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Ancestors and Children of the Lord Rhys

                                      POWYS DYNASTIC FAMILY 945-1385
                                                By Darrell Wolcott
         With the death in 1069 of the sons of Gruffudd ap Llewelyn at the hands of Rhiwallon and Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, the senior line descended from Brochwel Ysgithrog fell to the youngest son of Brochwel ap Aeddan, Selyf.[1]  There is no evidence in the chronicles that this family ever again seriously contested the descendants of Bleddyn for rule in Powys.  In our discussion of its loss of sovereignty[2], we indicated that Selyf ap Brochwel had sons named Aeddan and Beli, the former being the eldest. It was this Beli who headed the "Gwyn ap Gruffudd ap Beli" sequence noted in our Note 2 discussion as leading down to Tangwre ap Gwyn; while it is not our present intent to follow that line of the family, we will note that in addition to the daughter named Tangwre, Gwyn had a son named Pasgen.
         Aeddan ap Selyf's eldest son was named Brochwel, making him the third of this line to bear the name Brochwel ap Aeddan and the second whose grandfather was named Selyf.  This man whom we will call Brochwel ap Aeddon III, had a daughter named Sian who married Cadwgan ap Elystan Glodrydd.[3]  He had at least two sons, the youngest being Matthew Hen[4] (ancester of Lodwick Lewis of Arwystl) and the eldest named Selyf. This Selyf bore at least two sons: Aeddan and Beli.  The younger Beli named a son Gruffudd who named a son Gwyn who named a son Pasgen, thus repeating a 7-name string noted 100 years earlier in this family. We shall pause at this point to depict two branches of this family who elected to preserve their heritage by making their sons the namesake of earlier ancestors:
                                    750  Cyngen
                                    785  Aeddan
                                    820  Brochwel I
                                     850   Selyf
                                     880  Aeddan
                                     910  Brochwel II
                                     945  Selyf
                                      l                                            l
                          975   Aeddan                            980  Beli
                                      l                                           l
                        1005  Brochwel III                  1015 Gruffudd
                                      l                                           l
                        1045    Selyf                          1050  Gwyn
                         _______l_______               _______l_______
                         l                        l                l                         l
           1075  Aeddan       1080  Beli  1080 Pasgen     1080 Tangwre
                         l                        l
        1110  Brochwel IV  1115 Gruffudd 
                         l                        l
           1145   Selyf        1150   Gwyn
                         l                        l
           1180    Beli         1180  Pasgen
                        +                       +
     to Sir Gruffudd Fychan    See Appendix A

        It was the Pasgen ap Gwyn ap Gruffudd of c. 1080 who married Nest ferch Llewelyn ap Meilyr Gryg[5].  Other authorities assume this was the Meilyr Gryg who occurs c. 1180/1190 and attempt to link his granddaughter to the Pasgen ap Gwyn ap Gruffudd whose uncle was Gwynwys ap Gruffudd of the 13th century.  But such a Nest would occur about 1250, a whole generation prior to the later Pasgen.  It was failed matches like this which led Bartrum to conclude that all the pedigrees of this family "are deficient in one way or another".[6] 
        The Selyf c. 1145 appears to have broken with tradition by not naming a son Aeddan, but he did father a Beli.  It is this family branch which appears in the pedigree of Sir Gruffudd Fychan.  But Beli did continue the other scheme by naming a son Gruffudd, who in addition to Gwynwys, named a son Gwyn who completed the familiar series by naming a son Pasgen.  A continuation of our first chart, starting with Aeddan of c. 1075, brings us to our conclusion of the senior branch of the family of Brochwel Ysgithrog:
                                             1075  Aeddan
                                             1110  Brochwel IV
                                             1145  Selyf
                                             1180  Beli
                                             1215  Gruffudd
                            1250  Gwynwys             1250  Gwyn
                            1285  Madog                 1280  Pasgen
                            1320  Ieuan
                            1350  Gruffudd
                            1385  Sir Gruffudd Fychan[7]
           We are told that Sir Gruffudd was slain in 1447 by Henry Grey, Lord of Powys and a descendant of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, for rashly suggesting that his descent from Brochwel ap Aeddan (thus from Brochwel Ysgithrog) should entitle him to be Lord of Powys.[8]  But the official story was given that he was "holding correspondence with some adherents of the House of York" and a Queen's warrant was sent to Lord Grey for the arrest of Sir Gruffudd.  Given a "safe conduct", he went to Powys Castle to defend the charges and was summarily beheaded when he arrived there.[9]  The exact motive of Lord Grey is anyone's guess, but Sir Gruffudd did seem to be the representative of the senior line descended from the old Powys dynasty.  

[1] The eldest son of that Brochwel ap Aeddan was Cadell, the king of Powys who had no sons but whose daughter, Nest,  was mother to Cynfyn ap Gwerystan.
[2] See the paper "The End of the Powys Dynasty" at the link below:
[3] Dwnn i, 313  This Sian occurred c. 1035; Cadwgan ap Elystan was born near 1020.
[4] Dwnn i, 303; Montgomeryshire Collections, vol x, pp 30.  Medieval genealogists confused his father with Brochwel Ysgithrog, but the ensuing families in his pedigree point to a birthdate near 1040. See Appendix B
[5] Montgomeryshire Collections, vol viii, pp 406, 411; vol x, pp 42. The Meilyr Gryg cited is the one who occurs c. 1025 six generations following the first Brochwel ap Aeddan of c. 820; see Dwnn i, 299 and Dwnn ii, 23
[6] P.C. Bartrum "Pedigrees of the Welsh Tribal Patriarchs" in the National Library of Wales Journal, vol xiii, part 2, pp 131.  Bartrum may have thought there was but a single man named Brochwel ap Aeddan; accordingly he could not bring the pedigrees which contain that name into chronological alignment. 
[7] His pedigree as shown in this chart appears in many sources, including the Cedwyn Ms; most sources, however, leap directly from Brochwel IV of 1110 to Brochwel I of 820 with no apology for the huge time gap.
[8] Wm V. Lloyd "The Sheriffs of Montgomeryshire" in Montgomeryshire Collections, vol vi, pp 80.
[9] M.C. Jones "Feudal Barons of Powys" in Montgomeryshire Collections, vol i, pp 335/336

       Following are four interconnected families cited in the Cedwyn Ms which depict the first and second instances where the 7-name sequence Pasgen to Aeddan occur:
                                          880  Aeddan
                                          910  Brochwel II
                                          945  Selyf
                 975  Aeddan                             980  Beli
               1005  Brochwel III                     1015  Gruffudd
               1045  Selyf                               1050  Gwyn
               1080  Beli                                 1080  Pasgen
               1115  Gruffudd               1115 Mael           1110 Meurig
               1150  Gwyn                   1145 Iorwerth      1145 Hoedliw
  1180 Einion         1180 Pasgen      1180 Cadwgan     1175 Gwyn
  1210 Adda          1210 Meurig       1210 Rhiryd         1205 Ieuan
  1240 Iefa           1240 Owain        1245 Madog        1235 Iorwerth
  1270 Iorwerth     1270 Madog       1275 Dafydd        1270 Gronwy
  1300 Ior.Fychan  1300 Ieuan        1310 Llewelyn      1300 Jenkin
  1330 Deio          1335 Gruffudd=======Efa 1345      1330 Gittyn
  1360 Gittyn               Deuddwr                             1365 Cadwaladr
  1390 Morys===================================Elen 1400
   These families are cited in Montgomeryshire Collections, vol 8, pp 406, 416 & 419

      Again from the Cedwyn Ms, these connecting families depict (a) the correct chronological placement of Matthew Hen; and (b) the third occurance of the 7-name string Pasgen to Aeddan.
                                     975  Aeddan
                                    1005  Brochwel
                      1040  Selyf                 1040  Matthew Hen
                      1075  Aeddan              1070  Cadfael
                      1110  Brochwel            1100  Cadian
                      1145  Selyf                 1135  Cuan
                      1180  Beli                   1165  Gwyn
                      1215  Gruffudd            1195  Gronwy
                      1250  Gwyn                1230  Gruffudd
                      1280  Pasgen              1260  Maredudd Benwyn
                      1310  Meurig               1290  Iorwerth
                                                      1325  Hywel
                      1340  Owain==============Gwen  1355
This family is cited in Montgomeryshire Collections, vol 8, pp 406; note that one more generation occurs in the family on the right, but Gwen is assumed to have been one-half generation after Owain.  But even a difference of 2 years in the average generational gap over a 300 year span can yield the effect shown.
The family on the left, down through Gruffudd of 1215, is the same one shown in the pedigree of Sir Gruffudd Fychan; the latter descended from another son of this Gruffudd.