EIDIO WYLLT - WHAT WAS HIS BIRTHNAME?
By Darrell Wolcott
Also called "Idio Wyllt" by
some sources, this Irishman is said to have come to Brycheiniog about 1090 to assist Rhys ap Tewdwr in his attempts to expel
the Norman, Bernard Newmarch. For his services, he was granted the manor of Llywel in Brecknock's Cantref Mawr.
Citations make him the son of Sitric ap Anlaf (Olaf) ap Sitric Silkbeard of Dublin, Ireland. Thus Eidio's father
was a brother of Rhanillt, the lady who married the refugee from Gwynedd, Cynan ap Idwal, and was mother to the first Gruffudd
ap Cynan. Eidio's mother was Nest ferch Tewdwr ap Cadell, so Rhys ap Tewdwr was his uncle. Although Brecknock
was ultimately lost to Newmarch in 1093, Eidio and his descendants continued to hold Llywel for several generations.
Other branches of his family later settled in neighboring Ystrad Tywy at Perfedd, Cantref Bychan and in Caeo, Cantref Mawr.
Charts of his maternal
family suggest he was born c. 1065 and came to assist his uncle as a man in his mid-20's:
820 Rhodri Mawr
880 Hywel Dda
Rhys 1045 Nest====Sitric
1065 Eidio Wyllt
Eidio married a Brecknock lady,
Elen ferch Drymboenig ap Maenyrch ap Dryffin; her father was a younger brother of Bleddyn ap Maenyrch, king of Brycheiniog
until he was killed by Newmarch in 1093 (along with his ally, Rhys ap Tewdwr). Elen was born c. 1080, so her marriage
to Eidio would have been after Newmarch's final conquest. This suggests that both the brother of Bleddyn and the
nephew of Rhys were able to remain alive and keep possession of at least some of their lands by acknowledging Newmarch as
their new Lord.
Our query as to the birthname
of Eidio arises when we begin to place his sons and their descendants on their likely timeline. We find one branch of
his family headed by Mabon ap Golwg Goch, another headed by Ysbwys ap Golwg Goch and a third branch headed by Madog
ap Golwg Goch. In each case, Golwg Goch is cited as a son of Eidio Wyllt. However, Mabon, Ysbwys and Madog
could not chronologically be grandsons of Eidio. The marriages cited in the families descended from Mabon and Ysbwys
date the birth of those men as c. 1095/1100, about where we should expect to find sons of Eidio. Even more curious is
that the same analysis would date Madog to c. 1065....and these are precisely how Peter Bartrum dated the three men,
all of which he nevertheless charted as grandsons of Eidio Wyllt.
Our initial suggestion
is that Golwg Goch was not a son of Eidio at all, but merely another nickname given him as in "Eidio Wyllt y Golwg Goch".
"Wyllt" itself is a descriptive nickname meaning "wild". Golwg Goch simply means "red eyes". While this solution
would chronologically allow Mabon and Ysbwys to occur as sons of Eidio, the third man, Madog, appears to have been born about
the same year as Eidio and could not be a son of his. We posit that his citations should read "Madog y Golwg Goch" and
not "Madog ap Golwg Goch". Accordingly, we think the birthname of Eidio Wyllt was not Eidio at all, but was Madog.
While most citations for Caradog ap Madog continue with "ap Eidio Wyllt", one simply ends with "Caradog ap Golwg Goch"
suggesting that Madog and Golwg Goch were the same person.
There are no other
occurrances of a male name "Eidio" in either Irish or Welsh genealogies, and we believe the man born as Madog was usually
known as "the wild steer". The bovine raised for its meat, rather than its milk, was called "eidion" by the Welsh, a
word now applied to beef. Like the image of a cattle stampede of the Old West, we suggest this young warrior was dubbed
"the wild steer" in his youth, but later in life was often referred to as "with red eyes", perhaps because he was a hard drinker
One additional early "generation"
is inserted into some pedigrees of this family. A "Bywal" sometimes is cited as a son of Eidio and father to Golwg
Goch. We think it reasonably certain this was not a person at all, merely a corrupt rendition of Llywel. An early
citation likely mentioned a "Mabon ap Golwg Goch o Llywel" which was copied as "Mabon ap Golwg Goch ap Bywal".
With this proposed
solution, the men in the charts will adhere to a common timeline:
1065 Madog eidio wyllt y golwg goch o Llywel
1100 Ysbwys 1095 Caradog
1130 Gwrgeneu 1130 Tegwared
1160 Gruffudd 1160 Cadwgan
1195 Cadwgan Hen 1195 Owain
Probably the best-known
branch of this family was that residing at Rhydoden in Caeo, Ystrad Tywy. An heiress descended from Cadifor ap Selyf
appears to have carried that manor to Trahaearn ap Hoedliw, by her marriage to him c. 1225.