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Parents and Children of the Lord Rhys
                                 EDNOWAIN BENDEW ap NEINIAD
                                           By Darrell Wolcott 

       This Tegeingl man is mentioned in 5 citations originally found in Hengwrt Ms 33 of the 14th century. Although since lost, that manuscript was copied by several noted 16th century antiquarians. The original was arranged in four broad groups, two of which provide the original mention for several men of the period 900-1200: Achau Brenhinoedd a Thywysogion Cymru [1] and Hen Lwythau Gwynedd a'r Mars [2].

         While Ednowain Bendew may have been an important man in Tegeingl, he is not cited for himself, but as father or brother of some other person.  His nickname literally means "thick-headed" or "with a fat head" and one doubts he was called that to his face very often.  In the sources mentioned above, his ancestry is uniformly cited as "Ednowain Bendew ap Neiniad [3] ap Gwaithfoed ap Gwyrydr".  Beyond that, the sources tend to confuse Gwaithfoed ap Gwyrydr of Tegeingl with Gwaithfoed ap Gwynnog Farfsych of Powys.  Our pedigree for these men casts the Gwaithfoeds as cousins, as follows:
 
                                  735  Tegonwy ap Teon of Cegidfa
                                                 l
                                    765  Caenog
                                                 l
                                      795  Corf
                                                 l
                                     825  Ceido
                                                 l
                                855  Lles Llyddog
                         _____________l_______________
                         l                                                  l
       885  Gwynnog Farfsych                     890  Caradog
                         l                                                  l
     915  Gwaithfoed of Powys                  920  Gwyrydr Hir
                         l                                                  l
          955  Gwerystan                    955  Gwaithfoed of Tegeingl
                         l                                                  l
            985  Cynfyn                                  985  Neiniad
                        l                                                   l
       1025  Bleddyn, King of Powys     1020  Ednowain Bendew      
 
 

FATHER OF EDNOWAIN BENDEW:
 
        The name we chart as "Neiniad" appears in many forms in the Hengwrt 33 material.  These include Neiniad, Meiniad, Feinnait, Minniad, Miniad, Neiniat and Neinuat.  Whatever was the "intended" version of that word, it also appears several other times as a nickname attached to a common Welsh male birth name.  These versions include Cynon viniad, Cynon veiniad, Cynan Veiniad, Gynon veiniad, Gynan veiniat and Gnon veniad.
 
        One must assume the handwriting in the original manuscript was capable of many "readings" by the men who copied it into the versions of the manuscript which are now extant.  We are not sure why the nickname was uniformly spelled with a "v" when attached to a birth name, but with a "n", m" or "f" when standing alone.
 
          The closest actual Welsh word we can find, which might have been misread by copyists, is "beirniad".  It means "adjudicator" or "critic", one who offers his opinion on something, but without legal effect.  The original scribe's non-capitalized "b" might have been misread, and his cursive "r" may have blended into his "n". 
 
         We suggest that the intended man, the one who fathered Ednowain Bendew, bore the birth name "Cynan" but was widely known by his contemporaries as "the critic".  There is not another single case in the entire body of Welsh pedigree manuscripts, of a man named "Neiniad", so we believe it was a mis-copied word used as a descriptive nickname.
 
        In his manuscript Harleian 1977, Jacob Chaloner (obit 1631) renders the name "Cynan Vendigaid" [4], a variant spelling of "bendigaid" meaning "Blessed" as in "Holy" or "to be adored".  He appears to stand alone in that opinion.  Bartrum and some other modern writers have separated the two words, and use "Neiniad" as the father of the c. 1020 Ednowain Bendew, and "Cynon" as the father of the bogus "Ednowain Bendew II"
.
MOTHER OF EDNOWAIN BENDEW:
 
       No credible source identifies the mother of Ednowain Bendew ap Neiniad.  However, many modern writers claim that a "Cynan ap Gwaithfoed" married "Efa ferch Iestyn ap Gwrgan.  There are many men of that era called Gwaithfoed, and at least 3 different men named Iestyn ap Gwrgan, but no possible combination of marriage matches between folks of those names could have occurred early enough to produce a child in 1020.  Bartrum lists neither name in his index of names for the period AD300 to 1215 (volume 5 of his "Welsh Genealogies AD300 - 1400")

CHILDREN OF EDNOWAIN BENDEW:
 
        It was a daughter of Ednowain Bendew, Morwyl or Morfydd, whose marriage was responsible for the conjuring up the "Ednowain Bendew II" found in various 16th century pedigrees.  That daughter married Owain ap Edwin of Tegeingl and had, among others, a son named Madog.  Some 16th century families, who had descended from this Madog, responded to false tales, which claimed that Owain ap Edwin had been a traitor [5], by changing the name of the man who stood at the head of their pedigree.  They struck out "Owain ap Edwin" and replaced him with "Ednowain Bendew", the man who had been Owain's father-in-law.  When Peter Bartrum made his massive survey of old pedigree manuscripts, he found the estimated birthdate of the Madog in these pedigrees was not consistent with him having been a son of Ednowain Bendew ap Neiniad, so Bartrum called Madog's father "Ednowain Bendew II ap Cynon" of uncertain lineage. [6] 
 
        The anciently-cited children of Ednowain Bendew ap Neiniad were:
 
        a.  Morwyl or Morfydd (1060), a daughter who married Owain (1050) ap Edwin (1020) ap Gronwy (990) ap Gwaithfoed of Tegeingl (955),  [7]
        b.  Ceinfryd (1060), a daughter who married Cynddelw (1050) ap Cwnws (1020) ap Cillin (985) ap Maelog Dda (955) of Anglesey.  She was the mother of Hwfa (1085) ap Cynddelw.  [8]
        c.  Rhotbert (1050), a son whose daughter, Perweur (1085), married Sandde (1070) ap Iarddur (1040) ap Mor (1010) ap Tegerin (980) ap Aelan (950) of Anglesey.  Perweur was the mother of Rhys Goch (1100) ap Sandde.  [9]
        d.  Bledrus or Bleddri (1050), a son whose daughter, Cristyn (1080), was a consort of Maredudd (1065) ap Bleddyn (1025) ap Cynfyn (985) of Powys.  She was the mother of Iorwerth Goch (1110) ap Maredudd.  [10] 
 
         The additional sons, cited for an Ednowain or Ednowain Bendew born c. 1020, in 16th century manuscripts were:
 
       1.  Gruffudd (1055), a son who was the ancestor of Rhys (1425) ap Ieuan (1395) ap Deicew (1365) who married Marged (1430) ferch Harri (1395) ap Ieuan (1365) ap Bleddyn (1330) who descended from Hywel (1130) a base son of Owain Gwynedd.  [11]
       2.  Maredudd (1055), a son discussed in our paper at the link below:
       3.  Gwyn (1055). a son discussed in our paper at the link below:
 
         In our paper on Cowryd ap Cadfan , we suggested that man may have descended from Ednowain Bendew, either from a son of Bleddri ap Ednowain Bendew named Iddig, or from an additional son of Ednowain Bendew named Cadell.  We made that suggestion based upon a review of the arms assigned to Cowryd ap Cadfan and the lands he and his family are known to have held. [12]
        
        There are no credible citations which name either a wife for Ednowain Bendew, or a mother of any of his children.  However, several modern sources claim he married Gwerfyl ferch Llyddocca ap Tudor Trefor, a lady born c. 960.  That lady actually married Ednowain ap Gwaithfoed of Powys, a man born c. 945.
 
OTHER NEAR KIN OF EDNOWAIN BENDEW:
 
       He had a sister, Medlan penllydan (with the wide head), who was married to Collwyn ap Tangno, and the mother of 4 sons:  Merwydd, Eginir, Gellan and Ednyfed. [13]
 
       While not confirmed in any early source, we believe that his uncle, a brother of his father, was Gronwy, who married the widow of England's King Edmond Ironside.  This Gronwy was the father of Edwin of Tegeingl, who, we say, was a first-cousin of Ednowain Bendew.

THE LIFE OF EDNOWAIN BENDEW:
 
        It is said by early writers that Ednowain Bendew resided in the parish of Cilcain, commote of Coleshill in Tegeingl, and that he was yet alive in 1079.  Some call him Lord of Tegeingl, but we suspect any lordship he held was limited to a single commote.  His life was almost exactly contemporary with Edwin of Tegeingl, who is also called Lord or king of Tegeingl, and who lived in the commote of Rhuddlan.  Edwin likely outranked Ednowain politically since he was married to a sister [14] of Powys kings Gruffudd ap Llewelyn and Bleddyn ap Cynfyn.
 
        One might speculate that his unnamed mother had some difficulty giving birth, or that the mid-wife who assisted in the delivery of her children used some type of crude forceps.  Both Ednowain and his sister were assigned nicknames which might describe some abnormal shaping of their head.  That is, unless the nicknames referred to a behavorial trait, not a physical attribute.  He may have been a stubborn man, thus "thick-headed", while his sister may have been "broad-minded".
 
        We do not know of a single event in the life of Ednowain Bendew; he is not mentioned in either the Annals (Annales Cambriae) or Chronicles of Wales (Brut y Tywysogyon).  We do know of two honors which were bestowed upon him many years after his death.  In the 13th century, a commission of "heralds" began assigning coats of arms to their ancerstors.  Ednowain Bendew was given the arms "argent, a chevron between 3 boars' heads couped, sable".  Oral tradition claims that Ednowain once captured a wild boar, without any assistance.  We do not know whether the arms came from the tale, or if the tale was created to explain the arms.
 
        Late in the 15th century, various lists of "tribes" began circulating among antiquarians.  One such list, "The Noble Tribes of Gwynedd", designated 15 men as heads of their tribe.  Ednowain Bendew is one of those 15 patriarchs.  We assume "Gwynedd" was used here to mean "North Wales" because Ednowain was a man of Tegeingl at a time when it was a part of Powys.

NOTES:
[1]  Literally, "Pedigrees of the Kings and Princes of Wales",  Reproduced by Peter Bartrum in his 1966 book "Early Welsh Genealogical Tracts".  Often abbreviated ABT in source lists
[2]  Translates as "Old Tribes of Gwynedd and the March",  See Note 1 for a published version.  Sometimes abbreviated HLG in lists of sources
[3]  Used here to include all its variant spellings
[4]  This statement was made in the 1862 issue of "Archaeological Cambrensis", page 148
[5]  Refer to our paper on Owain ap Edwin at the link below:
[6]  Peter C. Bartrum, "Welsh Genealogies - AD300 - 1400", vol 2
[7]  ABT 2(d)
[8]  HLG 1(b)
[9]  HLG 2(i) 
[10]  ABT 8(h)
[11]  Peniarth Ms 176, 307
[12]  See the paper on Cowryd ap Cadfan at the link below:
[13]  HLG 9(a)
[14]  Edwin's wife was Iwerydd ferch Cynfyn ap Gwerystan.  Cynfyn later married the mother of Gruffudd ap Llewelyn, so Iwerydd became Gruffudd's step-sister.  She was also Bleddyn's half-sister, born of Cynfyn's first wife.