Peniarth 147

This short text from a 16th century manuscript is the only reference we have to the meeting between Modron ferch Afallach and Urien Rheged, which resulted in the birth of their children, Owein and Morfudd. Though relatively late it may retain an earlier tradition, perhaps one brought from the north. The Triads state that Owein and Morfudd, as children of Urien and Modron, were one of the 'Three Fair Womb-Burdens' so the relationship between these characters is earlier. The tale here is located in north east Wales and is part of a tradition of onomastic tales, intended to explain unusual place names in the Welsh landscape.

The tale of Urien at the Ford of Barking

Yn Sir Ddinbych y mae plwyf a elwir Llan Verrys ag yno y mae Ryd y Gyfarthfa. Ag yn yr hen amser y doe gwn y wlad y gid y lan y ryd hono y gyfarth. Ag nyd oedd y fentre vyned y sbio beth oedd yno nes dyfod Urien Reged. A ffyn doyth y lan y ryd [n]y wele yno ddim ond merch yn golchi. Ag yno tewi or kwn ar cyfarth ag ymhafel o Urien Reged ar verch ag ymweithredy a hi. Ag yna y dwad hithe bendith ddyw ar y traed yth ddygoedd yma. Pam heb y[nte]. Achos bod ynhyngedfen i olchi yma nes enill m[ab] o Griston. A merch wyfi y Vrenin Anyfwn a dyred di yma am. Ben y flwyddyn ag di y gay y mab ag velly y dayth ynte ag y Cafas yno vab amerch nyd amgen noc owein ab urien a morfydd verch urien.

"In Denbighshire there is a parish called Llanferres and in that place there is the Rhyd y Gyfarthfa (Ford of Barking). And in ancient times the hounds of the country came together to the edge of that ford to bark. And no one would dare go to see what was there until Urien Rheged came. And when he came to the edge of the ford he saw nothing but a girl washing. And then the hounds stopped barking and Urien Rheged seized the woman and had sex with her. And then she said "God's blessing on the feet which have brought you here." "Why?" he said. "Because a destiny was placed on me to wash here until I begat a son by a Christian. I am the daughter to the King of Annwfn. Come here at the end of the year and you will receive the boy." And so he came and he received there a boy and a girl, namely Owein ab Urien and Morfudd ferch Urien."