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Ancestors and Children of the Lord Rhys

By Darrell Wolcott

         According to the entry in The Dictionary of Welsh Biography, Owain Glyndwr was the son of Gruffudd Fychan ap Madog ap Gruffudd Fychan ap Gruffudd Maelor II. [1] Since Gruffudd Maelor II is elsewhere [2] cited as "ap Madog ap Gruffudd Maelor I ap Madog ap Maredudd ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn", and the obit of the second Gruffudd Maelor is noted in 1269, [3] we would assign his birth to c. 1195 as:

           1025 Bleddyn ap Cynfyn (obit 1075)
       1065 Maredudd (obit 1132)
      1098 Madog (obit 1160)
          1130 Gruffudd Maelor I (obit 1191)
      1160 Madog (obit 1236)
           1195 Gruffudd Maelor II (obit 1269)

          If Owain Glyndwr were born 4 generations later, as claimed by the DNB entry, he woiuld occur c. 1320. That is clearly a full generation too early for a man whose active floruit is known to have been c. 1385/1415.

          Peter Bartrum's chart of the family [4] not only inserts another Gruffudd as the grandfather of Owain, but derives that Gruffudd from Madog Fychan ap Madog Crupl ap Gruffudd Farwn Gwyn ap Gruffudd Maelor II. This places Owain Glyndwr 6 generations after Gruffudd Maelor II or c. 1380. In order to assign Owain's birth to 1359 [5], Bartrum places two of the charted ancestors in the same generation with these estimated birthdates:

1200 Gruffudd Maelor II
1230 Gruffudd Farwn Gwyn
1230 Madog Crupl
1270 Madog Fychan
1300 Gruffudd
1330 Gruffudd Fychan
1359 Owain Glyndwr

          A correct ancestry for Owain Glyndwr would place him in the 5th generation after Gruffudd Maelor II, and this is exactly where R.R.Davies places him in his 1997 work "The Revolt of Owain Glen Dwr" [6]:

Gruffudd Maelor II
Gruffudd Fychan
Gruffudd Fychan
   Owain Glwn Dwr

          The first "Gruffudd Fychan" in this chart is the man Bartrum calls "Gruffudd Farwn Gwyn", son of Gruffudd Maelor II. And his son is the "Madog" others call "Madog Crupl"

          It was not Bartrum's sources which erred, but his linking of two different citations. One group of citations [7] yield "Owain Glyndwr ap Gruffudd Fychan ap Gruffudd", while another group [8] mention a "Gruffudd Fychan ap Gruffudd ap Madog Fychan ap Madog Crupl". But these two groups of citations actually refer to two different men named Gruffudd Fychan ap Gruffudd; one is the father of Owain Glyndwr and the other is a 2nd cousin of Owain:

                                     1195  Gruffudd Maelor II
                                         1225  Gruffudd (Fychan or Farwn Gwyn)
                                       1260  Madog Crupl
                        l                                                     l
       1290  Madog Fychan                          1295  Gruffudd
                       l                                                      l
         1320  Gruffudd                            1325  Gruffudd Fychan
                       l                                                      l
    1350  Gruffudd Fychan                       1359  Owain Glyndwr

          To test our construction and dating, we must examine the spouses and other children assigned to the men in our chart,  Since the divergence begins after the c. 1260 Madog Crupl, we shall begin with him.  His wife is cited [9] as Marged ferch Rhys Ieuanc ap Rhys Mechyll ap Rhys Gryg ap Lord Rhys;

                                   1123  Lord Rhys
                                   1165  Rhys Gryg
                                 1200  Rhys Mechyll
                                 1230  Rhys Ieuanc
                                  1270  Marged======Madog Crupl  1260

          Even if we date Marged c. 1260 (by narrowing the generational gaps after Rhys Gryg to an average 32 years), she still fits well as the wife of a man born c. 1260.
          The wife cited for Madog Fychan ap Madog Crupl [10] is Gwenllian ferch Ithel Fychan ap Ithel Gam, descended from Maredudd ap Uchdryd of Cyfeiliog.  We chart that family as:
                                 1020  Edwin of Tegeingl
                                     1055  Uchdryd
                               1085  Uchdryd Cyfeiliog  [11]
                                   1120  Maredudd
                                1155  Ithel Gam Hen
                                   1190  Ithel Llwyd
                                    1220  Ithel Gam
                                  1260  Ithel Fychan
                                   1290  Gwenllian====Madog Fychan  1290
          While she was probably not the first wife of Madog Fychan, nor the mother of Gruffudd, this Gwenllian is of the right generation to have married Madog Fychan ap Madog Crupl.
           The c. 1295 Gruffudd whom we chart as the grandfather of Owain Glyndwr is the man sometimes called Gruffudd o'r Rhuddallt.  We would make him a younger brother of Madog Fychan (Bartrum incorrectly charts him as the son of Madog Fychan, confusing him with the c. 1320 Gruffudd who is sometimes called Gruffudd Llwyd. [12]  Gruffudd of Rhuddallt is cited as marrying Elisabeth, daughter of John LeStrange of Knockin.  Bartrum assigns that lady a birthdate of c. 1300; we suggest her father was John LeStrange IV born 1282 and estimate her birthdate as 1310.  Whether born nearer 1300, or as late as 1310, Elisabeth LeStrange fits chronologically as the wife of the c. 1295 Gruffudd and not the c. 1320 Gruffuydd.
          In fact, Bartrum can be seen to be glossing over his chart error when he cites sources for Elisabeth's marriage.  He claims she married "Gruffudd o'r Rhuddallt ap Madog Fychan" and lists 7 sources for that claim, but marks 6 of those "corrupt" because they do not support his claim. [13] We have not seen the original manuscripts to which he refers, but suggest they likely identify her husband simply as "Gruffudd ap Madog ap Gruffudd ap Gruffudd Maelor II".
          To continue his lapse from reality, Bartrum charts a second wife for his Gruffudd ap Madog Fychan, a lady he says was born c. 1370. (He correctly dates Gruffudd to c. 1300.  This lady, Lleuci ferch Deio ap Madog Llwyd ap Gruffudd ap Iorwerth Foel (descended from Tudor Trevor), is cited [14] as marrying a "Gruffuddd ap Madog Fychan" and may be the primary reason Bartrum thought the grandfather of Owain Glyndwr was named Madog Fychan.  But we would chart this marriage as:

              1260  Madog Crupl                 Iorwerth Foel  1270
                           l                                      l
             1295  Gruffudd                          Gruffudd  1300
                           l                                      l
         1325  Gruffudd Fychan                Madog Llwyd  1330
                           l                                      l
           1355  Madog Fychan                      Deio  1360
                           l                                      l
             1385  Gruffudd============Lleuci  1395

          With this chart, we suggest the 1355 Madog Fychan is the older brother of Owain Glyndwr whom most sources call Madog, and further say may have "died young" because they find no later trace of him. [15] He may have been named Madog and called "Fychan" by this source for no reason other than his father was called Fychan.
          Turning now to Gruffudd Fychan, Bartrum charts a single man of this name as father to Owain Glyndwr.  But he has assigned two consorts to his single Gruffudd Fychan: Elen ferch Thomas ap Llewelyn descended from Lord Rhys [16], and Alis ferch Ieuan ap Madog descended from Owain Brogyntyn [17].  According to Bartrum, Elen was his wife while Alis was a mistress.  The ladies, however, were a full generation apart in age:
                       1123  Lord Rhys
                      1157  Gruffudd                1140  Owain Brogyntyn
                                    l                                      l
                       1185  Owain                     1170  Bleddyn
                                    l                                      l
                     1215  Maredudd                 1205  Owain
                                    l                                      l
                       1243  Owain                    1240  Madog
                                    l                                      l
                      1270  Llewelyn                1270  Gruffudd
                                    l                                      l
                      1299  Thomas                  1300  Madog
                                    l                                      l
                        1340  Elen                      1335  Ieuan
                                                              1365  Alis
          We suggest that Elen was the mother of Owain Glyndwr and married to the c. 1325 Gruffudd Fychan, while Alis was the mother of a daughter, Lleuci, by the Gruffudd Fychan of c. 1350.  That Lleuci, born c. 1380, married Y Badi ap Madog ap Iorwerth, a man born c. 1370 and descended from Meilyr ap Elidyr ap Rhys Sais II. [18]

           In addition to Lleuci, we believe the Gruffudd Fychan of c. 1350 had another daughter named Isabel.  Bartrum charts her as a sister of Owain Glyndwr and shows her husband as Adda ap Iorwerth Ddu ap Ednyfed Gam descended from Tudor Trefor. [19] That family had two cousin lines with a series of same-named men:
                                  1025  Rhys Sais ap Ednyfed
                                    1055  Tudor
                                   1085  Bleddyn
                     l                                                 l
        1120  Tudor                                1123  Owain
                     l                                                 l
       1150  Bleddyn                           1153  Iorwerth Hen (a)
                    l                                                  l
        1180  Owain                            1190  Iorwerth Fychan (b)
                    l                                                  l
       1210  Iorwerth                           1225  Iorwerth Foel
                    l                                                  l
   1240  Iorwerth Fychan (c)               1260  Ednyfed Gam (d)
                    l                                                  l
    1270  Iorwerth Foel (e)                  1295  Iorwerth Ddu (f)
                   l                                                   l
     1305  Ednyfed (g)                           1330  Adda (h)
    1340  Iorwerth Ddu (j)                            
       1370  Adda (k)
         (a)  Served as seneschal to Powys king Madog ap Gruffudd Maelor ap Madog ap Maredudd whose reign was c. 1191/1236 [20]
         (b) Served as seneschal to Powys king Gruffudd Maelor II whose reign was c. 1236/1269 [21]
         (c)  Married Catryn ferch Gruffudd ap Llewelyn Fawr ap Iorwerth, she born c. 1240 [22]
         (d)  Had daughter Marged born c. 1295 who married Gwilym ap Madog Llwyd ap Llewelyn ap Meilyr Gryg II, he born c. 1285 [23]
         (e)  Married Gwladys ferch Iorwerth ap Griffri ap Heilyn ap Cynferth ap Iddon ap Trahaearn ap Iorwerth ap Mael I, she born c. 1270 [24]
         (f)  Had daughter Morfydd born c. 1325 who married Dafydd ap Llywarch ap Bleddyn ap Gwilym ap Meurig ap Edryd ap Iorwerth ap Iddon ap Ithel ap Edryd ap Inethan descended from Marchudd ap Cynan, that Dafydd born c. 1310 [25]
        (g)  Married Gwladys ferch Llewelyn ap Madog ap Einion ap Rhiryd ap Madog ap Iorwerth ap Madog ap Owain ap Edwin of Tegeingl, she born c. 1305 [26]
        (h)  This Adda was a full generation too old to have married a sister of Owain Glyndwr.  He had son Ieuan, born c. 1360, who married Angharad ferch Ednyfed ap Tudor ap Gronwy ap Tudor ap Gronwy ap Ednyfed Fychan, she born c. 1375 [27]
        (j)  Married Angharad ferch Adda Goch ap Ieuaf ap Adda ap Awrr, she born c. 1355 [28]
        (k) Married Isabel ferch Gruffudd Fychan ap Gruffudd ap Madog Fychan (not the Gruffudd Fychan who was the father of Owain Glyndwr), she born c. 1380. [29]
       Although the medieval pedigrees repeat all the nicknames for both lines of the family, we suggest only one of the men called Iorwerth was known as "Hen" and only one of the men named Ednyfed was known as "Gam".  It is also possible a single Iorwerth was actually called "Ddu" and only one of them was actually called "Foel".  Like Bartrum, most of the 16th century genealogists did not examine the family timeline and thought the two family cadets were a single branch and thus added the nicknames to both groups of same-named men.
         When we correctly assign Lleuci ferch Gruffudd Fychan and Isabel ferch Gruffudd Fychan to the man born c. 1350, not to the father of Owain Glyndwr born c. 1325, we find only 2 sisters and two brothers for Owain:
        a.  Lowri, born c. 1360, who married Robert Puleston, son of Richard. [30]
        b.  Morfydd, born c. 1355, who married Dafydd ap Ednyfed Gam ap Iorwerth Foel (the Ednyfed born c. 1305), that Dafydd born c. 1340 [31]
        c.  Tudor, born c. 1365, who was slain in 1405 at the Battle of Pwll Melyn during the Glyndwr revolt.
        d.  Madog, born c. 1355, the man mentioned earlier herein who is cited as Madog Fychan. Since he is nowhere found during the Glyndwr revolt, he may have died prior to 1399 leaving a young son named Gruffudd.
        Those modern sources which claim Owain Glyndwr had a brother named Gruffudd find no confirmation in the early pedigree manuscripts.

[1] The 1959 edition, pages 691/692 contributed by Prof. Thomas Jones Pierce
[2] Pen. 131,179; Pen. 129, 57 & 59; Pen. 127, 24 & 156 cite Gruffudd Maelor II ap Madog ap Gruffudd Maelor, while ABT 12 extends the first Gruffudd Maelor back to Bleddyn
[3] ByT cites his obit in 1269
[4] Welsh Genealogies AD300-1400 on charts labeled "Bleddyn ap Cynfyn" pp 4/5
[5] While Bartrum's chart assigns Owain Glyndwr to his Generation 11 (defined as c. 1370), he notes his birthdate as "b. 1359"
[6] Paperback edition published 1997, chart in p. 130.  While Davies got this pedigree right, his charts on pages 209/210 of families connected by marriage who participated in Owain's revolt contain numerous errors.
[7] Pen. 128, 178a; Pen. 129, 88; Pen. 127, 114 & 212
[8] Pen. 127, 29; Pen. 129, 59 & 68
[9] Pen. 131, 186; Pen 129, 20 & 100; Pen. 128, 631a; Pen. 127, 24
[10] Pen. 129, 66 & 100; Pen. 134, 48
[11] See the paper "Maredudd and Philip ap Uchdryd" at the link below:
[12] Pen. 131, 126 and 138 cite the son of Madog Fychan ap Madog Crupl as "Gruffudd Llwyd", not as "Gruffudd o'r Rhuddallt"
[13] Pen. 131, 134; Pen. 127, 38; Pen. 129, 66; Pen. 177, 48; Pen. 134, 47 and "Rhandiroedd Powys".  Apparently only the later Pen. 287, 373 agreed with Bartrum's construction.
[14] Pen. 128, 178a & 939a.  We would identify the Madog Fychan in these citations as a brother of Owain Glyndwr
[15] Numerous modern biographies, including Wikipedia, include a statement saying "Owain probably had an elder brother called Madog, but he may have died young".  We suggest he didn't "die young", but eluded the detection of modern writers by being called "Madog Fychan" in the pedigree manuscripts
[16] The marriage is cited in Pen. 131, 126 & 138; Pen. 127, 31; and Pen. 129, 60 & 76
[17] This marriage is cited in Pen. 128, 906a
[18] Lleuci ferch Alis, and her marriage, immediately follows the mention of Alis in Pen, 128, 906b
[19] Isabel's marriage is cited in Pen. 129, 91 & 104; Pen. 127, 31 & 196: and Pen. 128, 171a
[20] Lord Mostyn "History of the Family of Mostyn of Mostyn", 1925, page 13
[21] ibid page 15
[22] Pen. 128, 133b, 172b, 173b & 937a 
[23] Pen. 128, 828a
[24] Pen. 131, 124; Pen 129, 90; Pen 127; 183 & 196
[25] Pen. 138, 35; BM Add 15041, 111
[26] Pen. 131, 138; Pen 129, 90 & 126; Pen. 127, 183 & 195
[27] Pen. 129, 61, 90 & 104; Pen, 127, 31 & 124
[28] Pen. 129, 75, 85 & 125: Pen. 127, 26, 122
[29] Pen. 129, 91 & 104: Pen. 127, 31 & 196: Pen. 128, 171a
[30] Pen. 131, 126 & 138 among many others
[31] Pen. 129, 103; Pen. 127, 125 & 213; Pen. 128, 597a