WELSH ANCESTRY OF THE TUDOR DYNASTY
By Darrell Wolcott
All the early sources agree that the first Tudor king, Henry VII, descended from a prominent Welsh family, that headed by
Ednyfed Fychan of Gwynedd. This Ednyfed, descended from a long line of noblemen which included Marchudd ap Cynan of
the early 10th century  and Coel Hen of the late 5th century , was the chief officer at the court of King Llewelyn ap
Iorwerth from about 1200 to 1240. Several families which descended from Ednyfed Fychan were among the most powerful
lords in North Wales in the 13th to the 15th centuries.
specific pedigree cast for Henry VII, however, deserves another look since it is arguably one generation too short.
That cast by Peter Bartrum conforms to those found in other late sources: 
1170 Ednyfed Fychan (a)
1270 Gronwy (Fychan) (b)
1400 Owen Tudor
1430 Edmund Tudor
1457 Henry VII
(a) The estimated
birthdates shown here are those of Peter Bartrum, which clearly show a missing generation but wrongly place it between Maredudd
and Owen Tudor.
(b) Bartrum, and
several other sources, simply call this man Gronwy. But other sources say the name of Maredudd ap Tudor's grandfather
was Gronwy Fychan.  Those contemporary writers (who still agree with the above chart) offer the opinion that the
man's name was actually Gronwy but that he is often called Gronwy Fychan to distinguish him from his own grandfather, the
It is our belief
that a correct and chronologically stable pedigree of Henry VII would make the disputed Gronwy two separate men: Gronwy ap
Tudor, and Gronwy Fychan ap Gronwy. Still using most of Bartrum's estimated birthdates, we would chart:
1170 Ednyfed Fychan
1300 Gronwy Fychan
1400 Owain Tudor
1430 Edmund Tudor
1457 King Henry VII
When we examine
each generation in more depth, we can better see the problem presented to genealogists by the naming sequences adopted by
this family, and offer slightly better estimates of birthdates from the wives they married:
Ednyfed Fychan, born c. 1165, died 1246. His
wife was Gwenllian, daughter of Lord Rhys, she born c. 1180 and died 1236. While he also had children by another consort,
this Gwenllian is cited as the mother of Gronwy. 
Gronwy ap Ednyfed Fychan, born c. 1200. The only consistent
data in the sources which cite his wife, Morfydd, is that she was the daughter of a man called Meurig of Gwent. Bartrum
depicts two possible descents for her, one from Morgan Hir  and one from Aeddan ap Gwaithfoed . A lady born c.
1205x1215 is required and would be the typical age to marry a Welsh nobleman born c. 1200. We suggest she was Morfydd
(1215) ferch Meurig (1180) ap Ithel (1145) ap Rhys (1110) ap Ifor (1080) ap Hywel (1050) ap Morgan
Hir (1015), a leading family of Gwent. We reject the "Aeddan ap Gwaithfoed" ancestry for her since he was not born
until c. 1165 (a date estimate Bartrum assigns to his brother Y Bach while making Aeddan a full generation older). A
grand-daughter of Aeddan would not be born earlier than c. 1230
Tudor ap Gronwy, born c. 1235 and died 1311.
He married Angharad (1250) ferch Ithel Fychan (1220) ap Ithel Llwyd (1190) ap Ithel Gam (1155) ap Maredudd (1120) ap Uchdryd
Cyfeiliog (1085) ap Uchdryd (1055) ap Edwin of Tegeingl (1020). 
Gronwy ap Tudor, born c. 1270 and died 1331.
He married Gwerfyl (1285) ferch Madog (1260) ap Iorwerth (1230) ap Madog of Hendwr (1200) ap Gruffudd (1170) ap Owain Brogyntyn
(1140).  While this Gronwy held lands in several parts of Wales, the only inquisition post mortem known to be preserved
relates only to two manors in northern Ceredigion. In that document, we are told that Gronwy had 3 sons, all of full
legal age in 1331, who would inherit equal shares of those manors.  Since those manors were held directly of King
Edward III, we thus know he had earlier given his fealty to the king. His sons were named as Hywel, Tudor and Gruffudd.
While both Hywel and Tudor ap
Gronwy appear in many other early sources, no brother named Gruffudd is found in any other source. We think it important
to explore this fact as it may well be responsible for the full-generation gap in the pedigree of Henry VII.
The inquest at issue is available
to researchers only in the form of a record printed in English. The original manuscript would have been hand-written
in Latin. Other manuscripts of the period make it clear that the form of Latin used in official documents was replete
with "generally accepted" abbreviations. We suggest the sons of Gronwy ap Tudor were listed as something like "Howeli
ap Gronou", Tudur ap Gronou" and "Gr. ap Gronou". It was the editor that translated and prepared the manuscript
for publishing, we believe, who decided that "Gr." meant "Gruffudd". Had he opted for "Gronwy", it would have been clear
that Gronwy ap Tudor had a son named Gronwy (probably called Fychan).
Within the body of Welsh pedigrees,
we find two ladies, one called Gwenllian Fychan ferch Gronwy Fychan ap Gronwy , and the other called Generys Fychan ferch
Gronwy Fychan ap Gronwy.  These sisters were born about 1335/40 based upon the age of the men they married, and
Bartrum's charts date the ladies to 1330. But he attached them to Gronwy Fychan ap Gronwy ap Ednyfed Fychan, a man he
incorrectly dates to 1270 (a grandson of Ednyfed would date c. 1235). Yet they were born in exactly the same generation
of other grandchildren of Gronwy ap Tudor ap Gronwy ap Ednyfed Fychan. Chronologically, the ladies must have been daughters
(1335) ferch Gronwy Fychan (1305) ap Gronwy (1270) ap Tudor (1235) ap Gronwy (1200) ap Ednyfed Fychan. The 1334 Survey
of Denbigh also cites a Gronwy Fychan ap Gronwy alive on that date and holding lands in Is Dulas, Rhos and Uwch Aled, Rhufoniog
, lands near the traditional seat of Ednyfed Fychan. Was this a near-100 year old grandson of Ednyfed Fychan, or
a 35 year old son of Gronwy ap Tudor? We rest our case.
(A) Hywel ap Gronwy ap Tudor, born c. 1300. He is known to have held
lands in Dindaethwy, Anglesey jointly with his brother, Tudor, in 1352. This Hywel was accused of participating in a
1345 plot which resulted in the murder of one William de Shaldeford. While he was arrested and held in confinement until
1347, no record of any conviction or punishment is extant. He is said to have been a cleric and might be the Hywel ap
Gronwy who became archbishop of Anglesey in 1357. There is no record of him ever marrying or having children.
It is believed he died shortly before his brother Tudor, whose obit is recorded in 1367.
(B) Tudor ap Gronwy, born c. 1300. Most assume that when his brother
Hywel died without issue, his one-half interest in the Dindaethwy lands devolved upon Tudor as the owner of the other half.
The lands were Trecastell, Penmynydd and Erddreiniog.  He is known to have 4 sons and 2 daughters born c. 1330x1345
but we do not know in what sequence. About 1380, Iolo Goch addressed a poem to the 4 brothers in which he promised to
come to Anglesey to visit them. The only thing notable about the poem is that Iolo revealed where each son lived: Gronwy
ap Tuor in Penmynydd, Ednyfed ap Tudor in Trecastell, Rhys ap Tudor in Erddreiniog, and Gwilym ap Tudor at Clorach.
This tends to confirm the manner in which Tudor had distributed his Dindaethwy manors, but fails to explain how Gwilym found
a home at Clorach. That tract was, in 1352, held by a non-related family  so he may have married a lady of Clorach.
Tudor ap Gronwy married Mallt ferch Madog ap Iorwerth of Penllyn, a lady born c. 1300  and this may have been a second
marriage for both. For the other marriage some claim for him, refer to APPENDIX I.
(C) Gronwy Fychan ap Gronwy, born c. 1305. Unlike his older brothers,
he apparently lived in Gwynedd-east-of-the-Conwy. not in Anglesey. No wife is cited for him. Besides the daughters
Gwenllian Fychan and Generys Fychan previously mentioned, he had a son Tudor.
(A) Gronwy ap Tudor of Penmynydd was born c. 1330 and was active in the
French wars conducted by King Edward III and his son, the Black Prince. He may have been returning from such duty in
1382 when he was accidently drowned in Kent. In his eulogy to the brothers Gronwy and Ednyfed, Iolo Goch said Gronwy's
body was returned for burial at the Franciscan friary at Llan-faes, Dindaethwy. That bard does not say exactly when,
where or how Ednyfed died, but makes it clear both brothers had died recently. The bard expressed his condolences to
their surviving brothers, Rhys and Gwilym. Gronwy had married Myfanwy ferch Iorwerth Ddu ap Ednyfed Gam of Pengwern
in Powys, a lady born c. 1340.  They had a son, Tudor, born c. 1365 and a daughter, Morfydd, born c. 1370. 
(B) Ednyfed ap Tudor of Trecastell was born c. 1345. He married Gwenllian
ferch Dafydd ap Bleddyn Fychan, a lady of Flintshire born c. 1360.  They had only daughters, Angharad and Myfanwy,
born c. 1375/80. . As mentioned above, he probably died in 1382.
(C) Rhys ap Tudor of Erddreiniog was born c. 1330. He married Efa
ferch Gruffudd Goch ap Adda, a lady of Ceri born c. 1335  but this was probably a second marriage for both.
It is unlikely she was the mother of Rhys' daughter, Gwerfyl, born c. 1360.  Rhys, with his brother Gwilym,
was among the men mustered in 1369 for duty in Gascony, but that army apparently never crossed the Channel.  He
was last seen in 1377 when he filed a breach of contract suit in a commercial transaction against his brother's father-in-law,
Iorwerth Ddu ap Ednyfed Gam. 
(D) Gwilym ap Tudor of Clorach was born c. 1335. Except for the 1369
mention with his brother Rhys, nothing is really known of his life or marriage. Both he and Rhys have been consistently
misidentified with another pair of brothers named Rhys and Gwilym ap Tudor who lived a full generation later.
(E) Angharad ferch Tudor and Marged ferch Tudor were the daughters
of Tudor ap Gronwy, and were born c. 1330x1340. 
(F) Tudor ap Gronwy Fychan ap Gronwy was born c. 1332. He married
Marged ferch Thomas ap Llewelyn of Ceredigion, a lady born c. 1340  She had a sister Elen, born c. 1335, who married
Gruffudd Fychan ap Gruffudd ap Madog Crupl and was the mother of Owain Glyndwr. The sons of Tudor ap Gronwy Fychan
were thus first-cousins of Glyndwr and supporters of his rebellion.
(A) Rhys ap Tudor ap Gronwy Fychan was born c. 1365. He is first
mentioned in 1389 with a breach of peace in London  and later, with his brother Gwilym, as archers in the service of Richard
II in Ireland.  The brothers were so skilled as archers that Richard II added them to his personal bodyguard in 1398,
being "hired for life" at 10 pounds per annum. After Henry IV deposed Richard II, Rhys ap Tudor was among the first
to join his cousin, Owain Glyndwr, in the initial act of revolt in 1400. He never received a pardon for his part in
the Glyndwr rebellion and his ultimate fate is uncertain.
(B) Gwilym ap Tudor ap Gronwy Fychan was born c. 1367. He is mentioned
as an archer (with brother Rhys) in 1396 and 1398 and also joined the Glyndwr rebellion in 1400. When he, his brother
Rhys and Owain Glyndwr were excluded by name from the general pardon offered to various participants of the rebellion, Gwilym
executed a "bold stroke" to obtain a pardon in 1401. See APPENDIX II. No wife or children are mentioned for Gwilym,
and his obit is unknown.
(C) Maredudd ap Tudor ap Gronwy Fychan was born c. 1370. He married
Marged ferch Dafydd Fychan ap Dafydd Llwyd of Trefeilir in Malltreath, Anglesey  and apparently moved there.
He held the office of Escheator of Anglesey in the early 1390's and was Esquire to the Bishop of Bangor in 1405. 
He was the father of Owain who adopted the style "Owen Tudor", married the widow of Henry V and was the grandfather of King
Henry VII. Various historians claim Maredudd was a 5th brother of the sons of Tudor ap Gronwy, but are at a loss to
explain why Iolo Goch never mentioned him in his poem to the 4 brothers nor in his 1382 eulogy to two of those four men.
We suggest he was NOT a brother of those 4 men, but a son of their first-cousin, Tudor ap Gronwy Fychan. One historian
claims Maredudd joined his brothers in the Glyndwr revolt  but more likely he remained wholly obscure until his son, Owain,
emerged at the court of Henry V.
Owen Tudor was born c.
1400 and was a dashing young knight at the court of Henry V. The story is told that in the years following that king's
death in 1422, his widow, Catherine of Velois, began an affair with Owen who she married about 1430 when gossip about her
conduct drew widespread attention. Further inquiry into that matter is not required for the purposes of this paper.
Their eldest son was Edmund.
Edmund Tudor was born
in 1431 and was made Earl of Richmond in 1452. He married Margaret Beaufort in 1455, a daughter of John Beaufort who
was a grandson of John of Gaunt of the House of Lancaster. Their only son was Henry Tudor.
Henry Tudor was
born in 1457 and became King Henry VII in 1485 when he defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth.
 HLG 7c(1) cites Ednyfed Fychan ap Cynwrig ap Iorwerth ap Gwgan ap Idnerth
ap Edred ap Aeddan, while ABT 9a continues as Aeddan ap Iasseth ap Carwed ap Marchudd ap Cynan
 ABT 9a continues Marchudd ap Cynan ap Elyfyn ap Mor ap Mynan ap Yspwys ap
Mwyntrych ap Yspwys. and BGG 3 completes the pedigree with Cadrod Calchynydd ap Cynwyd Cynwydion ap Cynfelyn ap Athrwys
ap Mar ap Ceneu ap Coel Hen. We suggest a recurring trio has been omitted, and following Yspwys we should insert "ap Cadrod
ap Cynwyd ap Cynfelyn"
 P C Bartrum "Welsh Genealogies AD 300-1400: chart Marchudd ap Cynan 11 to
 Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940, page 693 under Owain Tudor
 Dwnn ii, 101
 op cit Bartrum chart Morgan Hir 1
 op cit Bartrum chart Gwaethfoed 2
 Pen. 127, 73; Pen. 128, 211b
 Pen. 131, 63 & 99; Pen. 129, 61 & 74; Pen. 127, 25
 Cal Inquests Post Mortem, Vol VII (Edward III) No. 418
 Pen. 134, 179; as Gwenllian in Pen. 128, 259a and Pen. 176, 282
 Pen. 134, 246; Pen. 128, 672b
 Survey of the Honor of Denbugh, pp 184 & 218
 Extent of Anglesey of 1352 in Trans Anglesey Society, 1971-72
 ibid in section for the commote of Twrcelyn
 Pen. 131, 99; Pen. 129, 61 & 74; Pen. 127, 25
 Pen. 131, 99; Pen. 129, 125; Pen. 127, 118 & 122
 Pen. 129, 102 & 125; Pen. 127, 118; Pen. 128, 137a & 672a say she
married Gwilym ap Gruffudd ap Gwilym ap Gruffudd ap Heilyn ap Tudor ap Ednyfed Fychan, a man of Penrhyn born c. 1360
 Pen. 127, 31; Pen. 129, 91
 Pen. 129, 61 & 90 say Angharad ferch Ednyfed ap Tudor married Ieuan
ap Adda ap Iorwerth Ddu; Pen. 128, 819a cites the marriage of Myfanwy ferch Ednyfed ap Tudor to Maredudd ap Adda Moel ap Gwilym,
while Trans Soc of Cymmrodorion, 1968, p 163 says she also married Rhys ap Cynwrig ap Robert ap Iorwerth
 Pen, 127, 22; Pen. 128, 262b
 Pen. 131, 97 & Pen. 127, 22 say Gwerfyl ferch Rhys ap Tudor married
Madog ap Ieuan ap Einion ap Gruffudd ap Hywel of Bron y Foel
 R.R. Davies "The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr", 1997, p 52
 His brother, Gronwy, had married Myfanwy ferch Iorwerth Ddu
 Pen. 134, 175 says Angharad ferch Tudor ap Gronwy married Tudor ap Hywel
ap Tudor ap Gruffudd descended from Llywarch ap Bran. Pen. 128, 86a says Marged ferch Tudor ap Gronwy married Madog
Fychan ap Madog Foel ap Ieuaf descended from Cynwrig Efell
 Pen. 131, 61
 Pen. 131, 126
 Calendar of Close Rolls, 1389-92, p 49
 Glyn Roberts "Aspects of Welsh History", 1969, p 202
 Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1396-99, p 400
 J E Lloyd "Owen Glenfower", 1992 reprint, p 142 says Rhys was captured
at Welshpool in 1410 and executed in Chester. Adam of Usk says the same but dates it to 1411. But see op cit Roberts
pp 203/04 for reasons to doubt these reports
 Pen. 131, 61 & 292; Dwnn ii, 108
 op cit Roberts p 199
 ibid "Maredudd and his wife certainly held lands in Anglesey early in the
15th century for it is on record that they escheated to the crown as a result of his rebellion". But none of the sources
cited by Roberts support that "it is on record" statement.
 See our paper "The Children of Lord Rhys" at the link below:
 Bodleian Add. C-178, 56
 Pen 131, 258
 Bodleian Add. c-178, 27
 Pen 131, 258
 Dwnn ii, 54
 Inquisition 2 Edw II, No. 19
 Dwnn ii, 53
 Pen 131, 257 calls the lady "Elen"
 Pen 127, 186; Pen 128, 825a
 Pen 131, 126
 Pen 133, 68 and Harl 2414, 14
 Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1399-1401, p 451
 The story of the taking of the castle is told in detail by Keith Williams-Jones
in Trans Caernarvonshire Historical Soc, vol 39 (1978) pp 7-43
 Born c. 1370, Hywel Fychan was the son of Madog ap Hywel ap Gruffudd ap
Dafydd ap Tudor ap Madog ap Iarddur ap Trahaearn of Arllechwedd Uchaf in Gwynedd
 P.R.O document E 28/9 and reproduced in the article cited in Note 48 above
APPENDIX I - Marged ferch Thomas ap Llewelyn ap Owain
lady with this name is said to have married Wilcock of Mawddwy ap Gruffudd ap William de la Pole. A lady of that same
name is said to have also married a "Tudor ap Gronwy". The following data is presented to support our belief that these
were two different ladies, born a full generation apart.
charts show two cousin branches of the family of Lord Rhys living in southern Ceredigion in the 14th century, one descended
from the princely line of Owain ap Gruffudd ap Lord Rhys and the other descended from Owain, a base son of Lord Rhys who was
given land in Caerwedros, Ceredigion:
1123 Lord Rhys
1157 Gruffudd (a)
1159 Owain (b)
1185 Owain (c) 1190
1215 Maredudd (e)
1225 Owain (f)
1243 Owain (g)
1270 Llewelyn (h)
1285 Thomas (i)
1299 Thomas (j)
1320 Marged (k)
1340 Elen (m) 1340
(a) The second-eldest son of Lord Rhys, his father chose him to be his
successor as Prince of Deheubarth.  He died in 1201.
(b) One if the base sons of Lord Rhys, his earliest citation calls
him "Owain Caerwedros" for the land granted to him in south Ceredigion
(c) He married a daughter of Gwgan Sais ap Heilyn ap Llywarch ap Gwyn ap
Tewdwr ap Cadell, a lady born c. 1190.  With his brother, Rhys Ieuanc, he battled his uncle Rhys Gryg for control
of Lord Rhys' lands
(d) He married a daughter of Thomas ap Rhodri ap Owain Gwynedd, a lady born c.
(e) He married Elen ferch Maelgwn Fychan ap Maelgwn Hen ap Lord Rhys, his
2nd cousin born c. 1225 
(f) He married Gwladys ferch Owain ap Einion ap Gwilym ap Gwrwared ap Cuhelyn
Fardd, a lady born c. 1240 
(g) He married Angharad ferch Owain ap Maredudd ap Robert of Cydewain,
a lady born c. 1250.  She was his maternal 1st cousin, his mother was a sister of Angharad's mother
(h) He died in 1309 leaving two sons, including the 10 year old named Thomas.
(i) He married Elen ferch Maredudd ap Owain, a lady born c. 1300 whose father
was a brother of the Llewelyn ap Owain of 1270 shown in the family on the left in the above chart. 
(j) He married a daughter of Sir Robert Bacton whose birthdate is unknown. 
(k) She married Wilcock of Mawddwy, son of Gruffudd ap William de
la Pole ap Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn Ceifeiliog ap Gwenwynwyn.  He was born c. 1310. Some citations
say she also married "Tudor ap Gronwy" but it was another same-named lady (see item "n" below) who married a Tudor ap
(m) She married Gruffudd Fychan ap Gruffudd ap Madog Crupl and gave birth
to Owain Glyndwr in 1359 
(n) She married Tudor ap Gronwy Fychan.  Her sons Rhys, Gwilym
and Maredudd were first cousins of Owain Glyndwr.
APPENDIX II - The 1401 Taking of Conwy Castle
After the initial revolt of Owain
Glyndwr in 1400, most of his supporters were offered pardons by King Henry IV if they simply pledged to refrain from
further warring against the king's peace. But the offer excluded by name Owain himself and his cousins, Rhys and Gwilym
ap Tudor, as well as those men "already in custody".  This meant that the brothers Rhys and Gwilym would remain
hunted men unable to return to their homes, and subject to execution if captured.
It was Gwilym ap Tudor who engineered
what historians called a "bold stroke". On Good Friday of 1401 (April 1) Gwilym assembled a group of about 43 friends
and planned to capture Conwy Castle while most of its defenders were at mass. It is believed a Welshman, who worked
as a carpenter within the castle, opened the gates for Gwilym's little warband to enter and take control. Two men-at-arms
who had remained on duty were quickly slain and the gates locked shut. 
Other friends of Gwilym, which
may or may not have included his brother Rhys, swarmed into the town outside the castle and burned large parts of it to the
ground. When the solders who were attending mass rushed to the castle, they quickly realized there was little they could
do to retake it; it had been built to make that chore nearly impossible. Gwilym and his men inside found the castle
well-stocked with food and water and settled down to wait for the English to negotiate with them.
Sir Henry Percy, the governor
of North Wales, was called to the scene. Knowing it would take many men and several weeks to take the castle by force,
he asked Gwilym what he'd require to surrender it. Gwilym's first list of demands included: pardons for himself and
his brother Rhys, pardons for the men with him inside the castle, a fair jury to hear the claims of the townspeople against
the men who'd burned their homes, and the right to immediately return to his own lands in peace for a period of six months.
Percy agreed to those
demands, subject to ratification by the King, by Letters Patent on April 20. But Henry IV refused to ratify Gwilym's
demands, and the matter continued in abeyance for over 3 months. The insurgents held the castle and Percy was unable
to obtain consent for the deal he had promised. It might be argued the sticking point for the king was the inclusion
of a pardon for Rhys ap Tudor, a man NOT among those holding the castle, but still at-large somewhere with Owain Glyndwr.
In any event, when a deal was finally reached on July 8, the name of Rhys ap Tudor was not on the pardon list. But the
list did include Gwilym ap Rhys, his second-in-command Hywel Fychan ap Madog ap Hywel and 33 other men who were inside the
castle.  One big concession which Gwilym agreed to was that 8 or 9 of his group be turned over to Percy so the crown
could exact some punishment for the incident. Those poor souls (who did NOT volunteer) were immediately hanged,
then drawn and quartered.