CARADOG of GWYNEDD WITH 3 FATHERS
By Darrell Wolcott
On his chart "Gruffudd
ap Cynan 13" headed by a man named Caradog, Peter Bartrum identifies him as (a) Caradog ap Thomas ap Rhodri ap Owain Gwynedd;
(b) Caradog ap Caswallon ap Cynan ap Owain Gwynedd; and (c) Caradog ap Membyr Ddu ap Gruffudd ap Cynan. He gives
no source for the latter; the only Membyr Ddu in his indexes is found under "Caradog ap Membyr Ddu ap Cadwaladr ap Gruffudd
If we assume he meant
that man as his third Caradog, then he was born c. 1175/80 while the first two Caradogs were born near 1200:
1070 Gruffudd ap Cynan
1100 Owain Gwynedd
1135 Rhodri 1140 Membyr Ddu
1165 Caswallon 1165 Thomas
Caradog's wife is claimed
to be Efa ferch Gwyn ap Gruffudd of Powys. This lady was born c. 1185 and was too old to marry either of the first
2 men named Caradog. Although she fits chronologically with the 3rd Caradog, her husband is cited as Caradog ap Thomas.
We have matched her with a Powys man named Caradog ap Thomas born c. 1170 because that Thomas was also a Powys, not a Gwynedd
man. Thus, no spouse is known for any of the Caradogs in the chart.
Children for Bartrum's
single Caradog are charted as Gruffudd, Einion and Senana; he places them in his Generation 7 = 1230, perhaps because 2 of
his 3 Caradogs were born near 1200. But Senana is the lady who married Gruffudd ap Llewelyn Fawr, he born c. 1195,
and who was the mother of Llewelyn the Last. That Llewelyn ap Gruffudd was certainly born in the early-to-mid 1220's
and must have had a mother born no later than c. 1209/10. The only Caradog in the above chart who could have been her
father was the man born c. 1175.
ap Caradog in Bartrum's chart was born c. 1230 and is cited as Gruffudd ap Caradog ap Thomas...the 2nd Caradog in
our chart. However, the wife matched with Gruffudd was born c. 1215 and actually belongs to Gruffudd ap Caradog ap Thomas
of Powys born c. 1200, as does the son Dafydd. Bartrum calls him "Dafydd of Nonconwy" but he actually resided at Llanrwst on
the Rhos border with Nant Conwy. That manor was received by his mother in exchange for her manor near Denbigh
in Ceinmerch when Henry Gray began building his castle following the 1282 conquest.
The Gruffudd ap Caradog ap Thomas,
spouse unknown, who was born c. 1230 did not have a son named Dafydd, but may have had a son named Rhodri who lived in
England. That Rhodri, born c. 1265, has been confused by historians with Rhodri ap Gruffudd ap Llewelyn Fawr, a
man born no later than c. 1235.
Einion ap Caradog does fit as
a brother of Senana, perhaps born c. 1215, and both appear to have resided in the Llyn/Eifionydd area.
Gruffudd ap Llewelyn Fawr, had held lands in nearby Ardudwy before they married. Our dating of Einion is based on
a petition presented to Prince Edward in 1305. In that petition, the brothers Llewelyn and Gruffudd sons of Owain
ap Llewelyn assert:
a. Their uncle, Tudor
ap Einion ap Caradog, held 3 manors in Llyn and Eifionydd at the time of the conquest, and which were confirmed to him by
King Edward I.
b. Tudor continued in
possession of those manors for one year thereafter, when agents for Queen Eleanor, wife of Edward I, seized them for her own
c. Tudor subsequently died
without issue and his legal heir was his sister, Gwerfyl ferch Einion ap Caradog. By right, his lands should have been
settled upon her.
d. Gwerfyl is (was?) the
mother of the petitioners and they are her only heirs, and are entitled to the lands she should have inherited from her brother
Eleanor had died in 1290 and the lands
in question were, in 1305, in the hands of Prince Edward's father the king. Like many legal claims, this one was still unresolved
in 1328 when the claimants sent another petition to Parliament seeking the same lands.
A chart of all the parties mentioned
in the petitions appears as (all birthdate estimates based solely in the data given below):
1250 Gwerfyl==Owain 1240
Llewelyn(e) 1275 Gruffudd(e)
(a) He was an ally of
Llewelyn ap Gruffudd and witnessed charters for him between 1261 and 1277
(b) We identify him as Llewelyn
ap Dafydd ap Cadwgan ap Genillin ap Meirion Goch of Llyn, but no citations extend beyond Owain ap Llewelyn
(c) His manors in Llyn and Eifionydd
were seized in c. 1284 and he died without issue prior to 1305
(d) Sister and heir of Tudor,
who may or may not have been still living in 1305
(e) Petitioned for Tudor's lands
in 1305 and 1328
It is our conclusion that the
Caradog in this chart was a man closely related to the royal family of Gwynedd, but that he could not be either Caradog
ap Caswallon or Caradog ap Thomas...men born near 1200. He could, however, be Caradog ap Membyr Ddu; if so, perhaps
that man should be dated c. 1180 rather than c. 1175.
Based on the foregoing analysis, Caradog
ap Membyr Ddu ap Cadwaladr was probably the father of Senana and Einion, while Caradog ap Thomas was the father of a Gruffudd,
but not the Gruffudd who had the wife and son shown in Bartrum's chart. No family at all was found which descended from
Caradog ap Caswallon.
Since Membyr Ddu does not appear among the sons of Cadwaladr listed in the 13th century manuscript
Achau Brenhinoedd a Thywysogion Cymru, it is at least possible that was not his birth name but a corrupt spelling
of his nickname or perhaps his position at court. (The king's cup-bearer was called the 'menestr') One good possibility
is that his birth name was Richard, one of the 4 sons Cadwaladr fathered by Alice deClaire. This Richard's
only daughter, Gwenllian, married Einion ap Gwalchmai, chief bard at the court of Llewelyn Fawr. His closeness
to the king's court suggests Richard was himself a career court member and perhaps the king's cup-bearer.