The Welsh Dragon
The Welsh Dragon that represents Wales as its national Emblem has its roots far back in history.
poets Aneirin and Taliesin use the Welsh word for dragon - 'draig' in
the sense of a warrior or leader. This use is reflected in the
Arthurian Legends where the British chiefs in times of extreme danger
were conferred the title - 'Pendragon' or head-dragon, investing them
with supreme power, such as that granted to Uther Pendragon, King
symbol of the dragon seems to have emerged from a combination of
folklore and Arthurian Legend. The ancient tales tell of how the wizard
Merlin advised the 5th Century Welsh King - Vortigern - of two sleeping
dragons, one red and one white, that lay beneath the spot he had chosen
to build his fortress which was used to repel Anglo-Saxon invaders. The
King ordered the beasts to be awoken and a ferocious battle lasting
many years, ensued. The Red Dragon, suffering many injuries at first,
triumphed the white. Merlin or 'Myrddin' to the Welsh, interpreted this
as a prophecy, showing that the Welsh would ultimately, after suffering
for years (like the red dragon) overcome the Anglo-Saxon invaders and
keep their land, their language, and their traditions.
at Welsh Historic Inns have based our logo on this ancient tale - with
the intertwined dragons forming the letter 'W'. True to legend, we also
have our red dragon triumphing over the white, but only through subtle
positions of the overlapping tongues - the red on top of the white's!
dragon's history in Wales goes back to Roman times, and since then has
been used by many Kings and leaders in war. Henry Tudor, a Welshman,
incorporated the dragon into his Royal coat of arms when he ascended to
the English throne in 1485. Could this have been the fulfilment of
Merlin's ancient prophecy? (Note that this was only 37 years before the
Black Boy Inn was built!)
In 1901, the
dragon officially became the symbol of Wales and in 1959, the present
Queen made the red dragon on a green and white background the official
flag for Wales.