Arthur, High King of Britain: the mystery of the aboriginal 'dark' Welsh - were they African?

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The Dark Welsh
Site creator Robert Shepherd

Y Ddraig Goch a ddyry Gychwyn

Glastonbury mysteries
Glastonbury ruins

Supposedly the Welsh are descended from two distinct ethnic stocks: the tall ruddy Celtic invaders of about 500 BC and the earlier Iberians (called little black haired folk).

However, Bernard Wellings says that the "dark folk" who still live in the Welsh heartlands are evidence of the original North African peoples who where the early inhabitants of Wales and the British Isles. (Visit Cerrig y Drudion, Bala, Llangwm if you don't believe me.)

Was King Arthur

Dark Welsh?

~ possible Hamitic or African origins of aboriginal Welsh ~

The Welsh tend to be small and dark, descended -- so it has been alleged and subsequently, I believe, disproved -- from people of Iberian stock who migrated from Asia when the world was young. I have just read in a book of 1903 that the primeval population belonged to what is called Hamitic stock represented by ancient Egyptian and modern Berber, and that many words common to Welsh and Hebrew are borrowed from the Tongue of the Hamitic people.

This interests me strangely, for I went to Egypt a few years ago and people kept saying to me, "If you're Welsh you're going to enjoy this soup" (pressing upon me a green liquid the ingredients of which I could not begin to recognise), or, "If you're Welsh you will like this monument." I couldn't think what they were talking about, but then I began to discern similarities between Welsh and Egyptian in the family structures, the most marked being the preponderance of aunties common to both peoples.

When I came home I read about a 'new' theory that the Welsh and the Berbers share the same blood group to an unusual degree. And death. The Welsh -- or their ancestors, whoever they may have been -- and the ancient Egyptians felt the same way about death. The master idea in both their religions was the cult of ancestors, and the menhir and the obelisk have much in common. The dolmen, the burial mound, expresses the same concern with the afterlife as the tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

The above is quoted from: Alice Thomas Ellis. A Welsh Childhood. [1990] p117.

How Green Was My Valley

From New Advent (Encyclopedia): the Silurians, "small dark Welsh"

What the anthropologists can tell us:
The Welsh, though mainly a Celtic nation, are a composite folk made up of Celts and of many pre-Aryan peoples--a mélange of all the aborigines of the Isle of Britain. Remains of paleolithic man have been found in the limestone caves of the Wye Valley, along with bones of the cave-bear, hyena, etc. How far this early human race has influenced the Welshman of the present age, it is impossible to say; but there is no doubt that the racial type known as the "small dark Welsh", prevalent in certain districts (and, curiously, indigenous in the coal valleys of the south), is that of the latest pre-Aryan folk with whom the first Celtic immigrants came in contact. That race has been identified with the Basques of the Pyrenees and the Berbers of North Africa. Though there are no linguistic evidences to support either identification, there are reasons for believing that the "small dark" Welshmen are of the same race as the original Iberians of Spain and Portugal. It is, in any case, certain that they are the Silurians of the period of the Roman invasion under Claudius (A.D.43). We are on equally sure ground in saying that the Celts of the first immigration, the Gael (akin to the Irish, Highland Scots, and Manx), have preserved their racial identity more or less completely in certain parts of both North and South Wales. The largest section of the Welsh nation, however, are Celts of the British stock, a pure tribe of which stretches in a wide band across Central Wales. Many of the ogham and Latin inscriptions on rude stone monuments of the Romano-British period in Wales were evidently made not by British but by Gaelic Celts. It is, however, as yet uncertain what proportion (if any) of these stones commemorate invaders from Ireland.

America has a considerable Welsh connection, too. Not only the semi-mythical Madoc, or Madog ab Owain Gwynedd, who four centuries before Columbus is said to have located America, but during colonial days the region around Philadelphia was virtually inundated with Welshmen fleeing "the Saxons" (England). Interestingly, the man called by Lincoln the greatest of America's founding fathers -- Thomas Jefferson -- was a Welshman. On his father's side, Jefferson's people hailed from Snowdon (in Wales), the highest mountain in Great Britain south of the Scottish Highlands. Jefferson's beloved wife, Martha Wayles was also Welsh through her father John Wayles. Jefferson's mistress Sally Hemings was Welsh through the same parent, John Wayles. She was also one fourth African.

And of Jefferson, they commented on his Welsh face, his wide eyes, sharp cheekbones, strong jaw, something intensely Cambrian about his open personality, his egalitarian ideals. What may be less well known is that a Jefferson namesake, the only president of the seceded states (the so-called Confederacy) was himself largely Welsh. Jefferson Davis had Welsh on both sides, and then married a Welsh lass himself.

John Adams's forebears in Britain were said to belong to a sect of English Druids called the Dragons, which also included Sir Walter Raleigh and John Dee, Queen Elizabeth's astrologer. The Dragons sought to renew the ancient wisdom of earth energies and studied the astrological procession of the equinoxes. See Andrew Rothovius, "The Adams Family and the Grail Tradition," East/West Magazine, May and June 1977. resource

William Penn had Welsh ancestry, and somehow, despite his high profile, got caught up in the Quaker movement sweeping the hills and valleys of Wales. The period in Wales, from 1660 to 1689 has rightly been called 'The Heroic Age of Dissent ', During these in caves, barns and stables. Roman Catholic priests were hanged, drawn and quartered, and Quakers were cruelly beaten and left to rot in stinking holes called prisons. Those who had sought to turn the world upside down during the revolutionary years (British) found themselves forced on to the defensive and obliged to come to terms with the considerable hostility and resentment of their political enemies years of bitter persecution and harassment, dissenting ministers worshiped with their beleaguered flocks. They did so with rare courage and forbearance, so much so that images of their sufferings linger long in the mind. Resource: The Early Welsh Quakers and Their Emigration to Pennsylvania by James J. Levick See Quakers of Wales

Lincoln's Quaker roots. Jan Morris notes that Lincoln's Evanses, on his mother's Hanks' side (of Bryn Gwyn) had gravitated to Quakerism when they came to America (if not before), and Lincoln used to talk about his Quaker roots: he sometimes addressed correspondents as "Friend" --Friend Johnson, or Friend Mary -- in the old Quaker manner. (p 43) Perhaps these reflected the influence of his mother Nancy and her mother (Sarah Evans Hanks), whom he remembered from Kentucky. Those who knew the Lincolns in Kentucky commented that Nancy Hanks Lincoln was "superior" to her husband, a strong personality that taught young Abraham his letters as well as the extraordinary sweetness and forbearance he was known for all his life. She seems also to have reverted to "thees" and "thous" -- something her precocious son picked up.

And then there is the surname of this Welsh emancipator. The Lincoln surname comes from a fusion of Welsh and Latin, meaning "from the lake country."

See Lincoln's Welsh ancestry. Also see "The Quakerism of Abraham Lincoln" by George B. Johnson JSTOR link.

Welsh Ancestry of Abraham Lincoln

nancy hanks lincoln Nancy Hanks Lincoln

The mother Abraham Lincoln, and wife of Thomas, was Nancy, daughter of John Hank and Sarah Evans, daughter of Cadwalader Evans, of Gwynedd, Pennsylvania. John Hank and Sarah Evans were married in 1711, Cadwalader Evans was born in the township of Ucheldre, Penllyn and was second son of Evan ap Evan, (otherwise Evan Lloyd Evans), of that place who was buried at Llanfor, 25th, April 1698.

A MS pedigree of this family, the earlier portion of which seems to have been compiled by the Bard William Cynwal, (a descendant) was brought to Pennsylvania by the Evans family in 1698, and has been verified for many generations.
(Source "Welsh Founders of Pennsylvania," Vol. II.)

Evan ap Evan was the son of Evan Robert Lewis, (i.e. Evan ap Robert ap Lewis), of Cynias, near Bala, who was born in the Parish of Yspytty, Ifan, Denbigshire, and buried at Llandderfel, 28th, September, 1668. This gentleman was twice married. His first wife, (mother of all his surviving children), seems to have been the heiress of one half of Coen Y Foel, near Bala, which farm was subsequently owned by Evan's oldest son, Cadwalader Evans of Coed Y Foel, gentleman (d.s.p.) whose will was proved at St. Asaph. 31st, January, 1688-89.

The ancestors of Evan Robert Lewis came from Penilech, Carnarvonshire, to Yspytty Ifan, or rather to that neighborhood, with the celebrated Maredyd Wynn, founder of the House of Gwydir, and the family traced descent, through David Goch of Penilech, (said to have been the Abbot of Bardsley Isle), progenitor of Griffiths of Cefn Anwlch, from the Princes of South Wales.

The latter connection given by Vaughn of Hengwrt, William Cynwal, and other genealogists, has been queried by Bridgeman; but recent researches go far to establish the accuracy of the pedigree. The wife of Cadwalader Evans, father of Sarah, ancestress of Lincoln, was Ellen, daughter of John ap Morris of Bryn Glen, Denbighshire: her mother being a daughter of Ellis ap William, (Admon., 26th, February, 1645-46), of Cae Fadog, in the township of Citalgarth, near Bala.

Ellis ap Williams, (Ellis Williams), traced the male line to Bleddyn of Powys, through Madog Hyddgam of Citalgarth. By various alliances of these families, Lincoln was descended from the Prices of Rhiwlas, Wynn of Gwydir, Lloyd of Ddwyfaen, Llangum, etc.. The Hank family was also partly Welsh.

Taken from "CAMERIAN GLEANINGS," Vol. I, No. 1, Jan 1914, edited and published by Henry Blackwell, University Place and Tenth Street, New York, N. Y.

Welsh Bards in North America

A rather surprising number of literary people have flourished in the English speaking countries of the New World. To name a few, there were William Dean Howells, Sinclair Lewis, Jack London, Edgar Lee Masters, Ogden Nash, Childe Roland, John Glassco, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Queen Buddig - Warrior Queen of the Welsh
Queen Boudicca
Queen Boudicca : warrior queen of the Welsh

SEE :That red-headed Welsh harridan

Why so many black Americans with Welsh names?

The African Presence infusing Welsh History

Welsh appearance, genetics, and anthropology

Historic link: Welsh Ballads and American Slavery

S4C series :: The Welsh and American Slavery

my friendly family tree

y ddraig goch
Y Ddraig Goch
Banner of Cadwaladr the Blessed
unfurled by Henry 7 at Bosworth

The Red Dragon Will Show the Way

a fo bin ~ bid bont

To be a leader you must be a bridge.

Western Voices : the red dragon will show the way

from wikipedia
Excalibur is the legendary sword of King Arthur, sometimes attributed with magical powers or associated with the rightful sovereignty of Great Britain. Sometimes Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone (the proof of Arthur's lineage) are said to be the same weapon, but in most versions they are considered separate. The sword was associated with the Arthurian legend very early. In Welsh, the sword is called Caledfwlch.

In Chretien de Troyes's Perceval, Gawain carries Escalibor and it is stated, "for at his belt hung Excalibor, the finest sword that there was, which sliced through iron as through wood" ("Qu'il avoit cainte Escalibor, la meillor espee qui fust, que'le trenche fer com fust"). This statement was likely picked up by the author of the Estoire Merlin, or Vulgate Merlin, where the author (who was fond of fanciful folk etymologies) asserts that Escalibor "is a Hebrew name which means in French 'cuts iron, steel, and wood'" ("c'est non Ebrieu qui dist en franchois trenche fer & achier et fust"; note that the word for "steel" here, achier, also means "blade" or "sword" and comes from medieval Latin aciarium, a derivative of acies "sharp", so there is no direct connection with Latin chalybs in this etymology). It is from this fanciful etymological musing that Malory got the notion that Excalubur meant "cut steel" (""the name of it said the lady is Excalibur that is as moche to say as cut stele"").

Michelle R. Warren - Memory out of Line: Hebrew Etymology in the Roman de Brut and Merlin

Croes Dewi Sant
Croes Dewi Sant

Cymru am byth

The English are Germans
The Welsh are True Britons

The Matter of Britain

The Ordinalia. Celtic Christianity was still very much Christian. The three medieval mystery plays constituting the Ordinalia were written in Cornish from the late fourteenth century. The three plays are Origo Mundi, (or The Origin of the World), Passio Christi (or The Passion of Christ) and Resurrexio Domini (or The Resurrection of Our Lord). The metres of these plays are various arrangements of seven- and four-syllabled lines.

African Origins of Stonehenge Geoffrey of Monmouth, a medieval Norman, said that Merlin brought the sacred stones to the Salisbury Plain from Ireland. In archaic times the stones were brought to Ireland ["Mount Killaraus"] by Giants from Africa and were used as a site for performing rituals and for healing. King Uther Pendragon, under the inspired guidance of Merlin [Myrddin], apparently used teleportation to move the stones from Ireland to the present location on the larger island.

Henry Lovelich - Seynt Graal, Or The Sank Ryal

Early Welsh chronicles -- References in lore and literature to King Arthur, the Round Table

King Arthur and the Cymry Heroes -- Arthurian legends in Cymraeg (the Welsh branch of Brythonic language)

Joseph d'Aramathe (by Robert de Boron) - first keeper of the Holy Grail

Jesus, King Arthur and the Journey of the Holy Grail (Maurice Cotterell) - the Secrets of the Sun Kings, deciphering they mysteries re. the transmigration of the soul

Boys will be boys :: the human Jesus :: the lost years, what about Glastonbury, Avalon, and Jesus' hidden years with Joseph Arimathea in Britain (today's Cornwall, specifically Glastonbury Tor or "Ynys yr Afalon" in cymraeg)? Take a tantalizing look at a more human savior. Did the historical "real-life" Jesus have to learn obedience much like the rest of us -- with occasional reprimands and swats?

Saxon Invasions Harassed by the Picts of the north, it was a Briton chieftain (king) named Vortigern who invited the Saxons (English) to their island. The Saxons settled the south; the Angles settled more northward; the Jutes settled around Kent and Canterbury. But the Saxons kept coming ... and coming -- till they were the enemy, not the Picts. The term Welsh (Wealas) was what the Saxons called the Britons (Wealas meant foreigner or enemy). The Britons called themselves Cymru (Camri). Even today, the Welsh or Cymraeg name for the English is "Saxon" [y Saeson].

tudor rose (tewdwr)

The Welsh Revival in Modern Times - began with Henry's triumph at Bosworth field and the fulfilling of Merlin's prophecy from time out of memory. The Tudors well knew their descent from the fabled King Arthur, and Merlin's lore was more than myth to them. Queen Elizabeth I clung to the Arthurian tales, and cherished their substance, much as the American Presidents Kennedy and Reagan later would.

The most learned scholar of the Puritan age of theology, Welshman John Owen of Oxford - Prince of the Puritan Divines

Evangelistic enthusiasm sweeps the land Wales, land of revivals. Begun as an effort to kindle non-denominational, non-sectarian spirituality, the Welsh revival of 1904-05 coincided with the rise of the labour movement, socialism, and a general disaffection with religion among the working class and youths.

The Welsh Barony (Pennsylvania) - The Welsh have had an impact upon Pennsylvania's society and culture since the founding of the colony in 1681. The mass immigration of Welsh to Pennsylvania before 1700 was due largely to the desire of Welsh Quakers for religious freedom and escape from persecution, and for the creation of a separate colony, tract, or "barony" in America. Thus, in part, these Welsh Quakers may have hoped to preserve the language and customs of their homeland.

Bryn Mawr (Welsh Barony) - Emmy Nöther transformed the world of physics and math. Those Bryn Mawr Quakers BELIEVED in smart women: "let's make them smarter!" Also see Katherine Hepburn.

Thomas Merton was arguably the twentieth century's most widely published and widely read spiritual writer. He was such a gentle soul, such an heir of the richest vein of "solitude" spirituality. Merton somehow seamlessly brought together the finest spiritual elements of mysticism and personalism and fused that wisdom with the contemplative spirituality of the Western tradition.

Merton was Welsh (New Zealand and America). His mother Ruth Jenkins related to the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers. On occasion, Thomas accompanied her to Meetings for Worship. Merton recalled the experience as having been 'about as supernatural as a Montgomery Ward catalogue,' he had no enduring interest in the denomination. Yet through the silent worship, anti-war convictions, and body of spiritual teaching of the Quakers, Ruth's religious influence on him was considerable. (Source: Lutterworth Press)

Brittany : Amorica

Bretagne Celtique - This website carries you away in the Celtic past of Brittany. Druids, Meghaliths, much more.

Little Britain (Breizh) - The language of these Breton Celts, and how it relates to the cousin Celts of Cornwall, Wales, and beyond.

Ancient Armorica and modern Brittany - the age of romance, pre-history, and a rich heritage of legends steeped in the historic past.

Cairn de Gavrinis - the cairn which is among the most famous megalithic monuments in the world.

Quimper - the heart of Celtic culture in Brittany - perhaps the most Celtic spot in all Brittany. Quimper is known throughout Brittany and the Celtic world for its Festival de Cornouaille, mid summer.

Barzhaz Breizh, meaning Ballads of Brittany - Brittany is a land of inspiration, and has inspired storytelling and tall tales. La Villemarqué compiled Breton tales in his Barzhaz Breizh, and their fame has grown.

Brittany and Cornwall : Celtic Saints of Cornwall. (Most of Cornwall and Brittany's Celtic saints are of Welsh origins.)

Pierre Abelard - The story of Abelard and Heloise inspired and shocked the medieval world, as real life melodrama does the same in our own. Born in Le Pallet, Brittany, Abelard was brilliant, gifted, and assertive.

The Celtic Warrior - Cymru, Breizh & Kernow in Celtic Solidarity. Cymru, Breizh & Kernow in Celtic Solidarity.

Cornish and Breton Saints St. Piran (or Perran), St. Ronan, and many others in history (and legend).

Celtic Music in Brittany Tony Upton gives you information on the music of Brittany, including notable musicians and groups, unique instruments, types of tunes and more.

Henry VIII (Tudor) was 'smitten' by her
genevieve bujold as anne boleyn
Genevieve Bujold as Anne Boleyn

Was Anne Boleyn dark welsh? We know from history that she had a great deal of Norman French ancestry, as did well born 'English' from Chaucer to Wyclif. But we also know, from contemporary accounts, that Anne had dark, olive-colored skin, thick dark brown hair and dark brown eyes which often appeared black. Those large dark eyes were often singled out in descriptions of Anne, as well as her long slender neck. She was very intelligent and in her own way strong willed, and Tudor King Henry VIII was captivated by the beauty he saw in her. He "had" to have her, and he let the world know he intended to have her - ruat caelum - though the heavens fall. Anne loved him, too, but alas (once they married) she did not produce the sought-for male heir the king expected.

"All she produced" was     -     ELIZABETH!

Dark complexion is not definitive!

There are all ranges of complections of Welsh, just as there are for Gaelic Celts (Irish and Scot), our close cousins. The stories of the early saints and high kings and charismatic abbots surely are an inspiration after so much Anglic domination (for centuries). Such leadership and character and "vision" of a man like Columba (Gaelic Irish), or (earlier) King Arthur, who was Brythonic, --- or later, Abelard. Abelard was a Breton but also Brythonic. He was a brilliant scholar of genius and bold curiosity. Interestingly, there was something of the "Dark Welsh" in his complexion. Hugh of St. Victor labelled him the son of a Jewish father and an Egyptian mother. In Paris his darkness (and shortness) must have stood out. [LINK: Brythonic Amorica (Brittany)]

Historian Friedrich Heer writes

The English looked upon the Celts as barbarians. A clerk in the entourage of Archbishop Pecham, writing circa 1283, claimed that the Welsh were the remnant of the Trojans, cast adrift among the wild wastes of Cambria by diabolic intervention; they had abandoned themselves to a life of quite unspeakable promiscuity, brigandage and wicked idleness. This devilish race would long ago have been destroyed and swept off the face of the earth had it not been for the excessive clemency of the English kings, who allowed themselves to be deceived by the assumed and treacherous penitence of the Welsh and refrained from pressing home the advantages won on their frequent and necessary punitive expeditions.

Gerald of Wales, on the other hand, writing a century earlier, remarked that the English were a people destined by nature to servitude.

The Welsh were a nation of herdsmen, nomads of the simplest type, free to move as they would and take their possessions with them; they were attached to their freedom, imaginative, and full of the joys of song. They were attracted neither by the sedentary life of the Anglo-Saxon peasantry nor by the organized stability aimed at by the Normans, and resisted both impartially. In directing popular hatred against the unfortunate Welsh, Irish and Scots, the English drew on a vocabulary of execration of which any modern propagandist might be proud. Equally ruthless were the techniques used to compel surrender.

[Heer describes several instances of extreme brutality and torture used by the English against the restive Scots -- even their women.] The Scots were later to take a grim revenge on the English monarchy and its "Church of Saints" for this violation of [the Scots'] Church and territory. The English kings and the English bishops of the seventeenth century had no more implacable enemies than the great Scottish Puritans.

p 353-4, The Medieval World

Feminist scholar Elizabeth Gould Davis writes

In [Brythonic] Somerset and Cornwall the [Christian] legend goes back to the childhood of Jesus. In this deligthful story, the boy Jesus had accompanied his great-Uncle, the rich merchant Joseph of Arimathea, on at least one business trip to [Celtic] Britain and had so won the hearts of the Brythonic Celts with his bright and questing mind that they had never forgotten him. Thus when some thirty years later his mother visited them with Joseph and they learned of the fate of the promising boy, they were eager to build a wittle church in his memory at Glastonbury. Thus did Christianity come to Celtic Britain nearly six hundred years before Augustine.

William Blake's poem "Jerusalem" is obviously based on this lovely legend:

And did His feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?
"Perhaps there is some truth in the strange tradition which still lingers, not only among the hill folk of Somerset, but of Gloucestershire, that Joseph of Arimathea came to Britain first as a metal merchant seeking tin from the Scilly Islands and Cornwall, and lead and copper and other metals from the hills of Somerset, and that Our Lord Himself came with him as a boy, There is also a tradition in the west of Ireland that Our Lord came to Glastonbury as a boy." [from Lionel Smithett Lewis]

The Celtic King Arviragus, the direct ancestor of Queen Helena and thus of the Emperor Constantine, was the old friend if Joseph, and he memorialized this friendship by donating to the infant church at Glastonbury the land on which it was built.

King Arthur in the sixth century AD claimed to be eighth in direct descent from Joseph of Arimathea.

p 250-1, The First Sex
The boyhood of Jesus

Linda Shepherd
a Cornwall harbor - East Devon (in what was ancient Dumnonia)

Celtic Christianity
Even after being ordered by mainstream Church authorities to conform (Whitby, 664 AD), the abbots of ancient Celtic Christianity preferred to follow the time honored practice of their (far older) version of Christian observance, which was monastic-centered. The Welsh (and Irish and Cornish and Bretans) clung tenaciously to the Celtic tonsure and Celtic Easter long after those practices had been rejected by the Roman bishops followed by the Saxon converts. Bede has numerous pejorative remarks villifying the "perfidious" Britons and their independent ways. In 1172 AD the Synod of Cashel once again ordered an end to Celtic independence. Ironically, Celtic practice ultimately prevailed over the Roman in one instance -- penitence.

There was no trace of insolence or rebelliousness in the Celtic Christian's pragmatic independence. The British abbots clung to the habits that had worked so well for them for literally half a millenium before the Saxons newcomers adopted Roman Christianity, and promptly used their Roman "authority" as a cudgel to beat the Welsh and Irish and Bretons, whose Christian humility and learning was both nobler and of a venerable antiquity far surpassing the Saxons of Canterbury. In retrospect, we wonder if the "Arthurian" (Celtic) model was not superior (in meekness and) localism and subsidiarity -- to the proud centralism of Saxon Romanism.


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