Beddgelert Grave.


Llywelyn The Great. (Welsh – Llywelyn Fawr )        c 1172 – 11/4/ 1240

Wife, Joan Lady of Wales (Welsh name Siwan )     c 1191 – 12/2/ 1237

Gelert , the hunting dog of Llywelyn was an Irish Wolfhound presented to him by the king, King John of England in 1210.

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Beddgelert Grave of the Irish Wolfhound. Legend has it that Llywelyn was a great hunter and with his favourite hunting dog, a hound named Gelert, would spend most of his days roaming the forests of Gwynedd.


Gelert accompanied Llywelyn everywhere, whether out hunting or around the homestead. The prince had a son, a  child whose mother had died in childbirth. Llywelyn loved his wife very much and was saddened greatly by her death. His main consolation had been his son. Llywelyn had promised his wife as she was dying that he would always take great care of their son as long as he lived.


He couldn’t wait for the day when the child would be old enough that they could ride out hunting together . Hunting for wolves, wild boar and other game that abounded in the forests of Gwynedd in those far off  days.


Beddgelert Village.


One day, when was getting ready  to go hunting, the baby fast asleep in his cradle, his nurse in attendance nearby, Llywelyn for some reason he decided to leave Gelert at home as protection. The day was cold and damp but a huge log fire blazed in the childs’ bedroom and the cradle was covered with warm furs, the baby warm and cosy.


Nobody knows, why Llywelyn decided to leave his hound Gelert to protect the home and as he left he gently stroked the huge dog’s shaggy head.


Gelert, guard them well until I return.” he said.  The great hound’s tail thumped the ground slowly and his eyes remained on his master’s face until Llywelyn left the room closing the door quietly behind him.


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It was late that night when the prince returned. He was tired but triumphant, the hunt had gone well. A great feast had been ordered and was being prepared in the kitchen. He strode across the great hall to the bedroom, eager to see his son and relax in front of the fire.


As he entered the room a terrible sight lay in front of him. Furniture lay upturned, tapestries had been ripped from the walls and the baby’s cradle lay empty, overturned on the floor. The furs that had previously covered the cradle lay scattered nearby, torn to shreds and smeared with blood.


Llywelyn, rooted to the spot, felt a soft, cold nose nuzzle the palm of his hand. He looked down to see Gelert staring up at him. The dog was exhausted but still wagged his tail happily at the return of his master. His great paws and muzzle were stained with blood.


You hound from hell!” screamed Llywelyn. “You have killed my son!” and without hesitation  he drew his  sword and plunged it deep into Gelert. As the dog dropped to the floor, the prince heard a soft cry from behind the overturned cradle.


As Gelert lay dying, Llywelyn bent and picked up his son. Too late, he turned to see the body of a huge wolf dead on the floor. Thanks to Gelert, the baby had remained safe and unharmed. With eyes filled with tears of remorse, Llewelyn knelt and gently stroked his faithful hound. Gelert’s tail thumped the ground slowly for the last time.


gelerts grave


On the supposed grave of Gelert there are two slate memorials, one in Welsh and the other in English


Gelert’s body was layed to rest outside the castle walls, close to the river. The huge stone slab, inscribed with Gelert’s name, is still there to this day marking the grave. The village nearby still carries the name ‘Beddgelert’ meaning  Gelert’s grave.


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We know from documented history that Llywelyn and Joan were actual people who lived and died as we all do.    Whether this story is true or not we will never know for certain, as there are numerous stories from around the world similar, but with different animals involved. I like to think it is true, It goes to show the loyalty of a dog, way beyond any other domestic pet and it is one of the many tales I grew up with as a child in Wales.


Brendan the Irish Wolfhound is with his owner/breeder, Frank Winters, who is 6′ 1″ Not exactly a small man!! It really puts the breed’s size into perspective!! Brendan is about 180 pounds (82 kg).


Putting a Wolfhound’s size into perspective.


Whether you believe the tale or not I hope you enjoyed it.




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Leave A Reply (2 comments So Far)

  1. Andrew Marsh
    3 years ago

    Hi Mike. I’ll tell you a tale, of my being a 12 year old lad, on holiday in Abergele, in 1962.
    I was with my parents and our Dobermann bitch – I so hate that word, sounds so harsh – who was names Inge. On one of the days, we went to visit Gelert’s grave and, as we approached, Inge on her lead at the side of my Dad, all was well. Until we got near the spot and Inge rooted herself firmly to the ground and would not be moved. No amount of coaxing got her past where she had set her immobiliser!
    Whatever one’s views and belief system, there was something there that spooked our little lady.

    • petsadmin
      3 years ago

      Hi Andy, thanks for the comment. As I said in my article I like to believe the story is true. Even if it is, I suppose any truth has been stretched over the years as it usualy is. I have read that an 18th century land lord from the Goat Hotel in Beth Gelert linked the legend to the villiage to help boost his trade.

      The original Tourist Board by the sound of it.Even without the legend it is a beautiful part of the country to visit.

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