A Welsh legend tells the story of the sunken land Gwydneu (also known as “Gwydno” and later Cantre’r Gwaelod, “antref Gwaelod”, “Cantref y Gwaelod” and in English “: “The Lowland Hundred”) off the coast of Wales, UK.
It first appears in the Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin, considered to be the oldest book written in Welsh and dating from the middle of the 13. Century. Several later and differing versions of the legend exist. But as the BBC here writes:
“Whichever version of the legend you choose, it is said that if you listen closely you can hear the bells of the lost city ringing out from under the sea, especially on quiet Sunday mornings, and particularly if you’re in Aberdyfi [also known as Aberdovy], which is famous in Welsh folk legend as being the nearest place on dry land to Cantre’r Gwaelod.”
Here is the poem from the “Llyfr Du Caerfyrddin” in a modern English translation. The name “Seithenin” in the first line refers to one of two sons of the legendary ruler of Gwydneu, Gwyddno Garanhir. It was the princes’ duty to guard the floodgates that protected the low lying land:
Seithenhin, stand thou forth,
And behold hte billowy rows;
The sea has covered the plain of Gwydneu.
Accursed be the damsel,
Who, after the wailing,
Let loose the Fountain of Venus, the raging deep.
Accursed be the maiden,
Who, after the conflict, let loose
The fountain of Venus, the desolating sea.
A great cry from the roaring sea arises above the summit of the rampart,
To-day even to God does the supplication come!
Common after excess there ensues restraint.
A cry from the roaring sea overpowers me this night,
And it is not easy to relieve me;
Common after excess succeeds adversity.
A cry from the roaring sea comes upon the winds;
The mighty and beneficent God has caused it!
Common after excess is want.
A cry from the roaring sea
Impels me from my resting-place this night;
Common after excess is far-extending destruction.
The grave of Seithenhin the weak-minded
Between Caer Cenedir and the shore
Of the great sea and Cinran.
This is the online source. For the full book go here.
See also the posts on Marcus Vergette‘s art installation and the song The Bells of Aberdovey.
Similar legends from Northern Europe are the kingdom Ys in Brittany, the sunken palace Llys Helig in Wales or the land Lyoness in Cornwall.