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The Birth of the Moon over the Marsh of Rhuddlan
David Watkins
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Cover image Work: Solo harp
Catalogue No: Adlais 229
ISMN: 979-0-57032-260-2
Edition: September 2021 A4 stapled
Duration: c. 5.10 minutes
Suitable for: Grade 6-7, Pedal Harp
Price:: £7.00  Go to shop
The Birth of the Moon over the Marsh of Rhuddlan

“There was in Mercia in fairly recent time a certain vigorous King called Offa who terrified all the neighbouring Kings and Provinces around him, and who had a great dyke built between Wales and Mercia from sea to sea.” Asser c. AD 893

The Birth of the Moon over the Marsh of Rhuddlan

This is a programme piece about the Battle of Rhuddlan where King Offa died. I have used the traditional folk tune (which is in a minor key) changed into a major key for The March into Battle. It returns in its original minor key after The King is Stabbed.

There are eight sections:

King Offa rallies his troops
The March into Battle
The King is Stabbed
Is the King dead?
The Bell tolls
The Birth of the Moon


The work
Rear cover image from the score

Dan Llywelyn Hall, distinguished Painter and Trustee of the Offa’s Dyke Centre, asked me to write a piece for their 50th Anniversary Celebrations which took place at Knighton on the 10th July 2021.

Walking back, late one night, from a concert at sledmere, Yorkshire, Rodney Towers photographed the powerful image of the full moon rising from behind a cloud and bathing the countryside in its cold, clear light.

King Offa was killed after a brutal fight on the Marsh of Rhuddlan and the moon will be shining forever over the battlefield. Dan Llywelyn Hall was so inspired by this image that he created his own **, which includes a glimpse of King Offa’s famous Dyke.

David Watkins


** image shown left which is also reproduced on the rear cover of the score

Performed by Ieuan Jones on Friday 12 August 2022 at The Llanfyllin Music Festival, Wales.

Front cover of the score

Sample of the music