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Beli Mawr and Llyr Llediath in Welsh Pedigrees
The Bartrum "Welsh Genealogies"
Bartrum's "Pedigrees of the Welsh Tribal Patriarchs"
A study in charting medieval citations
The Evolution of the "Padriarc Brenin" Pedigree
Generational Gaps and the Welsh Laws
Minimum Age for Welsh Kingship in the Eleventh Century
The Lands of the Silures
Catel Durnluc aka Cadell Ddyrnllwg
Ancient Powys
The Royal Family of Powys
The Royal Family of Gwynedd
The 5 Plebian Tribes of Wales
Maxen Wledig of Welsh Legend
Maxen Wledig and the Welsh Genealogies
Anwn Dynod ap Maxen Wledig
Constans I and his 343 Visit to Britain
Glast and the Glastening
Composite Lives of St Beuno
Rethinking the Gwent Pedigrees
The Father of Tewdrig of Gwent
Another Look at Teithfallt of Gwent
Ynyr Gwent and Caradog Freich Fras
Llowarch ap Bran, Lord of Menai
Rulers of Brycheiniog - The Unanswered Questions
Lluan ferch Brychan
The Herbert Family Pedigree
Edwin of Tegeingl and his Family
Angharad, Heiress of Mostyn
Ithel of Bryn in Powys
Idnerth Benfras of Maesbrook
Henry, the Forgotten Son of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn
The Muddled Pedigree of Sir John Wynn of Gwydir
The Mysterious Peverel Family
The Clan of Tudor Trevor
The Other "Sir Roger of Powys"
Ancestry of Ieuaf ap Adda ap Awr of Trevor
The Retaking of Northeast Wales
Hedd Molwynog or Hedd ap Alunog of Llanfair Talhearn
"Meuter Fawr" son of Hedd ap Alunog
The Medieval "redating" of Braint Hir
Aaron Paen ap Y Paen Hen
Welsh Claims to Ceri after 1179
The Battle of Mynydd Carn
Trahaearn ap Caradog of Arwystli
Cadafael Ynfyd of Cydewain
Maredudd ap Robert, Lord of Cedewain
Cadwgan of Nannau
Maredudd ap Owain, King of Deheubarth
Two Families headed by a Rhydderch ap Iestyn
The Era of Llewelyn ap Seisyll
Cynfyn ap Gwerystan, the Interim King
The Consorts and Children of Gruffudd ap Llewelyn
The 1039 Battle at Rhyd y Groes
The First Wife of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn
Hywel ap Gronwy of Deheubarth
The Brief Life of Gruffudd ap Maredudd
The Other Gwenwynwyn
Eunydd son of Gwenllian
Sandde Hardd of Mortyn
The Floruit of Einion ap Seisyllt
The Enigmatic Elystan Glodrydd
Cowryd ap Cadfan of Dyffryn Clwyd
Owain ap Cadwgan and Nest ferch Rhys - An Historic Fiction?
The "sons" of Owain ap Cadwgan ap Bleddyn
The Betrayal by Meirion Goch Revisited
Gwyn Ddistain, seneschal for Llewelyn Fawr
The Men of Lleyn - How They Got There
Trahaearn Goch of Lleyn
Einion vs Iestyn ap Gwrgan - The Conquest of Glamorgan
Dafydd Goch ap Dafydd - His Real Ancestry
Thomas ap Rhodri - Father of Owain "Lawgoch"
The "Malpas" Family in Cheshire
Einion ap Celynin of Llwydiarth
Marchweithian, Lord of Is Aled, Rhufoniog
Osbwrn Wyddel of Cors Gedol
Bradwen of Llys Bradwen in Meirionydd
Ednowain ap Bradwen
Sorting out the Gwaithfoeds
Three Men called Iorwerth Goch "ap Maredudd"
The Caradog of Gwynedd With 3 Fathers
Who Was Sir Robert Pounderling?
Eidio Wyllt - What Was His Birthname?
The Legendary Kingdom of Seisyllwg
The Royal Family of Ceredigion
Llewelyn ap Hoedliw, Lord of Is Cerdin
The Ancestry of Owain Glyndwr
Gruffudd ap Rhys, the Homeless Prince
The Children of Lord Rhys
Pedigree of the ancient Lords of Ial
The Shropshire Walcot Family
Pedigree of "Ednowain Bendew II"
Pedigree of Cynddelw Gam
                                    THE ENIGMATIC ELYSTAN GLODRYDD
                                                By Darrell Wolcott
 
          Said to have been "Prince of Fferlys" in the era of Gruffudd ap Cynan of Gwynedd and Bleddyn ap Cynfyn of Powys, Elystan was included as one of the five founders of "Royal Tribes of Wales" when that list was compiled in the 12th century. He is wholly absent from the chronicles and annals of Wales, where not even his obit is recorded.  His only mention in John Lloyd's classic "History of Wales" is a note on page 406 where he says "of whom nothing is recorded on any good authority".
 
           After reading what various medieval writers say about Elystan, one can certainly agree they were anything but "good authority".  His bogus biography can be summed up as[1]:
 
           "Elystan Glodrydd, King of Gloucester and Hereford, and by conquest King of Fferlix, which is the territory between the Wye and the Severn.  This district Elystan won from Dryffin ap Hwgan, King of Brecknock....He was born in the castle of Hereford, AD 933, and was named after the Saxon king Athelstan, who was his godfather.  He was living in AD 1010 but was killed in a civil broil at Cefn Digoll in Powys".
 
           It is only in early pedigree manuscripts where we learn a man named Elystan and called Glodrydd was a son of Ifor ap Seferus ap Cadwr and descended from Tegonwy ap Teon.  His father apparently held the cantref of Buellt; it is only men descended from Elystan who we find holding the former Fferlys lands later called Radnor (comprising Ceri, Maelienydd and Elfael).   His ancestry is shown in this chart[2]:
 
                                        700  Teon
                                                  l
                                      735  Tegonwy
                                                  l
                                 765  Iorwerth Hirflawdd
                                                  l
                                       795  Idnerth
                                                  l
                                  830  Gwenwynwyn
                                                  l
                                       865  Cadwr
                                                  l
                                      900  Seferus
                                                  l
                                         930  Ifor
                                                  l
                                      960  Cuhelyn
                                                  l
                                    990  Elystan Glodrydd
 
          Since our dating is wholly inconsistent with an AD933 birth for Elystan, let's first look at some marriage matches cited for the earlier folks in his pedigree:
 
                                      820  Rhodri Mawr
                                 ___________l_________
                                 l                                l
                    850  Anarawd                 865  Nest(a)===Owain  850
                                 l                                        l
                    880  Idwal Foel                    880  Morgan Hen
                                 =                                       l
          895  Mereddon ferch Cadwr(b)              915  Lleuci
                                                                       =
                                                       900  Seferus ap Cadwr(c)
 
         (a) This marriage is cited by Mostyn 212b, 58 and Llfyr Baglan, 95
         (b) This marriage is found in Dwnn ii, 100
         (c) This marriage is cited in Dwnn i, 297 & 313; Dwnn ii, 152
 
             The three marriage matches shown in this chart confirm that Cadwr was born c. 865, with a daughter and son born c. 895/900.  In the following generation, we find:
 
                                         865  Cadwr
                                                   l
                                        900  Seferus
                              _____________l________     Tudor Trefor  900
                              l                                 l             l
                     930  Ifor(a)              940  Sissely(b)===Dyngad  930
 
        (a) Dwnn i, 297 & 313 say Ifor ap Seferus married Isabel ap Tryffin ap Cadell, king of Powys, or Tryffin descended from Cadell.  While this identifies the lady as a part of the First Powys Dynasty, insufficient lineage data is given to date her. 
          (b)  Dwnn ii, 307 cites this marriage, calling the lady "Cecily", the English spelling of her name.
 
          While some comfort in our dating is provided by the sister of Ifor ap Seferus, we find confirmation with the next generation:
 
                             900  Seferus        Tudor Trefor  900
                                        l                     l
                               930  Ifor               Gronwy  935
                                        l                     l
                            960  Cuhelyn(a)=====Gwen  970
                                                   l
                                  990  Elystan Glodrydd
 
           (a)  Pen. 138, 359; Pen. 128, 69; and Pen. 142, 108 say that Gwen ferch Gronwy ap Tudor Trefor was the mother of Elystan Glodrydd, thus the apparent consort of Elystan's father, Cuhelyn ap Ifor.
 
           It was this identification of Elystan's mother as only child and heiress of Gronwy ap Tudor Trefor, which gave rise to the false claims that Elystan was born in Hereford and became "king" of Hereford and Gloucester.  As we showed earlier[3], the notion that Tudor Trevor's lands extended south to Hereford and Gloucester came from misidentifying the mother of Tudor Trefor as a lady from that region.  His mother was Rienigar ferch Lluddoca ap Caradog Freich Fras of Rhos, not the 6th century Caradog Freich Fras of southeast Wales[4].  Not only did Tudor Trefor not own any lands south of the Severn, his son Gronwy predeceased him and thus never held any of his father's lands.  The tale that Tudor's "Hereford lands" went to his granddaughter was concocted to explain why no such lands were found in possession of his surviving sons.  But if Rienigar inherited any land from her father, it was in Rhos....not near Hereford.
 
         Accordingly, the "biography" of Elystan Glodrydd falsely places him in Hereford and Gloucester.  It is also untrue that was was born during the reign of Saxon king Athelstan, who died in 942 and could not have been his godfather.  This tale owes its origin to the similarity between the names "Elystan" and "Athelstan"...the men were wholly unconnected.  The territory called Fferlys had been owned by Elystan's paternal ancestors for over 500 years[5].  If it were in the hands of the Brecknock kings at Elystan's birth, he did no more than recover a part of his patrimony which had been seized earlier by outsiders. But no early sources confirm this tale[6].
 
            The claim that Elystan was killed in 1010 in a civil broil is found in a footnote in Dwnn i, 139 written by it's editor, Sir Samuel Meyrick.  He gave no source for the claim, but other late manuscripts[7] say he lived until 1067.  We would reject the 1010 obit outright (although some man named Elystan may have been killed then) since his son and heir, Cadwgan, was not born until c. 1020.  While the 1067 obit sounds reasonable, it is little more than a medieval writer's guess.
 
           What we can say with some certainty is that we don't know of a single event in the life of Elystan Glodrydd.  Evidence that he once existed is confined to the pedigree manuscripts.  Even there, we find evidence of two men called Elystan, each having a son named Cadwgan.  One was born c. 955 in Powys, the other born c. 990 in south Wales...probably in Buellt.  The latter is probably the one who was given the nickname "Glodrydd" or "the illustrous" for unknown reasons.
 
         That two men were conflated by the genealogists can be seen by the wives assigned to Elystan and his son Cadwgan.  Numerous Dwnn citations say Elystan married Gwenllian ferch Einion ap Owain ap Hywel Dda, while two of those same sources say he also married Gwladys ferch Rhun ap Ednowain[8].  Gwenllian was born c. 970, while we date Gwladys to c. 1005.  Also, two separate coats of arms are assigned to a father-son pair named Elystan and Cadwgan: Argent 3 boar's heads couped sable, and Gules a lion rampant reguardent or.  The first coat is very similar to the arms of Ednowain Bendew of Tegeingl, which inserts a chevron between the boar's heads.  We suggest the Elystan and Cadwgan who are assigned these arms shared common ancestors with Ednowain Bendew.  The other coat, we think, belongs to the Buellt/Fferlys men who lived a generation later than the Powys men with the same names.
 
          Cadwgan ap Elystan is assigned 3 wives: Angharad ferch Llawr born c. 995; Jane ferch Brochwel ap Aeddan born c. 1035; and Efa ferch Gwrgan, sister of Iestyn, born c. 1035.  The first wife is consistent with a c. 985 Cadwgan, son of a c. 955 Elystan.  The other wives are consistent with a c. 1020 Cadwgan, son of a c. 990 Elystan. 
 
                                         FAMILY 1
 
                      880  Hywel Dda
                                   l
                         910  Owain
                        _______l___________________
                        l                                         l
              940  Einion                         945  Maredudd
                        l                                         l
           970  Gwenllian(a)==Elystan 955  975  Lleuci==Llawr 960
                                 l                                     l
                     985  Cadwgan(b)============Angharad  995
 
     (a) Several Dwnn citations say Elystan married this Gwenllian.  See Note 8
     (b) Jesus Coll Ms 20, 30/31 says the mother of Gronwy ap Cadwgan ap Elystan was Angharad ferch Llawr, and that the mother of Angharad was Lleuci ferch Maredudd ap Owain ap Hywel Dda.  It also makes Elystan a son of Cuhelyn, but that Elystan was born a full generation too late to be the man in this chart
 
         Maredudd ap Owain (obit 999) had a younger daughter, Angharad[9], who was mother to both Gruffudd ap Llewelyn, born c. 1011, and Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, born c. 1025.  We would identify Llawr as the son of Aelan (c. 930) ap Alser (c. 895) ap Tudwal Gloff (c. 865) ap Rhodri Mawr (c. 820); this Llawr is cited in Pen. 142, 101 and Pen. 177, 135 but neither of those manuscripts mention his wife or daughter.
 
        
                                          FAMILY 2
 
   900  Seferus
              l
     930  Ifor             Ednowain  945
              l                      l                                                975
  960  Cuhelyn              Rhun  975          Aeddan  975   Ithel Ddu
              l                     l                         l                     l
  990  Elystan(a)=====Gwladys  1005     Brochwel 1005   Gwrgan 1005
                        l                                     l                     l
         1020  Cadwgan(b)==============Jane  1035          l
                              (c)==========================Efa 1035
 
       (a) This marriage is cited in Dwnn i, 139 and Dwnn ii, 152
         (b) This marriage is cited in Dwnn i, 313 and Dwnn ii, 152.  It also occurs
               in Dwnn i, 139 where the lady is called "Elen"
         (c)  This marriage is cited in Dwnn 1, 271, 313 & 332; and Dwnn ii, 152
 
        Gwladys ferch Rhun ap Ednowain (who is usually incorrectly called Ednowain Bendew, a man born c. 1020) appears to be a lady of north Powys and probably from the same ancestry as Ednowain Bendew of Tegeingl.  Some modern sources would extend her ancestry to Rhun ap Ednowain ap Gwaithfoed, and while there is no ancient authority we can find to confirm it, it is chronologically possible this Ednowain was a brother of Gwerystan ap Gwaithfoed (grandfather of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn) and of Elystan ap Gwaithfoed (ancestor of Eunydd ap Morien).  Indeed, that Elystan may well be the c. 955 Elystan in our Family 1 chart:
 
                              915  Gwaithfoed of Powys
               ___________________l___________________
              l                               l                              l
945  Ednowain             950  Gwerystan            955  Elystan
              l                               l                _________l______
              l                               l                l                        l
    975  Rhun                 985  Cynfyn     Morgeneu 985   985 Cadwgan
              l                              l                 l                           (b)
 1005  Gwladys            1025  Bleddyn       Morien  1015
             =                                               l
990  Elystan of Fferlys                           Eunydd(a)  1045
 
       (a) This pedigree of Eunydd of Dryffin Clwyd is cited in Pen. 134, 349; Pen. 138, 126 & 169; and Pen. 178(1), 61)  The ancesty of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn is well-known from many sources; the other two families in the chart are the subject of this paper)
        (b) This assignment is speculative; it is equally as likely the ancestor of this Cadwgan ap Elystan was Gwrydr Hir ap Caradog ap Lles Llyddog; Gwrydr Hir was the father of Gwaithfoed of Tegeingl who was the grandfather of Ednowain Bendew.  It was that branch of the Powys family whose arms featured 3 boar's heads.  Gwrydr Hir was born c. 920 and this c. 955 Elystan might have been another son of his, but no early citations mention an Elystan ap Gwrydr Hir
            
         Returning to the families shown in our Family 2 chart, we identify Jane ferch Brochwel ap Aeddan as a lady of the First Powys Dynasty, daughter of the 3rd man named Brochwel ap Aeddan[10]:
 
                                  685  Eliseg (a)
                                            l
                                715  Brochwel    
                                            l
                                 750  Cyngen (b)
                                             l
                                785  Aeddan I
                                            l
                                820  Brochwel I
                                            l
                                  850  Selyf I
                                            l
                                880  Aeddan II (c)
                                            l
                                910  Brochwel II
                         ____________l____________
                         l                                      l
              940  Cadell                         945  Selyf II
                         l                                      l
               970  Nest (d)                      975  Aeddan III (e)
                                                                               l
                                                 1005  Brochwel III
                                                               l
                                                    1035  Jane
 
         (a)  Son of Gwylog ap Beli, he is the man for whom Eliseg's Pillar was erected in Ial c. 810/20 by his descendant, Cyngen ap Cadell
         (b)  Brother of Cadell, whose son Cyngen erected Eliseg's Pillar.  That Cyngen died in 856 without heirs.  The kingship of Powys was continued through his first cousin. Aeddan ap Cyngen ap Brochwel
         (c)  His younger brother, Beli ap Selyf, was the first of four families to use the string of male names "Gwyn ap Gruffudd ap Beli ap Selyf ap Brochwel ap Aeddan".
         (d)  This lady married Gwerystan ap Gwaithfoed and was mother to Cynfyn, father of Bleddyn.  It was her bloodline as daughter to a Powys king by which Cynfyn was later named interim king of Powys in 1023 when no male heirs of the Royal Family were yet old enough to become king. 
         (e)  His younger brother, Beli II ap Selyf II, continued the naming sequence begun 100 years earlier, resulting in the second string of men named "Gwyn ap Gruffudd ap Beli ap Selyf ap Brochwel ap Aeddan".
 
         The final family shown in our Family 2 chart was the Royal Family of Glamorgan which descended, through Morgan Hen[11], from the ancient Caradog ap Bran ap Llyr Llediath[12]. 
 
                                    880  Morgan Hen
                                                l
                                     910  Owain
                                                l
                                    945  Idwallon(a)     Gwerystan  950
                                                l                   l
                                   975  Ithel Ddu         Cynfyn  985
                                                l                   l
                                   1005  Gwrgan(b)===daughter 1020
                                 ________________l__________
                                 l                                         l
                       1035  Efa(c)                        1040  Iestyn(d)
 
        (a) His brother, Hywel ap Owain, was king of north Gwent while another brother, Iestyn ap Owain, ruled southern Gwent. Idwallon ruled the lands west of Gwent later called Morgannwg or Glamorgan
        (b) This marriage is cited in Mostyn Ms 212b, 117; the lady was a daughter of Cynfyn by his first marriage and only half-sister to Bleddyn ap Cynfyn
        (c) She married the c. 1020 Cadwgan ap Elystan of our Family 2 chart
        (d) King of Glamorgan and another of the 5 Founders of Royal Families of Wales.  One of his wives was Denys ferch Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, born c. 1055
                                                                             
         While the cited marriages clearly point to an Elystan born c. 955 and an Elystan born c. 990, Bartrum conflates them in his charts by portraying a single c. 970 Elystan and a single c. 1000 Cadwgan....dates which fall about half-way between the two separate men.  He omits the Elystan marriage to the c. 1005 lady, but shows a single c. 1000 Cadwgan marrying ladies born c. 995 and c. 1035.  He also omits the Sian ferch Elystan born c. 1025 who married Cadifor ap Gwaithfoed[13].  We identify this man, born c. 1010, as a brother of Cydrich and son of Gwaithfoed of Ystrad Tywy.[14]
 
          Since the conflation of the two families continues with the children assigned to Cadwgan ap Elystan, a follow-up paper titled "Children of Cadwgan ap Elystan" will attempt to separate them.
     

NOTES:
[1]  Our quote is from J.Y.W. Lloyd "History of Powys Fadog", Vol II, p. 322.  Elements of the "biography" are also cited in Montgomeryshire Collections, Vol I, p. 235.  The entry in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, pp. 215/216 admits nothing is really known about the life of Elystan, so the author uses his entry to discuss some of his early descendants
[2] The pedigree is given as "Seferus ap Kadgwr gwenwyn ap Idnerth" in ABT 11, while Jesus Coll. 20, 30 says "Cadwr ap Gwenneuuen".  The timeline requires two generations here, so Bartrum calls them "Cadwr ap Cadwr Wenwyn" in his charts
[3] See the paper "The Clan of Tudor Trevor" elsewhere on this site
[4] A full discussion of the two same-named men is founded in the paper "Ynyr Gwent and Caradog Freich Fras" elsewhere on this site
[5] See the paper "Ancient Powys" elsewhere on this site
[6] Dryffin ap Hwgan was born c. 980; his reign as king of Brycheiniog would have been about 1010 to 1040.  Elystan Glodrydd of Buellt/Fferlys would have been in his prime during this period
[7] G.T.O. Bridgeman "The Welsh Lords of Kerry and Arwystli" in Montgomeryshire Collections, Vol I, pp 235/236, Note 4 says the 1067 obit date is found in a manuscript of Jones of Tregaron, a herald who lived in the time of Elizabeth I
[8] The marriage to Gwenllian ferch Einion is cited in Dwnn i, 139, 271, 288, 313 & 332 and Dwnn ii, 152.  Dwnn i, 139 and Dwnn ii, 152 also cite the marriage to Gwladys ferch Rhun, but Gwladys is wholly omitted from Bartrum's charts
[9] ByT 1116
[10] This family is treated at length in the paper "Powys Dynastic Family 945-1385 under "The Royal Family of Powys" elsewhere on this site
[11] The pedigree of Morgan Hen is presented in segments in these papers elsewhere on this site:  BC60 - AD238 "Beli Mawr and LLyr Llediath in Welsh Pedigrees; AD 238 - 415 "Ynyr Gwent and Caradog Freich Fras"; AD 415 - 885 "Rethinking the Gwent Pedigrees"
[12] This descent, however, may be maternal.  See our paper "Another Look at Teithfallt of Gwent" for the possibility that the Gwent Dynasty descended from Tewdrig ap Teithfallt, a Goth warrior, and not from a Tewdrig ap Llywarch.  The mother of Tewdrig was a daughter of Peibo ap Erb who did descend from Caradog ap Bran
[13] Dwnn i, 313 mentions this daughter of Elystan, but wrongly identifies her grandfather as Gwaithfoed "of Powys".
[14] For the two possible ancestries of this Gwaithfoed, see the paper "Sorting out the Gwaithfoeds" elsewhere on this site