SORTING OUT THE GWAITHFOEDS
By Darrell Wolcott
There is an old tale concerning
a man called Gwaithfoed which is part of the lore of families descended from several men who bore that name, all claiming
it was their Gwaithfoed. The tale is set during the reign of Saxon King Edgar (959-975) and recites:
"Gwaithfoed lived in the
time of King Edgar, who summoned him to Chester to row his barge on the river Dee. Gwaithfoed replied that he could
not row a boat, but if he could he would not unless it were to save someone's life. Edgar sent a second and more peremptory
command, but Gwaithfoed would give the messenger no additional reply. When that messenger begged most humbly for some
word to carry back to his master, Gwaithfoed said to tell the king that he should 'fear him who fears not death'. Struck
with his courage, Edgar came to him and gave him his hand with great kindness, and entreated him to become his friend".
Others claim the incident occurred
when King Edgar sought to force some of his tributary kings to demonstrate their homage and subservience to him by jointly
rowing the king in his barge on the Dee river from his residence in Chester to St John's Church. While of doubtful
historicity, only one of the known Gwaithfoeds was an adult at the time: the father of Gwerystan living in Tegeingl and
perhaps 25 miles or less from Chester.
In his 1963 work, Peter
Bartrum made a start in unravelling the several different men named Gwaithfoed which medieval writers had combined into a
single "Gwaithfoed Fawr". Our work suggests the task is still unfinished. We shall take a further look at each
of 9 men named Gwaethfoed which are found in ancient or medieval texts:
GWAITHFOED OF RHOS:
Wholly unmentioned by
Bartrum, the earliest known Gwaithfoed is known only as a link in the ancestry of Heilig ap Glannog of Rhos.
We date him to c. 885 as the father of Glannog, and son of Gwgan Gleddyfrydd ap Caradog Freich Fras. He was thus ancestor
to Llowarch Hwlbwrch, Iarddur ap Cynddelw, Madog Gloddiath and Nefydd Hardd and probably the ancestor of Maelog Crwm
and Cadwgan of Nannau.
Our construction of this family
appears in the following chart:
Caradog of Rhos, ob 798
785 Hywel, ob 825
820 Caradog Freich Fras
855 Gwgan Gleddyfrydd
980 Gwrydr Goch*
1010 Llowarch Hwlbwrch
*His brother Rychwyn
was the ancestor of Nefydd Hardd, while his brother Pasgen was ancestor to Iarddur ap Cynddelw and Madog Gloddiath and probably
also to Maelog Crwm. We think his younger son was Cadwgan, ancestor of the later Cadwgan of Nannau
GWAITHFOED OF POWYS
Born c. 915 and the second-earliest
of all the Gwaithfoeds, he was the son of Gwynnog Farfsych ap Lles Llyddog and the father of Gwerystan and direct ancestor
of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn. He is also the only known Gwaithfoed who was an adult during the reign of Saxon King Edgar (959-975)
and might have been the subject of the "boat rowing" tale related by medieval writers. Bartrum identified this
man substantially correct as to ancestry and birthdate. We place him at Cwybr in the commote of Rhuddlan in Tegeingl.
This man was also the father of Ednowain, born c. 945, who married Gwerfyl
ferch Llyddocca ap Tudor Trevor. (Dwnn ii, 307)
GWAITHFOED OF TEGEINGL
One of several men of this
name descended from Lles Llyddog of Powys, this Gwaithfoed was the son of Gwrydr Hir ap Caradog ap Lles Llyddog.
Born c. 955, he was the father of Neiniad and grandfather of Ednowain Bendew. We also identify him as a brother of Idnerth
Benfras and believe him to be the father of the Gronwy whose son was called Edwin of Tegeingl. While Bartrum did not
make those connections, he did otherwise identify this Gwaithfoed correctly as to ancestry and birthdate.
This chart shows the relationship and dating of the two North Wales men named
855 Lles Llyddog
885 Gwynnog Farfsych
915 Gwaithfoed of Powys
920 Gwrydr Hir
950 Gwerystan 955
Gwaithfoed of Tegeingl
1020 Ednowain Bendew
GWAITHFOED OF YSTRAD TYWI
Born c. 975, this Gwaithfoed was the
father of Cydrich of Gwynfe in the parish of Llangadog in Cantref Bychan. Bartrum makes no guess as to his ancestry,
but he occurs in the same generation as Gwyn ap Rhydderch, the grandfather of Cadifor Fawr of Ystrad Tywi. Should we
assume he was a brother of that Gwyn, it would explain the intermarriages which occurred between the two families.
A son of Cydrich ap Gwaithfoed married a sister of Iestyn ap Gwrgan of Glamorgan and his descendants are found in Senghenydd,
Alternately, this Gwaithfoed
might have been a son of Cloddien ap Gwrydr Hir cited as the father of Cadifor. If so, that Cadifor was a brother of
Cydrich. Additionally, one must posit that either Gwaithfoed or his father must have married an unknown heiress of Cantref Bychan,
Either of the following ancestries for this Gwaithfoed is possible,
but no ancient citations shed any light on the matter:
900 Elgan of Dyfed
920 Gwrydr Hir
975 Gwaithfoed 980 Gwaithfoed
995 Collwyn 1010
Cydrich sons Cydrich and Cadifor
1030 Cadifor Fawr*
*ABT 18b cites this ancestry for Cadifor Fawr, but no sources
which mention Cydrich ap Gwaithfoed identify the father of that Gwaithfoed
GWAITHFOED I OF GWENT
Bartrum suggests this was also Gwaithfoed
of Ceredigion and father to Aeddan, y Bach and Gwyn...a position which wholly defies chronology. Our work points
to two such men of Gwent, the first born c. 1045 and the father of Sir Gwyn, and the second born c. 1135 and the father of
Aeddan and y Bach. We suggest the later Gwaithfoed was the great-grandson of the first one. We would identify
the earliest Gwaethfoed of Gwent as "ap Gwyn ap Glyddien (Cloddien) ap Gwybedydd ap Gwrydr Hir ap Caradog ap Lles Llyddog"
 and believe he (or an intermediate ancestor) took up residence on the family's paternal lands in south Powys when
other branches of the family remained in Tegeingl. We further suggest that when his lands were overrun by Normans and
incorporated into Salop (Shropshire), this Gwaethfoed moved south looking for a new spot to settle. Entering the north
of Upper Gwent, we think he appealed to its king, Ynyr ap Cadwgan, and was given Merwydd ferch Ynyr  as wife and lands
where White Castle was later built. It is even possible Gwaethfoed came to Gwent as an invader/squatter and avoided
armed conflict with its king by agreeing to marry Ynyr's daughter. We date Ynyr to c. 1030 and Merwydd to c. 1060 and
reject the medieval tale that had Gwaithfoed of Ceredigion making a plundering raid into Gwent and returning home with the
king's daughter as his wife. Our view that the lady married a Gwaithfoed of Gwent seems more reasonable, both as to
geography and chronology. His only known son is called Sir Gwyn, born c. 1075, builder of Gwyn's Castle now known
as White Castle.
About the year 1100, Sir Drew de Baladon
(or Balun) invaded upper Gwent as a retainer of the Marcher Lord Roger fitz William fitz Osbern. Confronted by
both Ynyr and Gwaithfoed, it apppears bloodshed was averted by both Welshmen agreeing to provide their sons as spouses for
de Baladon's daughters. Ynyr Ddu ap Ynyr married Jois de Baladon  while Sir Gwyn ap Gwaithfoed married Emma de Baladon.
GWAITHFOED II OF GWENT:
It was, we believe, the
grandson of Sir Gwyn ap Gwaithfoed who was the second Gwaithfoed of Gwent who was father to Aeddan, y Bach, Gwilym (or Emlyn) and probably Cadwgan (mentioned below under Other Citations); those sons
were born c. 1165/1170. The name of the father of this c. 1135 Gwaethfoed was probably Sir Dryw.
We chart and date the Gwent men as follows:
920 Gwrydr Hir
985 Glyddien or Cloddien
1045 Gwaithfoed I=======Morfydd f. Ynyr
1080 Emma de Baladon=======Sir Gwyn 1075
1105 Dryw or Drew
1135 Gwaithfoed II
1165 Aeddon, Emlyn 1170
1170 Ieuan(b)==Joan f. Hywel
1170 Y Bach
1205 Sir John Gwyn Sir Drwm 1200
1240 Elisabeth(c)=========Sir Drew 1230
Sir Gilbert Wynston(d) 1260
(a) Younger brother of Gwaithfoed of Tegeingl who inherited the family
lands in south Powys
(b) Llyfr Baglan, 88 cites "Joane ferch Hywel Caerleon" married
Ivon ap Sir Drew" while LB, 223 cites the same marriage, calling him "Ieuan ap Gwaethfoed". Since LB 96 and 97
mention a "Drym ap Dryw" but LB 223 mentions a "Dryw ap Drym", we think both constructions appear in the family and are confused
with each other
(c) LB 97 cites "a daughter of Sir John Gwyn ap Emlyn ap Gwaithfoed"
married "Sir Drym ap Sir Dryw", but LB 223 says "Elisabeth ferch Sir John Gwyn" married "Sir Dryw ap Sir Drym". We think
the the first mentioned citation reversed the names to agree with an earlier "Drym ap Dryw"
(d) His marriage to Isabel ferch William de Valence is cited by LB 223; the
latter was the first Earl of Pembroke who died in 1296. Sir Gilbert is called "son of Dryw ap Drym" by "Elisabeth ferch
Sir John Gwyn" in this citation
GWAITHFOED OF MEIRIONYDD
Bartrum identifies this man
as the father of Genillin (Cynillin) and while he indicates this man was not "ap Elffin ap Gwyddno", does not suggest
the correct lineage. He obviously did not descend from the shadowy Gwyddno Garanir whose Cantref Gwaelod was said to
have become submerged; that man (if historic) lived in Ceredigion. We would identify this Gwaithfoed as "ap Eunydd ap
Cadifor ap Peredur Beiswrydd ap Einion ap Eunydd ap Pyll ap Sandde ap Gwyddno" descended from Meirion ap Cunedda, and
date his birth to c. 1100. We also think he is the great-great-great grandson of the Eunydd ap Pyll who married Morfydd
ferch Odwin ap Teithwalch ap Owain of Ceredigion. That Eunydd inherited Castell Odwin in Ceredigion so
that his direct descendants held paternal lands in Meirionydd and maternal lands in Ceredigion.
This Gwaethfoed appears to have left
the Meirionydd lands to his son Cynillin (born c. 1135) and the Ceredigion lands to another son, Cadifor. Probably a
third son, born c. 1130, was Ednyowain who Geraldus Cambrensis called a usurping abbott at Llanbadarn Fawr during his
1188 journey through Wales.
GWAITHFOED OF CEREDIGION
We note that Bartrum derives this
man from the Meirionydd family of Eunydd ap Cadifor ap Peredur Beiswrydd, but identifies him as the father of a Cadifor
whose descendants are found in Ceredigion. He dates him exactly contemporary with the man he calls Gwaithfoed of Meirionydd.
We suggest this second Gwaithfoed was actually a grandson of the first one we mentioned: Gwaithfoed ap Cadifor ap Gwaithfoed
ap Eunydd, born c. 1160. Our charts of this family appear as:
Meirionydd family Ceredigion family
865 Sandde 860
Pyll 890 Teithwalch
935 Eunydd=============Morfydd 950
1000 Peredur Beiswrydd
1100 Gwaithfoed of Meirionydd
1130 Cadifor (Ceredigion)
1160 Gwaithfoed 1165 Iorwerth
of Ceredigion l l
Cadifor 1195 Gruffudd
Ifor 1230 Gruffudd Foel
1255 Gruffudd Foel
Bartrum's charts combine
the 1160 and 1220 men named Ifor ap Cadifor into a single man, and contain a single Gruffudd Foel of Castell Odwin to whom
is appended the families of both men of that name; this although the citations clearly make one Gruffudd Foel the son of Ifor
and the other a son of Gruffudd ap Iorwerth. Our timeline for the subsequent families indicates the two men were
born a generation apart. The fact that both the Gwaithfoed of c. 1100 and the Gwaithfoed of c. 1160 named a son
Cadifor, that both of these men named one son Ifor, and that each Cadifor also had a near descendant named Gruffudd Foel
has apparently confused most genealogists. It is only by applying a strict timeline to this extended family that one
can see that the citations are not corrupt (as Bartrum assumed) but identify multiple family cadets.
The c. 1255 Gruffudd Foel began
a long string of same-named men, repeating names first used by the family of the c. 1230 Gruffudd Foel. Thus we find
a Rhydderch ap Ieuan Lloyd ap Ieuan ap Gruffudd Foel born c. 1330 who has sons Dafydd, Jenkin, Thomas, Philip and Rhys
and a Rhydderch ap Ieuan Lloyd ap Ieuan ap Gruffudd Foel born c. 1360 who had sons Dafydd, Dafydd II, Thomas, Philip, Gruffudd,
Jenkin, Rhys and Ieuan the noted poet.
GWAITHFOED OF BUELLT:
This man was born c. 1090 and father
to Gwallog. Bartrum charts him with the descendants of Llewelyn ap Cadwgan ap Elystan Glodrydd, but gives him no ancestry.
Instead, he is shown as an alternate father of Gwallog whose "other" father is shown as Gwrgeneu Fychan ap Gwrgeneu ap Llewelyn
In fact, Bartrum has combined
two men named Gwallog. There was a Gronwy ap Meilyr ap Gwallog ap Gwrgeneu Fychan ap Gwrgeneu ap Llewelyn ap Idnerth
ap Madog ap Llewelyn ap Cadwgan who was born c. 1315 and had a son called Gronwy Fychan. But there was also a Gronwy
ap Meilyr ap Gwallog ap Gwaithfoed born c. 1190 who had a son called Ieuan Goch. Bartrum would make Ieuan Goch a brother
of Gronwy Fychan although his construction displays a chronological abortion. If we attach the earlier Gwallog
as a son of Gwaithfoed, then such a Gwaithfoed fits chronologically as a son of Llewelyn ap Cadwgan ap Elystan Glodrydd:
990 Elystan Glodrydd
1220 Ieuan Goch
1220 Gwrgeneu Fychan
1250 Ieuan Fychan(c)
1345 Gronwy Fychan
1375 Ieuan Fychan(d)
(a) Pen. 131, 303 and Dwnn
i, 96 cite "Meilyr ap Gwallog ap Gwaithfoed", but neither extend his ancestry further
(b) Pen. 128, 720a & 730b cite
"Meilyr ap Gwallog ap Gwrgeneu Fychan"
(c) Pen. 138, 554 cites this man and a sister as children of Ieuan Goch ap Gronwy ap Meilyr; the sister married
Iorwerth ap Maredudd ap Madog Danwr, a man born c. 1240
(d) Pen, 128, 845a cites this man as the
father of two children, both of whom married spouses born c. 1400/1410
Peniarth Ms. 132, 127 mentions a "Nest
ferch Gruffudd ap Cadwgan ap Gwaithfoed". Her granddaughter, an unnamed daughter of Gronwy Person, married Philip Fychan
ap Philip ap Trahaearn ap Cadwgan ap Tegwared ap Ysbwys ap Idio Wyllt. Idio Wyllt was a son of Nest, sister of Rhys
ap Tewdwr; this would date Philip Fychan to c. 1260 and his wife's grandmother to c. 1230. This would point to a birthdate
of this Gwaithfoed near 1135, so Cadwgan may have been another brother of Aeddan and y Bach of Gwent. (See Gwaithfoed
of Gwent II above) Bartrum charts this "Cadwgan ap Gwaethfoed" on the same page as "Cadifor ap Gwaethfoed of Ceredigion"
but does not attach him to any ancestry. Our dates are shown by this chart:
ap Cadell ap Einion
1045 Nest======Sitrick ap Olaf 1030
1065 Idio Wyllt
1100 Ysbwys(a) Gwaithfoed of Gwent II 1135
1130 Tegwared Cadwgan
1165 Cadwgan Gruffudd
1230 Philip Gronwy Person
1260 Philip Fychan==========dau 1275
(a) This, and most
citations, mention Ysbwys and his brother Mabon as "ap Golwg Goch ap Idio Wyllt". Actually Golwg Goch is a nickname
of Idio meaning "red eyes", and the "ap" is a mistake. Both men, by their chronological placement in pedigrees
of their descendants, were sons of Idio Wyllt.
(b) She married Cadwgan
ap Owain descended from Rhydderch ap Tewdwr; this Cadwgan was born c. 1215. The marriage is cited in Pen. 132, 127,
the source of our entire chart
 A paraphrase of the story recited in Iolo Manuscripts, Llandovery, 1868,
 The barge-rowing event (sans any mention of Gwaithfoed) is told by Florence
of Worcester (who dates it to 973), Matthew of Westminister (who dates it to 974) and William of Malmsbury (who gives no date) and
say it involved 8 sub-kings. The Saxon Chronicle and Henry of Huntingdon report that 6 kings met Edgar at Chester to
agree to a treaty of alliance, but make no mention of rowing the king's barge. There is a notice affixed to a wall in
Chester which says the event occurred in 972, while a painting appears on a stained-glass window of St. John's church in Chester
which depicts men rowing Edgar's barge.
 Archaeologia Cambrensis, 1877, pp 237/239 discusses several valid reasons
why the event probably never happened.
 "Pedigrees of the Welsh Tribal Patriarchs", National Library of Wales Journal,
Vol xiii, pp 126-127
 Pen. 181, 391 and Pen. 134, 86 cite "Llowarch Hwlbwrch ap Gwrydr Goch ap
Heilig ap Glannog ap Gwaithfoed ap Gwgan Gleddyfrydd" and provide the only ancestry given for Heilig which is chronologically
 Mostyn Ms 117,3 inserts a "Gwinnan" between Gwaithfoed and Gwynnog Barbsych,
but also inserts "Gwyn" between Gwerystan and Gwaithfoed. Both must be deleted to chronologically align with other family
branches descended from Lles Llyddog. A number of other citations cite "Gwerystan ap Gwaithfoed" but none correct the
ancestry of this Gwaithfoed as our construction requires
 ABT 1b cites "Gwaithfoed ap Gwrydr ap Caradog ap Lles Llyddog" but incorrectly
attached Gwerystan to him. Per ABT 2d, he was the ancestor of Ednowain Bendew ap Neiniad ap Gwaithfoed ap Gwrydr
 Pen. 140, 347 cites "Cadifor ap Gwaithfoed ap Cloddien ap Gwrydr Hir".
Llyfr Baglan 109 and 122 cite "Cydrich ap Gwaithfoed" but both wrongly call his father "of Cardigan"
 Bartrum's reference is to a Gwaithfoed born c. 1100 and actually the one
from Meirionydd. Aeddon and Y Bach were born c. 1165/1170, while Sir Gwyn was born c. 1075; they could not have had
a common father.
 See Wrexham Ms 1, 81
 Pen. 140, 348/349 and Mostyn Ms 212b, 91/92 cite this marriage, but incorrectly
describe Gwaithfoed as "of Ceredigion". We assign the marriage to the only Gwaithfoed who fits the lady chronologically
 The pedigree of the de Baladon family appears in Bradford's 'History of
Monmouthshire', vol 1, part 1, page 4 where the husband of Joyce is called Ynyr, King of Gwent. In the same work, vol
1, part 2b, page 335, a pedigree of Ynyr Gwent appears in which Ynyr Ddu is incorrectly charted as a brother of Ynyr, and
assigned the wives belonging to both; one a lady born c. 1045 and the other a lady born c. 1080.
 This marriage is cited in the de Baladon family pedigree referenced in the
next above note
 ibid 'History of Monmouthshire, vol 1, part 2a, page 242 cites Dryw as the
son of Sir Gwyn and Emma de Baladon
 Barturm's "A Welsh Classical Dictionary", 1993, p 303
 Pen. 140, 273 and Pen. 131, 306 cite this ancestry for a "Gwaithfoed of
Ceredigion" although the family is derived from Meirion ap Cunedda and lived in Meirionydd
 Pen. 140, 348/349 cites "mam Gwaithfoed: Morfydd ferch Odwin ap Teithwalch
ap Owain" and traces her ancestry to Ceredig ap Cunedda. No citations specifically say who Morfydd married and thus
who was the father of whichever Gwaithfoed is mentioned. We match her with Eunydd ap Pyll based primarily on the
timeline, but also because we think this Gwaethfoed and his immediate ancestors inherited lands in both Meirionydd and Ceredigion
 ibid note 15, p 302
 Dwnn i, 245 says "Ifor ap Cadifor ap Gwaithfoed" married "Lleuci ferch Cadifor
ap Dyfnwal". Cadifor ap Dyfnwal was born c. 1135 and a daughter born c. 1165 fits this Ifor ap Cadifor. Cardiff
Ms 3.11, 18/19 cites "Philip ap Ifor ap Cadifor ap Gawithfoed" married "Angharad ferch Llewelyn, prince of Gwynedd".
This must have been Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, born c. 1165, since Llewelyn ap Gruffudd had no daughters who were permitted to
marry. Angharad would date from c. 1200
 This Ifor ap Cadifor ap Gwaithfoed had a sister named Ales who, according
to Dwnn i, 20 and Dwnn i, 21, married Cadwgan Fawr ap Cadwgan from the Cydwili family descended from Llewelyn ap Gwrgan.
Cadwgan Fawr was born c. 1210 and could not have married a sister of the Ifor ap Cadifor born c. 1160.
 Dwnn i, 38 says "Gruffudd Foel Lord of Castell Odwyn(sic) ap Ifor
ap Cadifor ap Gawithfoed" married "Annest ferch Robert ap Madog", while Pen. 131, 221 extends her ancestry to "Robert ap Madog
ap Trahaearn". 9th from Elystan Glodrydd, Annest would be born c. 1270. Bartrum would emend every source which
cites this marriage to say "Gruffudd Foel of Glyn Aeron(sic) ap Gruffudd ap Iorwerth ap Cadifor ap Gwaithfoed" was meant,
but that man is a generation too old. The marriage belongs to Gruffudd Foel of Glyn Aeron, but he was the son of Ifor
ap Cadifor as given in Dwnn i, 245.
 This is the Gruffudd Foel who was a paternal ancestor of the bard "Ieuan
ap Rhydderch ap Ieuan Lloyd of Glyn Aeron".
 See Dwnn i, 15, 18, 38, 46, 80, 230 & 245
 Pen. 131, 220, 225 & 227 and Pen. 129, 51
 While there were two men named Gwrgeneu Fychan ap Gwrgeneu ap Llewelyn in
this family, one was born c. 1220 and the other c. 1270; neither could have been grandsons of Llewelyn ap Cadwgan. Bartrum
shows 3 missing generations in his construction
 Bartrum's "Welsh Genealogies AD 300-1400" on chart Elystan Glodrydd 20 depicts
Ieuan Goch as born c. 1230 and Gronwy Fychan at c. 1330, then inserts an extra Ieuan Goch as father of two of Gronwy Fychan's