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Trahaearn ap Caradog of Arwystli
The Family of Trahaearn ap Caradog
Cadafael Ynfyd of Cydewain
Maredudd ap Owain, King of Deheubarth
Sandde Hardd of Mortyn
The Floruit of Einion ap Seisyllt
The 5 Dafydd Llwyds of Llanwrin Parish
Cowryd ap Cadfan of Dyffryn Clwyd
Osbwrn Wyddel of Cors Gedol
Bradwen of Llys Bradwen in Meirionydd
Who Was Sir Robert Pounderling?
Sir Aaron ap Rhys
Eidio Wyllt - What Was His Birthname?
Ifor Bach, Lord of Senghenydd
Ancestors and Children of the Lord Rhys
                                         By Darrell Wolcott
          Both the Welsh Brut and Annals mention a man named Rhydderch ap Iestyn who became king of Deheubarth in 1023 and was slain by the Irish in 1033.  A very early manuscript [1] mentions a Morgan ap Hywel ap Iorwerth ap Owain ap Caradog ap Gruffudd ap Rhydderch ap Iestyn in Gwent.  Neither of these sources mention the father of Iestyn.  When we chart the families of men cited as having descended from Rhydderch ap Iestyn, and match those men with references to them in later Brut entries, we find evidence these were unrelated same-named men, one Rhydderch located in Penfro cantref, Dyfed, and another Rhydderch located in Caerleon, Edeligion cantref, Gwent.
            Various medieval genealogists made their own guesses as to the ancestry of what they all believed to be a single Rhydderch ap Iestyn.  Several careless writers [2] identified Iestyn as "ap Gwrgant", the man who was king of Glamorgan between c. 1070 and c. 1095; for that guess to be correct, Rhydderch ap Iestyn could not have been born earlier than c. 1065, a full generation after his 1033 obit.  Lewis Dwnn, writing between 1586 and 1613, was the first source to claim Iestyn was "ap Owain ap Hywel Dda". [3] While this ancestry works chronologically, it has little else to recommend it.  Owain ap Hywel Dda was a well-known king of Deheubarth until his death in 988, yet no source for 600 years ever mentioned a son named Iestyn.  That name is wholly absent from all early lists of Owain's sons [4], appearing only as the father of Rhydderch in pedigrees and Brut entries which do not identify his own father.  And no early sources credit Owain ap Hywel Dda with any lands, rule or even influence in Gwent. [5]
          We would separate the Rhydderch of Dyfed (thus Deheubarth) from the Rhydderch of Gwent with these charts:
                             DEHEUBARTH FAMILY
                                950  Iestyn
                            985  Rhydderch (a)  obit 1033
                                      l                                l                               
                       1015  Caradog              1017  Rhys
                         _______l_______                   l
                         l                         l                  l   
      1045  Rhydderch (b)   1050 Owain (c)   Meirchion (d)  1045
                   l                               l
    1075 Maredudd (e)    1076 Caradog
                                   1110  Gronwy (f)
       (a)  Obtained the kingship of Deheubarth in 1023 when Llewelyn ap Seisyll died; killed by Irish in 1033
         (b) Shared the kingship of Deheubarth with Rhys ap Owain ap Edwin ap Einion in 1075, killed in 1076 by first-cousin 
         (c) Living in 1116, had been granted lands in Cantref Mawr, Ystrad Tywy, by Henry I
         (d) In 1076, killed his first-cousin Rhydderch ap Caradog
         (e) In 1116, held Cantref Bychan under Richard fitz Pons and defended the castle at Llandovery, Cantref Bychan, against Gruffudd ap Rhys ap Tewdwr
         (f)  Ancestor of the Cradock/Newton family of Dyfed, see chart at link below:
         Everything known of this family places it in Deheubarth, with no connection to Gwent at all.  Should we reject the modern identification of Iestyn as a son of Owain ap Hywel Dda, how do we account for the two men who held or shared the kingship of Owain's kingdom?  The sources place Iestyn in the southmost cantref of Dyfed, lands long ruled by men descended from the Irish Deisi tribe.  These men remained lords of their lands when Dyfed was subsumed into Deheubarth by Hywel Dda.  We would identify this Iestyn as a son of Llawrodd Dyfed descended from Sawl Felyn ap Meurig, and a brother of Collwyn ap Llawrodd who was the ancestor of Llewelyn ap Gwrgan of Cydweli. [6] And we suggest Iestyn married one of the daughters [7] of Owain ap Hywel Dda, making his son Rhydderch a first-cousin of Edwin ap Einion.  When Llewelyn ap Seisyll (who held the kingship of Deheubarth from 1022-1023) died, neither his own son nor any of the sons of Edwin were yet old enough to become king.  Accordingly, Rhydderch ap Iestyn was the only male member of the Royal Family both alive and old enough to become king in 1023.  His father was, in our construction, the son-in-law (not son) of Owain ap Hywel Dda.
                                   GWENT FAMILY
                                   945  Iestyn
                                973  Rhydderch
                      l                                           l
       1001  Caradog (a)                  1010  Gruffudd (b)
                     l                                            l
    1028  Rhydderch (c)                 1045  Caradog (d)
                                                 1080  Owain Wan (e)
                                                  1115  Iorwerth (f)
                                                1150  Sir Hywel (g)
        (a) A Caradog ap Rhydderch was killed by Saxons in 1035.  The Deheubarth man of that name had sons born well after that date, so it was this Gwent man whose obit is recorded.  He resided near Saxon lands to his east and he is much more likely to have encountered hostile Saxons than a man in Deheubarth in 1035
        (b) killed by Gruffudd ap Llewelyn, who thereby supposedly added Gwent to his kingdom. This occurred just before that man invaded Hereford in 1056...a short march from Gwent
        (c) mentioned in Book of Llandaf, p. 279, as a king of Gwent Is Coed during the reign of William I 
        (d) Married a daughter of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn who would have been born c. 1060; allied with Bleddyn's successor for an invasion into Deheubarth in 1081 where he was killed at Mynydd Cairn
       (e) ByT entry for 1116 calls him a son of Caradog and Gwenllian ferch Bleddyn ap Cynfyn.  The other Owain ap Caradog mentioned in this entry was the Deheubarth man, son of Caradog ap Rhydderch, who was a full generation too old to have been Gwenllian's son, she born c. 1060 
       (f) In 1171, King Henry II took Caerleon from him; he retook it in 1173
       (g) In 1175, both he and his father were driven out of Caerleon, and about 1184 he gave up any claim to it and, in return, was knighted by Henry II; married Gwerfyl (c. 1160) ferch Owain Cyfeiliog (c. 1125)
         This family was seated at Caerleon in southern Gwent.  One of its lords invaded Deheubarth in 1081, together with Trahaearn ap Caradog, king of Powys and Gwynedd.  Both were trying to unseat Rhys ap Tewdwr, but it isn't clear which of these men initiated the campaign nor how they planned to divide Rhys' kingdom among themselves.  In any event, the expedition failed and both were killed in the battle at Mynydd Cairn.  While one of the victors is said to have laid waste to Trahaearn's paternal lands in Arwystli after the battle, there is no report that Caerleon suffered any such reprisal.
         We think the Iestyn who heads this family was the son of Owain ap Morgan Hen [8], and a brother of Hywel ap Owain.  Morgan Hen had ruled all of southeast Wales, and his kingdom appears to have been divided as follows:
                                      885  Morgan Hen
                                          l                                       l 
                              915  Owain                913  Morgan the younger
                  _____________l_________                       l
                  l                                       l                       l
     943  Hywel                         945  Iestyn      945  Idwallon
   NORTH GWENT                    SOUTH GWENT     GLYWYSING
          Hywel ap Owain was the ancestor of Ynyr of north Gwent who ruled from Abergavenny c. 1065/1095.  Idwallon ap Morgan was the ancestor of Iestyn ap Gwrgan who ruled the western lands of Glywysing from Dinas Powys near Cardiff during the same period.  Caradog ap Gruffudd ap Rhydderch ap Iestyn was contemporary with those 11th century men, his 4th cousins.[9]

[1] Achau Brenhinoedd a Thywysogion Cymru, often abbreviated "ABT", pedigree #17.  The extant text of copies of the lost original omit the name Caradog, but both historian John Lloyd and genealogist Peter Bartrum agree it belongs in the pedigree
[2] These include George Clark's "Limbus Patrum Morganiae et Glamorganiae", 1886; Llyfr Baglan, 11; and outlier citations in Pen. 75, 61 and Pen. 129, 33
[3] Dwnn i, 143 & 144
[4] Earliest inclusion of Iestyn in a list of Owain's sons was Dwnn ii, 99
[5] Some early historians claim Hywel Dda, or his son Owain, laid claim to two commotes in Morgannwg, which claim was contested by Morgan Hen of Gwent.  We believe the two kings involved in this dispute were actually Owain ap Morgan Hen and his brother, Morgan the Younger.  See our paper concerning this matter at the link below:
[6] Llewelyn (c. 1075) ap Gwrgan (c. 1045) ap Ifor (c. 1010) ap Gwyn (c. 980) ap Collwyn (c. 945) ap Llawrodd Dyfed (c. 910) ap Seisyll (c. 880) ap Cynfyn (c. 850) ap Cynan (c. 815) ap Sawl Felyn (c. 785) ap Meurig (c. 750); this Deisi family is one of several who descended from Vortepir ap Aircol Lawhir of the 5th century
[7] Dwnn ii, 99 cites daughters of Owain ap Hywel Dda as Susanna, Lleuci, Arddun, Marged, Gwerfyl and Gwenllian but does not mention the spouses of any of them
[8] Morgan Hen lived c. 885/960 and was descended from Morgan ap Athrwys ap Tewdrig of the early 7th century.  We believe it is he, not the earlier Morgan, for whom Morgannwg or Glamorgan was named.  His mother was a daughter of Rhodri Mawr. It may have been a now-lost mention of "Iestyn ap Owain" which led Lewis Dwnn to assume it means Owain ap Hywel Dda
[9] Ynyr of Gwent, Iestyn ap Gwrgan and Caradog ap Gruffudd were all great-great-great grandsons of Morgan Hen