Dychan i Gwrw o Gaer

The purpose of this short satirical englyn is to make fun of the city of Chester on account of its weak beer. Taverns and public houses were central to the experience of Welsh visitors to medieval Chester, and the poet is accusing the Chester publicans of watering down the beer with foul-tasting water from the rivers. The reference to ‘three rivers’ might signify different sections of the river Dee around the three sides of the city (such as the harbour to the west and the Portpool anchorage to the south) or it might include smaller tributaries such as Bache brook, outside the walls. The reference to ‘the English’ of Chester underlines the Welsh perception of the city and its inhabitants as part of the oppressiveness of the dominant English culture on their doorstep.

Author: Raff ap Robert

Metre: Englyn


1Naws eidral meddal sy’n meddwi—y Saeson,
    naws eisin a brynti;
  naws dŵr tair afon y trefi , 1
  naws cwrw Caer, nis câr ci!


trefi, ‘towns’: the use of the plural noun to refer to Chester signifies the smaller suburbs around the walls, including Handbridge, Boughton and Hoole. Back to context...