HARLECH (perhaps for Hardd lech, fair slate, or Harleigh, an Anglicized variant), a town of Merionethshire, Wales, 38 m.
Ruins of a fortress crown the rock of Harlech, about half a mile from the sea.
In the early 10th century, Harlech castle was, apparently, repaired by Colwyn, lord of Ardudwy, founder of one of the fifteen North Wales tribes, and thence called Caer Colwyn.
From this time is said to date the air "March of the men of Harlech" (Rhyf elgerdd gwyr Harlech) .
Made Harlech a free borough, and it was formerly the county town.
Across the bay is seen Harlech castle, backed by the Merionethshire hills.
The Mabinogion tell how Harlech was a port.
As a result of a formal alliance the French sent troops to his aid, and in the course of 1404 the great castles of Harlech and Aberystwith fell into his hands.
In February 1409 Harlech was also recaptured, and Owen's wife, daughter and grandchildren were taken prisoners.
Murchison published his Silurian system in 1839, wherein he recognized the Cambrian to include the barren slates and grits of Harlech, Llanberis and the Long Mynd.
Having suppressed the independence of Wales, Edward now took steps to keep Gwynedd itself in permanent subjection by building the castles of Conway, Carnarvon, Criccieth and Harlech within the ancient patrimony of the princes of North Wales, whose legitimate race was now extinct save for Llewelyn's daughter Gwenllian, who had entered the convent of Sempringham.
The name Colwyn is that of lords of Ardudwy; a Lord Colwyn of Ardudwy, in the 10th century, is believed to have repaired Harlech castle, and is considered the founder of one of the fif teen tribes of North Wales.