EDNOWAIN AP BRADWEN
By Darrell Wolcott
In an earlier paper,
we presented the pedigree of the Meirionydd family found in the commote of Tal-y-bont in the 11th century. We ended
that analysis with a Bradwen ap Mael born c. 1065, and the observation that he could not be the same Bradwen who fathered
either Ednowain or Gwyn ap Bradwen...both men of the late 12th century.
Before attempting to fill in
the missing generations which separate the two men named Bradwen, we should first show our dating for the clan of Ednowain.
We had already mentioned, in the earlier paper, one marriage which dated his brother, Gwyn ap Bradwen, to c. 1160. Two
other marriages in that family appear to confirm this dating of Gwyn.
Two marriages are cited
for Ednowain. The first matches him with Marged ferch Cynan ap Owain Gwynedd, while his second wife was Sian ferch
Philip ap Uchdryd Cyfeiliog ap Uchdryd ap Edwin. Marged was born c. 1165, while Sian can be dated to c. 1155:
1035 Cynan ap Iago Edwin of Tegeingl 1020
Gwynedd Uchdryd Cyfeiliog 1085
The only child of
Ednowain for which a spouse is cited was his daughter, Annes, who married Madog (c. 1170) ap Maelog Crwm (c. 1140).
We date the birth of Annes to c. 1185, a third confirmation of our c. 1155 estimate for Ednowain. One marriage mentioned
in our earlier paper also confirms that date: that of Gwenllian (c. 1240) ferch Iorwerth (c. 1215) ap Peredur (c. 1185) ap
Ednowain (c. 1155) to Meurig (c. 1225) ap Madog (c. 1195) ap Cadwgan of Nannau (c. 1165).
are thought to have been sisters of Ednowain ap Bradwen: Isabel and Arddun ferch Bradwen. While they probably were his
sisters, born c. 1155/60, they might also have been born c. 1095 as daughters of his ancestor...Bradwen ap Mael of c. 1065.
The spouses of both ladies came from families where same-named men are found. Isabel married Seisyllt of Meirionydd
while Arddun married a Madog descended from Ednowain Bendew II . Thus:
1050 Ednowain ap
Eunydd Bach 1050 Ednowain Bendew II
1145 Seisyllt 1145
If the spouses of
Isabel and Arddun were the c. 1145 Seisyllt and Madog in this chart, then they were sisters of Ednowain. But if their
spouses were the Seisyllt and Madog of c. 1080, then they were born c. 1095 and daughters of Bradwen ap Mael. Accordingly,
these ladies can neither confirm nor disprove our c. 1155 dating for Ednowain. Of course Isabel and Arddun need not
be sisters at all; one might have been born c. 1095 and the other c. 1160.
In Appendices to this
paper, we shall mention some of the problems encountered in the pedigrees of this family which have resulted in the flawed
constructions presented by other researchers. But our primary objective here is to identify the ancestry of
the c. 1125 Bradwen, father of Ednowain, and his connection to the earlier Bradwen ap Mael.
One group of pedigrees derives
Ednowain ap Bradwen from Llewelyn Aurdorchog, Lord of Ial and Ystrad Alun, a notion scoffed at by Peter Bartrum as "quite
impossible chronologically". Of 6 such pedigrees he cites, there are three too many generations separating
Ednowain from Llewelyn Aurdorchog, but these extra names are "Unwch Unarchen ap Mael ap Eliw". Those names invoke
memories of the "Maeldaf ap Unwch Unarchen" found in the c. 1300 pedigree of Bradwen ap Mael, and probably should be rejected.
But there are 2 pedigrees which cite credible constructions, one mentioned by Bartrum and another not.
pedigrees yield a chronologically stable timeline when charted:
1005 Llewelyn Aurdorchog
1035 Ednowain Aurdorchog
Dafydd Ysgid Aur
12th century men in this chart were clearly leading men of Meirionydd, and those at the top were men of Ial in Powys,
how can this be explained? Additionally, the Meirionydd men appear to have held the same lands once owned by Bradwen
ap Mael, a man paternally descended from Meirion ap Cunedda whose ancestors had held those lands for some 600 years.
We think a marriage between the two families occurred about 1125 as:
1065 Dafydd Ysgid Aur
1065 Bradwen ap Mael
With such a marriage,
the only daughter of Bradwen ap Mael could have brought his lands to her son whom she named after her father. This son
then named one of his sons after his paternal ancestor, Ednowain ap Llewelyn Aurdorchog. But what were the
circumstances which might have led to such a marriage?
Although there is
little in the written record to guide us, we do know that Llewelyn Aurdorchog had been his king's penteulu; he was the leader
of the warband of Gruffudd ap Llewelyn during most of that man's kingship (1039-1063). From his name as it appears in
various pedigree citations, his son Ednowain also served as penteulu for a king, donning the gold torc which symbolized the
ancient Celt battle leaders. And Ednowain's son, Dafydd "with the gold boots" also wore the garb of a battle leader....circlets
of gold around his lower legs. We would posit, therefore, that this family had a long tradition serving as professional
soldiers who, in modern terms, would be called field generals. The tradition may go back as far as the early 900's to
Cynddelw Gam ap Elgudy who led an army in the battles which expelled the Danes from northeast Wales.
It is entirely possible that
Coel ap Gweirydd, father of Llewelyn Aurdorchog, had been penteulu for King Llewelyn ap Seisyll; we have previously suggested
that Coel married a sister of that king. After the death of Gruffudd ap Llewelyn in 1063, the sons of Cynfyn
were confirmed as new kings: Rhiwallon in Powys and Bleddyn in Gwynedd. We suspect Bleddyn asked his nephew Ednowain
ap Llewelyn Aurdorchog, to join him in Gwynedd to train and lead his warband. In 1069, it may have been Ednowain who
led Bleddyn's men to avenge the slaying of Rhiwallon at Mechain. That the men defeated, Ithel and Maredudd sons of Gruffudd
ap Llewelyn, were his second-cousins would have little meaning to Ednowain; he was merely a professional soldier serving
his king. Generals do not chose the enemy, his superiors holding political power do that.
A generation later,
we find Cadwgan ap Bleddyn in Gwynedd defending Anglesey against the Normans. Cadwgan had married a cousin of Cynan
ap Iago of Anglesey and was grooming a young son of Cynan for eventual kingship....the Gruffudd ap Cynan who first appears
in the Brut in 1098 as an ally of Cadwgan. Subsequent events lead us to speculate that a younger sister of that Gruffudd,
born c. 1080, had been given to Dafydd ap Ednowain Aurdorchog as wife. And that Dafydd was named penteulu for Gruffudd
ap Cynan when he finally obtained the Lordship of Anglesey in 1099. It was clearly Gruffudd's belief that all of Gwynedd
was his patrimony and his quest to obtain rule over it would require a well-trained, professional military man. Thus,
when Dafydd donned his golden symbols, he was probably the 4th consecutive man of his paternal line to serve as a field general.
Should our conjecture prove correct,
then Idnerth ap Dafydd Ysgid Aur would be a first cousin of Owain Gwynedd, elder son of Gruffudd ap Cynan. There is
nothing in the literature to suggest that Idnerth followed his forefathers' military profession, but certainly Owain Gwynedd
would have required a penteulu as he began to stand-in for his aging father in the mid-1120's. Certainly his brother,
Cadwaladr, was doing his own thing down in Ceredigion and southwest Wales and was not in the service of Owain.
About the year 1124, the
pedigree evidence suggests a plan by Owain Gwynedd to bring all of Meirionydd firmly under his control. He already had
a first-cousin in line to become Lord of Ystumanner commote. But the Lord of Tal-y-bont commote, Bradwen ap Mael,
owed his position and lands to direct descent from Meirion ap Cunedda and not from any generousity provided by the kings of
Gwynedd. He was, however, approaching 60 years of age and had no heirs save a daughter born in mid-life. Bradwen's
younger brother, Peredur, also had a daughter the same age but she was not an heiress; her brother Cadwaladr was then in his
late teens and probably serving his required apprenticeship at the manor of Gruffudd ap Cynan in Anglesey. It is not
known how that man was later persuaded to relocate in Powys but it is possible that he was offered the lands in Ial which
had passed down to Idnerth ap Dafydd Ysgid Aur, in exchange for his claim to paternal lands in Meirionydd.
In any event, Owain
Gwynedd took as his mistress Angharad ferch Peredur ap Mael by whom he soon had a son Cynan, and Idnerth ap Dafydd likely
married the sole heiress of Bradwen ap Mael by whom he had a son, Bradwen. When the aging sons of Mael died, we suggest
their Meirionydd lands would be inheirited by Bradwen ap Idnerth and Cynan ap Owain Gwynedd.
We know of no singular
achievement by Ednowain ap Bradwen which merited his inclusion among the 15 Founders of Noble Tribes of Gwynedd. Perhaps
he had also served as penteulu for the Gwynedd kings of his era, but perhaps the compilers of that list simply wanted to include
a Meirionydd man so that all parts of Gwynedd were represented among the 15.