Guest-written Papers
Reference Abbreviations
Guidance Articles for Researchers
Single Family Analysis
Families of Mixed Origin
Family Pedigrees
Mis-identified Same-Named People in Wales
Battles and Historical Events
Ancient Welsh Territories
Welshmen in Llydaw, Brittany
The Men of the North
Legendary History Prior to 1st Century BC
Beli Mawr and Llyr Llediath in Welsh Pedigrees
Papers Related to Maxen Wledig
Bartrum's "Pedigrees of the Welsh Tribal Patriarchs"
Britain's Royal Roman Family
The Royal Family of Powys
2nd Powys Royal Dynasty
The Royal Family of Gwynedd
Men Descended from Tudwal Gloff
Royal Family of Gwent/ Glamorgan
Royal Family of Brycheiniog
15 Noble Tribes of Gwynedd
The 5 Plebian Tribes of Wales
Glast and the Glastening
Papers about Rhiryd Flaidd and Penllyn
The Men of Collwyn ap Tangno of Lleyn
Edwin of Tegeingl and his Family
Ednowain Bendew in Welsh pedigrees
Ithel of Bryn in Powys
Idnerth Benfras of Maesbrook
Tudor Trefor and his Family
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
                               THE 'NEXT HEIR' OF MORGAN OF CAERLEON
                                                  By Darrell Wolcott
           Morgan was the last remaining man descended from the Welsh Lords of Gwent Is Coed, the only legitimate son of Sir Hywel of Caerleon. [1]  The family had descended from Morgan Hen, and its cousin lines also ruled in Gwent Uwch Coed and Glamorgan before the coming of the Normans.  This part of southeast Wales had been the last holdout when King Gruffudd ap Llewelyn sought to bring all Wales under his control in the 11th century.  With the slaying of Gruffudd ap Rhydderch ap Iestyn in 1056, this mission was complete.  After the death of Gruffudd ap Llewelyn in 1063, Harold Godwinson moved into lower Gwent but was opposed by Caradog ap Gruffudd ap Rhydderch. 
          By the time this Caradog fell at Mynydd Cairn in 1081 attempting to take Deheubarth from Rhys as Tewdwr, the Normans had overrun Gwent and its neighboring cantref, Gwynllwg.  Thereafter, the Welsh royal family was evicted from its strongholds and became minor underlords to the English king.  Owain Wan, the only son of Caradog ap Gruffudd, had been but a child when his father was killed.  His eldest son, Morgan, had battled the Normans to recover some of the family's lands but was killed in 1158.  Iorwerth ap Owain Wan, a younger brother, continued the resistance and managed to retake Caerleon, but King Henry II retook it in 1171.  In 1173, Iorwerth laid seige to the castle at Caerleon and reclaimed all of Gwent Is Coed except the castles.  Two years later, he and his son, Hywel, were driven out of Caerleon, but with the help of Lord Rhys, made peace with the king and were restored to that castle.  Iorwerth died about 1184 and by 1188, Hywel had been knighted and relinquished his claim to Caerleon.  But after Hywel's death, his son Morgan must have managed to recover it since we find a 1236 deed [2] whereby Morgan ceded the castle to Gilbert Marshall.  Morgan ap Hywel died in 1248 and our present story begins there.
          An Inquest Post Mortem [3] was held at Christchurch on February 28, 1249 (33 Henry III) and its findings were:
          "That Morgan of Caerleon held of the lord the king in capite two commots of land by service of going with the lord the king in his army for the protection of the lord the king with his men, and the names of the commotes are Edlogan and Llevenydd. [4] And they are worth per year 40L.  And they say that Maredudd ap Gruffudd is the next heir of the said Morgan if he can prove he is legitimate.  And the said jurors understand that he is not legitimate.  Concerning the age of the said Maredudd, they say that he is 14 years old. And if the said Maredudd is not the heir of the said Morgan, they say that the four daughters of Iorwerth ap Owain, of whom two are living, namely Nest and Amable, and two are dead, namely Gwladys and Angharad, are the next heirs.  After the death of Gwladys, her son and heir is Rhys the son of Gruffudd.  After the death of Angharad, her son and heir is Gruffudd the son of Dyfnwal.  And for this reason, because the said women were sisters of Hywel ap Iorwerth [5], the father of the said Morgan".
         We know by subsequent events [6] that the boy mentioned in this inquest was Maredudd ap Gruffudd ap Maredudd Gethin ap Lord Rhys, but do not know (a) what relationship made him the apparent "next heir" of Morgan ap Hywel, or (b) why he was believed to be illegitimate.  Furthermore, we do not know why the four aunts of Morgan ap Hywel would inheirit if Maredudd was disqualified.  Morgan was known to have had several sisters...were they all base daughters of Hywel [7] and thus excluded from inheriting?
          Professor John Lloyd did not identify Maredudd as a grandson of Maredudd Gethin, but did construct a chart [8] which showed Maredudd to be the son of one Gwerfyl, daughter of Morgan of Caerleon.  He offered no source for that claim, and indeed, there are NO pedigree sources which suggest Morgan even had a daughter.   Joseph Bradney, in his A History of Monmouthshire, calls Maredudd ap Gruffudd "the great-grandson and heir of Morgan ap Hywel.....". [9] He gave no source for such a relationship; if he passed that data along to Professor Lloyd in 1912, [10] Lloyd altered it to "grandson" when making his own chart. 
           Morgan ap Hywel was born about 1180 so Bradney's statement would result in this chart:
                          1180  Morgan ap Hywel (a)
                           1205  daughter (b)
                           1220  daughter=====Gruffudd (c) 1200
                                     1234  Maredudd (d)
            (a)  If Morgan had been born much earlier, his aunts could not still be alive in 1249. 
            (b)  It would have been exceedingly rare for a Welshman of this era to have a legitimate child as early as age 25
            (c)  His father was killed in 1201, so this is about the latest he could have been born.  It would also be rare for him to have married a lady 20 years younger than himself.  The combination of (b) and (c) virtually guarantee this contruction is wrong
            (d)  He was age 14 at Morgan's inquest in early 1249
           Bradney immediately followed his "great-grandson" statement with what purports to be an inquest taken after the death of Maredudd ap Gruffudd, inquiring as to the rights of his son Morgan.  But Maredudd died in 1270 and the document [11] presented by Bradney is dated 10 Jan, 6 Edward I (1277).  It would appear that someone had challenged the rights of Morgan ap Maredudd to property located in the commote of Abergavenny and King Edward I issued a writ to his bailiff in Abergavenny, Master Henry de Bray, to enquire as to what rights Morgan has in the lands of "Meredith ap Griffin, his father".  What is recorded is de Bray's reply to that writ.  While only a single property being claimed by Morgan was located within his jurisdiction, the bailiff commented also on property located in Cantref Bychan and in Gwent Is Coed. His reply began with the latter:
         "Edlogan and Llevenydd.  These tenements descended to the said Meredith by right of inheritance through the death of one Wervil his ancestress, daughter of Morgan de Kerlyn, and he was seised thereof until Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester ejected him while the king was in the Holy Land......". [12]
         Although the bailiff's response is written in the form of an actual inquest post morten, such a jury in Abergavenny would not be competent to rule on property outside the jurisdiction of that court and, although asked to do so, declined to affix its seal to the response.  It is not known exactly who the bailiff interviewed to obtain his information, but he asserts a daughter of Morgan of Caerleon was the ancestress of Maredudd ap Gruffudd.  Bradney interpreted "ancestress" as "grandmother" while Lloyd charted her as "mother". 
           This is probably the source of the "Gwerfyl ferch Morgan" which Lloyd charted.  And Lloyd's chart was the only source cited by Bartrum in his Welsh Genealogies AD 300-1400.  Such a lady might have existed, but none of the early antiquarians, heralds or genealogists ever mentioned her.  In fact, the current entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004) for Morgan ap Hywel of Caerleon asserts that Morgan was childless. Written by David Crouch, a Welsh historian and professor at the University of Hull, this entry speculates that Maredudd ap Gruffudd was perhaps Morgan's first-cousin once removed (husband of Gwerfyl ferch Morgan ap Gruffudd ap Iorwerth) but no brother of Sir Hywel ap Iorwerth named Gruffudd is otherwise known.  Besides, why would such a distant relative take precedence over Morgan's known aunts?  It appears the writer was fixated upon a "Gwerfyl ferch Morgan" and guessing who her father might be since he was certain Morgan ap Hywel was childless.  Even George T. Clark, in his Limbus Patrum Morganiae et Glamorganiae [13], said that Morgan ap Hywel of Caerleon died without issue.
         We suspect that "ancestress" in the Abergavenny bailiff's response meant "great-grandmother", but the lady's relationship to Morgan of Caerleon was not "daughter" but "sister".  However, like Lloyd who declined to use the fake inquest as a source, and Bradney who reproduced parts of it without footnoting where the full text could be seen, we do not consider the bailiff's response to be a credible source.
           Is there any way at all, using the available pedigree sources, to discover how Maredudd ap Gruffudd became the next heir of Morgan ap Sir Hywel?  The following group of cited marriages, while containing some additional material which is clearly corrupt as they stand, might lead us to a plausable answer:
          "The wife of Gruffudd ap Maredudd Gethin was Sioned ferch Rhys ap Gronwy ap Einion of Is Cennin" [14]
         "The wife of Rhys ap Gronwy ap Einion was Nest ferch Dafydd Fras ap Hywel Fychan ap Rhydderch ap Maredudd Fras ap Rhydderch ap Tewdwr" [15]
         "The mother of the wife of Rhys ap Gronwy ap Einion was a daughter of Hywel Caerleon". [16]
         A chart displaying these 3 marriages would appear as:


              With this construction of the selected marriage pedigrees, Maredudd ap Gruffudd does appear as a great-grandson, not of Morgan ap Hywel, but of a sister of Morgan.  But for Maredudd to have had this relationship to Morgan, making him the next heir, several conditions must exist:
           a.  Morgan ap Hywel had to have been childless.
           b.  The sister shown for Morgan must have been, together with Morgan, the only legitimate children of Hywel ap Iorwerth.  Otherwise, one or more of the other 6 cited (but not displayed in our chart) sisters of Morgan would have been co-heirs.
           c.  All three ladies whose marriages are charted must have borne the child depicted while in her teens and died before 1249.  If any were still alive, then the eldest of them would have been Morgan's next heir instead of Maredudd.
           d.  Since both Dafydd Fras and Rhys ap Gronwy are known to have had sons [17], those sons must have been by a different mother else they would be "next heir" and not their sister.  This would be, however, consistent with the theory that the daughters in the chart died early after having but a single child.
           Another relationship existed between Maredudd ap Gruffudd and Morgan ap Hywel, but would NOT have made him the next heir of Morgan:
                 1150  Hywel of Caerleon                 Lord Rhys  1123
                      ________l_________                       l
                      l                              l                       l           1170
        1180  Morgan         1185  Gwenllian=====Maredudd Gethin
                                               Fychan      l
                                                        Gruffudd  1200
                                                        Maredudd  1234
         The sources clearly affirm that the grandmother of Maredudd was a sister of Morgan [18].  However, since Gruffudd is known to have been alive after 1249, he (not his teenaged son) would have been Morgan's next heir had Morgan's sister, Gwenllian Fychan, been in the actual line of inheritance.  There can be little doubt, therefore, that Maredudd's claim was via his mother and not through his father.
          We now turn to the other mystery posed by Morgan's Inquisition Post Mortem: Why did the jurors raise the question of the legitimacy of Maredudd's birth?  And further declare that he was NOT legitimate?
          We do know that his father appealed that decision to the Bishop of Llandaff, who certified in 1251 that the child WAS legitimate and thus entitled to inherit Morgan's estate [19].  The fact that it required a church ruling, rather than a civil decree, to establish the boy's legitimacy strongly suggests the matter revolved around the degree of kinship which his parents had to each other.  Marriages between first cousins or with one's nephew or niece were deemed by the church to be incestious, with any resulting children considered illegitimate.  Was this thought to have been the case with Maredudd?
          In the construction we charted above, Gruffudd ap Maredudd Gethin would have been the first cousin of Nest (their mothers were sisters), so Gruffudd's wife Sioned would have been his first-cousin once-removed.  Perhaps this degree of kinship was permitted by the church if it could be shown that Gwenllian Fychan was only a base half-sister of the mother of Nest....that the two daughters of Hywel had different mothers.  We previously suggested that must have been the case else the mother of Nest would not have been Morgan's sole heir; at best, she would have only been a co-heiress.
          Our solution to the relationship between Maredudd ap Gruffudd and Morgan of Caerleon is no more than a possibility, but it can find some support in pre-20th century pedigree citations.  The Lloyd/Bartrum view (that a Gwerfyl ferch Morgan was the mother of Maredudd) is wholly speculative; no pedigree citations support the suggestion that Morgan of Caerleon even had a daughter, much less that Gruffudd ap Maredudd Gethin married such a lady.  Even Bradney's dubious source, who first conjured up a Gwerfyl ferch Morgan, claims she was "ancestress" of Maredudd, not "mother".  But once you assume Morgan had a daughter, there would be less than 25 years between the birth of such a lady and the birth of Maredudd...insufficient for an intervening generation (as Lloyd evidently concluded when he deleted one of Bradney's generations).
          To summarize, we suggest the following series of events:
          1.  Hywel of Caerleon, by his wife, had only a son Morgan and a daughter whose name is unknown.  Other children of Hywel were the offspring of mistresses.
          2.  The legitimate daughter of Hywel married Dafydd Fras about 1202, had a daughter they named Nest, but died shortly following childbirth.  Dafydd Fras remarried and had a son who was his heir but not an heir of his first wife.
          3.  Nest ferch Dafydd Fras married Rhys ap Gronwy about 1217, had a daughter they named Sioned, but died soon after childbirth.  Rhys ap Gronwy remarried Gwladys ferch Cadwgan and had two sons who were his heirs, but not heirs of his first wife.
          4.  Sioned ferch Rhys married Gruffudd ap Maredudd Gethin about 1233.  She had been sole heir of Morgan of Caerleon through her mother, and her mother's mother, but Morgan was still alive.  She died before 1249 leaving a son named Maredudd as her heir. Thus, when Morgan died in late 1248, Maredudd was his legal "next heir".

[1]  Sir Hywel had two known base sons, Gruffudd and Meurig. 
[2]  Charter Rolls (Chancery) 19 Henry III, m. 12 
[3]  Inq post mortem, Henry III, file 8, no. 7, British Records Office
[4]  The commotes of Edeligion and Llebenydd adjoin the cantref of Gwynllwg in Gwent Is Coed.  The town and castle of Caerleon was located in Edeligion commote
[5]  The actual Latin text reads "oweli ap Joruard"; the expected leading "H" is missing
[6]  In addition to pedigree sources, Maredudd regained Llandovery castle which had been held by his grandfather, Maredudd Gethin, when the latter was killed in 1201.  Maredudd resided there, and died as Lord of Hirfryn at Llandovery castle in 1270.  Both these holdings and deaths are mentioned in ByT entries
[7]  These include Gwenllian, who married Gwilym ap Aeddan; Gwenllian Fychan, who married Maredudd Gethin ap Lord Rhys; Goleuddydd, who married Adam ap Ifor; Gwerfyl, who married Robert Turberville; unnamed, who married Cynwrig ap Y Cor; unnamed, who married Rhys ap Gruffudd; and unnamed who married Dafydd Fras ap Hywel Fychan.
[8]  J.E. Lloyd, "A History of Wales From the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest", 1912, Second Edition, vol 2, p. 771
[9]  Vol 3, Part 2, page 191
[10] In his Preface to the Second Edition in 1912, Lloyd acknowledged the assistance of Bradney in making changes from his First Edition
[11] Inquests Post Mortem, Edward I, File 20(19)
[12] The document also mentions the tenement of Mamhilad in the commote of Abergavenny and that in the commote of Hirfryn in Cantref Bychan, both of which descended to Maredudd from his father, NOT from Morgan of Caerleon
[13] page 128
[14] Dwnn i, 220; Dwnn ii, 100; Harl. 5835, 4.  The earliest source, Pen. 131, 208 did not identify the lady beyond "a noble lady of Is Cennin"
[15] Dwnn ii, 49; the ancestry of Dafydd Fras is expanded in Dwnn i, 47
[16] West Wales Historical Records, 1912, vol i, page 64 cites "Rhys ap Gronwy ap Einion ap Llywarch of Is Cennin married Marged ferch Gruffudd ap Cydrich of Gwynfai".  It continues, to say "the mother of that lady was a daughter of Hywel of Caerleon".  This Rhys ap Gronwy was born c. 1070 and his wife Marged was born c. 1080.  Since Hywel of Caerleon was born c. 1150, a daughter of his could NOT be the mother of Marged.  But in the Is Cennin family, there was a Rhys ap Gronwy ap Einion ap Llywarch born c. 1190 (4 generations descending from the c. 1070 Rhys) who married Nest ferch Dafydd Fras, a lady born c. 1203.  The mother of Nest COULD have been a daughter of Hywel Caerleon.  We suggest the original citation which a scribe copied into WWH Records merely said "the mother of Rhys' wife was a daughter of Hywel of Caerleon", and the scribe incorrectly added that comment to the wife of the earlier Rhys ap Gronwy.
                      940  Rhiryd
                     975  Llywarch      Gwaithfoed  975
                                 l                  l
                    1005  Einion          Cydrich  1005
                                 l                  l
                    1035  Gronwy        Gruffudd  1045   
                                 l                  l
                     1070  Rhys =====Marged  1080
                             1100  Llywarch
                              1130  Einion          1145 Hywel Fychan    Hywel Caerleon  1150
                                           l                               l                   l
                              1160  Gronwy         1175  Dafydd Fras===daughter 1185
                                           l                                          l
                               1190  Rhys==================Nest  1203 
          The daughter of Hywel Caerleon is, in the referenced citation, incorrectly called the mother of the wife of the earlier Rhys ap Gronwy
[17] Dafydd Fras had a son, Llewelyn, born abt 1205; Rhys ap Gronwy had sons Elidyr and Meurig, born abt 1225; he also had a 2nd wife, Gwladys ferch Cadwgan ap Iorwerth who could have been the mother of those sons.
[18] Pen. 131, 208 cites Gwenllian Fychan ferch Hywel Caerleon as wife of Maredudd Gethin ap Lord Rhys, and further says Maredudd Gethin was the father of Gruffudd, who had a son Maredudd.  It is not known whether Gwenllian Fychan was a uterine sister of Morgan ap Hywel Caerleon.
[19] "Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents relating to Great Britain and Ireland", edited by A.W. Haddan and W. Stubbs, 1869, vol i, pp 478/479