"MEUTER FAWR", SON OF HEDD AP ALUNOG
By Darrell Wolcott
The earliest extant manuscripts
which mention the children of Hedd cite "Meudy" as the first of three sons and say his children were the men of Llanfair
Talhearn. This territory in Rhufoniog had been granted to Hedd's ancestor, Tudwal Gloff, after being wounded in the
881 battle to avenge the death of Rhodri Mawr.
Later copies of these
pedigrees by 15th and 16th century men have added an "r" to this name, and we find it rendered variously at "Meudyr", "Meuder",
"Meutur", "Mettyr", "Muttur" and even "Neutur". In his modern work, Peter Bartrum standardizes his choice to "Meuter"
and adds the nickname "Fawr". Most of the same genealogists who added an "r" to the end of the name also attached either
"Vwr" or "Vawr" as a descriptive byname.
Nowhere else in the entire
body of early Welsh pedigrees does such a male name occur. Bartrum dates his birth near 1100, but the earliest descendant
which is capable of dating occurs (according to Bartrum) c. 1230. His chart, which simply accepts the late 15th/early
16th century pedigrees as they read, is chronologically impossible and looks like this:
Hedd ab Alunog
1100 Meuter Fawr
1200 Cynwrig Ddweis Herod* Llewelyn 1170
1230 Iorwerth=======Tangwystl 1200
nickname means "to select heraldic arms" and may designate this Cynwrig as one involved in the assignment of coats of arms
to earlier Welshmen
All the dates shown
in this chart are the estimates of Bartrum and even those dates (1) show there are two extra names in the list of Iorwerth's
ancestors, and (2) assume Iorwerth married a lady a generation older than himself. In our own work, which extends the
family down to 1400, we place the birth of Iorwerth c. 1215 and that of his wife Tangwystl at c. 1220. So while we consider
the cited marriage to be correct and between spouses near the same age, we still have too many generations forming the link
from "Meuter Fawr" to Iorwerth.
When we examine
the oldest versions of the name (Meudy), we think it may have been a slightly corrupted rendering of the word "meudwy", with
no ending "r". Thus, a recluse or hermit. We would suggest it was Llewelyn who earned this epithet, and an original
"Llewelyn Meudwy" was recast as two men by the insertion of a superfluous "ap" by copyists. This emendation would delete
one of the extra generations in the pedigree, but a second is required.
There is also no
other male name "Perfarch" to be found in the body of early Welsh pedigrees, and we suspect it too was a nickname. With
standard soft mutations common in Welsh, "per" becomes "ber" and means "short" or "brief". Likewise "farch" becomes
"march", a horse. We suggest that Cowryd was first cited as "Cowryd Perfarch" which epithet denoted he either owned
a horse for a very short time, or perhaps acted like a horse briefly. Thus, when we remove the "ap" between the words,
our revised chart of the ancestry of Iorwerth ap Cynwrig looks like this:
1050 Hedd ap Alunog Llewelyn 1065
1085 Llewelyn Meudwy* Madog 1095
1150 Cowryd Perfarch Dolffyn 1155
1185 Cynwrig Ddewis Herod Llewelyn 1185
1215 Iorwerth==========Tangwystl 1220
addition of Fawr, making him the great recluse, is optional; we elect to omit it
All the above birthdate estimates are ours and are both chronologically stable and follow our timeline for later
generations of the family.
 HLG 10a. These pedigrees, originally compiled c. 1225, were from
manuscripts now lost but copied by various men and later the copies were lost, but not until after later men had made copies
of all or parts of them. Deciphering another's handwriting is not an exact science and parts of the material being copied
was likely faded or torn away; for all these reasons, the extant manuscripts are not identical even apart from the tendency
of each copyist to substitute his own spelling orthography for proper names
 Welsh Genealogies, AD 300-1400 on the chart "Hedd 1" in vol 3
 Pen. 127, 63/64 and Pen. 128, 272a cite this marriage
 The citations in Note 3 make Tangwystl a daughter of "Llewelyn ap Dolffyn
ap Iorwerth ap Llewelyn Aurdorchog" which is about 3 generations deficient. Dwnn ii, 300 cites a "Llewelyn
ap Dolffyn ap Iorwerth ap Madog ap Llewelyn ap Ithel Hen"; we think Ithel Hen was a son of Llewelyn Aurdorchog.