THE 'NEXT HEIR' OF MORGAN OF CAERLEON
Morgan was the last
remaining man descended from the Welsh Lords of Gwent Is Coed, the only legitimate son of Sir Hywel of Caerleon. 
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
 whereby Morgan ceded the castle to Gilbert Marshall. Morgan ap Hywel died in 1248 and our present story begins there.
An Inquest Post
Mortem  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.  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 , the
father of the said Morgan".
We know by subsequent events
 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  and thus excluded from inheriting?
Professor John Lloyd did
not identify Maredudd as a grandson of Maredudd Gethin, but did construct a chart  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.....".  He gave no source
for such a relationship; if he passed that data along to Professor Lloyd in 1912,  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)
If Morgan had been born much earlier, his aunts could not still be alive in 1249.
It would have been exceedingly rare for a Welshman of this era to have a legitimate child as early as age 25
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
He was age 14 at Morgan's inquest in early 1249
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  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......". 
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
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 , 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" 
"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" 
"The mother of the wife of Rhys
ap Gronwy ap Einion was a daughter of Hywel Caerleon". 
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:
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 , 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.
existed between Maredudd ap Gruffudd and Morgan ap Hywel, but would NOT have made him the next heir of Morgan:
Hywel of Caerleon Lord Rhys
1180 Morgan 1185
The sources clearly affirm that
the grandmother of Maredudd was a sister of Morgan . 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
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 . 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
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".
 Sir Hywel had two known base sons, Gruffudd and Meurig.
 Charter Rolls (Chancery) 19 Henry III, m. 12
 Inq post mortem, Henry III, file 8, no. 7, British Records Office
 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
 The actual Latin text reads "oweli ap Joruard"; the expected leading
"H" is missing
 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
 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.
 J.E. Lloyd, "A History of Wales From the Earliest Times to the Edwardian
Conquest", 1912, Second Edition, vol 2, p. 771
 Vol 3, Part 2, page 191
 In his Preface to the Second Edition in 1912, Lloyd acknowledged the assistance
of Bradney in making changes from his First Edition
 Inquests Post Mortem, Edward I, File 20(19)
 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
 page 128
 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"
 Dwnn ii, 49; the ancestry of Dafydd Fras is expanded in Dwnn i, 47
 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
975 Llywarch Gwaithfoed 975
1005 Einion Cydrich 1005
1035 Gronwy Gruffudd 1045
1070 Rhys =====Marged 1080
1130 Einion 1145 Hywel Fychan Hywel Caerleon
1160 Gronwy 1175 Dafydd Fras===daughter 1185
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
 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.
 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.
 "Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents relating to Great Britain and Ireland",
edited by A.W. Haddan and W. Stubbs, 1869, vol i, pp 478/479