THE CONQUEST OF GLAMORGAN - FURTHER NOTES
By Darrell Wolcott
In an earlier paper, we briefly discussed
the Norman "Conquest of Glamorgan", with our purpose to identify the Welshman usually called "Einion ap Gollwyn". It
is our present intent to adduce what we can, or cannot, accept as actual history of that conquest. We shall approach
the subject by asking a series of questions, the answers to which most assume to be "well-settled" history, but which remain
shrouded by the "tale" conjured up by various 16th century writers. 
1. What land did Robert fitz Hamo actually take from its Welsh rulers?
There was no Welsh kingdom called "Glamorgan" in the
11th century. In much earlier times, the entire southeast part of Wales was called Morgannwg, or Morgan's Land.
Whether the Morgan for whom it was named was the 6th century Morgan ap Athrwys or the 9th century Morgan Hen ap Owain ap Hywel,
is still uncertain but need not be resolved here. In the late 11th century, it consisted of two main parts: (1)
the old kingdom of Glywysing which then extended from Senghenydd in the east to Gower  in the west (but NOT including Gower),
and (2) the Gwent portion, then consisting of Gwent plus the additional lands of Gwynllwg to its west and the commotes of
Ewias and Ystrad Yw to the north. Ewias was later absorbed into Herefordshire, while Ystrad Yw has since been added
to Brecknock. There was no longer a single king ruling all Morgannwg, but multiple independent petty kings who held
the various areas. While it is believed all these reguli were directly descended from a common ancestor, we see no evidence
they ever united to defend a local attack on any one of them.
The Glamorgan which fitzHamo conquered
was limited to the area locally called "Bro Glamorgan", the vale or lowlands of the kingdom once called Glywysing where the
Bristol Channel forms its southern border. This was perhaps 1/4 of the entire land area of Glywysing as it then
existed, certainly not the larger area which the English later named "Glamorganshire", nor even the area medieval maps label
"Glamorgan". FitzHamo took no land west of the Ogmore River, nor east of the Rhymmni River , and he took none of
the higher elevations which begin (at the most) 7 miles north of the coast. The remainder of the Glywysing portion of
Morgannwg remained in Welsh hands until well after fitzHamo died.
While all of the published historians
appear to agree with our limitation of the lands conquered, the mere labeling of the conquered area as "Glamorgan" has
led many to assume it was roughly the same area as modern Glamorganshire, It was much, much less land than that.
|South Wales in 11th Century
2. When did the fitz Hamo conquest occur?
This event is wholly absent from the
Annals of Wales and the Brut. Scholars have guessed it occurred in the 1091/1093 range of dates, but it might have been
a few years later than that. We should, however, date it prior to 1100 because that was when William Rufus was killed. Robert
fitz Hamo was a close associate of that king, who had granted him vast estates in Gloucester. Although he also served
Henry I in his French wars, it was William Rufus who made him a Marcher Baron when he took Bro Glamorgan. Fitz Hamo
himself was mentally disabled by a head wound in the French wars, from which he died in 1107. His personal rule
over the Welsh barony could not have existed past 1105. His only heir, a daughter Mabel, was yet a child when he died.
His estates in both Wales and Gloucester were held by the king in wardship for young Mabel until 1119.
We find no evidence that any lands
were added to fitz Hamo's original conquest until after 1120, when Henry's eldest base son, Robert of Caen, was made Earl
of Gloucester and Glamorgan.  A year earlier, this Robert had married Mabel and assumed control of her estate.
During the interval between 1107 and
1119, the remainder of Glywysing continued to be ruled by Welsh lords under Welsh laws and customs. Whatever Welshmen
that were permitted to remain in the Vale agreed to serve their Norman lords and adhere to English laws and customs.
We find no record of such Welshmen rising against their new lords.
3. What Welsh ruler held the Vale of Glamorgan when fitz Hamo and his men-at-arms
The traditional tale says that the Welsh King
was a man named Iestyn ap Gwrgan. A very early pedigree  identifies a man of that name who descended from Morgan
Hen ap Owain ap Hywel, but when the entire body of Morgannwg pedigrees is analyzed, it becomes clear there were at least 3
men of that name in this extended family. The earliest of these was born c. 1045 and would have been a man near age
50 when Fitz Hamo came calling. The next Iestyn was a man born c. 1070/75 and could not have been a Welsh king earlier than
the late 1090's. It was this man from whom the Welsh Lord of Afan, Morgan ap Caradog ap Iestyn, descended. Morgan
was an adult in 1175, and based on his marriage,  he must have been born c. 1135. A third Iestyn ap Gwrgan
was born c. 1105 and was the ancestor of Hywel ap Maredudd ap Caradog ap Iestyn. Hywel was Lord of the upland commote
of Meisgyn in 1246 . By his marriage  we date him to c. 1195, his father Maredudd to c. 1165, and his grandfather
Caradog to c. 1135. The Iestyn of c. 1105 is clearly not the man who ruled anything during the lifetime of
fitz Hamo. The weight of the evidence we have seen suggests it was the earliest Iestyn who ruled Bro Glamorgan when
fitz Hamo came into his lands.
4. By what means did fitz Hamo wrest control
of the Vale of Glamorgan from its Welsh ruler?
Probably merely by a show of
force. Fitz Hamo had brought with him at least 4 knights and an unknown number of foot soldiers, all trained and equipped
for battle. While Iestyn must have had his household troops near at hand, none of the individual men we'd expect to
be fighting at his side (including son-in-law Einion ap Cadifor ap Collwyn, brother-in-law Cadifor ap Cydrich ap Gwaithfoed
 , and 3 teen-aged sons) are known to have been killed, so there is no good reason to assume dozens of faceless Welshmen
fell in battle before Iestyn capitulated. The full terms of his surrender are unrecorded, but Iestyn himself must have
gone into exile outside Morgannwg and all his known immediate family are later found living in the mountains of Senghenydd.
His sons, Caradog, Madog and Cadwgan  all later married and had children, but none remained residing in the Vale nor held
any known lordship in the Welsh uplands.
In addition, the families
paternally related to Iestyn, and who owned manors in the Vale, must have been required to relocate to other lands outside
of Bro Glamorgan. Since those cousin lines were all junior branches of the old Morgannwg family , they apparently
accepted the arrangements negotiated by their king and there was no mass bloodshed to be recorded by the annalists or chroniclers
of Welsh history. It was, we think, a relatively peaceful transfer of power, with only a handful of Welsh families affected.
5. Who were the "12 knights" who accompanied
fitz Hamo and received shares of the Vale of Glamorgan?
Earlier historians have debunked
the tale of 12 knights by showing that many of those named in the 16th century tale were families not living in the Vale until
100 or more years after the conquest.  They were simply ancestors of various 16th century men who sought to enhance
their own pedigrees by claiming these ancestors were among fitz Hamo's knights.
We think only 4 knights accompanied
fitz Hamo, although additional knights were later brought to the Vale in 1120 when Robert of Caen became the successor to
fitz Hamo. The only fitz Hamo knights were:
1. William de Londres,
who was granted 4 knight's fees in the west end of the Vale on lands later included in the English hundred of Ogmore. 
2. Gilbert de Umfranville,
who received 4 knight's fees in the Parish of Penmarc located in the western part of the later hundred called Dinas Powys.
He also received 5 knight's fees in Gloucester. 
3. Peter la Sor,
who received 1 knight's fee in the Parish of Peterson located in the eastern part of Dinas Powys. He also received 14
knight's fees in Gloucester. 
4. Robert de St.
Quintin, who supposedly received 4 knight's fees at St. Tathan in the Parish of Llanbleddian located in the later hundred
of Cowbridge. 
6. What was happening in the Vale of Glamorgan
between the era of fitz Hamon and that of Robert of Caen, the 2nd ruler of this Marcher barony?
In 1107, Robert
fitz Hamo died of wounds received in 1105 in the French wars of King Henry I. His only heir was a daughter, Mabel, then
under the age of 10. It was not until about 1119 that Mabel was given as wife to Robert of Caen, the eldest base
son of Henry I. And it was only after the 1120 loss at sea of Henry's only legitimate son, William, that Robert was
made Earl of Gloucester and Glamorgan. During the period 1105 to 1119, Mabel fitz Hamo was the ward of King Henry who
held her estate in trust for her.
We suggest the king appointed
Richard de Grenville as the actual guardian of both the person and estate of Mabel, and that this was the primary reason why
the 16th century writers thought that de Grenville was a brother of fitz Hamo.  From 1105 (when fitz Hamo was
mentally disabled by his war wounds) to 1119, we think de Grenville protected his ward and her lands from the castle at Cardiff. He
was replaced in that role by Robert of Caen when that man wed the heiress, Mabel, but he stayed on at Cardiff as a knight
in service to the new baron.
7. Which knights actually came to the Vale after
fitz Hamo's rule ended and served under the new Earl Robert of Gloucester and Glamorgan?
It would appear that, after
several years of "status quo", Earl Robert's arrival signaled a campaign to increase Norman control over the Welsh portion
of Iestyn's old kingdom. This included the annexation of more land as well as an overlordship of the existing Welsh commotes.
New lands were, we suggest, obtained by these knights:
1. Richard de Grenville.
He had been married to Isabel Gifford  when he first came to the Vale, but she apparently died or divorced him sometime
afterward. They had no children. When the new Earl began to expand the barony beyond the Vale of Glamorgan, de
Grenville was sent to secure the coastal lands west of the River Ogmore, being the Welsh commotes of Nedd and Afan.
The Welsh lord of those lands was our second Iestyn ap Gwrgan, a man now in his 40's and whose father, Gwrgan ap Ithel Ddu,
had been the former king's first cousin.
Grenville knew this family well from his time as caretaker of the old fitz Hamon estate. He did not come calling upon
the Lord of Afan as an invading warrior but to seek the hand of the lord's sister in marriage. Constance  ferch
Gwrgan was a 40ish widow lady, without children, who had received the commote of Nedd from her father at her first marriage.
After negotiating the matter with Iestyn, the men appear to have agreed that: (a) de Grenville would marry Constance and become,
et exor, the Lord of Nedd, and (b) Iestyn would cede his lands of Afan to the English king and, upon giving that king his
oath of fealty, would have Afan granted back to him to be held directly of the king. Likewise, de Grenville would do the same
with Nedd and both men would then be barons under the jurisdiction of Robert, Earl of Gloucester and Glamorgan.
2. Payne de Turberville,
who obtained the commote of Coety by marriage. About 1124, he married Sara, daughter and heiress of Morgan ap Meurig
ap Gwrgan.  Coety is located immediately north of the western edge of the Vale. Sara was a great-niece of
the former King Iestyn ap Gwrgan. After then ceding the land to King Henry, it was granted back to de Turberville as
a baron under Earl Robert.
3. Roger de Berkerolles
was in some manner associated with the bishophric of Llandaff in 1119, but no record has been found to show he held any land
grant in the Vale of Glamorgan. A William de Berkerolles a generation later held land at Bassaleg in Gwynllwg, and his
son was a knight for Earl William of Gloucester in 1166.
The remaining "12 knights"
were identified in the 16th century "tale" as Richard Seward, Rannould de Sully, Oliver St. John, John Fleming and William
Esterling, none of which arrived in Glamorgan before the late 12th century. Most of these men did become landholders
after they arrived, but had nothing to do with events in the Vale of Glamorgan during the lifetime of Robert fitz Hamo or
his successor, Earl Robert. 
 See our paper "The Conquest of Glamorgan - Einion vs Iestyn ap Gwrgan"
for the various sources of the 16th century tale; another complete version written by Rice Merrick in 1578 was published in
1887 as "a Booke of Glamorgan's Antiquities" edited by James A. Corbett. Our paper can be seen at the link below:
 While the English added Gower to the territory when it created modern
Glamorganshire, it had been taken from Glywysing in the 10th century by Hywel Dda, who added it to his kingdom of Deheubarth
 The Rhymmni River was the border between Glywysing and Gwynllwg, while
the Ogmore River meets the Bristol Channel just south of the town of Bridgend
 It appears that Henry I did not make Robert an Earl at his marriage
to the fitz Hamo heiress, but only after his son, William, perished in an 1120 shipwreck
 ABT 15
 Dwnn I, 238 cites his marriage to Gwenllian ferch Ifor Bach, a lady born
c. 1145. Ifor Bach was the Lord of Senghenydd and a grandson of Cadifor ap Cydrich
 Richard de Clare took Meisgyn from Hywel ap Maredudd, according to
the 1246 Brut entry
 Harleian Ms 3525, 81 cites the wife of Hywel as a daughter of Gwilyn Gwyn
ap Ifor, a lady born c. 1200 and a great-great-granddaughter of Einion ap Cadifor ap Collwyn
 Some call these men "Einion ap Collwyn" and "Cydrich ap Gwaithfoed";
Refer to our paper in Note 1 for our identification of these men
 Very likely, the main reason most writers conflate the 3 men named Iestyn
ap Gwrgan, is that each had sons named Caradog and Madog, among others.
 They all descended from a younger brother of Gwrgan ap Ithel ap Idwallon
who was named Ithel Ddu
 See the article "The Norman Conquest and the Twelve Knights of Glamorgan"
by Ralph A. Griffiths printed in "Glamorgan Historian" volume 3, pages 153/169, a book published in 1966 and edited by Stewart
Williams. Also see the volume "Glamorgan Papers & Notes on the Lordship & its Members" by John S. Corbett published
 A "Liber Niger" list of knight's fees taken in 1166 shows the indicated
holdings by a man of the same family name
 In 1186, this holding was recorded to a man named Nerebert. Either
the St. Quintin knight included in the list of 12 knights is incorrect, or the lands were acquired by a different family within
two generations of the conquest
 While it is known that Mabel's inheritance was held for her in wardship
by King Henry until she wed, no sources tell us who was her actual guardian. We suggest Richard de Grenville for that
role since many call him a "brother" of Robert fitz Hamo. J.H. Round, in his 1930 book "Family Origins" dismissed that
claim as "unconvincing", saying that de Grenville was not even the ancestor of the 16th century Granville man making the claim
 Modern writers who mention this marriage give their source as Orderic Vitalis
in his early 12th century "Ecclesiastical History". We often mention, but cannot confirm, English pedigrees
 While Richard de Grenville did marry a Welsh lady named Constance through
whom he is believed to have acquired Neath (Nedd), no credible source cites her ancestry. It is only our conjecture
that she was a sister of the c. 1075 Iestyn ap Gwrgan who had received Nedd as a wedding gift from her father
 See note (p) to the chart in the following Appendix
 The selection of the men who did, or did not accompany fitz Hamo into Glamorgan
is our own conclusion. Others may, in good faith, come up with a somewhat different list by citing evidence which we
failed to locate
The Welsh families mentioned
in the text of this paper probably bore the following relationships to each other, based upon their descent from a common
While each of the people in this
chart are placed on their correct timeline, the manner in which they actually descended from Ithel ap Idwallon is our construction,
and may not be 100% correct. Our birthdate estimates place all known 12th century Welsh Lords in the family on the left
as the junior branch of the extended family. We believe it was the Iestyn of 1045 who was king in the 1090's, and whose
descendants were precluded from all positions of authority in land he once ruled.
(a) Idwallon is cited in ABT 15 as a son of Morgan
Mawr ap Owain ap Hywel, but the Idwallon who was father to Ithel occurs in the generation of a grandson of that Morgan.
In another paper in this Glamorgan grouping, we suggest Idwallon was a son of an uncited Morgan ap Morgan Hen/Mawr.
See that paper at the link below:
(b) Cited in ABT 15 and Peniarth Ms 178(1), 10 as the grandfather of Iestyn ap
(c) Described in Iolo Ms page 376 as the grandfather of an Iestyn ap Gwrgan who
lived primarily at Ton Ithel Ddu about 5 miles north of Bridgend on the River Ogmore, which was within the Vale of Glamorgan
(d) Cited in Mostyn Ms 212B, 117 as having married a daughter of Cynfyn ap Gwerystan
of Powys, a lady born c. 1026
(e) Several historians, including Thomas Nicholas in his 1874 "History &
Antiquities of Glamorgan", have followed Iolo Morgannwg in calling Ithel Ddu the grandfather of an Iestyn ap Gwrgan.
Since it was this Iestyn whose grandson, Morgan ap Caradog, was Lord of Afan in the 11th century, we suggest it had been Gwrgan
ap Ithel Ddu who was Lord of Nedd and Afan at the time of the Norman Conquest of Bro Glamorgan, and that he was forced to
abandon the homeplace Ton Ithel Ddu to fitz Hamo.
(f) We have created a spaceholder in our chart for the father of the c. 1075
Gwrgan. Since each of the men named Gwrgan in our chart are cited as a son of an "Ithel", we have used a form of that
name in our chart. No source ever calls the father of Gwrgan "Ithel Fychan"
(g) The earliest Iestyn ap Gwrgan, he is cited in Cardiff Ms 2, 30 and Llyfr
Baglan 11 & 298 as having married Constance Wen ferch Cadwgan ap Elystan Glodrydd, a lady born c. 1050. Several
17th century sources claim he also married Denys ferch Bleddyn ap Cynfyn. While such a lady could have been born c.
1055/60, we should suspect she was invented to support the tale that Iestyn named his manor Dinas Powys in her honor.
In fact, Dinas means "town" in Welsh and the old hill fort long predates the era of Iestyn. Most would identify this
Iestyn as the man who was king when evicted by Robert fitz Hamo
(h) The existence of this lady is purely our conjecture. It is true that
Richard de Grenville did marry a Welsh lady named Constance, from whom he received the lands of Neath, but her ancestry is
not known. We identify her as a sister of the c. 1075 Iestyn because we believe their father, Gwrgan ap Ithel Ddu, once
held both Nedd and Afan
(j) This is the Iestyn whose son Caradog was the Lord of Afan and which Caradog
was the father of the Lord Morgan mentioned in the Brut in 1175. This Iestyn is cited in Pen. 129, 151 and Pen. 138,
541 as having married Dyddgu ferch Iorwerth ap Cadwgan ap Elystan Glodrydd, a lady born c. 1085
(k) The daughters of this Iestyn were (1) Gwenllian, who married Drymbenog ap
Maenyrch, brother of the king of Brecknock, the lady born c. 1065; and (2) Nest, who married Einion ap Cadifor ap Collwyn.
The sons of this Iestyn were Caradog, Madog and Cadwgan. All the marriages cited for descendants of these sons were
with ladies living far north of the Vale of Glamorgan, so we assume the men relocated to the higher elevations after
the fitz Hamo conquest; none of them are mentioned as holding any Welsh lordship
(m) He became Lord of Afan after the death of his father. He had a younger
brother, Rhys, to whom he granted the Lordship of Solven, lands within Afan. Another brother, Madog, held
the Lordship of Rhuthin directly from the king. These were lands NOT previously held by Caradog, There was also
a younger brother, Gruffudd, but no lordship is mentioned for him. This Caradog ap Iestyn married a sister of Lord Rhys,
Gwladys, who is mentioned in the 1175 Brut entry as the mother of his son, Morgan
(n) This is the youngest of the men called Iestyn ap Gwrgan in this extended
family. He had, in addition to Caradog, a son named Madog who resided in the upland commote of Meisgyn but held no lordship. He
also had a daughter, Catryn, who married the c, 1120 Rhys ap Tewdwr. This Iestyn had a brother, Nicholas, who was Bishop
of Llandaf from 1148 to 1183
(p) The marriage of Sara to Payne Turberville is cited in several sources, including
Peniarth Ms 133, 74. She was sole heiress of lands in the commote of Coety located just north of the Vale. Coety
became the seat of the Turberville family for many years
(q) This Morgan inherited the Lordship of Afan. His marriage is cited in
Dwnn i, 238 to Gwenllian ferch Ifor Bach, a lady born c. 1145 and descended from Cadifor ap Cydrich. In 1175, he accompanied
his uncle, Lord Rhys, to a meeting with King Henry II as one of several Welsh nobles who had incurred the king's displeasure.
According to the Brut account, Morgan and the others were restored to the king's good graces and returned home. In 1188,
this Morgan escorted Gerald of Wales on his tour through Glamorgan
(r) Hywel ap Maredudd was Lord of the upland commote of Meisgyn, an inheritance
from his father. In 1246, the 6th Earl of Glamorgan, Richard de Clare, took his lordship from him, but Hywel was survived
only by daughters anyway. The Brut account says Hywel relocated to Gwynedd. Both his daughters had married and
left home prior to 1246