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Parents and Children of the Lord Rhys

                                      COMPOSITE LIVES OF ST BEUNO
                                               By Darrell Wolcott
 
         The principal authority for the history of St Beuno is a short life contained in Llyvr Agkyr Llandewivrevi. Written in Welsh, it was translated at the end of "Life and Miracles of S. Wenefrede", edited by Bishop Fleetwood in 1713.  The genealogy in the portion known as Buchedd Beuno says Beuno was "ap Bugi ap Gwynlliw ap Tegit ap Kadell drynlluc".[1]  His mother is cited as "Beren ferch Lawdden".  Other medieval pedigrees[2] call her "Pherferen ferch Lawdden Llydaw" and further identify her as a sister of Denyw, mother of St. Kentigern, and Tenoi, wife of Dyngad ap Nudd Hael and mother of St. Eleri.[3]
 
         Each of these citations point to a date near 515/520 for the birth of Beuno.  An immediate chronological problem occurs since the bulk of his life can be dated to the 570/640 era from the known floruit of men with whom he directly interfaced.  Further research makes it clear this "life" speaks of two different men called St. Beuno.  The one in the genealogies was born in Tegeingl and resided at Holywell.  He is the man whose sister, Gwenlo, was married to Tyfid ap Eiludd and bore a daughter, Gwenfrewi, who is better known as St. Winifred.  Those modern biographies which date her to the mid-seventh century do so incorrectly by associating her with a later St. Beuno.  She died in her early thirties while serving with her mother's cousin, St. Eleri, as abbess of Gwytherin.  All the other Saints named in her Vita Sancte Wenfrede were a generation older than Eleri.[4]  She seems to have been sent to St. Beuno for religious training as a maiden of perhaps 12/13 years old; her correct birthdate should be near 535.  Except for his association with St. Winifred and his Tegeingl locale, virtually nothing is known of this St. Beuno.  If he lived a full life, it would have ended c. 590.
 
          The other Beuno, whose pedigree is not given, was first associated with Welshpool in Powys and he ended his life about 640 in Clynnog on the Lleyn peninsula of Gwynedd.  The men with whom he interacted include Mawn and Cynan Garwyn, sons of Brochwel Ysgithrog, the young sons of Selyf ap Cynan, Cadfan ap Iago of Gwynedd and his son, Cadwallon.  The former were the Powys royal family, while the latter were kings of Gwynedd.  Both his place on the timeline and his familiarity with each of these men point to him being a son of Cynan Garwyn.  If so, the fact that Afandreg ferch Cynan was married to Cadfan ap Iago would have naturally led Beuno to visit his brother-in-law in Gwynedd.  His biographer mentions the death of Cadfan, which occurred c. 620, and a visit with Cadwallon soon after he assumed the kingship.  Cadwallon died soon after, falling in battle in 634.[5]
 
          The other notable event in Beuno's life concerned a daughter of Ynyr Gwent named Tigiwg.  She met a young carpenter from Gwynedd who had come to Gwent to help build a palace and fell in lust with him; her father "gave her in marriage" to the young man "lest she should have him in some other way".  When the man returned home to Gwynedd, he took his new wife with him but apparently did not share her passions.  Supposedly he killed her on the way home, but more likely he simply took off while she was asleep.  St. Beuno's men found the girl and brought her to the holy man who took her in as a new recruit to his brand of religion.  Sometime later, her brother Iddon came looking for her, apparently having heard the carpenter was back home with no wife in tow.  She chose to stay with Beuno, who then went with Iddon to confront her husband and secure the return of those wedding gifts he had received in Gwent.  This incident clearly did not involve the children of the Ynyr Gwent who some say married a daughter of Vortimer[6]; if such a Ynyr existed, he would belong to the fifth century.  The father of Tigiwd and Iddon certainly dates to the middle of the sixth century.  His ancestry is uncertain, but he was probably contemporary with Meurig ap Tewdrig of Gwent.
 
          Although the St. Beuno of Clynnog is the man intended to be honored by the medieval biographer, both the parentage cited for him and the story of St. Winifred belong to the earlier Beuno of Holywell. We suggest the following chart for the two men:
 
                                 380  Cadell Ddyrnllwg
                              ___________l_____________
                              l                                           l  
                   410  Pasgen                         415  Teged
                              l                                           l
                   440  Maun                           450  Gwynlliw
                              l                                           l
                   475  Cyngen                         485   Bugi
                              l                       ___________l____
                              l                       l                          l
         510  Brochwel Ysgithrog    St Beuno  515       Gwenlo 520
                             l               of Holywell                    l
               545  Cynan Garwin                             St Winifred  535
            ___________l__________
           l                  l                    l  580
 575  Selyf   575 St Beuno       Afandreg==Cadfan 570
                     of Clynnog                       l
                                              600 Cadwallon ob 634
 

NOTES:
 
[1]  The pedigrees contained in Bonedd y Saint confuse the family of St. Beuno with that of St. Cadog since a man named Gwynlliw appears in both.  But St. Cadog was the son of Gwynlliw ap Glywys ap Solar filor descended from Maxen Wledig, while St. Beuno descended from Gwynlliw ap Tegid of the line of Cadell Ddyrnllwg.
[2] Bonedd y Saint, 30; Achau'r Saint, 26
[3] Bonedd y Saint, 14 & 18; Buchedd Llawddog; Buchedd Beuno
[4] Saints Deifer and Sadwrn, both born near 485 and elderly men when St Winifred was directed to St. Eleri, her grandmother's nephew. See Appendix 1
[5] Buchedd Beuno tells of King Cadwallon granting land to St. Beuno in return for a gold scepter; the land did not belong to the king and when Beuno asked for other land or the return of the scepter, Cadwallon refused to do either. The tale ends with Beuno issuing a curse that the king not long possess his lands.  Cadwallon was slain in battle shortly afterwards. Of course, no one except the biographer believes there was any connection between the events.
[6] Bonedd y Saint, 44/45 (if connected) cite the marriage of Madrun ferch Vortimer to Ynyr Gwent and incorrectly makes Iddon and Tigiwg children of that Ynyr. If a man called Ynyr Gwent married a daughter of Vortimer, he would date from c. 440 while the children cited belong to the Ynyr Gwent of the mid-sixth century. But it is more likely that the pedigrees numbered 44 and 45 are not connected at all, in which case the evidence for a fifth-century Ynyr rests solely on Vita S. Tathei in British Museum Cotton Ms Vespasian A xiv
 
 
APPENDIX 1 - Pedigree of St Eleri
 
            450  Gwynlliw            465  Llawdden         Nudd Hael  455
                       l                _________l______             l
                       l                l                           l            l
            485  Bugi===Pherferen 495   500 Thenoi==Dyngad 490
                 _______l________                             l
                 l                          l                             l
  515  St Beuno         520  Gwenlo             520  St Eleri 
                                           l
                           535  St Winefred