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Sir Bedivere returns Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake -  Nash Ford PublishingSir Bedivere
(Born c.AD 495 or earlier)
(Welsh: Bedwyr; Latin: Beduvius;
English: Bedivere)

Sir Bedivere was known to the Welsh as Bedwyr Bedrydant "of the Perfect Sinews" and was therefore, presumably, a very muscular man. Along with Sir Kay alias 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.

Sources

Peter C. Bartrum (1993) A Welsh Classical Dictionary.
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 of Britain.

 

    Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.