MARCHWEITHIAN, LORD OF IS ALED IN RHUFONIOG
by Darrell Wolcott
Designated as the head of one
of the 15 Noble Tribes of Gwynedd, Marchweithian was born c. 1015. In a previous paper, we identified him as a first-cousin
of Collwyn ap Tangno and descended from Pasgen ap "Urien Rheged"....not the 6th century Urien from Rheged in northwest Britian,
but a 9th century Urien descended from Cunedda.
The early family which descended
from Marchweithian has been charted by the leading Welsh genealogists with two opposing views: those that make Heilyn Gloff
the 5th generation after Marchweithian, and those place him in the 6th following generation. These competing views show
the following descents:
Peniarth 127, 119 Peniarth 128,
While there are other citations
which agree with the two sources we cited, these two are representative of the competing views. Peter Bartrum's
solution was to "correct" the shorter list by assuming (a) Tangno and Cadwgan were a single man, and (b) the shorter list
had omitted Cynddelw in error. Our work, however, finds that subsequent descendants and their cited spouses require two
men named Heilyn ap Tyfid born a generation apart. Which of the two men named Heilyn also bore the nickname "Gloff"
is not known since most citations add it to any Heilyn ap Tyfid, but it is unlikely both men were lame.
Additional evidence that
both groups of citations are correct, and depict two separate branches of the family, can be found in the 1334 Survey of Denbigh.
In that manuscript, we find lands called Villa Carwedfynydd contained two gavellas: Gavella Heilyn ap Tyfid and Gavella
Elidyr ap Tyfid. No doubt once called Wele Ystrwyth ap Marchwystl, the lands had subsequently been divided into gavellas
bearing the names of men descended from Ystrwyth. But this Heilyn ap Tyfid was NOT a brother of Elidyr ap Tyfid.
The 1334 holders of gavella Elidyr ap Tyfid can, by chronological analysis, be seen to be one generation farther removed from
Marchweithian than the holders of gavella Heilyn ap Tyfid:
1280 4 named brothers*
In the above chart, the 4 named sons of Tegwared were still living in 1334, but their brother Dafydd had died and his part
of the gavella was held by an adult son, Cynwrig ap Dafydd. Another brother of Tegwared, he named Gronwy, also had two
sons living in 1334  and a third son dead but represented by Ieuan ap Llewelyn ap Gronwy.
compare this with the men holding the other gavella:
GAVELLA HEILYN AP TYFID
1280 2 named sons* 1275 Einion
1275 Cynwrig Goch
named sons* 1310 2 named sons*
*living in 1334
Again, we find two generations
of adult men alive in 1334, the older generation plus sons of their deceased brothers. The same pattern exists for a
cousin family descended from Einion ap Llywarch ap Heilyn, except that all 3 of that Einion's sons  were dead
by 1334 and their lands held by each of their sons born c. 1300/1310.
In both gavellas, the only workable
pedigree construction which allows the men alive in 1334 to be descended from a man named Tyfid is by acknowledging there
were two such men, one born c. 1145 and another born c. 1175. Surely Bartrum recognized there was something amiss in
his charts (which show only the c. 1175 Tyfid) when he portrayed a number of descendants as born c. 1330 yet noted they were
adults alive in 1334.
When we look at the family descended
from each Tyfid, we find a string of same-named men born a full generation apart:
1180 Heilyn (a) 1205
1210 Llywarch 1240 Llywarch
1245 Cynwrig 1270
Cynwrig Fychan 1300 Cynwrig Fychan
1335 Heilyn (b)
1340 Gruffudd (c)
1365 Gruffudd (c)
1370 Dafydd  1400 Dafydd 
(a) One of
these men was nicknamed "Gloff" but probably not the other
(b) One of
these men was nicknamed "Frych" but probably not the other
(c) One of
these men was nicknamed "Llwyd" but possibly not the other
While spouses cited for these men all chronologically align with men in one or the other of these families, not
all the matches could have occurred in either family alone. We will illustrate the problem by the most glaring set of
marriages matches charted by Bartrum, whose charts assume the family shown on the right was the only family. Bartrum
shows 3 spouses for his single Dafydd, the one born c. 1400.
Mali ferch Llewelyn Dew ap Madog ap Einion Rwth (descended from Braint Hir), a lady born c. 1375 and correctly assigned to
Bartrum's generation 11.
Angharad ferch Gronwy ap Cynwrig ap Bleddyn Llwyd (descended from Hedd ap Alunog), a lady born c. 1370 but misdated by Bartrum
to his generation 12.
Annes ferch Rhys ap Iorwerth ap Llewelyn Ddu (descended from Llywarch Hwlbrwch), a lady born c. 1415 and assigned to Bartrum's
Bartrum really believe a man could have married a woman his own age plus a woman a generation younger plus a woman a generation
older than himself? In fact, it was the c. 1370 Dafydd who married twice to ladies near his own age, and the c. 1400
Dafydd who married the lady born c. 1415.
is yet another branch of the Marchweithian family which used the same pattern of male names; it includes a Cynwrig ap Llywarch
of c. 1215 and a Cynwrig Fychan  ap Cynwrig ap Llywarch of c. 1320. The wives and children of those men
are all assigned to men in Bartrum's charts who lived a full generation too early or too late. We suggest that family
descended from the Llywarch ap Ithel ap Cadwgan ap Ystrwyth shown without children in Bartrum's charts but for whom, in 1334, a
gavella in Talybryn, Is Aled  was named as its original owner.
While we found no
early sources to confirm it, Marchweithian was contemporary with King Gruffudd ap Llewelyn (ruled 1039-1063) and most likely
served some important role in his court. Neither is it known what brought him to be included among the heads of the
15 Noble Tribes.