Caradawc Vreichvras (Caradoc)

   Caradawc, like many other heroes whose names occur in the Mabinogion, was celebrated both in Welsh and Norman story. Several Welsh families trace their pedigree to Caradawc. He was a son of Llyr Merini, a prince of Cornwall, and himself chief elder of Gelliwig (Kelliwig), the royal residence in that part of the Island. His mother was Gwen, grand-daughter of Brychan, through whose right he is supposed to have become ruler of the district of Brycheiniog. According to the Triads, he was one of the battle knights of Britain, and is styled "Caradawc pillar of the Cymry." Caradawc's horse Lluagor is also recorded as one of the three battle horses of the Island.
   His prowess at the battle of Cattraeth, is also sung in the verse of his contemporary Aneurin, who calls several of his fellow-warriors in evidence of his assertion.

"When Caradawc rushed into battle,
It was like the tearing onset of the woodland boar,
The bull of combat in the field of slaughter,
He attracted the wild dogs by the action of his hand.
My witnesses are Owain the son of Eulat,
And Gwrien, and Gwynn, and Gwriat.
From Cattraeth and its carnage,
From the hostile encounter,
After the clear bright mead was served,
He saw no more the dwelling of his father."
   From the latter part of this passage, it appears that Caradawc fell in this battle. Here again we find the problems of determining who is contemporary with Arthur and whose story was added to the legends. The Gododdin battle takes place near the end of the 6th century after the collapse of the Rheged alliance while Arthur supposedly fell at Camlan at least a half century earlier.
   Tegau Eurvron, the beautiful wife of Caradawc, was no less renowned for her virtue than for her charms. In the Triads, she is spoken of as one of the three fair ladies, and one of the three chaste damsels of Arthur's Court. She possessed three precious things of which she alone was worthy; her mantle, her goblet of gold, and her knife. She is frequently alluded to by the bards.
   In Anglo-Norman Romance, Caradawc's cognomen of Vreichvras with the "brawny arm," becomes "Brise Bras". His wife preserves her British character and attributes under a Norman garb, and is well known as "faithful among the faithless" of Arthur's Court, the heroine of the mantle, "over her decent shoulders drawn." Caradawc's well-founded confidence in his wife's virtue, enabled him to empty the marvellous Horn, and carve the tough Boar's head, adventures in which his peers failed. In token of the latter of them, the Boar's head, in some form or other, appears as the armorial bearing of all of his name.
   The Trouve'res have a story in reference to the appellation of "Brise Bras" which they rendered the "wasted arm." They tell of an enchanter who fixed a serpent upon Caradawc's arm, from whose wasting tooth he could never be relieved, until she whom he loved best should consent to undergo the torture in his stead. His betrothed on learning this, was not to be deterred from giving him this proof of her devotion. As the serpent was in the act of springing from the wasted arm of the knight to the fair neck of the lady, her brother, Kadwr, earl of Cornwall, struck off its head with his sword, and thus dispelled the enchantment. Caradawc's arm, however, never recovered its pristine strength and size, and hence, according to some authorities, the name of Brise Bras.
   In the life of St. Collen, two persons of the name are mentioned, one of whom was the ancestor of St. Collen himself, and was called Vreichvras, because he broke his arm in the battle of Hiraddig, from which injury that arm became larger than the other. He is expressly distinguished from the other Caradawc Vreichvras ab Llyr Merini.