OF KING RHYS AP TEWDWR OF DEHEUBARTH
By Darrell Wolcott
Historians prior to the 20th century believed King Rhys of Deheubarth was the son of Tewdwr (970) ap Einion (935)
ap Owain (906) ap Hywel Dda (879) ap Cadell (851) ap Rhodri Mawr (820). Since they also knew he was killed in battle
in 1093, they portrayed the king as a man past age 80 at his final battle. Professor John Lloyd  pointed out that
the Tewdwr in Rhys' ancestry was actually a son of Cadell ap Einion ap Owain, making him a full generation younger than had
been supposed. It has been over 100 years since Professor Lloyd wrote his "History of Wales" and we will now suggest
that Rhys was yet another generation farther removed from Rhodri Mawr than even Lloyd believed.
Lloyd was able to show the wrong 10th century Tewdwr had been used in earlier pedigrees , while we believe the existing
pedigrees also attach Rhys to the wrong 11th century Tewdwr. The problem we speak to arises from the father of king
Rhys being called "Tewdwr" by most early sources, but "Tewdwr Mawr" by Peter Bartrum and a few others.
In fact, neither the Brut y Tywysogyon, the Annales Cambriae or Professor Lloyd ever called the Deheubarth king "Rhys ap Tewdwr
Mawr", while Bartrum always added "Mawr" to his name. The indexes to his AD300-1400 charts add "Mawr" to Tewdwr even
when the sources he cited for the name do not. If this were simply an issue of style (should we always include a man's
nickname or not?) it would not present a problem. What IS a problem is the occurrence of another man in this family
called "Rhys ap Tewdwr Mawr".
Roughly contemporary with King Rhys ap Tewdwr were two sons of Maenyrch ap Dryffin in Brycheiniog. Bleddyn ap Maenyrch
was the king and was married to Elen, sister of King Rhys ap Tewdwr of Deheubarth.  A younger brother, Drymbenog ap Maenyrch,
was married to Gwladys Ddu ferch Rhys ap Tewdwr Mawr.  Our chronological analysis shows the brothers were less than 10
years apart in age, yet the younger brother married a daughter of the brother of his own brother's wife? It should not
require the proverbial rocket scientist to read that and scream "Wait, what?"
If you suspect that two closely related women, chosen by two brothers as wives, would at least be of the same generation,
go to the head of the class. You won't find Bartrum there, however. He charts one lady as Rhys' sister, the other
as his daughter. He did chose to continue to a new chart for Rhys, so you won't see this abomination at a single glance.
We believe the correct chart of these marriages should show:
l l l
Elen===Bleddyn Drymbenog===Gwladys Ddu
BIRTH-DATE OF KING RHYS:
We are nowhere told
the wife of either Tewdwr in our chart. We would place the birth of Rhys' sister, Elen, near 1060 and married to the
c. 1045 Bleddyn ap Maenyrch. He had another sister, Nest, who married an Irishman and was mother to the c. 1065 Eidio
Wyllt. We would date her c. 1045. He had younger brothers, Rhydderch and Gwyn, who we date c. 1052/55. The wife of Rhys was Gwladys ferch Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn.  We would date
her c. 1060 but do not think her marriage to Rhys occurred until after 1081. Later in this paper, we discuss another
lady who married a "Rhys ap Tewdwr".
Rhys was named king
in 1079 although the prior king was slain in 1078. This might suggest that he did not reach the minimum age for kingship
until 1079, in which case he was born in 1051. While he might have already attained age 28 by 1078 and the kingship
left vacant several months , it is certain that he was not born later than 1051. His age at death in 1093
was early 40's, so he was not an octogenarian as writers long believed.
One sign that even Lloyd's corrected
pedigree for King Rhys ap Tewdwr was too short can be seen in its average generation gap. If we date the birth of Rhodri
Mawr to 820 and that of Rhys ap Tewdwr to 1051, then if Rhys was 7th after Rhodri, this yields an average generation of 33.0
years. In our years of work, we have found the average male generation for Welshmen of this era to be 31.6 years, but
that includes a preponderance of non-eldest sons. In a kingly family line consisting largely of first-born sons, we should
expect this average to be a couple years less, not more, than the overall average. By inserting Tewdwr Mawr as father
to Tewdwr in the Rhys pedigree, we now have him 8 generations after Rhodri Mawr, yielding an average generation of 28.9 years
for his paternal line. Two of those ancestors were second-sons (both men named Cadell), the remainder first-born.
of Rhys ap Tewdwr
820 Rhodri Mawr
879 Hywel Dda
995 Tewdwr Mawr
In addition to the
c. 1030 Rhys ap Tewdwr Mawr discussed earlier (as father of Gwladys Ddu), there was also a later Rhys ap Tewdwr in that same
branch of the family. Born c. 1120, he is the man who married Catryn (1135) ferch Iestyn (1105) ap Gwrgan (1075) 
ap Ithel Fychan (1045) ap Ithel Ddu (1012). Bartrum and others date her c. 1070 as a daughter of the c. 1045 Iestyn
ap Gwrgan, married to the c. 1051 Rhys ap Tewdwr, but such a lady would be an unreasonable marriage match for that man.
We date her husband c. 1120, the Rhys ap Tewdwr who fathered sons Gwrgan  and Glewddwr.  See the overall family chart
in the APPENDIX below.
 ABT 10 is the earliest source which makes Rhys 6th after Rhodri Mawr
[2[ J.E. Lloyd "History of Wales From the Earliest Times", 2nd Edition, 1912, page 393, Note 116 where
he points to several sources, including JC 20, 24, which insert a Cadell as father of Tewdwr and son of Einion.
 There actually was a man named Tewdwr ap Einion ap Owain ap Hywel Dda, but he was killed in 994
with no known children
 Dwnn i, 42 & 90 & 107
 Dwnn ii, 49
 Bartrum placed Elen on his chart "Tewdwr Mawr 1" and Gwladys Ddu on chart "Rhys ap Tewdwr 1"
 Dwnn i, 224 as sister of Rhys ap Tewdwr, but corruptly as "Tewdwr ap Einion"
 ByT 1109; ABT 10
 ByT 1078 says "at the close of the year" the prior king was slain with his brother. These were
Rhys and Hywel, sons of Owain ap Edwin ap Einion. They were 2nd cousins of Rhys' father, Tewdwr.
 We find no precedent for leaving a kingship vacant awaiting an heir to attain sufficient age for
coronation, and suggest that young Rhys' father, Tewdwr ap Tewdwr Mawr, may have served a few months as interim king and stepped
down on, or shortly after, his son's 28th birthday.
 Pen 138, 632
 Pen 128, 711 & 719
 LB 58 & 97
(a) The kingly
line of Dyfed "daughtered out" in 905. Hywel Dda had married its heiress, Elen ferch Llywarch ap Hyfaidd and was installed
as new king, possibly together with his younger brother, Clydog. He merged Dyfed, Ystrad Tywy and Ceredigion to form
the new kingdom of Deheubarth. The word means "right hand side" which would be South Wales since maps were then oriented
with East on top.
(b) He married
Angharad ferch Llew Llyminiog Angel, whose mother had been the only surviving child of Merfyn ap Rhodri Mawr. Late in
life, he turned day-to-day activities over to his son Einion, but this son died before his father and never became king in
his own right. During his final years, Owain led the genealogical project which resulted in the group of
pedigrees now called Harleian Ms 3859. He died in 988.
(c) He married
an unnamed Saxon lady. Since he pre-deceased his father, his younger brother, Maredudd, was installed as king in 988
and ruled until his death in 999.
(d) He ruled from 999
to 1022, when we assume he died/was killed, His sons were not yet old enough to become king and the "leading men" bypassed
his brother, Cadell, to install a man named Rhain, who claimed to be a base son of former king Maredudd ap Owain. Immediately
thereafter, Llewelyn ap Seisyll, king of Powys and Gwynedd, brought his army south to take Deheubarth for himself. He
had married the legitimate daughter of former king Maredudd
(e) He married Elen
ferch Gwerystan ap Gwaithfoed of Powys, a sister of Cynfyn. Since he was not chosen to succeed his brother Edwin in
1022, we might assume he was also no longer alive in 1022.
(f) For most of his adult life, his royal birthright was usurped by the Powys
man, Gruffudd ap Llewelyn, When that Gruffudd was killed in 1063, Owain was an old man with sons of kingship age
(g) King Llewelyn ap
Seisyll was killed in 1023 while Hywel ap Edwin was yet too young for kingship. A maternal cousin, Rhydderch ap Iestyn,
was named interim king and served until 1033. Hywel then became king and was killed in 1044 by Gruffudd ap Llewelyn ap Seisyll,
who seized the Deheubarth kingship.
he was called "Mawr" merely to distinguish him from his same-named son, perhaps only by historians long after his death
(j) When Gruffudd
ap Llewelyn was killed in 1063, his joint kingship of Powys, Gwynedd and Deheubarth was ended. This Maredudd ap Owain
was then named king of Deheubarth
(k) He followed his brother as king in 1072 when Maredudd was killed
(m) In 1078, both King
Rhys ap Owain and his brother, Hywel, were killed. It is possible this Tewdwr served as interim king a few months in
1078-1079 as there were no men alive of kingship age in the kingly line of this family, the one descended from Edwin ap Einion
(n) This Rhys
is discussed in the text of this paper as the father of Gwladys, who married Drymbenog ap Maenyrch of Brychieniog.
(p) King Rhys
ap Tewdwr, whose reign extended from 1079 to 1093, when he was killed while assisting his sister's husband, Bleddyn ap Maenyrch,
whose kingdom had been invaded by the Norman baron Bernard Newmarch.
(q) The third Rhys
ap Tewdwr in this family, also discussed in the text of this paper