Uneventful as was his reign, he became a great figure in later bardic lore. In the prophecies of Merlin , for instance, as handled by Geoffrey of Monmouth , it is foretold that Cadwaladr will summon Cynan and will make a treaty with Alben ( Scotland ). That Cadwaladr would return to lead the British race to victory over the Saxons became a commonplace of the cywyddau brud , the darkly phrased poems in which the bards shrouded their incitements to national resistance. Henry VII claimed descent from the popular hero ‘in the twenty second degree’ ( Wynne , 336) and the red dragon of Cadwaladr was one of the three standards which he offered up at S. Paul's in 1485 .
But he also appears in a very different character, as Cadwaladr the Blessed , the patron saint of Llangadwaladr in Anglesey , Llangadwaladr in Denbs. , and Bishton , formerly Llangadwaladr , in Mon. In the oldest form of the ‘ Pedigrees of the Saints ,’ the saint is said to be the son of Iago ap Beli ( Br. SS. , iv, 369), i.e. great-uncle of the prince, and it is possible that two members of the same family have been confused.
Geoffrey of Monmouth winds up his ‘ History of the Kings of Britain ’ with his own fanciful version of the doings of Cadwaladr and ends by tacking on to the story the particulars recorded by Bede of the death of Cadwalla of Wessex .
Sir John Edward Lloyd, D.Litt., F.B.A., F.S.A. (1861-1947), Bangor
Published date: 1959