King Urien and Modron daughter of Avallach

The following tale which was written into the marginalia of Peniarth Manuscript 147, which was detailing Welsh place names and was written in a similar hand to the document, written in 1556. The tale follows a well known legend of “Washer at the Ford”, which has similar folklore tales in Celtic countries. In Europe it is found in Spain and France, and is extremely popular in Brittainy.

Peniarth 147

In Denbighshire there is a parish which is called Llanferes, and there is there Rhyd y Gyfarthfa (the Ford of Barking). In the old days the hounds of the countryside used to come together to the side of that the ford to bark, and nobody dared go to find out what was there until Urien Rheged came. And when he came to the side of the ford he saw nothing except a woman washing. And then the hounds ceased barking, and Urien sized the woman and he had his will of her; and then she said “God’s blessing on the feet which brought thee here.” “Why?” said he. “Because I have been fated to wash here until I should conceive a son by a Christian. And I am daughter to the King of Annwfn, and come thou here at the end of the year and then thou shalt receive that boy.” And so he came and he received there a boy and a girl: that is, Owein son of Urien and Morfudd daughter of Urien.

Urien a Modron
Peniarth 147

Yn Sir ddinbych y mae plwyf a elwir llan verrys ag yno y mae Ryd y gyfarthfa. Ag ynyr hen amser y doe gwn y wlad y gid y lan y Ryd hono y gyfarth. Ag nyd oedd y fentre vyned y sbio beth oedd yno nes dyfod urien Reged. A ffyn doyth y lan y Ryd [n]y wlel yno ddim ond merch yn golchi ag yno tewi or kwn ar Cyfarth ag ymhafel o urien Reged ar verch ag ymweithredy a hi. Ag yna y dwad hithe bendith ddyw ar y traed yth ddygoedd yma pam heb y[nte] achos bod ynhyngedfen i olchi yma nes enill m[ab] o griston. A merch wyfi y vrenin anyfwn a dyred di yma am. Ben y flwyddyn ag di y gay y mab ag velly y dayth ynte ag y Cafas yno vab amerch nyd amgen noc owein ab urien a morfydd verch urien.