NONaffArt is proud to be involved in the unveiling of a new sculpture project at Cwmcarn Forest. The project explores the myths and legends surrounding Twmbarlwm which has a long and inspiring history in Welsh culture. NONaffArt have been busy working on this exciting project for the last couple of months to illustrate the myth of Bran and the bees.
See if you can spot them on your next walk past.
The Welsh myth describes a battle that took place between wasps and the bees over a horde of treasure which was hidden at Twmbarlwm and being guarded and protected by bees. This treasure was said to belong to Bran the Blessed (Welsh: Bendigeidfran, literally “Blessed Crow”).
Bran the Blessed was a mythical giant king of Britain. His name appears in both the ‘Mabinogion’ and in the lesser well known ‘Welsh Triads’. It is said that he is buried at Twmbarlwm and is waiting to rise out of the earth in defence of Wales when needed.
Local legend also says that If anyone disturbs a small burial mound at the top of Twmbarlwm mountain (near the Iron age hill fort built by the Silurian Celts) then they will be attacked by a swarm of bees in a curse to protect Bran’s resting place.
Bees have always had a connection to Twmbarlwm. Around 1880 the author Wirt Sikes wrote about a battle between bees and wasps in the book “British Goblins”. According to Sikes, bees were fairies in disguise, representing good, while wasps represented evil, and one could often find thousands of bodies of these winged creatures on the hilltop. In fact, it was reported in the 1860s that a huge swarm of bees and wasps were fighting above Twmbarlwm which brought renewed interest in the myths.
Both of these tales have their origin in the Mabinogion (13th – 14th Century) and the Red Books of Hergest (c.1382) which says that Bran, a great Silurian chieftain is buried on top of a hill waiting to rise-up and save Wales in time of trouble.