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Maredudd ap Owain, King of Deheubarth
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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
         In his scholarly History of Wales, Professor John Lloyd declined to discuss events in Deheubarth after the 999 death of Maredudd ap Owain [1], with this observation:
         After Gwynedd was regained by Cynan ap Hywel ap Ieuaf in the year 1000 "a veil falls over the history of Deheubarth which suggests the beginning of a period of anarchy unexampled even in that turbulent age." [2]
         By process of elimination, we can get a reasonable idea of who succeeded Maredudd as king of Deheubarth in 999.  He had no legitimate son, Cadwallon ap Maredudd having died in 992 as a youngster. [3]  While he had two daughters, one married to Llawr ap Aelan of Dyfed [4] and the other not yet 10 years old [5], there was no reason for the men of Deheubarth to consider selecting a new king only maternally related to the Royal Family; Maredudd had a nephew, Edwin ap Einion [6], who was not only old enough for kingship but a son of the senior line of descent from Hywel Dda.  Maredudd had represented a junior line and he had only been made king in 988 because the sons of his older brother, Einion, were then still teenagers or younger.  
         The eldest of those sons, Tewdwr ap Einion, was killed in 994 during the battle in which his uncle Maredudd was expelled from Gwynedd. [7] The youngest brother, Cadell ap Einion, was yet in his early 20's. [8] But Edwin ap Einion had become of full age for kingship about 998/999 [9] and may well have been complicit in his uncle's death.  As the heir holding the best claim to kingship, we should expect that claim was both asserted and upheld.
         Little is known of the life or reign of Edwin.  His mother had been a lady of Mercia [10] and his eldest son, Hywel, also married a Saxon princess [11]; we aren't told who Edwin married, but a preference for ladies born east of Wales did run in this family.  His brother, Cadell, married a Powys lady, Elinor ferch Gwerystan, a sister of Cynfyn. [12] It might be significant that neither apparently chose a lady of Deheubarth.
         The Brut entry for 1022 might well have been written by a Public Relations firm hired by Llewelyn ap Seisyll.  In any event, its author was no friend of "the leading men of Deheubarth". Nor does it mention the Deheubarth Royal Family. This entry can be summarized as:
         "A certain lying Irishman named Rhain said he was the son of Maredudd ap Owain, and the leading men of Deheubarth accepted him as their king.  And against him rose Llewelyn ap Seisyll, king of Gwynedd, the supreme and most praiseworthy king of all Britain.  And when they met in battle, the army supporting Rhain was soundly defeated.  Rhain himself fled the field and was never seen again, while his supporters were slain and the lands plundered." [13]
         Early historians assumed that Llewelyn ap Seisyll had already taken the kingship of Deheubarth from its Royal Family [14], that the leading men were not pleased with that fact, and so rallied to the side of the Irishman who claimed to be son of a former Deheubarth king.  But the Brut entry, while praising Llewelyn, does not refer to him as king of Deheubarth but as king of Gwynedd. 
        We suggest that it was their own Royal Family, specifically Edwin and Cadell ap Einion, who had earned the displeasure of Deheubarth's leading men.  Further, that these noblemen knew that Rhain was in fact a base son of Maredudd ap Owain.  And that these noblemen rose against Edwin and Cadell, killing both before choosing Rhain as the new king.  It was only then when Llewelyn ap Seisyll decided to take Deheubarth for himself.  His wife, he reasoned, was the legitimate heir of Maredudd, not her bastard half-brother.  His timing was right, the men of Deheubarth had themselves cleared the way by disposing of its lawful king and his brother, neither of whom had sons yet out of their teens. And there were no proven military leaders backing Rhain, only landowners.  One might identify those men as: [15]
        1.  Gwaithfoed of Ystrad Tywy, born c. 975; Gwyn ap Rhydderch of Dyfed, born c. 965; Rhydderch ap Iestyn of Dyfed, born c. 985; and Gwyn ap Collwyn of Cydwili, born c. 980.  All these noblemen descended from the ancient Deisi tribe.
       2.  Gwyn, Llawr and Alser, sons of Aelan of Dyfed, born c. 960/965 and descended from Tudwal Gloff.
       3.  Gwrgan and Llywarch, sons of Rhiryd of Is Cennin, born c. 975/980; and Bledri ap Mor of Gower, born c. 975.  These men all descended from Pasgen ap Urien, the early 10th century emigrant from Tegeingl.
       4.  Einion ap Eunydd of Ceredigion, born c. 965; and Carwed ap Gwgan of Ceredigion, born c. 965.  These men descended from Ceredig ap Cunedda of the 5th century.  
       While this group of Deheubarth noblemen proved to be no match for Llewelyn ap Seisyll on the battlefield, we suspect it was among their number where we'd find the men who did somehow manage to kill Llewelyn in 1023, likely by ambush or treachery. [16] Of their number, only two men had maritial ties to the Royal Family.  Llawr ap Aelan was the husband of the eldest daughter of Maredudd ap Owain [17], but he was past age 60.  Rhydderch ap Iestyn was a son of Einion ap Owain's sister, thus a first-cousin of Edwin and Cadell ap Einion, [18] and Rhydderch was about age 48 when he was installed as king of Deheubarth in 1023. [19]
          We can only guess why Edwin ap Einion, during his reign in Deheubarth from 999 to 1022, so offended his leading men that they rose against him.  Did their displeasure first begin in 1022, or had they suffered quietly for years, awaiting their man, Rhain, to attain sufficient age to become their king?  It is possible that Rhain was conceived of Maredudd's Irish mistress during his wife's pregnancy with Angharad, and thus born c. 994.  In that case, he would have first attained kingship age in 1022.  But perhaps the seeds of anarchy were planted early in Edwin's reign by his taking a Saxon wife.  He was himself half-Saxon, and now his son and eventual successor was possibly 3/4 Saxon. Or maybe the maternal ancestry of their kings didn't really concern his leading men, but his actions did.  Did he defile their daughters, dispossess them of lands, levy outrageous taxes against their wealth? We simply do not know. [20] The written record is silent, even as to Edwin's obit, and his brother's obit.  The same scribe who joyfully wrote of Rhain's fate, and Llewelyn's victory, must have had his own reasons for not reporting why there was a kingship vacancy in the first place.  Edwin ap Owain would have been a man in his 50's, far from retirement age; his brother was even younger. Yet neither is even mentioned in that scribe's account for the year 1022.
         While we agree with Professor Lloyd that there was a period of anarchy in Deheubarth, and that it was covered by a veil of secrecy, some attempt should be made to look behind the veil.  Until other scholars take up that challenge, our suggested scenerio will have to suffice.

[1] ByT for 999 records his obit
[2] J.E. Lloyd "A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest", 1912, 2nd edition, page 346
[3] ByT for 992 records his death
[4] this marriage is cited in Jesus Coll Ms 20, 31 but does not mention Llawr's ancestry 
[5] this daughter was Angharad, who would later marry Llewelyn ap Seisyll, and after his death, she married Cynfyn ap Gwerystan.  She was mother to both Gruffudd ap Llewelyn and Bleddyn ap Cynfyn.  She was likely born between 990 and 995
[6] He occurs in 992 in ByT as ravaging the lands of his uncle Maredudd, the king. We place his birth c. 963, so old enough to challenge his uncle for kingship.  His father, Einion ap Owain, was born c. 935
[7] This battle and the death of Tewdwr are cited in the ByT entry for 994
[8] We place the birth of Cadell ap Einion at 965 since his son, Tewdwr Mawr, was born in 995, his grandson, Tewdwr, in 1023 and Tewdwr's son, Rhys, in 1051
[9] see Note 6 for the estimated age of Edwin ap Einion
[10] See our paper "The Ancestry of Edwin of Tegeingl" Note 4, for the evidence that the mother of Edwin ap Einion was a Saxon lady, at the link below:
[11] The lady was a daughter of Earl Leofric of Mercia and was taken from Hywel in battle by Gruffudd ap Llewelyn in 1041
[12] Cadell's marriage is cited in Bodleian Add. C-178, 25
[13] Rather than cite the full entry from either of the 3 versions of the Brut, we simply summarized the salient points common to all versions.  The "quote" is ours, not the Brut authors. 
[14] Such an assumption was made by pre-20th century historians Dr. David Powell, B.B. Woodward and Jane Williams.  The more scholarly historians of the 20th century, J.E. Lloyd and Kari Maund, make no such claim.
[15] The Welsh nobleman identified here were selected from families known to have been Deheubarth barons of the right generation to be called "leading men" in 1022; none are actually named in the accounts relating to Rhain
[16] The 1023 obit of Llewelyn ap Seisyll merely says he died.  Since he was yet a man in his 40's, we think someone killed him.  Others have guessed it was the Gwynedd man, Iago ap Idwal, since Llewelyn's son killed Iago in 1039.  Our own timeline says Iago was only 18 years old in 1023 and it is more likely that the Deheubarth leading men killed Llewelyn for depriving them of the king they wanted
[17] refer to Note 4 above
[18] No sources actually say that a sister of Einion ap Owain was the mother of Rhydderch ap Iestyn; we make that connection as the only reasonable explanation for Rhydderch to have been named king.
[19] The ByT entry for 1023 says Rhydderch ap Iestyn became king of Deheubarth after the death of Llewelyn ap Seisyll
[20] The citation referenced in Note 10 above certainly suggests that Edwin's mother did not like her son very well; perhaps his peers shared her opinion and for good reasons