be the Amman Valley. The Twrch Trwyth and the two remaining pigs escaped the Amman Valley but while the Twrch Trwyth made it as far as the River Severn, the two smaller pigs were slain soon after.

 

At the Severn, the Twrch Trwyth was temporarily overpowered where his razor and shears were seized by Arthur's men. The beast escaped again and made it to Cornwall, where the comb was eventually taken. The Twrch Trwyth was driven into the sea and nothing was seen of the creature ever again.

 

The story continued in a rather bloodthirsty fashion, with the killing of a witch and the eventual torture and killing of Olwen's father, the giant-king. Before his death, he gave his permission for Culhwch to marry Olwen. Wed they did and Culhwch remained true to Olwen for the rest of his life.'

All symbols have a minimum of 7 esoteric levels/meanings, alongside myth & legend.The allegory, or instructive symbolic tale, wasn’t a Christian invention. It’s likely to have been a common element of many oral traditions, known throughout the ancient world as a tool for teaching young minds how to think, how to look beyond surface details to the heart of a tale’s meaning. Dig Deep.