The Welsh Fair Folk are central to the folk beliefs and practices of Wales. In the Medieval period they were the Plant Annwfn (‘Children of Annwfn’), the Welsh otherworld, but later became Y Tylwyth Teg (‘Fair Folk’) of the modern period. But these supernatural people weren’t fairies in the modern sense of tiny, winged, tutu wearing spirits, they were instead very similar to humans in size and shape, and often intermarried with human families.
The study of folklore and folk-belief cam relatively late to Wales, but even though most of our sources are from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, we can trace the lineage of these once oral texts back into the mythology of the Mabinogion stories and similar medieval sources. Because of this, we can sometimes outline the evolution of Welsh mythology over long periods of time.
This course looks at the most prominent features of the Welsh Fair Folk, discussing their nature and the origins of their magic, their relationship to the mortal realm and what their stories symbolised and meant for the common folk of Wales.
This course is currently made up of 4 chapters, containing 8 separate videos on different topics, and has a total running time of 3.6 hours.
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Created by Dr Gwilym Morus-Baird. He completed his studies at Bangor University School of Welsh in 2011 with a dissertation on the bardic tradition of Medieval Wales. He has worked as a research fellow at the Library of Congress, Washington DC and has taught on courses in several different establishments. In recent years he has focussed on developing his own courses and running workshops for various organisations.