Dinas Bran, Wales - King Arthur connections

Dinas Bran is outside the town of Llangollen in Northern Wales. Dinas Bran is said to be a model for the Grail Castle. Legend asserts that there is a silver harp, though some say it is the Grail, hidden beneath Dinas Bran. And that only a boy with a white dog with a silver eye can recover the treasure.

Bran is an ancient Welsh hero (a god before the advent of Christianity). He is the son of Llyr, and is sometimes said to be an ancestor of Arthur.

The search for the Holy Grail is one of the central Arthurian legends, and has several parallels with the Bran legend. The Grail is a holy relic that can only be found by the purest and most holy of knights. This relic has taken many forms, most of a cup either used at the Last Supper or used to catch Christ's blood at the Crucifixion. The cup has healing properties. The Bran legend has a magic cauldron, a remnant of pagan Celtic legends, that some scholars have seen as a fore runner to the Grail.

Bran is thought by some to be an early Grail King, or Fisher King. Robert de Boron, in his version of the legend, names the Grail King Bron. The association is strengthened by the similar wounds the two share, the Fisher King was wounded in the thigh and Bran in the foot:

With the help of the Grail the king was cured, and in return for this cure offered to build a strong castle on top of a hill overlooking a fast flowing river in which to house the Grail. Once the castle was finished a magic inscription appeared on the gates saying that this castle must be named Corbenic.

The link between the Grail Castle and Dinas Bran is in the name Corbenic. Corbenic is the old French word meaning crow or raven and in Welsh the word for raven is Bran so Dinas Bran is little more than a Welsh version of the French name Corbenic.

Arthurian Sites in Wales