#17 - CARADOG FREICHFRAS
Bartrum offers 8 different pedigrees
for men of this name:
(1) "Caradoc vreichvras ap Llyr
merini ap Einion yrth ap Cunedda Wledic"
(2) "Kariadoc freichfras ap Llyr meirini
ap Meirchiawn gul ap Grwst ledlwm ap Kenau ap Koel godeboc"
(3) "Kariadoc freichfras iarll Henffordd
ap Llyr merini ap y Keilioc myngrudd or gogledd (ap Marinwy) ap Ethrys ap Eidion darianlas ap Kenau ap Koel godeboc"
(4) "Kradoc vraichvras ap Llyr merini
ap Merinwch brennin y gogledd a iarll Kaer Ffawydd ac oi enw ef y gyrrwyd erni Kaer Gradoc, a heddiw y gelwir hi Henffordd"
(5) "Kariadoc vreichvras ap Llyr meirini ap Einion
yrth ap Kunedda wledic; medd rrai Kariadoc vreichvras yw hwnn ap Llyr meirinwch ap y Keilioc myngrudd orr gogledd, a sikr
yw bod dau Gariadoc vreichfras ac am hynny barner."
(6) "Karadoc freichfras iarll Henffordd
ap Llyr meirini ap Einion yrth ap Kunedda wledic. Yr ail Karadoc freichfras oedd yn myned ir Keilioc myngrudd or gogledd
yr hwnn oedd dwyn y llew haneroc"
(7) "Kariadoc freichfras iarll Henffordd
ap y Kelioc myngrudd or gogledd ap Eidol darianlas ap Kenau ap Koel godeboc....Eraill a ddwaid yn y modd hwnn: Kariadoc freichfras
ap Llyr mereni ap Einion yrth ap Cunedda wledic...Edrych pa vu orav."
(8) "Caradoc vreichfras ab Llyr (ap) Meirini
ab Echrys ab Iddon darianlas ab Meirchion ap Gorwst ab Kenau ab Koel godeboc."
In his notes to these pedigrees,
"It is clear that in the sixteenth
century Caradog Freichfras was associated with Radnor and Hereford. This tradition may be ancient, for in the Life of
St Padern he is mentioned in connection with that saint, who had foundations in Maelienydd and Elfael. (The introduction of
Brittany into that part of the Life is certainly an error). On the other hand none of the saints who were supposed to
be his descendants, namely Cadfarch, Maethlu, Tangwn and Dyfnog are associated with region. For more on Caradog Freichfras
see TPY pp. 299-300.
"Generally speaking the
North Wales genealogies traced Caradog Freich Fras to Cunedda Wledig, while those of Powys and South Wales traced hom to Coel
Godebog. There are exceptions in the later manuscripts which trace Maenyrch to Caradog Freichfras and then to Cunedda.
None of the versions deserve much credence. The alternative versions caused some perplexity and some concluded that there
were two persons of the name. This is reflected in the fact that the supposed arms of Caradog Freichfras appear in two
entirely different versions, one for South Wales and one for North Wales. Pedigree #8 is an attempt to combine pedigrees
#2 and #3.
"The wife of Caradog Freichfras
is given as "Tec eurfronn ferch brenin Pelafr"; "Degay ayrfronn ferch brenin Pelays"; "Tegau aurfron ferch Pelen aur; and
"Tegay hirfron d. to king Pelinor". King Peleur appears in the We;sh version of a Grail Romance, but not as father
of Tegau Eurfron. Y Ceiliog Myngrudd 'the red-maned cock' also appears in the pedigree of Ifor Bach.
Marinwy, Merimwch in pedigrees #3 and #4 are apparently doublets of Marini on the epithet of Llyr"
In fact there were two different
men called Caradog Freich Fras. The earliest was born c. 470 and is associated with the Ewias/Gwent families descended
from Bran ap Llyr Llediath; he is often described as a cousin of King Arthur. The later Caradog Freich Fras was a Rhos
man, born c. 820, and descended from Einion Yrth ap Cunedda. Neither man was a descendant of Coel Godebog (Hen) of the
North. That idea came from the misidentification of the man named Meirchion (born c. 295) found in the pedigree of the
south Wales Caradog, with Meirchion Gul ap Gwrwst Ledlum ap Cenau ap Coel; actually he was Meirchion ap Gwrgan Frych ap Arthfael
which Arthfael was a brother of Eudaf Hen.
Meant to be the ancestor
of Heilig ap Glannog of Gwynedd, this pedigree begins with the earlier south Wales Caradog ap Llyr Merini and attaches
him to the pedigree of the later north Wales Caradog.
Meant to be the ancestor of
Maenrych of Brychieniog, this is a corrupt version of the pedigree of the south Wales Caradog, omitting 4 generations between
Llyr Merini and Meirchion, then continuing with the wrong Meirchion.
Again meant as the ancestor of Maenrych,
this version is accurate back to Eidion Darian Las (if we read "Marinwy" as "Meirnwch") but is thereafter corrupt. But
the description of Caradog as "Earl of Hereford" and Y Ceiliog Myngrudd as "of the north" are no more than medieval conjecture.
This pedigree says the ancestor of
Maenyrch was "Caradog Freich Fras ap Llyr Merini ap Merinwch, king of the North and Earl of Fort Beech Tree, but today his
name is wrongly associated with Fort Cradock and Hereford". Again, we see medieval thought as to the location and titles
held by this family.
Here we read that the ancestor of
Maenyrch was "Caradog Freich Fras ap Llyr Merini ap Einion Yrth ap Cunedda Wledig; some say Caradog Freich Fras ap Llyr Merini
ap Y Ceiliog Myngrudd of the North. It is certain there were two Caradogs called Freich Fras, so that one (the one from whom
Maenyrch descended) requires a judgement". The author of this pedigree appears to agree there were two different men
called caradog Freich Fras, but left it to the reader to judge which of those men was the ancestor of Maenyrch.
This pedigree says the ancestor
of Maenrych was "Caradog Freich Fras, Earl of Hereford, ap Llyr Merini ap Einion Yrth ap Cunedda Wledig. The second
Caradog Freich Fras was a son of Ceiliog Myngrudd and it was that one who took a lion half and half".
The final phrase appears to
refer to a coat of arms which several sources assign the Caradog of Rhos: Blue, a lion rampant per fess gold and silver
in a silver border. Thus half the lion is one color and half another color. But the pedigree has switched the
two Caradogs, incorrectly making the ancestor of Maenyrch descend from Cunedda and giving the arms of the Rhos Caradog to
the south Wales Caradog. The 5th century Caradog Freich Fras of south Wales was assigned arms of "Black, a chevron between
3 spear-heads silver".
Here we are told the ancestor of Heilig
ap Glannog and of Llywarch Hwlbwrch was "Caradog Freich Fras, Earl of Hereford, ap Y Ceiliog Myngrudd of the North ap Eidol
Darian Las ap Ceneu ap Coel Godebog. Others say he was Caradog Freich Fras ap Llyr Merini ap Einion Yrth ap Cunedda
Wledig...see which one is good."
By that last phrase, the author invites
the reader to make his own examination as to which Caradog "works" as ancestor to the named men of north Wales. But
neither pedigree is "good" as given here.
Given as the ancestor of Maenyrch,
this pedigree omits 2 generations between Llyr Merini and Ethys/Echrys before appending the wrong ancestry to Meirchion.
The north Wales Caradog Freich Fras
was a man of Rhos and his correct pedigree should read "ap Hywel (c. 785) ap Caradog (c. 745) ap Meirion (c. 715) ap Rhufon
(c. 680) ap Einion (c. 645) ap Idgwyn (c. 615) ap Cadwallon Crisban (c. 580) ap Cyngen (c. 550) ap Meig (c. 515) ap Cynglas
(c. 480) ap Owain Ddantgwyn (c. 445) ap Einion Urdd (c. 415) ap Cunedda (c. 385). He was the ancestor of Heilig ap Glannog,
Llywarch Hwlbwrch, Cadwgan of Nannau, Pasgen ap Urien, Marchweithian, Collwyn ap Tangno, Nefyfdd Hardd, and Iarddur ap Cynddelw
The Caradog Freich Fras of Ewias in
south Wales was contemporary with King Arthur, and his pedigree should read "ap Llyr Merini (c. 445) ap Y Ceiliog Myngrudd
(c. 415) ap Meirnwch (c. 385) ap Ethys (c. 355) ap Iddon Darian Las (c. 325) ap Meirchion (c. 295) ap Gwgan Frych (c. 265)
ap Arthfael (c. 230) ap Einudd (c. 190) ap Gwrddwyfn (c. 160) ap Gorug (c. 130) ap Meirchion Fawr Filwr (c. 100) ap Owain
(c. 65) ap Cyllin (c. 35) ap Caradog (c. 5) ap Bran (c. 30BC) ap Llyr Llediath (c. 60BC). He was the ancestor of Bleddyn
and Drymboenig ap Maenrych of Brychieniog.
 The previous 6 men in this series (beginning with #10
- Iarddur ap Cynddelw) are said to descend from one of the two men called Caradog Freich Fras. Notes to each of those
"Patriarchs" apply, at least partly, to the material presented in this discussion and will not be duplicated here.
 It is possible that Rhys Goch of Ystrad Yw also descended from this
Caradog Freich Fras, but we opt for an alternate ancestry. See Patriarch #16 in this series.