Picture of Gerald of Wales

Gerald of Wales

places mentioned

Book 1, Ch. 1: Of the length and breadth of Wales

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Of the length and breadth of Wales, the nature of its soil, and the three remaining tribes of Britons

Cambria, which, by a corrupt and common term, though less proper, is in modern times called Wales, is about two hundred miles long and one hundred broad. The length from Port Gordber (1) in Anglesey to Port Eskewin (2) in Monmouthshire is eight days' journey in extent; the breadth from Porth Mawr, (3) or the great Port of St. David's, to Ryd-helic, (4) which in Latin means VADUM SALICIS, or the Ford of the Willow, and in English is called Willow-forde, is four days' journey. It is a country very strongly defended by high mountains, deep valleys, extensive woods, rivers, and marshes; insomuch that from the time the Saxons took possession of the island the remnants of the Britons, retiring into these regions, could never be entirely subdued either by the English or by the Normans. Those who inhabited the southern angle of the island, which took its name from the chieftain Corinaeus, (5) made less resistance, as their country was more defenceless. The third division of the Britons, who obtained a part of Britany in Gaul, were transported thither, not after the defeat of their nation, but long before, by king Maximus, and, in consequence of the hard and continued warfare which they underwent with him, were rewarded by the royal munificence with those districts in France.

Gerald of Wales, The Description of Wales (Oxford, Mississippi, 1997)

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