Bendigeid Vran or Bran the Blessed

   According to Lady Guest, Bran the son of Llyr Llediaith, and sovereign of Britain, derives his title of Bendigeid, or the Blessed, from the circumstance of his having introduced Christianity into the Island. "They tell us that he was the father of the celebrated Caradawc (Caractacus), whose captivity he is said to have shared; and proceed to state that having embraced the Christian faith, during his seven years' detention in Rome, he returned to his native country, and caused the Gospel to be preached there."
   The following Triad recites these events: -

"The three blissful Rulers of the Island of Britain, Bran the Blessed, the son of Llyr Llediaith, who first brought the faith of Christ to the nation of the Cymry from Rome, where he was seven years a hostage for his son Caradawc, whom the Romans made prisoner through the craft, and deceit, and treachery of Aregwedd Foeddawg [usually supposed to be Cartismandua]. The second was Lleurig ab Coel ab Cyllyn Sant, who was called Lleufer Mawr, [the great Light], and built the ancient church at Llandaff, which was the first in Britain, and who gave the privileges of land, and of kindred, and of social rights, and of society to such as were of the faith of Christ. The third was Cadwaladyr the Blessed, who gave refuge, with his lands, and with all his goods, to the believers who fled from the Saxons without faith, and from the aliens who would have slain them."-Tr. 35.
   The benefit which Bran thus conferred upon his country procured for his family the distinction of being accounted one of the three Holy Tribes; the families of Cunedda Wledig and Brychan Brycheiniog were the other two.
   Bran is ranked with Prydain ab Aedd Mawr and Dyvnwal Moelmud as one of the three Kings who gave stability to sovereignty by the excellence of their system of government.-Tr. 36.
   Various ancient Welsh documents allude to the incidents recorded of Bran in the Mabinogi of Branwen. Thus in the curious poem entitled Kerdd am Veib Llyr ab Brychwel Powys, attributed to Taliesin, are the following lines, -
"I was with Bran in Ireland,
I saw when Morddwyd Tyllon was slain."
   And there is a Triad upon the story of his head being buried under the White Tower of London, with the face towards France, intended as a charm against foreign invasion. Arthur, it appears, proudly disinterred the head, preferring to hold the Island by his own strength alone, and this is recorded as one of the fatal disclosures of Britain.
"The three Closures and Disclosures of the Island; First the head of Bendigeid Vran ab Llyr, which Owain the son of Maxen Wledig buried under the White Tower in London, and while it was so placed no invasion could be made upon this Island; the second was the bones of Gwrthevyr the Blessed [Vortimer], which were buried in the chief harbour of the Island, and while they remained there hidden all invasions were ineffectual. The third was the dragons buried by Lludd ab Beli, in the city of Pharaon, in the rocks of Snowdon. And the three closures were made under the blessing of God and his attributes, and evil befel from the time of their disclosure. Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu [Vortigern], disclosed the dragons to revenge the displeasure of the Cymry against him, and he invited the Saxons in the guise of men of defence to fight against the Gwyddyl Ffychti; and after this he disclosed the bones of Gwrthevyr the Blessed, through love of Ronwen [Rowena], the daughter of the Saxon Hengist. And Arthur disclosed the head of Bendigeid Vran ab Llyr, because he chose not to hold the Island except by his own strength. And after the three disclosures came the chief invasions upon the race of the Cymry."-Tr. 53.
   The name of Bran is of frequent occurrence in the poems of Cynddelw, and other bards of the middle ages.