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Parents and Children of the Lord Rhys

                                 GLAST AND THE GLASTENING
                                         By Darrell Wolcott
 
         Two early manuscripts[1] cite a Glas ap Elno ap Dogfael ap Cunedda as ancestor to brothers Cynwrig and Meurig ap Elaeth ap Elud ap Glas.  Most would identify this "Glas" with the "Glast" cited centuries earlier[2] as the father of Morfael and ancestor of Idnerth ap Morien of the 9th century.  A final early source[3] says this Idnerth had a brother named Ednyfed.
 
          Based wholly on generational gaps found to exist in other Welsh families of the era[4], the entire known family descended from Dogfael ap Cunedda can be charted and dated as:
 
                                      385  Cunedda
                                                  l
                                      420  Dogfael
                                                  l
                                        455  Elno
                                                  l
                                        485  Glast
                          _____________l___________
                          l                                           l
                520  Elud                                  Morfael* 515
                          l                                           l
              550  Elaeth                                   Morien  550
             _______l_______                              l
             l                         l                             l
  580  Meurig             Cynwrig  585             Botan  580
                                                                     l
                                                                Morgan  610
                                                                     l
                                                                Morydd  645
                                                                     l
                                                               Morfynydd  675
                                                                     l
                                                              Merwydd  705
                                                                     l
                                                               Cadifor  740
                                                                     l
                                                               Cadgwr  770
                                                                    l
                                                               Morien  800
                                                    _________l________
                                                    l                              l
                                        830  Idnerth                   Edynfed  835
 
     * Although this line descended from Glast is included in Bartrum's A Classical Welsh Dictionary", it is wholly missing from his charts in Welsh Genealogies AD 300-1400
 
          While the 5th century family probably resided in Dogfeiling, a commote in Dyffryn Clwyd, no credible ancient sources tell us anything at all about the subsequent men.  Much of what is conjectured about Glast and his family can be traced to this phrase which follows his name in the extant copy of Harleian Ms 3859:
 
            "Glast unu st Glastenic qui vener q vocat loyt coyt"[5]
 
          Before discussing the various ways in which that Latin phrase has been translated, we should point out that it is probably a copyist's gloss added to the manuscript long after its original composition.  The spelling of the placename "llwyd coed" has been rendered in it's phonetic form "loo-it coe-it" (meaning no more than "grey woods") and we suspect the copyist was unfamiliar with the Welsh language.  Whether the legendary tales which associate Glast with Llwyd Coed were the source of the gloss, or the tales were fashioned by those trying to explain the gloss, is not known.  Perhaps the "standard" translation is this:
 
           "Glast, one of those who came to Glastening from the place called Loyt Coyt"
 
            Those accepting that translation next identified "Glastening" as Glastonbury and Loyt Coyt as the "Cair luit coyt" found in the Ninnius list of 28 Cities of Britain.  Two tales are mentioned in the oral history of Glastonbury.  In the first, Glast has left his patrimony of Dogfeiling and migrated south.  Along the way, he begins following a pregnant sow which leads him to an apple tree near an old church.  There the sow gives birth and begins to suckle her piglets.  Taking this as a sign, Glast establishes his residence at that spot and the place was later named Glastonbury after him.  A second tale claims that during the Saxon wars, Glast was a warrior defending a place called "Loyt Coyt" when Arthur came to his assistance. After dispatching the Saxon raiders, they moved on toward Bath where Arthur expected to find the main Saxon army enroute to Glastonbury. Unsure of the outcome of that anticipated battle, Arthur told Glast to take his men and go to the protection of the "home of his ancestors" whereupon Glast went to Glastonbury.
 
          The first tale is clearly a legend devised to support one of the several theories concerning how Glastonbury got its name.  It probably should be rejected outright since earlier tales trace the church there back to the first century, suggesting the Glastonbury area was well established long before the era of Glast.  Nothing beyond a similiarity of names indicates that Glast ever was connected with Glastonbury.
 
          The Arthurian tale provides a scenerio whereby Glast might have "gone to Glastonbury from the place called loyt coyt".  But unless he actually had resided at Llwyd Coed and moved to Glastonbury from there, the Latin phrase attached to his pedigree (at least as translated above) would tell us little worth knowing about Glast.  His ancestors were from Dogfeiling, not Glastonbury; if "loyt coyt" was located elsewhere, it would have been more helpful if the pedigree mentioned him going from Dogfeiling to loyt coyt rather than going somewhere from that place.   Perhaps those who place the family in Glastonbury can explain why a Somerset family was included in the Welsh pedigrees of the 10th century.
 
          In fact, no one knows where "loyt coyt" is located.  Henry of Huntingdon thought that name in the Ninnius list of cities could be identified with Lincoln, a guess that held academic favor until the late 19th century.  Then H. Bradley guessed loyt coyt was "Letocetum", a city in Staffordshire now called Lichfield[6].  This remains the prevailing thought of academia today.  In order to locate a Welsh family from Dogfeiling that far east, the old Glast tales took on added baggage.
 
       Finding a son of Glast called Elud in the pedigrees, some[7] said he was identical to the Eliudd who was king of Powys after the death of Selyf ap Cynan in 616.  Ignoring the fact that Elud ap Glast lived 100 years earlier than Eliudd ap Cynan of Powys, the tale claimed that he was a king of Dogfeiling who conquered the Powys territory called Pengwern and that the eastern part of Pengwern extended into Staffordshire.  Thus, according to this tale, Elud and Morfael were brothers of Cynddylan ap Cyndrwyn, the man of Llys Pengwern celebrated in Canu Heledd and other heroic poetry.  Accordingly, the legend reasons, their father was only nicknamed "Glast" and his birth name must have been Cyndrwyn.  And sure enough, the earliest list of "Plant (children of) Cyndrwyn"[8] includes the heroine of the poetry, Heledd, her sister Ffeuer, a son called Morfael and another called Eluan Powys...close enough to Elud for the fabricators of the tale.  Strangely missing from the list is Cynddylan himself.  So by standing time on its head, we are told that a man (Glast) was living in the days of King Arthur at a place in Staffordshire which his son (Elud ap Glast) took from its Powys rulers about 616.
 
          Ths tale is probably referred to in the heroic poem "Marwnad Cynddylan" (A Lament for Cynddylan).  In it, the people of Dogfeiling are called oppressors of (or oppressed by) the Cadelling (Powys) and Morfael is described as having taken much loot and killed the chief bishop and many others at "Caer Lwytgoed".  But the first bishop of Lichfield was named in 669[9], some years after the Saxons had overrun Llys Pengwern and killed Cynddylan and all his siblings except Heledd.  So while one tale has Glast defending Loyt Coyt in the days before the Battle of Badon, another has his son attacking it 150 years later.  The author of Marwnad Cynddylan apparently knew that Morfael ap Glas was a man of Dogfeiling and that he was cited as an apparent "brother" of Cynddylan, but then wholly ignored chronology to place Cynddylan in Dogfeiling.
 
          When we put Glast, Morfael and Elud in their correct chronological setting of the mid-6th century, it becomes clear that whatever Llwyd Coed those men may have lived or fought at, it wasn't Lichfield in Staffordshire.  Nor did either conquer the Powys territory of Pengwern, which was not the name of a kingdom at all...it was merely the name of Cynddylan's manor.  Glast was contemporary with King Arthur, but no ancient sources confirm they ever fought together.
 
         Returning now to the Latin gloss from Harleian Ms 3859, others would make it read:
 
         "Glast, whence are derived the Glastening from the place called Llwyd Coed"[10]
 
         In this translation, Glastening is not Glastonbury and isn't even a place name.  It simply calls Glast's descendants "Glastening" much as descendants of Coel Hen were called "Coeling" and descendants of Cadell were called "Cadelling".  And the Latin "vocat" doesn't carry the meaning of "called" as in "named", but "called" as in "summoned" or "invited".  Also, the translation ignores the word "vener" altogether; it means "respected" or "revered" as in its English version "venerate".  Perhaps then, the "gray woods" where the Glastening lived was once a holy place of the Druids.  It is only early conjecture that makes it identical to the Roman city of " Caer Luit coyt" from Nennius. (irrespective of the name by which that city is called today)
 
            Even Peter Bartrum carelessly calls Glast "the eponym of Glastonbury"[11].  His estimate of the birth of Glast is 470 which isn't far from our guess, but placing him in Glastonbury is wholly without ancient authority.  Bartrum's rendition of the Latin phrase is a bit different than the others we have mentioned; he would emend it to add words of his own choosing:
 
        "Whence are the Glastening who came through the town which is called Loytcoyt" 
 
        This meaning is derived by his insertion of "per villam" into the Latin text, although he doesn't explain why it would have been relevant to describe men as "those who merely passed through" any place.  Like others, however, he omits whatever may have been meant by "vener" from his translation. It appears Bartrum was following the lead of William of Malmesbury, who mangled the phrase into:
 
           "This is that Glasteing, who came through the midland Angles, otherwise the town which is called Escebtiorne"
 
           While William of Malmesbury didn't claim to have been translating Harleian 3859 when making this statement, he offered no other source for it.  Again, any statement that men traveled through some place or other for no stated purpose tells us little worth knowing about the men.  Surely the copyist who added the gloss was trying to say something which would help identify him.
 
           Whether or not Glast was actually christened as "Cyndrwyn", the old pedigree called Plant Cyndrwyn includes a son named Morfael and several other children never mentioned in Canu Heledd as brothers and sisters of Cynddylan.  At the same time, the "Eluan Powys" in the list is called a brother of Heledd and Cynddylan (as Elfan) and should not be confused with Elud son of Glast.  Perhaps the list is the combined children of two different men named Cyndrwyn, one of Dogfeiling and one of Powys.  A total of 21 children are listed, and we have found that in other cases where over 20 offspring have been cited[12], they aren't siblings at all but children of multiple same-named men. 
 
          When we lay aside all the medieval tales which either led to, or followed after, the Latin phrase in the old pedigree, we really know nothing at all about the men descended from Dogfael ap Cunedda beyond the names we charted above.  On no more authority than we have seen to date, it is purely conjucture to place the family either in Glastonbury or Lichfield.  If yesterday's wild guesses equal tomorrow's facts, we will guess that the family's manor in Dogfeiling was known as "the gray woods".
           
                                

NOTES:
[1] ABT 27 and Jesus Coll Ms 20, 50
[2] Harleian Ms 3859, 25; while this citation ends with Glast, he must have been born near the year 500 else the latest man in his pedigree would occur too late for inclusion in the manuscript.  William of Malmesbury calls Glast the great-grandson of Cunedda, the same relationship cited for Glas in his pedigrees
[3] ABT 19
[4] No marriages are cited for anyone of this family later than Cunedda, and no historical events can be associated with them to assist in dating.  We have used 3 generations = 95 years, a formula found to work in virtually every early Welsh family
[5] Many modern writers have followed the emendations suggested by Egerton Phillimore in Y Cymmrodor, vol ix, pp 180 where he extended the Latin text to read "unum sunt glastenic qui uenerunt que uocatur loyt coyt"
[6] Henry Bradley, a noted philologist,  in the magazine "Academy", vol 30, Oct 1886
[8] Bonedd yr Arwyr, 1
[9] The earliest Christian church at Lichfield was established by St. Chad in 669
[10] This preferred translation is arrived at by using Phillimore's suggestion that "unu st" might be "unde est" meaning "whence are"
[11] Peter Bartrum "A Welsh Classical Dictionary", 1993, pp. 284
[12] Examples include Brychan, Caw, and Llywarch Hen