and TANGWYSTL: A MOTHER-DAUGHTER DUO
By Darrell Wolcott
Our subject here is a lady and her mother, both named Tangwystl ferch Llywarch, and one of whom bore a base son to Gwynedd's
Llewelyn ap Iorwerth shortly before that man became king. The earliest extant source which mentions these ladies was
in a manuscript  written by Gutun Owain in the final quarter of the 15th century. Here, we are told that:
a. The mother of Gruffudd ap Llewelyn ap Iorwerth Drwyndwn was Tangwystl ferch Llywarch Goch of Rhos,
b. The mother of this Tangwystl was Tangwystl ferch Llywarch ap Bran, and
c. Tangwystl later married Ednyfed Fychan.*
*as explained in the text below, we don't know how the citation identified
which Tangwystl is meant, nor if it made her a wife or an unmarried consort of Ednyfed Fychan
While that manuscript is not available online and
no copies of it were ever published, it was made available to Peter Bartrum for his classic work on Welsh genealogies. Thus,
we only know what Bartrum said was written on page 124, where the author cited pedigrees related to men of Anglesey.
While Bartrum's take was that the Tangwystl mentioned in item "c" above was the older lady who was the daughter of Llywarch
ap Bran, we cannot say whether or not that identification was made perfectly clear in the manuscript. It is definitely
not clear to modern researchers. In chart form, items a and b appear as:
Llywarch Hwlbwrch of Rhos*
1055 Llywarch Goch
1120 Iorwerth Llywarch
1120 Owain Gwynedd 1100
Llywarch Goch====Tangwystl 1165 Iorwerth 1128
for the Rhos family was taken from other sources since the Gutun Owain pedigree did not extend the ancestry of Llywarch Goch
Bartrum marked the c. 1180 Tangwystl as an unmarried
mistress of Llewelyn who bore him a base son, but we don't know if that description was included in his source, or if Bartrum
merely repeated the modern historian's assertion that this was an extra-marital event.
If we were to add the final relationship (our item "c") to this chart, we must first decide which of the two ladies either
married, or bore children for, Ednyfed Fychan. There are other sources, from the 16th century, which speak to parts
of our chart. Peniarth 128, 760a (which IS available online) repeats everything we charted, except it conflates the
1150 Llywarch Goch with the 1055 Llywarch Goch. It makes no mention of either Tangwystl having a relationship with Ednyfed
Fychan, and says nothing to indicate that Gruffudd was a base son.
Peniarth 127, 73 (also available online) mentions the Tangwystl ferch Llywarch Goch who bore the son, Gruffudd ap Llewelyn
ap Iorwerth, but it calls her "Tangwystl Goch" and does not mention her mother at all. Bartrum's charts do not assign
a nickname to either lady.
Although not a credible source, the current Wikipedia entry for Ednyfed Fychan follows the modern view that:
"His first marriage was to Tangwystl ferch Llywarch, a known mistress of Llywelyn the
Great, the daughter of Llywarch ap Bran"
This view not only claims that it was a single lady named Tangwystl who bore a child or children for both King Llewelyn ap
Iorwerth and Ednyfed Fychan, but that it was the older lady of that name, not a same-named daughter. However, the early
credible citations  are perfectly clear that Llewelyn ap Iorwerth's putative mistress was the younger Tangwystl, daughter
of a same-named mother by Llywarch Goch of Rhos. Unfortunately, these citations are not clear as to which of the two
ladies bore sons for Ednyfed Fychan. Bartrum's view is that it was NOT the same Tangwystl who was involved with both
men, and we don't know if the sources he cites support him or not.
Peniarth 127, 167 tells us that Ednyfed Fychan had sons Tudor, Llewelyn, Hywel, Iorwerth and Rhys by Tangwystl ferch Llywarch
ap Bran, and follows that by stating that he had sons Gronwy and Gruffudd by Gwenllian ferch Lord Rhys. A later insertion,
written in the same hand, appears after the the listing of the first group of sons and before the second listing, It
mentions a Cynwrig ap Ednyfed Fychan but does not explicitly say who was his mother. Bartrum assumed, by its position
in the text, that Cynwrig was another son by Tangwystl. 
Different citations  assert that Ednyfed Fychan also had two daughters by Gwenllian ferch Lord Rhys. Yet another source
 says he had a third daughter, Angharad, but does not identify her mother.
When we apply the standard birth-date analysis to the spouses of the children of Ednyfed Fychan, and to the children of those
children, a strange pattern occurs. All of the children he had by each lady appear to have been born c.1195 to c. 1210.
Thus, these were not sequential relationships with two wives. Instead, some children were by his wife and some by his
mistress, occurring in random but alternate sequence.
The pattern of births confirms our suspicion that a lady named Tangwystl was a mistress of both Llewelyn Fawr ap Iorwerth
and Ednyfed Fychan, while Gwenllian was the only lady the latter ever married. Since Tangwystl ferch Llywarch ap Bran was
born no later than c. 1165 , the only way she could have been the mother of 6 sons of Ednyfed Fychan is if she bore those
children between ages 30 and 45. We know this lady had a same-named daughter born c. 1180 and cannot accept her also
bearing 6 sons between 1195 and 1210. Accordingly, we conclude that it was the c. 1180 Tangwyslt ferch Llywarch Goch of Rhos
who bore children for both Llewelyn Fawr and for Ednyfed Fychan.
Those who would identify Ednyfed Fychan's mistress as a daughter if Llywarch ap Bran would also have us believe that (a) two
longtime friends, men both in their late 20's, met a 29 year old lady with a 14 year old daughter, and (b) Llewelyn Fawr seduced
the younger girl while Ednyfed Fychan bedded down with her mother, and kept the older lady as his mistress baby-momma for
at least 15 years. We find it much more likely that Ednyfed's mistress was Tangwystl ferch Llywarch Goch, the same young
lady who first bore a son, Gruffudd, to Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, and that the authors of those citations who call her "ferch
Llywarch ap Bran" simply misidentified the Llywarch who was her father.
Our charting of these relationships appears as:
ferch Llywarch ap Bran===Llywarch Goch of Rhos
1169 Llewelyn Fawr==/==Tangwystl==/==Ednyfed Fychan
l 1180 l 1165
1194 Gruffudd 6 sons 1195-1210
Pen. 129. 124
Pen 127, 73 & 200; Pen 128, 760a; Pen 134, 62 & 302
Bartrum charted another base son of Ednyfed Fychan, Tudor Gwilltin, as born c. 1230. We believe this was actually a
son of Tudor ap Ednyfed Fychan
A daughter, Gwenllian, is cited in Pen 131, 208; Dwnn ii, 53; Pen 176, 168, 181 & 263; and Pen 134, 146. A daughter,
Gwladys, is cited in Cardiff 4.265, 29; Harl 2414, 18 and Pen 287, 583
Harl 1974, 49
Because she had a daughter c. 1180 who had a son c. 1194