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Legendary History Prior to 1st Century BC
Beli Mawr and Llyr Llediath in Welsh Pedigrees
The Bartrum "Welsh Genealogies"
Bartrum's "Pedigrees of the Welsh Tribal Patriarchs"
A study in charting medieval citations
The Evolution of the "Padriarc Brenin" Pedigree
Generational Gaps and the Welsh Laws
Minimum Age for Welsh Kingship in the Eleventh Century
The Lands of the Silures
Catel Durnluc aka Cadell Ddyrnllwg
Ancient Powys
The Royal Family of Powys
The Royal Family of Gwynedd
The 5 Plebian Tribes of Wales
Maxen Wledig of Welsh Legend
Maxen Wledig and the Welsh Genealogies
Anwn Dynod ap Maxen Wledig
Constans I and his 343 Visit to Britain
Glast and the Glastening
Composite Lives of St Beuno
Rethinking the Gwent Pedigrees
The Father of Tewdrig of Gwent
Another Look at Teithfallt of Gwent
Ynyr Gwent and Caradog Freich Fras
Llowarch ap Bran, Lord of Menai
Rulers of Brycheiniog - The Unanswered Questions
Lluan ferch Brychan
The Herbert Family Pedigree
Edwin of Tegeingl and his Family
Angharad, Heiress of Mostyn
Ithel of Bryn in Powys
Idnerth Benfras of Maesbrook
Henry, the Forgotten Son of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn
The Muddled Pedigree of Sir John Wynn of Gwydir
The Mysterious Peverel Family
The Clan of Tudor Trevor
The Other "Sir Roger of Powys"
Ancestry of Ieuaf ap Adda ap Awr of Trevor
The Retaking of Northeast Wales
Hedd Molwynog or Hedd ap Alunog of Llanfair Talhearn
"Meuter Fawr" son of Hedd ap Alunog
The Medieval "redating" of Braint Hir
Aaron Paen ap Y Paen Hen
Welsh Claims to Ceri after 1179
The Battle of Mynydd Carn
Trahaearn ap Caradog of Arwystli
Cadafael Ynfyd of Cydewain
Maredudd ap Robert, Lord of Cedewain
Cadwgan of Nannau
Maredudd ap Owain, King of Deheubarth
What Really Happened in Deheubarth in 1022?
Two Families headed by a Rhydderch ap Iestyn
The Era of Llewelyn ap Seisyll
Cynfyn ap Gwerystan, the Interim King
The Consorts and Children of Gruffudd ap Llewelyn
The 1039 Battle at Rhyd y Groes
The First Wife of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn
Hywel ap Gronwy of Deheubarth
The Brief Life of Gruffudd ap Maredudd
The Other Gwenwynwyn
Eunydd son of Gwenllian
Sandde Hardd of Mortyn
The Floruit of Einion ap Seisyllt
The Enigmatic Elystan Glodrydd
Cowryd ap Cadfan of Dyffryn Clwyd
Owain ap Cadwgan and Nest ferch Rhys - An Historic Fiction?
The "sons" of Owain ap Cadwgan ap Bleddyn
The Betrayal by Meirion Goch Revisited
Gwyn Ddistain, seneschal for Llewelyn Fawr
The Men of Lleyn - How They Got There
Trahaearn Goch of Lleyn
Einion vs Iestyn ap Gwrgan - The Conquest of Glamorgan
Dafydd Goch ap Dafydd - His Real Ancestry
Thomas ap Rhodri - Father of Owain "Lawgoch"
The "Malpas" Family in Cheshire
Einion ap Celynin of Llwydiarth
Marchweithian, Lord of Is Aled, Rhufoniog
Osbwrn Wyddel of Cors Gedol
Bradwen of Llys Bradwen in Meirionydd
Ednowain ap Bradwen
Sorting out the Gwaithfoeds
Three Men called Iorwerth Goch "ap Maredudd"
The Caradog of Gwynedd With 3 Fathers
Who Was Sir Robert Pounderling?
Eidio Wyllt - What Was His Birthname?
The Legendary Kingdom of Seisyllwg
The Royal Family of Ceredigion
Llewelyn ap Hoedliw, Lord of Is Cerdin
The Ancestry of Owain Glyndwr
Welsh Ancestry of the Tudor Dynasty
Gruffudd ap Rhys, the Homeless Prince
The Children of Lord Rhys
Maredudd Gethin ap Lord Rhys
The 'Next Heir' of Morgan of Caerleon
Pedigree of the ancient Lords of Ial
The Shropshire Walcot Family
Pedigree of "Ednowain Bendew II"
Pedigree of Cynddelw Gam

                            
                                       THE "SONS" OF CYNGEN AP CADELL
                                                 By Darrell Wolcott
 
     Best known as the king of Powys who erected the Pillar of Eliseg in the early ninth century, Cyngen was born c. 775 and died in Rome in 856.[1]  The succession of the Royal Family, and indeed of the kingship of Powys, has been obscured by the paucity of data covering that period and by evidence of bias in those accounts which have come down to us.  At least one modern attempt to clarify things actually made the situation even more difficult to unravel.
 
      The tenth-century genealogies contained in Harleian Ms 3859, compiled at the request of Owain ap Hywel Dda, are the earliest known pedigrees which mention the Powys family.  In them, Cyngen ap Cadell is the starting place; no later decendants are named. Seizing upon this as possible evidence that the Royal family had failed when Cyngen died without a son, the medieval genealogists introduced a sister named Nest and asserted that she was the heiress of Powys and carried the kingdom to her husband or son.  That claim is examined in another paper on this site and will be laid aside to consider the "sons" of Cyngen conjured up in the late 19th century.
 
     Egerton Phillimore, editor of the scholarly journal "Y Cymmrodor", published a translation and analysis of Harleian Ms 3859 in its Vol ix in 1888.  In that article, he suggested various emendations which he believed were necessary to "correct" the pedigrees.  Subsequent scholars have accepted his changes.[2]  But before we discuss what he changed and why, we should first look at the Powys lines as they actually appear in the manuscript.  For identification, we shall use the pedigree numbers adopted by Phillimore.
 
27.  Cincen map Catel map Brocmayl map Elitet map Guilauc.....
 
30.  Maun, Artan, Iouab, Meic, filli Grippi filli Elized
 
31.  Elized, Ioab, Aedan, filli Cincen filli Brocmail filli Elized
 
      For uniformity in our discussion, we shall modernize the spellings of those names and note that pedigree #27 actually extends several more generations beyond what is required for the needs of this paper; the omission we have noted with a line of dots. Thus:
 
27.  Cyngen ap Cadell ap Brochwel ap Eliseg ap Gwylog.....
 
30.  Maun, Arthun, Iago, Meig, sons of Gruffudd ap Eliseg
 
31.  Eliseg, Iago, Aeddan, sons of Cyngen ap Brochwel ap Eliseg.
 
      Phillimore recast #31 to read "Cyngen ap [Cadell ap] Brochwel ap Eliseg and pointed to #27 as his justification. There is more, but it seems to us that if the same Cyngen was meant in both #27 and #31 why was #31 necessary at all?  The names of the 3 sons could have simply been placed in front of #27.  We shall return to this emendation presently, but first let us look at his second "correction".
 
      He next cast #30 to read "Gruffudd ap [Cyngen ap Cadell ap Brochwel ap] Eliseg.  With this, Phillimore suggests that the Gruffudd of #30 was a fourth brother of the three named in #31. I would agree that if he were right, a further pedigree would be required since Gruffudd had 4 sons and it would have made for awkward wording to include all this information in a single pedigree. 
 
       We now come to the real reason Phillimore thought the final two pedigrees both should refer to sons and grandsons of the Cyngen from #27. He points to the 814 entry in the Brut y Tywysogyon where we learn that "Griffri ap Cyngen was slain through the treachery of Elise, his brother".[3]  He identifies the murdered Griffri with the Grippi of pedigree #30 and Elise his killer with the first Elized of pedigree #31.  And his emendations thus portray those pedigree names as brothers.  But were the men in the 814 Brut entries actually sons of Cyngen ap Cadell?  No patronym is given the Brut Cyngen; we really don't know who his father might have been.  Lest we think the name Cyngen was unique in that era, the same Brut tells us that in 852 "the Pagans slew Cyngen" and in 856 "Cyngen, king of Powys, died in Rome".  Clearly the latter entry meant Cyngen ap Cadell, but who was the one killed in 852?  We need not seek that answer for our discussion; it was mentioned only to show there were other men named Cyngen around in the ninth century.
 
       We believe there are more reasons to NOT believe the murder involved sons of Cyngen ap Cadell than there are reasons to agree with Phillimore.  Let's consider the probable ages of any sons of Cyngen ap Cadell in 814.  Since we already estimate him to have lived past age 80 (a rarity in that era), it does not seem reasonable to believe he was born any earlier than 775 and he might well have been born a few years later than that.  Based on societal customs, we should not expect such a man's first child to occur before c. 805, and probably not until after his father's death in 808.[4]  Are we to believe the 814 altercation took place between two toddlers under 10 years old?  Even if we believe a son of Cyngen ap Cadell could have been born as early as 795, could a boy even 19 years old already have 4 sons?  Both assumptions should be rejected as unreasonable (for a Celtic man in that era) and we are left with the conclusion that Griffri and Elise, whoever they were, could not have been sons of Cyngen ap Cadell. 
 
       Accordingly, the Phillimore emendations were poorly founded and should be rejected.  The manuscript as written in the tenth century does not identify any sons for Cyngen ap Cadell; it simply cites three different branches of the Powys family.  The Gruppi of pedigree #30 would be an uncle of the Cadell ap Brochwel of pedigree #27 and the four named sons first-cousins of Cadell.  And the Cyngen ap Brochwel of pedigree #31 would be a brother of Cadell, with his three sons being first-cousins to Cyngen ap Cadell.  Whether Elise ap Cyngen ap Brochwel is also the Elise of the 814 Brut entry is speculative.  He, at least, would have been around 30 years old in 814 and his involvement in a sibling murder would not pose chronological difficulties.  Perhaps he did have a brother named Gruffudd who is unmentioned in the pedigrees, but we can't agree with Phillimore that he might be omitted because he was dead.  All of these men were dead by the time the pedigrees were compiled.  Now had Phillimore argued that the Gruppi of pedigree #30 was the son of Cyngen ap Brochwel, we would be hesitant to call him wrong.  But since his first emendation cannot be supported, we see no reason to accept the other.  There is, after all, nothing to connect the 814 men with this family at all other than the similarity of names. 
 
       Although this lack of any mention of sons of Cyngen ap Cadell does not prove none existed, the unemended pedigrees do identify a second son of Brochwel ap Eliseg through whom the dynasty could have continued in the absence of any such sons.[5]  For more discussion of the continuation of the kingship of Powys after the death or retirement of Cyngen, refer to my paper on "Nest ferch Cadell".
 
NOTES:
[1] Obit in Brut y Tywysogyon; the date is 854 in Annales Cambriae.  It is not known when Cyngen left Powys for Rome, but the Brut does record that the Saxons took Powys under their control in 823.  He might have taken sanctuary in Rome at that time, or simply retired as a religious recluse as he grew too old to be an effective ruler.
[2] Notably P.C. Bartrum when he published the manuscript in his work "Early Welsh Genealogical Tracts", 1966, Cardiff
[3] This wording is from the Thomas Jones translation of the Peniarth Ms 20 version of Brut y Tywysogyon, 1952, Cardiff
[4] A Celtic tribal custom, later codified into law by Hywel Dda, required young noble-born sons at age 14 to be trained and serve in the warband of their King or local Lord.  During that service, they were wholly dependant on that elder for bed and board.  They could not inheirit their share of the family lands until the death or retirement of their father; until then, they lacked the means to support a wife or family.  Life expectancy was about the length of two generations so a typical male was about 30 years old when he started a family of his own. For a complete discussion of this subject, refer to our paper entitled "Generational Gaps and Welsh Laws" elsewhere on this site. 
[5] The senior line of the decendants of Aeddan ap Cyngen ap Brochwel was continued through Selyf ap Brochwel ap Aeddan, ancester of the 15th century Sir Gruffudd Fychan of Garth in Guilsfield.  A junior line descended from Gwaeddan ap Brochwel ap Aeddan produced the 15th century Blayney family of Gregynog.