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Gelert's Grave

A Grade II Listed Building in Beddgelert, Gwynedd

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.0087 / 53°0'31"N

Longitude: -4.1022 / 4°6'8"W

OS Eastings: 259048

OS Northings: 347782

OS Grid: SH590477

Mapcode National: GBR 5Q.GKZ4

Mapcode Global: WH556.YMQS

Entry Name: Gelert's Grave

Listing Date: 25 November 1998

Last Amended: 25 November 1998

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 20925

Building Class: Commemorative

Location: Located in a field approximately 350m SW of St Mary's Church, in an oval enclosure with plain modern railings.

County: Gwynedd

Town: Porthmadog

Community: Beddgelert

Community: Beddgelert

Traditional County: Caernarfonshire

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Beddgelert

History

Gelert's Grave was erected c1802 by David Pritchard, first tenant-manager of the Beddgelert Hotel (now the Royal Goat Hotel). Drawing on pre-existing mythology he revived and partly reinvented the story of the loyal hound Gelert, introducing the character of Llewelyn Fawr as the dog's master. He popularised the story, and created the monument to accompany it, in a cynical attempt to encourage tourism; in this he was successful. As such Gelert's Grave plays an important role in the history of early Welsh tourism.

The story tells us that Llewelyn left his baby son in Gelert's guardianship one day to go out hunting. On his return he found a blooded and up-turned cot with the baby missing. When the blood-covered Gelert came to greet his master, Llewelyn, thinking that his faithful hound had killed and eaten his child, drew his sword and slew it. Then, hearing the child's crying, he found it safe and well behind the cot, with a ferocious wolf lying dead beside it. Filled with remorse, Llewelyn is said to have buried brave Gelert in this location and henceforth 'never to have smiled again.'

Exterior

The grave consists of a group of three stones within an oval enclosure with modern railings. In the centre is a natural limestone boulder, approximately 1m wide, in front of which are 2 modern incised slate tablets recounting the Gelert story in Welsh and English. Flanking the boulder are 2 irregular, vertical limestone rocks, with horizontal water (?) erosion and some probable additional tooling.

Reasons for Listing

Listed for its special interest within the history of Welsh tourism, as an early C19 created tourist attraction.

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