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Don Abbott

The Knife of Madoc

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Some truths are in fact self evident. A good meal, a fine wine, smooth tobacco. The touch of a good woman. The presence of the Living God. The fire and the steel. The hammer and the anvil. There are some things that need no proving; they just are.


There are, however, those things that are true only because it seems that they should be. To be in some dark and green wooded hollow and to know that this place is old… very old, and that you are not the first to have been here. No evidence exists of those who have come before, but the legends live as proof enough that what is supposed to be must have been.


Such a story is told of one Madoc ab Owain Gwynedda, or Prince Madoc, as he would be remembered through the mist. Madoc was the son of Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd, King of Wales. Owain was a warrior king and ruled his kingdom well until his death in 1169. As it often happens with the death of a ruler, there arose much dispute and strife among Owain’s heirs. Quickly tiring of the conspiracy and bloodshed, Prince Madoc made plans to leave his home in Wales and find a new land. In 1170, Madoc and his brother Rhirid set sail from Llandrillo in the cantrf of Rhos to explore the western ocean with a small fleet of ships. Upon crossing the Atlantic, they discovered a land of incredible abundance. It is said that many of the Welsh travelers were set ashore to form the beginnings of a colony while Prince Madoc and his crew returned to Wales to recruit more brave souls to settle in this new world. After loading ten ships with men, women, and provisions for the journey and for settlement, the Prince left Wales, and as far as any record holds, he was never heard from again.


However, the legend doesn’t stop there. The Welsh fleet led by Madoc supposedly sailed into what would one day be known as the Gulf of Mexico, to Mobile Bay in Mobile, Alabama. This band of new arrivals would begin a northern migration that would leave a trail of legend extending through present day Alabama, Georiga, and Tennessee and ultimately extending as far as Indiana and the Great Plains. Some surmise that the intermarriage of these Welsh explorers and Native Americans was the origin of the Mandan tribe. The Mandan were known for their light complexion, women of unusual beauty, and a peculiar language that had many similarities to the Welsh tongue. In a correspondence dated 1810, John Sevier, the first governor of Tennessee, recounted to a friend that an old Cherokee chief named Oconostota told him that an ancient stone fortification built along the Alabama River was built by a white skinned people he called “Welsh”. In 1799, Sevier had also made mention of six skeletons discovered in a cave, each wearing bronze armor engraved with the Welsh coat of arms.


No trace of Prince Madoc or his companions has been found or proven in these modern times. Even the Mandan tribe has vanished from the face of the continent. Without these concrete proofs, the men of science and writers of history dismiss it all as mere myth.

But I say it’s so. I have Madoc’s knife, and that’s proof enough.





I first encountered hints of this legend in some of Louis L’Amour’s western novels when I was a kid. Needless to say, the notion has always fascinated me. I know that true historians will probably give this story no more merit than Alan Longmire’s tale of Charlie Maine, but I needed a way to make all of the cool Western and Northern European stuff I’ve been seeing on this forum relevant to my home in East Tennessee. So good Prince Madoc immediately came to mind.


I gave a pretty good WIP for the blade in this thread:


My WIP for this blade


But again, the blade is an old Nicholson file san-mai’d between two slabs of refined wrought wagon rim. You can clearly see the double-cut file in the toothy looking transition from iron to steel. The iron didn’t grind out as uniformly as I hoped, but I think I did alright for a first try. The handle is local black walnut and American holly. I cut and air dried both several years ago. The guard, butt, and spacers are all copper, robbed from a high-voltage distribution switch. Since this is a fantasy knife of sorts, it is not a slave to any one style, but rather an accumulated release of having my mind blown on this forum on a daily basis.


A great KITH so far. I hope whoever gets it enjoys it as much as I have.


And I hope to have some much better pics by first of the week. I was stuck here at work with nothing but a crappy camera and Photoshop.

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Very very nice! According to local legend, Madoc is also rumored to have passed through my area, building a stone stronghold on Fort Mountain. Cherokee legends talk about the "moon eyed" people, and Europeans (Madoc and his followers, Vikings, or others) have been suggested as the root of these legends. I don't buy into that idea very much.


But anyway, the knife is excellent. Well done.

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Cool knife and good thread.

Im very interested in this kind of history(a lot of which I think will, in time, become concrete). I'm actually fairly sure Madoc knew there was a continent to the west, just like Columbus did, because Europeans had already gone there and recorded it and communicated it to other Europeans when they went back to Europe.

There is a lot of speculation that the Mandan met up with Vikings when they were(and it is known they were) exploring N. America, but its curious to think maybe they also met up with the Welsh. That would make them even more remarkable. It's also possible that the Mandan (or their predecessors) had met Templars that Fled from Europe.


Another interesting Group is the Croatan/Lumbee. When they were supposedly "first contacted" they were speaking excellent Elizabethan English and had English surnames and some of them appeared to be mixed Native/European. If

youre interested look them up.


Columbus wrote in his Diary about passing a boat that sounds Mesoamerican on his way to the Americas.


Nicotene, tobacco and cocaine(this ones very disputed) were found with buried Pharoahs... All plants from the Americas.


Ancient African remains turn up in Central and South America, not to mention a lot of mesoamerican carvings look to have had African models.


Lots of interesting stuff out there... or of course you could choose to beleive the world was finally united in 1492 :rolleyes:

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That turned out very nice Don.



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A couple decent pics, then off to Geoff Keyes:





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