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Ancestors and Children of the Lord Rhys
                              RHIRYD FLAIDD, LORD OF PENLLYN
                                         By Darrell Wolcott
          Born late in the reign of Powys king Madog ap Maredudd (1132-1160), Rhiryd ap Gwrgeneu of Pennant Melangell parish in Mochnant was the second son of Gwrgeneu ap Collwyn [1], the first by his second wife.  He was also her second child as she already had a toddler daughter by her first marriage.[2]  His mother was a daughter of Cynfyn Hirdref and his wife, Haer ferch y Blaidd Rhudd.  That Haer was the sole heir of her great-grandfather, Meirion y Blaidd Rhudd, the Lord of Penllyn and the original "red wolf".  She had married Cynfyn Hirdref of Lleyn, a man who had two base daughters in addition to the daughter he had by Haer.  It was that daughter who was sole heir of both Cynfyn and the line descended from the Lords of Penllyn.
          When Rhiryd ap Gwrgeneu ap Collwyn attained his majority, he was confirmed as Lord of Penllyn by the Powys king, a title which had temporarily been held "et uxor" by Cynfyn Hirdref and then by Gwrgeneu, since both were only related by marriage to the real, but female, heir.  Now dubbed "Flaidd" (wolf) to signify his descent from y Blaidd Rhudd, he relocated to the lordship manor at Rhiwaedog in Llanfor parish in Penllyn [3] where he erected a new, larger residence which he called Neuaddan Gleision or "blue hall".  After the death of his mother, and his mother's mother, Rhiryd inherited the substantial Penllyn lands once held by y Blaidd Rhudd plus his large manor called Gest in Eifionydd, and the manor Nefyn in Lleyn which was formerly owned by Cynfyn Hirdref.  From his father, Gwrgeneu ap Collwyn, Rhiryd inherited land in Pennant Melangell parish.
          Most accounts of this Rhiryd depict him as not only wealthy, but as living in the style that only Welsh kings were accustomed to enjoying.  One line in the bard Cynddelw's tribute to him calls him "a landholder of great note and a nobleman's nobleman."

          The earliest written mention of a Rhiryd Flaidd is found in the poems of Cynddelw the Bard who lived c. 1140 to c. 1210.  That bard dedicated (1) a long elegy to Rhiryd Flaidd and his brother, Arthen; (2) a song of praise to Rhiryd Flaidd thanking him for the gift of a fine sword; and (3) a brief elegy to Rhiryd Flaidd. Most historians believe all three of these compositions were speaking of a single man called Rhiryd Flaidd, but there are good reasons to doubt that assumption, which include his having composed two separate elegies for a single man. We suggest these 3 poems were composed in the order listed here. [4]
          The earliest pedigree to mention a Rhiryd Flaidd was the now-lost Hengwrt Ms 33 of the 13th century.  5 of the 7 extant copies of that maunscript, made in the 16th century, include a section called "Tribe of Penllyn" . These five copies all agree there was a man alive early in the 13th century named Madog ap Rhiryd Flaidd ap Gwrgeneu ap Collwyn ap Moriddig ap Rhys ap Gwerystan ap Llywarch ap Rhiwallon ap Araudr.  The remainder of the Penllyn section, however, appears to speak of two different men called Rhiryd Flaidd. [5]

          All 5 copyists of the old lost manuscript identified the mother of Rhiryd Flaidd as a daughter of Cynfyn Hirdref, that lady having been the daughter of Haer ferch y Blaidd Rhudd of Gest. These copyists all left a blank for the name of Cynfyn's daughter.  However, the very next line of the pedigree tells us that Rhiryd had a half-sister whose father was Gronwy ap Pywyr and whose mother was "that Haer". [6]   We translate as follows:
           "And [Rhiryd Flaidd's] mother was _____ daughter of Cynfyn Hirdref; her mother was Haer, daughter of y Blaidd Rhudd of Gest" 
           "Sister of Rhiryd was_____ daughter of Gronwy ap Pywyr of Ddol in Edeirnion, by that Haer"
          The only "Haer" previously mentioned had been a daughter of y Blaidd Rhudd.  Any daughter of hers, by another man, would be a half-sister of Rhryd Flaidd's mother.  Accordingly, Peter Bartrum made the logical assumption that since it was Rhiryd Flaidd who had a half-sister, those siblings must have shared the same mother, and that mother must have been named Haer ferch Cynfyn Hirdref.
          A different pedigree, in the same original manuscript [7], speaks of 3 daughters of Cynfyn Hirdref, and says that one of them married Gwrgeneu ap Collwyn.  3 of 7 copyists of that pedigree left her name blank, 3 others say she was Haer and 1 said she was Generys. We suggest this indicates that she was unnamed in the original, but a name was inserted by a majority of the copyists, a name taken from some other unnamed source whose credibility is unknown.

          "Gwrgeneu, Lord of Penllyn.  He married Generis, daughter and co-heiress of Cynfyn Hirdref, Lord of Nefyn in the commote of Dinllaen and cantref of Lleyn, and Haer his wife, daughter and heiress of Cyllin ap y Rhiryd Flaidd, Lord of Gest in the commote of Eifionydd and cantref of Dinodig.  Haer married secondly Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, Prince of Powys from 1062 to 1072.  Gwrgeneu obtained the lordship and lands of Penllyn from his wife's half-brother, Maredudd ap Bleddyn, Prince of Powys,  By his wife Generis, he had issue a son and heir, Rhiryd Flaidd". [8]
          His wife WAS a daughter of Cynfyn Hirdref, but her name was probably Haer, not Generys.  In a previous paper, we charted all these marriage connections and concluded that Gwrgeneu must have been born c. 1125.  This was his wife's second marriage, she already had a daughter by Gronwy ap Pywyr.  His wife had been the daughter and heiress of y Blaidd Rhudd, not a daughter of Cyllin, son of y Blaidd Rhudd.  That Blaidd Rhudd had a grandfather called Meirion y Blaidd Rhudd, and it was HE who had a daughter named Haer who married Powys King Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, whose actual reign was 1069-1075.   Maredudd ap Bleddyn was born c. 1065 and died in 1132.  Gwrgeneu was perhaps 7 years old when Maredudd died, so he did NOT receive any lordship or land from him.   Gwrgeneu would have described his relationship with Maredudd as "He was the son of the sister of my wife's great-grandfather". Furthermore, if Gwrgeneu's mother HAD been the same Haer who also married Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, Maredudd would have been HIS half-brother, not his mother's.  That they were NOT the same Haer is obvious since they were born about 70 years apart.

          The extant copies of Hengwrst Ms 33 all say the wife of Rhiryd Flaidd was Gwenllian ferch Ednyfed ap Cynwrig ap Rhiwallon of Maelor.  Gwenllian's mother was, in the same manuscripts [9], identified as Gwladys ferch Aldud ap Owain ap Edwin.  Those ladies can be charted as:
                                      900  Tudor Trefor
                                        930  Dyngad
                                      965  Rhiwallon
                                      995  Cynwrig                     Edwin  1020
                                                    l                              l
                                    1030  Rhiwallon                   Owain  1050
                                                    l                              l
                                    1065  Cynwrig                      Aldud  1085
                                                    l                              l
                                    1100  Ednyfed=========Gwladys  1115
                                                   1140  Gwenllian
          If the Gwenllian in this chart married a man named Rhiryd Flaidd, it was not the same man who was the son of a daughter of Cynfyn Hirdref.  This Gwenllian requires a husband born c. 1125-1140.  A different Rhiryd Flaidd, born near 1130, could have married this lady and could have been a favorite at the court of King Madog ap Maredudd during the period 1150 to 1160.
          Our conclusion from this analysis is that the wife of the Rhiryd Flaidd who was Lord of Penllyn, is nowhere cited and is thus unknown.

          In Peter Bartrum's charts, the following children are presented as children of Rhiryd Flaidd:
              1.  A daughter, Gwenllian, who married Gruffudd (1215) ap Iorwerth (1185) ap Maredudd (1150) ap Mathusalem (1120) ap Hwfa (1085) ap Cynddelw (1050) descended from Maelog Dda.   This Gwenllian was born c. 1230 and was actually a daughter of Rhiryd Fychan ap Rhiryd Flaidd. [10]
              2.  Another daughter named Gwenllian, who we identify later in this paper as the child of the c. 1130 man also called Rhiryd Flaidd
              3.  A son, Madog, born c. 1190, who married Efa (1200) ferch Philip Ddu (1170) ap Hywel (1135) ap Maredudd (1105) ap Bleddyn (1075). [11]  Bartrum incorrectly charts her as a descendent of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, but her Maredudd ap Bleddyn was a brother of the Cadwgan ap Bleddyn in the Nannau pedigrees.  Wholly unmentioned by Bartrum, this Madog also married Arddun (1190) ferch Philip (1155) ap Uchdryd (1120) ap Madog Penllyn (1085) ap Uchdryd (1055) ap Edwin. [12] .
              4.  A son, Einion, born c. 1190, who had two sons, Gwilym and Rhiryd Ddu.[13].  This was NOT the Einion who was killed in 1263 and had a son called Einion Greulan.  That Einion was born c. 1225 as a son of Rhiryd Fychan ap Rhiryd Flaidd.  However, Einion Greulan of c. 1260 also had a son named Rhiryd Ddu, whose family is conflated with the earlier Rhiryd Ddu on Bartrum's chart.
          Other children of Rhiryd Flaidd not so identified by Bartrum were:
              1.  A son, Rhiryd Fychan, born c. 1190.  In addition to the daughter and son mentioned above, he also had a a son named Madog, whose family Bartrum conflates with that of Madog ap Rhiryd Flaidd.
              2.  A  base son, Maredudd, born c. 1187 of an unnamed mistress.  He had a daughter, Lleuci (1215) who married Owain (1205) ap Gruffudd (1170) ap Owain Brogyntyn (1140), the latter being a base son of Powys king Madog ap Maredudd. [14] Neither the lady nor her husband appear in Bartrum's charts.
              3.  A base son, Gronwy, (likely the uterine brother of Maredudd) born c. 1185. His son, Gronwy Fychan (1215) married a daughter (1225) ferch Adam Gwent (1185) ap Iorwerth, ancestor of the Herbert family. [15] Neither of these people appear in Bartrum's charts.
          In summary, we would assign him 3 sons born in wedlock and 2 sons by a mistress.  We find no daughters that can be assigned to him.

          In previous papers. [1,2] we presented charts of the cited ancestors of Rhiryd Flaidd which point to a birth date near 1155 for Rhiryd.  His children also point to a c. 1155 birth date for him. He would have been about a half-generation younger than the bard Cynddelw, [See APPENDIX] which is consistent with him being a patron of the bard.   It is wholly inconsistent, however, with the claim that Rhiryd had been a personal intimate of, and was granted lands by Powys king Madog ap Maredudd ap Bleddyn, who died in 1160.
          According to the claims made by his modern biography, he had a close and intimate connection to Powys King Madog ap Maredudd, who supposedly granted him the lands called the Eleven Towns in the vicinity of Oswestry.  Land records do confirm that a Rhiryd ap Gwrgeneu owned land in Maelor, but do not say how he acquired it. If it were a grant from King Madog, it was made to an earlier man named Rhiryd; the Rhiryd Flaidd who was lord of Penllyn was not more than 5 years old when Madog died. And if this Rhiryd was NOT the Rhiryd who was Lord of Penllyn, the Maelor lands might have been a paternal inheritance since his ancestry is not known.

          Let's  begin with the Arthen ap Gwrgeneu who is called a brother of Rhiryd Flaidd in the bard Cynddelw's eulogy.  If this Arthen was also a son of Cynfyn Hirdref's daughter, would he not be a co-heir of all that land which Rhiryd Flaidd acquired through her?  Yet this Arthen is wholly absent from all official records and pedigree manuscripts.
          Next, let us consider the tradition which holds that a man called Rhiryd Flaidd was a prominent young warrior with intimate connections to Powys king Madog ap Maredudd, and perhaps received a grant of 11 manors in Maelor from the king.  Is this compatable with a man born just 5 years before that king's death?
          Most telling, however, is that a Rhiryd Flaidd ap Gwrgeneu was given a wife born c. 1140 who would have been an ideal match for a man born c. 1125/30.  And that man would have been the right age to be a favorite at the court of King Madog between 1150 and 1160. Since neither are known to be heirs to any land or titles, both this Rhiryd and brother Arthen might have been remembered for nothing more than as two young warriors in a bard's elegy.
          Finally, consider the lady cited as  "Gwenllian ferch Rhiryd Flaidd ap Gwrgeneu"  who married Hywel (1165) ap Maredudd Hen (1128) ap Hywel (1101) ap Maredudd (1065) ap Bleddyn (1025) ap Cynfyn, a lady born c. 1160/70. [16] Such a lady seems to require a father born c. 1130/40
          Taken together, we suggest there were two brothers named Rhiryd and Arthen who were born between 1130 and 1135, to a Powys man named Gwrgeneu.  Both were killed, probably in the battles against England's king Henry II in 1165/1166.  Rhiryd had been especially successful in earlier battles and was a favorite at the court of Powys King Madog ap Maredudd until the latter's death in 1160.  He had owned lands in Maelor and was given a lady of Maelor for his wife, by whom he left a baby daughter when slain.
          While the bard's elegy to these young warriors called Rhiryd "a friendly wolf, not the forest wolf who scatters the harmless flock, but the wolf of the field of battle, though other times he is mild and generous", we suggest this Rhiryd was not universally called "Flaidd" by his peers until after this poem was sung.
          It is not known which Powys family spawned the brothers in Cynddelw's elegy, but one suspects the answer may lay among the descendants of Tudor Trefor in Maelor.  It is there where he found a wife and there where he probably owned land.

[1]  See our paper "The Men of Pennant Melangell in Mochnant" at the link below:
[2]  See our paper "The Lineage of Pebid Penllyn" at the link below:
[3]  To understand what territory is meant by Penllyn, see Note 5 in the paper mentioned immediately above
[4]  Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr's three poems. composed for a man or men named Rhiryd Flaidd, can be seen in J.Y.W. Lloyd's "History of Powys Fadog", vol 1, pages 320-326, written in Welsh.  No English translations are known.
[5]  HLG 13
[6]  HLG 13 b and c
[7]  HLG 3e
[8]  Condensed from a paragraph in "The Lordships of Bromfield, Yale and Chirkland", Arch Cam , 1877, page 197
[9]  HLG 13d and e
[10] Pen 128, 679b but calls its Rhiryd "Flaidd" in error
[11] Dwnn i, 322 which also incorrectly traces the line back to Bleddyn ap Cynfyn
[12] Dwnn ii, 229
[13] Dwnn ii, 284/5; Lifyr Silin 2. 113[ the latter conflates the Rhiryd Ddu families
[14] Dwnn ii, 109
[15] Bradney, "History of Monmouthshire", vol 3 (part 2) page 220
[16] Pen 287, 356

          Most translate his nickname as "the great poet" but there is evidence that he was called "mawr" even as an adolescent boy, not for any "greatness" but because he was simply big, as in "really chubby".  One might even posit it was his overweight and uncoordinated physique which led him to pursue the learning of a bard rather than the glory of a warrior.
          Extant pedigrees call him Cynddelw ap Trahaearn and place him in the Gwynedd commote of Arllechwedd Isaf, the northern-most land on the western shore of the Conwy River.  Both the location and his known floruit suggest his father was a brother of the "Iarddur ap Cynddelw" who is mentioned as owner of a marsh which formed one of the metes and bounds of land granted to Aberconwy Abbey in 1198.  We chart his family as:
                                        950  Heilig ap Glannog
                                          985  Pasgen
                                           1015  Bod
                                       1045  Trahaearn
                                       1080  Cynddelw
                                   l                                         l
                    1115  Iarddur (a)                 1110  Trahaearn
                                   l                                         l                         
                  1150  Cynddelw              1140  Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr
                   1185  Iarddur (b)
    (a)  Man whose "marsh" is mentioned in a 1198 land grant
    (b)  Man who fled to Ireland in 1215 after incurring the wrath of Llewelyn Fawr
          Cynddelw the Bard has left behind a large collection of poems written for such kings as Madog ap Maredudd of northern Powys, Owain Cyfeiliog, king of southern Powys and Owain Gwynedd, king of that territory.  His biographers assume he was an official member of one or more of those king's courts, but we suggest his wide reputation and list of wealthy patrons merely made him welcome at several king's courts.
          Just as a wild guess, we would suggest that Cynddelw's father married a lady from Maelor in Powys, but continued living in Gwynedd until he died about 1155.  His widow and their 15 year old son, were invited to move to Maelor, where her family gave her a small manor.  That family, we posit, was descended from Dyngad ap Tudor Trefor, and Cynddelw's mother was a daughter of a man called Gwrgeneu, who was a second-cousin of Ednyfed ap Cynwrig ap Rhiwallon of Broughton.  Still guessing, suppose that the bard's mother had two younger brothers named Rhiryd and Arthen, thus uncles of Cynddelw.  And that both this Gwrgeneu and his cousin Ednyfed, were members of (or frequent guests at) the royal court of Madog ap Maredudd..  If this group of conjectures were true, it would explain how a Gwynedd bard was introduced to the Powys court and why the bard composed a very long eulogy for two Powys warriors who were otherwise unknown to history.  Of course, once he became a resident of Powys and frequented its royal court, his fame as a bard attracted a wealthy patron named Rhiryd Flaidd, Lord of Penllyn.
          Of his tributes to a Rhiryd "the wolf", we think the elegy to two brothers (Rhiryd and Arthen) was composed c. 1166 when those men fell on the battlefield as relatively young men.  His tribute to Rhiryd in thanks for a gift was likely composed in the 1190's, while the brief elegy to that patron may have been after 1200.
          We suggest his bardic career began about 1158 as a teenager who was gifted with the ability to chose words and phrases that perfectly fit the meter of classic Welsh verse.  He may have lived late into the first decade of the 13th century, a bit longer than the 1155-1200 floruit usually assigned to him.