Sir Bedivere
Arthurian Literary Character

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 attached 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. Bedivere fought the giant of Mont St. Michel and was highly active in the King's continental campaigns, during which he may have been killed. The more developed 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.

Bedivere/Bedwyr's early appearance in Arthurian tradition suggests that his character could have been based on a real person but there is little tradition of his family. He apparently 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 that Bedwyr was buried at Alld Tryvan, which would appear to be Din-Dryfan (Dunraven Castle in 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 traditional royal house of Finddu. His recorded father, 'Bedrawt' or Pedrod may have been Prince Pedr son of King Glywys of Glywysing.


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