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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 MEN OF LLEYN - HOW THEY GOT THERE
                                          By Darrell Wolcott 
 
           While researching the family descended from Collwyn ap Tangno, we considered how this man obtained large tracts of land far from his paternal home in far northeast Wales.[1]  As early as the 13th century, the sons of Merwydd ap Collwyn were described as "men of Lleyn", the peninsula cantref below Anglesey. Our search for likely answers begins a century earlier.
 
            In a very early pedigree[2], we learn that the share of Gwynedd inheirited by Merfyn ap Rhodri Mawr included the lands of y Rhiw in Lleyn. The same ancient pedigree[3] identifies Meirion Goch (ap Merwydd ap Collwyn) as "of Lleyn", and the author of the 13th century History of Gruffudd ap Cynan also places the sons of Merwydd, including Meirion, in Lleyn.  This led early historians to identify the "traitor" Meirion Goch[4] as a son of Tryffin ap Merfyn ap Rhodri Mawr.  Any such son would have been born c. 910 or well over 150 years before the Meirion Goch of Lleyn was born.  It seems more likely the line of Merfyn became extinct in the male line with the death of he and his son in 904.[5]
 
          Our scenerio of what may have brought a man from northeast Wales to Lleyn as its new lord in the year 904 is based on an event we described in our paper "The Retaking of Northeast Wales".  In a related paper "Pasgen ap 'Urien Rheged' Lord of Gower" (in which we suggest the correct ancestry of Collwyn ap Tangno), we posited that a young lad named Llewelyn emerged from the losing battle against invading Danes in 892, wholly unscathed and was called "an angel with a sharp sword".  This boy, who appears in old pedigrees as Llew Llyminiod Angel, may have been sent for by Anarawd ap Rhodri Mawr, king of Gwynedd.  His lord, Gwgan Gleddyfrydd, probably fell in the same battle where the young lad had distinguished himself as an able soldier, and his father had fled to Gower.  If Tryffin ap Merfyn was yet unmarried when slain with his father, perhaps he had a sister who then became the heiress of Merfyn's lands.  In 904, such a lady might have been about 14 years old and in need of a husband. Born c. 878, Llewelyn Llyminiod Angel had probably served in the warband of Anarawd since leaving his home in 892 and was now about 26 years old; we suggest the young heiress was given to him for his wife.  The great-great grandson of such a marriage, we believe, was Collwyn ap Tangno ap Cadfael ap Lluddoca ap Llewelyn Llyminiod Angel.
 
         This marriage would also explain the "Llewelyn ap Merfyn" whom medieval genealogists claimed had a daughter, Angharad, who married Owain ap Hywel Dda.  Merfyn had no son named Llewelyn[6], but he may well have had a son-in-law albeit by a marriage to his daughter after his own death. And there is nothing but a similarity of names to suggest the Iarddur ap Merfyn who drowned in 955 was related to Merfyn ap Rhodri Mawr[7], so a daughter of Merfyn may have been his only heir.  We suggest the following chart shows how Lleyn came to be the property of the ancestor of Collwyn ap Tangno:
 
                  855  Merfyn ap Rhodri Mawr, ob 904
              ________________l_____
              l                                 l                       
   885  Tryffin, ob 904      890  daughter==Llewelyn Llyminiod Angel
                         ___________________l__________           878
                         l                                              l
            915  Angharad                                    Lluddoca  910
                        =                                              l
       910  Owain ap Hywel Dda                          Cadfael  945
                                                                        l
                                                                  Tangno[8]  975
                                                                        l
                                                                   Collwyn  1010
 
          Although the early manuscripts place Merfyn ap Rhodri Mawr in Lleyn, we think he also held the neighboring cantrefs Eifionydd and Ardudey; the families who descended from Collwyn ap Tangno were large landholders in all three cantrefs.  The "traditional" stories about the holdings of Rhodri Mawr notwithstanding, we think his rule was limited to Gwynedd and his 3 surviving legitimate sons divided his lands as follows:
 
              1.  Anarawd received the lordship of Anglesey and Arfon
              2.  Merfyn received the lordship of Lleyn, Eifionydd and Ardudwy
              3.  What lordship Cadell received is uncertain; he is only known to history as the father of Hywel Dda.  Other than his obit notice, he is wholly absent from the Brut.[9]
 
     Note that while a part of Rhodri Mawr's kingdom of Gwynedd, Arllechwedd, Nant Conwy, Meirionydd, Rhos, Rhufoniog, Tegeingl and Dyffryn Clwyd were not "owned" by him[10] but were the patrimony of other lords descended from Cunedda.  And he had neither lands nor lordship in Powys or any other Welsh kingdom.
 
             Typically, a land division between sons did not simply carve the father's lands into large blocks, but each son received scattered manors throughout those lands.  It was the lordship of Anglesey, for instance, that Anarawd received...not 100% of the land there. The same is true of his brothers in their respective lordships.
 
            Another patriarch of "men of Lleyn", the Trahahaearn Goch of c. 1245 will be discussed in a subsequent paper.
 
NOTES:
[1] This family was descended from the c. 850 Pasgen ap Urien who fled Tegeingl and relocated in Gower, taking two young sons with him.  The eldest son was already 14 years of age and had been sent to serve his father's lord, Gwgan Gleddyfrydd
[2] ABT 7(o) The story that Merfyn was given Powys is a fiction of the 16th century; Powys was then and continued to be ruled by an unrelated royal dynasty.
[3] HLG 4d
[4] Refer to the paper "The Betrayal by Meirion Goch Revisited" elsewhere on this site
[5] The Peniarth Ms 20 and Red Book of Hergest versions of the Brut y Tywysogyon says it was the son of Merfyn who was killed in 904.  The Brenhinedd y Saesson version of the chronicles says Merfyn ap Rhodri was killed.  All three versions say "killed by his own men", but this appears to be a mistranslation of the Latin "gentilibus" from Annales Cambriae; this meant "Gentiles" i.e. Norsemen or Danes, but was translated as "genedl", the Welsh word for "species or kind".  We posit that both Merfyn and his only son, Tryffin, were killed in a battle with sea raiders, the latter being about 20 years old and unmarried.
[6] Pen. 135, 331 of the late 1500's cites Angharad ferch Llewelyn ap Merfyn as the mother of Maredudd ap Owain of Deheubarth, but she is unknown to earlier manuscripts.  No such son of Merfyn is mentioned in the 13th century ABT manuscript, likely because the father of that Angharad was not descended from Rhodri Mawr.
[7]  The 955 Brut notice does not identify Iarddur beyond saying his father's name was Merfyn.  That name was not unique to Merfyn ap Rhodri Mawr.  A Iarddur ap Merfyn ap Rhodri ap Brochwel ap Aeddan of Powys would occur c. 920 and would be a better candidate for the drowning victim than a 65+ year old son of Merfyn ap Rhodri Mawr.
[8] His brother, Tangwel, was father of Marchweithian; the latter man held land in Is Aled, Rhufoniog probably as a grant for services to King Gruffudd ap Llewelyn.
[9] See the paper "The Legendary Kingdom of Seisyllwg" elsewhere on this site for a discussion of Cadell's lands
[10] We suspect, however, that certain forest lands throughout the kingdom of Gwynedd were deemed to be owned by the king for his hunting pleasure.  One such forest in Rhos was granted to Tudwal Gloff, the illegitimate son of Rhodri Mawr.