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Eidio Wyllt - What Was His Birthname?
Ifor Bach, Lord of Senghenydd
Ancestors and Children of the Lord Rhys
                           THE "SONS" OF OWAIN ap CADWGAN ap BLEDDYN
                                              By Darrell Wolcott
          Most readers will know Owain primarily for his reputed role as abductor of the infamous Nest ferch Rhys ap Tewdwr in 1109, taking her and her young children from the castle of her husband Gerald of Windsor.[1]  Before discussing two sons attributed to Owain, we should first place his life firmly on the timeline of history.
            Owain was the eldest son of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn; he is first noted in the Brut in 1106.  The incident where he supposedly abducted Nest ferch Rhys is recorded in 1109 when both Owain and Nest would have been about 25 years old.  In that era, men did not marry that young, especially if their father were still alive.  His father was killed in 1111.  For the four years following 1109, Owain is depicted as an outlaw leading a small band of friends and kinfolks, raiding and looting and burning the manors of Normans in Wales.  He went into hiding when pursued by armies sent by King Henry, only to emerge and continue as before. Such a lifestyle is not exactly compatable with a man having a kidnapped woman and small children in tow, especially one as well-known as Nest.  In 1114, he was pardoned by that king and granted knighthood, but was killed while on a military mission for Henry in 1116.  He could not have been much past the age of 30; we would assign his birthdate to c. 1085.  There is no record that Owain ever married. But did he have one or more sons, by Nest or other ladies? The noted Welsh genealogist Peter Bartrum makes Owain the father of Llewelyn and Einion, both by very thin authority.
          Unmentioned by any historians, this man occurs brieflly in the Welsh annals and chronicles under the year 1128 and possibly in 1129.  His identification as a son of Owain ap Cadwgan ap Bleddyn of Powys and Ceredigion is problematical and almost certainly incorrect.
          The earliest manuscript to mention him is the Rolls version of Annales Cambriae [2], a Latin document thought to have been written about 1286.  Here, we find this entry:

           "1128 - Lewelin filius Owini captus est a Maredut, traditusque Johannis filio scilicet Pain"
           This is usually translated "Llewelyn ap Owain was seized by Maredudd, who handed him over to Payne fitz John".  The latter was the Norman sheriff of Shropshire and Herefordshire.  Without placing the report into any surrounding context,  neither man can be identified with any degree of confidence.
            A bit later, about 1288, another version of Annales Cambriae[3] contains a parallel entry:
            "1128 - Lewelin filius Owein ab avunculo suo Mareduc capitur"
            Most have read this to say "Llewelyn ap Owain was seized by Maredudd, his mother's brother".  We do not know if the author of this manuscript had access to sources beyond those available to the scribe who penned the earlier version, or if he simply assumed the cited Maredudd was a man he knew who had a sister married to a man named Owain. 
            The incident appears in the Peniarth Ms 20 version of the Brut y Tywysogyon, written in Welsh in the 14th century, as:
           "1125 rect 1128 - And Llewelyn ab Owain was seized by Maredudd his uncle, his father's brother, and placed in the hands of Payn fitz John; and the latter sent him to the castle of Bridgenorth to be interned".
            We don't have a copy of the Welsh text, but editor Thomas Jones gave the above translation when he published the Brut in 1952. Note that while Maredudd is again identified as the uncle of Llewelyn, here he becomes the brother of Llewelyn's father, not his mother.  The last phrase concerning what Payne did with the prisoner is absent from all earlier reports.
            The other 14th century version of the Brut, the so-called Red Book of Hergest version, cites:
            "1125 rect 1128 - Ac yna y delit Llywelyn ap Ywein y gan Varedud ap Bledyn, y ewythyr, vrawt y hendat.  A hwnnw a'c rodes yn llaw Baen ap Jeuan, y gwr a'e hanuones ygharchar hyt yghastell Brwch".
             In his 1955 work, editor Thomas Jones translates this as "And then Llywelyn ab Owain was seized by Maredudd ap Bleddyn, his uncle, brother to his grandfather.  And he placed him in the hands of Payn fitz John, the man who sent him to prison in the castle of Bridgenorth".
             We see here another evolution of the identification of Maredudd.  He now becomes the great uncle of Llewelyn, the brother of his grandfather.  By identifying Maredudd as the man who was king of Powys, the author of this chronicle apparently knew that Maredudd ap Bleddyn did not have a brother named Owain but did have a brother who named a son Owain.  While not mentioned in the report, it is from this report that Bartrum and others claim the man seized was Llewelyn ap Owain ap Cadwgan ap Bleddyn; no other sons of Bleddyn named a son Owain.  Thus, we have a "correction" to the earlier scribe who had changed Maredudd from a maternal to a paternal uncle.  Now Maredudd is two generations older than Llewelyn.  Clearly, the revisions here were for the sole purpose to make the citation "fit" a particular family.
            The final version of the chronicles called Brehinedd y Saesson, a Welsh manuscript of c. 1461, says:
            "1125 rect 1128 - Ac y delhis Llywelyn ap Owein Moredud a'y rodi yn llaw Payn vab Jhon y gadw yn gastell Brugge"
             Editor Thomas Jones, in 1971, translates this as: "And Llywelyn ap Owain seized Maredudd and placed him in the hands of Payn fitz John to be kept in the castle at Bridgenorth".
             Now we have reverted back to the terse report from the earliest sources; this version knows nothing of the identity of Maredudd nor any relationship with Llewelyn, but reverses the roles of the men. 
             We were first sceptical of the identification of this Llewelyn as a son of Owain ap Cadwgan for several reasons.  If he were also a son of Nest ferch Rhys as Bartrum claims, he could not reasonably be older than 18 in the year 1128.  And if Nest were his mother, how did such a child of hers escape the attention of historians?  Even if Owain ap Cadwgan had fathered this Llewelyn by an unknown consort, it seems unlikely he ever knew Owain; such a child would surely have been raised by his mother during Owain's outlaw years, and still a child when Owain was killed in 1116.  He could not have been old enough in 1128 to make a claim for part of Owain's lordships, so why should Powys king Maredudd ap Bleddyn seize and imprison him?
          It is when we read the accounts found in the annals and chronicles for the 3 to 4 year period immediately following 1028 that a different identify for Llewelyn seems indicated.  From 1029 to 1032, we are told of an internecine war between the grandsons of Trahaearn ap Caradog, probably over lands in Arwystli.  This former interim king of Powys and Gwynedd was killed in 1081, leaving 4 sons.  It appears Owain ap Trahaearn was the eldest and received the lordship of Arwystli.  Llywarch ap Trahaearn became lord of Cydewain, but it isn't known what shares the younger brothers, Meurig and Gruffudd, received.  But their obits are recorded in 1106, slain by Owain ap Cadwgan for unknown reasons.
          No obit is recorded for Owain ap Trahaearn, but he was born c. 1065 and would have been past age 60 in 1128.  Llywarch ap Trahaearn was a bit younger and known to have been a loyal ally of King Henry I.  We suggest the survivor of these brothers died in 1128 and the next generation of first-cousins began to battle each other for the family lands. It isn't known whether the sons of Owain invaded Llywarch's lands or if the sons of Llywarch sought to take Owain's lands.
        As we read the events cited for the years 1128 to 1132, you will notice how the names coincide with the family of Trahaearn ap Caradog:
                                   1035  Trahaearn, ob 1081
           l                        l                          l                         l
     Gruffudd    1065   Owain          1070 Llywarch            Meurig
           l                        l                          l                         l
      2 sons                    l                          l                       son
                                   l                          l
        _______________l_______              l
       l               l             l           l             l
  Llewelyn     Ieuaf    Iorwerth  Meurig       l
                                                   l               l                  l
                                            Maredudd     Madog       Iorwerth
       The earliest of the 1128 reports names a Llewelyn ap Owain and a Maredudd, one of which seized the other.  In 1129, we find:
        1.  Maredudd ap Llywarch killed the son of Meurig, his first cousin, and blinded the sons of Gruffudd, his other two first cousins
        2.  Ieuaf ap Owain slew Maredudd ap Llywarch
        The bloodshed continued in 1130 as:
        1.  Llewelyn ap Owain killed Iorwerth ap Llywarch
        2.  Llewelyn ap Owain was blinded by Maredudd ap Bleddyn
        3.  Ieuaf ap Owain was killed by his first cousins, the sons of Llywarch
        4.  Madog ap Llywarch was killed by Meurig, his first cousin
        The two final reports are:
        1131 - Meurig was blinded
        1132 - Iorwerth ap Owain was slain.
         Of the 10 grandsons of Trahaearn ap Caradog depicted in our chart, every one had either been killed or blinded by 1132. Although still a toddler in 1132, Hywel ap Ieuaf ap Owain had emerged as Lord of Arwystli before 1162.  And Robert ap Llywarch, a man not mentioned in the family wars (perhaps because he was yet in his early teens), appears to have become Lord of Cydewain.  Why modern historians think a son of Owain ap Cadwgan became embroiled in the wars between the grandsons of Trahaearn ap Caradog is something I shall leave for them to explain.  Only by serial "emendations" to the record over the passing of time do we arrive at wording which says that the 1128 Llewelyn ap Owain was a great-nephew of Maredudd ap Bleddyn.  
         Should we instead identify him as Llewelyn ap Owain ap Trahaearn, the 1128 Maredudd who seized him could have been a brother of his mother since there is no record of who that Owain married.  But we find it much more likely the men were first-cousins and it signaled the opening blow in the coming family war.  Thus, we would identify Maredudd as a son of Llywarch ap Trahaearn.
                     This brings us to Einion, the other claimed son of Owain ap Cadwgan.  He is unknown to the Brut chroniclers and the early genealogists, first appearing in pedigrees written near the year 1600. A single family line is mentioned whose residences and marriage connections place it in Brecknock/Glamorgan....far from either Powys or Ceredigion where Owain ap Cadwgan and his father held lands.  And in only two of these late pedigrees are there sufficient generations listed to make them chronologically stable.  One of those calls the son of Owain ap Cadwgan "Einion" while the other calls him "Ieuan".
                Llyfr Baglan, 127                  Harleian Ms 5835, 21/22
                    Cynfyn                                    Cynfyn
                    Bleddyn                                   Bleddyn
                    Cadwgan                                 Cadwgan
                    Owain                                     Owain
                    Einion                                      Ieuan
                    Gronwy*                                  Gwrgeneu
                    Gwrgeneu*                               Gwrgeneu Fychan
                    Gwrgeneu Fychan                      Llywarch**
                    Gronwy                                    Gronwy**
                    Gronwy Fychan                         Gronwy Fychan
                    Rhun                                           ends
           *The text is not clear as to whether these are two separate generations or are cited as a single man.  It first says one son of Einion was "Gronowe" then digresses with other data.  Later, it continues "Gwrgey aforesaid was father to Gwrgenay Fychan" but there was no previously-mentioned "Gwrgey", only "Gronowe"
             **According to LB 127, Llywarch and Gronwy were brothers, with Llywarch not the father of any later-cited men.  Four other citations, all of which contain too few generations, make Rhun a son of Gronwy ap Llywarch...but none of those mention a son of Owain ap Cadwgan named either Einion or Ieuan.  Three of them say "Rhun ap Gronwy ap Llywarch ap Gwrgan ap Gwrgeneu Fychan ap Owain ap Cadwgan", a construction which is 2 generations deficient.[4]

          The fullest manuscript which speaks of a son of Owain ap Cadwgan living in Glamorgan is the early 17th century Llyfr Baglan[5].  An analysis of that manuscript is not reassuring of its accuracy.  It begins by saying that "This Sir Owain had many sonnes...".  Having been killed when barely 30 years old, he surely had few, if any, sons.  It next says "...Einion his 2 sone, being in service with Robert Consul, Earle of Gloucester and lord of Glamorgan, base sone to kinge Henrie the first..."  No other source confirms this assignment, but it would account for a son of Owain being found in that part of Wales far from his father's lands.  This source continues "in recompence of his service, the Earle his maister bestowed upon hime Maud, one of the daughters and heirs of Sir Ralf Mailor, knight, lord of Kibwrne...".  Another source tells us that a Maud daughter of Sir Ralph Maelog, Lord of Cibwr in Senghenydd, married Ieuan ap Owain ap Cadwgan.  In choosing which name to favor for this son of Owain, Einion or Ieuan, we find other problems with the Llyfr Baglan citation which detract from its authority.  It next claims that Einion ap Owain "had issu two sones Gronowe and Wheverig".  While "Gronowe" may be a corrupt rendition of "Gwrgeneu", the man called "Wheverig" is elsewhere called
"Hwefrig ap Ynon" and "Wheverig ap Ieuan" and "Cynwrig ap Cynon", the latter said to be a son of Llewelyn ap Rhiryd ap Bleddyn.  Even the charts of Peter Bartrum question whether this man was descended from Owain ap Cadwgan.  But a final flaw in this citation identifies a second daughter of Sir Ralph Maelog as the lady who married "Sir Gyon le Grant, mother to Sir Gwrgye le Graunt".  While other sources say it was Sir Gwrgi Grant who married a daughter of a Sir Ralph Maelog, that lady was born c. 1225, over 100 years after Maud.  Her father was a wholly different same-named man.  Based on all the doubts found in the Llyfr Baglan account, we suggest the man it calls Einion ap Owain was actually Ieuan ap Owain as found in alternate sources.
         We further suggest the Llyfr Baglan story was little more than someone's attempt to justify identifying this Glamorgan family as one descended from Owain ap Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, a man never associated with that part of Wales.  It would have struck us as much more credible to suggest it descended from Owain, a grandson of Cadwgan ap Elystan Glodrydd.  The favored male names Gwrgeneu and Gwrgeneu Fychan occur often in descendants of that Cadwgan[6].
         It should be noted that the man called Rhun ap Gronwy Fychan ap Gronwy ap Llywarch is often cited as the ancestor of Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.  Was the ancestry extended to the kings of Powys to lend some "royalty" to his pedigree? 

[1]  Also see "Owain ap Cadwgan and Nest ferch Rhys - An Historical Fiction?" at the link below:
[2]  "Annales Cambriae", edited by Rev. John Williams ab Ithel, London, 1860
[3]  Cotton Ms Domitian A. 1  (The "C" version of Annales Cambriae)
[4]  Refer to pedigrees #54 and #55 in Peter Bartrum's "Pedigrees of the Welsh Tribal Patriarchs" in NLW Journal, vol xiii, no. 2 (1963)
[5]  LB 127
[6]  At least three sets of "Gwrgeneu Fychan ap Gwrgeneu" are found in families descended from Llewelyn ap Cadwgan of Buillt