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Maredudd ap Owain, King of Deheubarth
Sandde Hardd of Mortyn
The Floruit of Einion ap Seisyllt
The 5 Dafydd Llwyds of Llanwrin Parish
Cowryd ap Cadfan of Dyffryn Clwyd
Osbwrn Wyddel of Cors Gedol
Bradwen of Llys Bradwen in Meirionydd
Who Was Sir Robert Pounderling?
Sir Aaron ap Rhys
Eidio Wyllt - What Was His Birthname?
Ifor Bach, Lord of Senghenydd
Ancestors and Children of the Lord Rhys

                            BRADWEN of LLYS BRADWEN, MEIRIONYDD
                                          By Darrell Wolcott
         Virtually all lists of the 15 Founders of Noble Tribes of Gwynedd include a 12th century man called Ednowain ap Bradwen[1], and everyone who has addressed the matter assumes it was his father for whom Llys Bradwen (near Dolgellou in the commote of Tal-Y-Bont) was named.  While we do think Ednowain ap Bradwen held that manor, we suggest it had been constructed and named by a Bradwen nearly 100 years earlier. 
         The earliest mention of Bradwen appeared in the now-lost Llanforda Ms written c. 1300.  William Llyn (obit 1580) had seen the manuscript, and described it as an old book containing a copy of the Ancient Welsh Laws, in which its copyist identified himself as David, the scrivenor for Iorwerth ap Llewelyn ap Tudor ap Gwyn.  This David had inserted a gloss following this section of the Laws describing the Choosing of a King:
           "After taking of the crown and sceptre of London from the nation of the Cymry, and their expulsion from Lloegyr, they instituted an inquiry to see who of them should be supreme king.  The place they appointed was on the Maelgwn sand at Aber Tyfi.  And thereto came the men of Gwynedd, the men of Powys, the men of South Wales, of Reinwg, of Morgannwg and of Seisyllwg.  And there Maeldaf the elder, the son of Unhwch Unarchen, chief of Moel Ysbidion in Meirionydd, placed a chair composed of waxed wings under Maelgwn, so when the tide flowed, no one was able to remain, excepting Maelgwn, because of his chair.  And by that means, Maelgwn became supreme king with Aberffraw for his principal court".[2]
         The gloss, written in Welsh (as was the entire book) can be translated as:
         "Iorwerth ap Llewelyn ap Tudor ap Gwyn ap Bradwen ap Mael ap Bleddyn ap Morudd ap Cynddelw ap Cyfnerth ap Cadifor ap Rhun ap Morgynhor ap Cynfawr ap Hefan ap Cadifor ap Maeldaf hynaf ap Unhwch Unarchen ap Yspwys ap Yspwch.  And Yspwys and Yspwch, father and son, came into this island out of Spain with Uther and Emrys and first inhabited Moel Ysbidion.  When Emrys had recovered his crown from Vortigern the usurper, he rewarded those men, being his retinue, with the whole hundred of Tal-y-bont and part of Ystumanner in Meirionydd, where their posterity flourish today. Others say Maeldaf was Lord of Pennard in Arfon, but that one was the son of Menwyd ap Rhiryd ap Ruol ap Tegog ap Einion Yrth ap Cunedda who lived in the time of Iago ap Beli".
          It is thought that the family pedigree had been earlier drafted by Llewelyn ap Tudor ap Gwyn ap Bradwen, the man who held lands in Tal-y-bont in 1282 and presented a claim for his paternal lands to Edward I shortly after the conquest. 
         The notes (now lost) of William Llyn in which he copied the gloss, were copied by Robert Vaughan (c. 1650) in Peniarth Ms 234, 30 in which Vaughan acknowledged he was copying from Llyn.  Even earlier, Ieuan Brechfa (c. 1500) had seen the old book and copied the pedigree in Peniarth 131, 288.  But he emended the original by inserting "ap Peredur ap Ednowain" between Gwyn and Bradwen, probably because his sense of the chronology seemed to require two more generations.  His emendment is absent from Vaughan's manuscript even though Vaughan wrote nearly 200 years later than Brechfa.  A third copy of Llyn's notes is found in Griffith Hiraethog's Peniarth Ms 135, 377 (c. 1560)  and yet another copy is found in the 1773 Panton Ms 17, 8, both of which also omit the Brechfa emendation.[3]  It was Peter Bartrum's belief that neither version of the pedigree was adopted by genealogists of the 15th century onward[4], but clearly it was only Brechfa's version which was rejected.
          Wholly different sources mention another branch of the family, which we shall use for dating purposes:
                  1005  Bleddyn
                    1035  Mael
                  1070  Peredur
                 l                                       l
   1105  Cadwaladr             1110  Angharad[5]==/==Owain
                 l                                                      l   Gwynedd  1100
    1140  Letis[6]                                  1127  Cynan
 1125  Rhiwallon ap  
           Peredur (ap Mael) is described as "of Mon" in one pedigree; if he had an older brother named Bradwen who succeeded to the lordship of Mael's lands in Meirionydd, it is quite possible Peredur settled elsewhere, either on lands received from his mother or his wife[7].  Thus, we posit a Bradwen ap Mael ap Bleddyn born c. 1065 and the original occupant of the manor called Llys Bradwen in Meirionydd.
           When we seek to date the Llewelyn ap Tudor who held lands in Tal-y-bont in 1282, we suggest he was born c. 1230 since he married Elen ferch Gronwy ap Einion ap Seisyllt[8] (the second of that name), a lady born c. 1245.  Her family held lands in the commote of Ystumanner, Meirionydd, which had, about 1170, been annexed to Cyfeiliog by the first Einion ap Seisyllt[9].  
           We suspect Ieuan Brechfa reckoned the chronology of the family thusly, when deciding two generations were missing:
                           1065  Bradwen ap Mael
                              1160  Gwyn 
                              1195  Tudor
                            1230  Llewelyn, lv 1283
          By referencing other extant sources, Brechfa likely saw a pedigree which cited "Meurig ap Madog ap Cadwgan of the Nannau family married Gwenllian ferch Iorwerth ap Peredur ap Ednowain ap Bradwen"[10].  Without doing the requisite work to establish the timeline of the men in this pedigree, one might easily assume the Gwyn of c. 1160 was a brother of Iorwerth and thus emend Gwyn to "ap Peredur ap Ednowain ap Bradwen".  In fact, that marriage should be charted as:
                1125  Bradwen
               1155  Ednowain
                1185  Peredur                      Cadwgan [11]  1170
                             l                                   l
               1215  Iorwerth                        Madog  1200
                             l                                   l
               1240  Gwenllian=========Meurig  1230
          We immediately observe that the Bradwen who was the father of Ednowain was born about two generations later than Bradwen ap Mael.  Thus a Gwyn ap Bradwen, brother of Ednowain, would occur c. 1160 just as cited in the unemended pedigree of Llewelyn ap Tudor.  The two generations missing from the c. 1300 pedigree are not between Gwyn and Bradwen, but between Bradwen ap Mael of c. 1065 and Bradwen father of Ednowain of c. 1155:
                       1065  Bradwen ap Mael, brother of Peredur 
                            1125  Bradwen
                     l                                         l
     1155  Ednowain                     1160  Gwyn
          For the resolution of the missing generations in this chart, see our paper that discusses the 12th century men of this family: "Ednowain ap Bradwen", at the link below: http://www.ancientwalesstudies.org/id196.html
           We return now to the pedigree of the Meirionydd family and the c. 1300 tale of how they first came to hold their lands.  Maelgwn Gwynedd's rule began about 525, so the Maeldaf in the tale, if historic, was born in the late 400's.  If his ancestors, Ysbwch and Ysbwys, came into Britain in the time of Vortigern and Emrys/Ambrosius, they must have arrived in the mid-400's.[12]  This would be near the same time that Meirion ap Cunedda received Meirionydd as his share of the Welsh lands. Cunedda was born c. 385, came to Wales with 8 sons about 430 and likely died by 450.  Since the whole of Meirionydd consisted of the two commotes (Tal-y-bont and Ystumanner), are we to believe that the newcomers from Spain were given the majority of the land in Meirionydd, with Meirion relegated to a small part of one commote?   Further, when we assign probable birth dates to the men in the c. 1300 pedigree, the men at the top occur in the 7th century or over 150 years after the era of Maelgwn. 
         One name found in that pedigee is especially "iffy". Unhwch Unarchen has also been transcribed as "un hwch un archen" by some copiers of the pedigree.  This literally reads "one sow, one shoe" and is perhaps an epithet applied to a poor old man having little or no worldly possessions.  Whether he was meant to be the father of Maeldaf hynaf, or whether the "ap" appearing before the phrase is in error, is unclear. Maybe he was "Maeldaf the ancient, having but one sow and one shoe".  But more likely, the Maeldaf in the Bradwen pedigree was a 7th century man paternally descended from Meirion ap Cunedda and who obtained his lands in Meirionydd by paternal inheritance.  We reject the entire tale about Maelgwn and his chair of waxed wings as purely mythical.
          We would suggest the following chart for the families directly descended from Meirion:
                                  385  Cunedda
                                   420  Meirion[13]
                                 450  Cadwaladr
                           485  Gwrgant Barbtruch
                                   515  Cyndno
                                  545  Gwyddno
                                 580  Idris Gawr, obit 632
                          l                                     l
              610  Yswallt                    615  Yspwch
                          l                                     l
             640  Brochwel*                650  Yspwys
                          l                                     l
              675  Eunydd                   680  Maeldaf
                         l                                      l
             705  Ednyfed                    710  Cadifor**
                         l                                      l
            735  Brochwel                    745  Hefan
                         l                                      l
             770  Cynan                   780  Cynfan/Cynfawr
                         l                                      l
           800  Cadwaladr                810  Morgynhor
                         l                                      l
           830  Gwyddno***                 845  Rhun
                                                   875  Cadifor
                                                  910  Cyfnerth
                                                 940  Cynddelw
                                                  975  Morudd
                                                 1005  Bleddyn
                                                   1035  Mael
                                  l                                              l
                   1065  Bradwen                          1070  Peredur
         *Dwnn ii, 83, without citing the complete pedigree, derived Bradwen from this man.  It is possible that Maeldaf was the earliest historic man in the c. 1300 Bradwen pedigree, and could have been a son of Brochwel ap Yswallt
       **If we reject the 3 doubtful names above him as having been included only in an attempt to tie the family to the old Maelgwn tale, this Cadifor may have been the son of Eunydd of c. 675. Also see Note 3
     ***He had two sons: Cynyr who was the ancestor of Einion ap Seisyllt; and Sandde who was the ancestor of Cynddelw ap Einion, and of the brothers Peredur Beiswrydd and Peredur Beisgwyn

[1] See such lists in Dwnn ii, 83; Pen. 129, 46; Pen. 75, 59; Pen. 127, 2/4; Pen. 182, 61/2; and Pen. 131. 287/8
[2] Aneurin Owen "Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales", 1841, Vol 2, pp. 49/51
[3] Other minor variations noted between the copies include the omission of Cadifor as father to Hefan in all but the manuscript which acknowledged quoting William Llyn's notes, and the rendering of Cynfawr as Cynfan.  We have followed Pen. 234, 30 as the best source for the older parts of the pedigree.
[4] National Library of Wales Journal, 1963, Vol XIII, p. 132. 
[5] ABT 2g cites the mother of Cynan ap Owain Gwynedd as Angharad ferch Peredur ap Mael ap Bleddyn of Meirionydd
[6] Pen, 287, 1 cites Letis ferch Peredur Goch of Mon married Rhiwallon ap Dyngad ap Tudor Trefor.  Our work identifies the lady as Letis ferch Peredur ap Mael, who married a much later Rhiwallon ap Ednyfed ap Cynwrig ap Rhiwallon ap Cynwrig ap Rhiwallon ap Dyngad.
[7] Alternatively, the writer who assigned Peredur to Mon may have simply followed that group of pedigrees which derive the family from Maeldaf Lord of Pennard in Arfon.  The c. 1300 David the scrivenor cautioned against such an identification
[8] This marriage is cited in Dwnn i, 39
[9] See the paper "The Floruit of Einion ap Seisyllt" at the link below:
[10] Harleian 1973, 40; Peniarth 287, 1085
[11] For the dating of this family, see the paper "Cadwgan of Nannau" at the link below:  
[12] David the scrivenor's gloss says Uther and Emrys came to Britian from Spain, while Geoffrey of Monmouth had said they came from Amorica (Brittany).  Emrys was the Welsh version of Aurelius Ambroisia.
[13] While most writers call Meirion a son of Tybion ap Cunedda, we refute those claims in the paper "Meirion Meirionydd 'Grandson' of Cunedda" at the link below: