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Eidio Wyllt - What Was His Birthname?
Ifor Bach, Lord of Senghenydd
Ancestors and Children of the Lord Rhys

                                                     IFOR BACH, LORD OF SENGHENYDD
                                                       By Darrell Wolcott
          Ifor Bach ap Meurig was a grandson of the Cadifor ap Cydrich who is mentioned as an ally of Einion ap Cadifor ap Collwyn in the Conquest of Glamorgan tale. [1] The grandmother of Ifor Bach was a sister of Iestyn ap Gwrgan, [2] the king of Glywysing who was ousted by Robert fitz Hamon, and Ifor was married to Nest, sister of Lord Rhys. [3]
          Born about 1105, Ifor Bach was raised at Morlais in northern Senghenydd.  He inherited another manor in the commote of Cibwr near Cardiff which was his official residence for his Lordship duties, but spent the majority of his time on the rugged mountainous acreage where he grew up. He stood about 5'4" tall (hence his nickname "the short") but had a sturdy body accompanied by large amounts of courage and cunning.  Most of his peers knew better than to challenge him physically.  Among the oral traditions about him is a claim that he never lost a fair fight.

          Ever since fitz Hamo's conquest in the last decade of the 11th century, the half of Morgannwg made up of Glywysing had been further divided into the Vale of Glamorgan (ruled by England under English law, and the high country to the north (ruled by Welshmen under Welsh laws).  After 1121, the Vale had been ruled by Robert of Caen, a base son of King Henry I, who was followed in 1147 by his son, William fitz Robert.  Between 1121 and 1147, Earl Robert had extended English rule to some parts of the Welsh area, but only by peaceful means, including the marriage of English knights to Welsh heiresses.  In the 1150's, Earl William changed the rules by taking Welsh lands by threats of force.  He also issued new laws that made it illegal for Welshmen to bear arms or even speak Welsh when on lands controlled by the English.

          The first, and only, official mention of Ifor Bach was in 1158, when the Brut says "Morgan ap Owain was slain through treachery by the men of Ifor ap Meurig."  This Morgan was the eldest son of Owain Wan of lower Gwent and, as we have previously suggested, probably the father of Bleddyn Broadspear. [4] We are not told what Morgan had done to offend Ifor, but he was a fellow Welsh regulus whose realm was also being threatened with a Norman takeover. Morgan's brother (and successor), Iorwerth, was the father of Sir Hywel of Caerlleon
          The only other reported incident in the life of Ifor Bach is found in a tale related by Gerald of Wales during that man's 1188 tour through Wales. [5]  Probably a part of the local lore in the area around Cardiff, Gerald said it occurred "in our own days" i.e. within his own lifetime.  The gist of the story was that William fitz Robert, the Norman Lord of Glamorgan, had encroached upon lands owned by Ifor Bach and then had told Ifor, when he complained, that "the land is now mine and there is nothing you can do about it".  One dark night soon after, Ifor and his men scaled the walls of Cardiff Castle in stealth, slipped into the Earl's living quarters, and kidnapped the Earl, his wife and his "only child", a young son, and removed them to Ifor's country manor in the mountains of Senghenydd.  There he held them until the Earl officially restored everything he had taken from Ifor, and perhaps a bit more.
          While Gerald did not date this event to any specific year, Lewis Thorp, the editor and translator of his manuscript as published in 1978 by Penguin Books, added a footnote claiming the event occurred in 1158. but gave no authority for such a claim.
          We must bear in mind that Gerald was not aware of the event at the time it occurred, so he only related what he'd been told when he visited Cardiff some years later.  The story was likely related to him by his host and guide for that part of his 1188 tour, Morgan ap Caradog ap Iestyn, Lord of Afan.  Pedigree evidence tells us that Earl William fitz Robert had, in addition to a son, at least 3 daughters (Isabel, Mable and Amice) and that one daughter of his had married Gruffudd ap Ifor Bach.  This leads us to question whether the family unit which Ifor kidnapped included several children, only one of which was a son.  Could it have included a daughter, who was later pledged in marriage to Ifor's son as one part of the agreement to restore peace and friendship between the men?
          Before trying to date this event. we should place these folks on their respective timelines:

 975  Gwaithfoed of Ystrad Tywy
 1005  Cydrich (a)    Tewdwr  1023
               l                   l
 1035  Cadifor (b)     Rhys (c) 1051          King Henry I  1065
               l                  l                                   l
  1075  Meurig       Gruffudd (d) 1085        Earl Robert (e)  1093
               l                  l                                   l
 1105  Ifor Bach===Nest (f)  1120           Earl William (g) 1116
                          l                                     ___l_________
                          l                                    l                       l
           1135  Gruffudd==========daughter  1150      son  1151
(a)  Cydrich married Nest (1020), a sister of Collwyn.  Most writers have identified him as the Collwyn (1010) ap Tangno (980) ap Cadfael (945) of Lleyn [6]  We believe he was actually Collwyn (995) ap Gwyn (965) ap Rhydderch (935) of Dyfed.  See our earlier discussion of this marriage in our paper: http://www.ancientwalesstudies.org/id121.html
(b)  Cadifor married Myfanwy (1050) ferch Gwgan (1008) ap Ithel (980), a sister of King Iestyn ap Gwrgan of Glamorgan [7]
(c)  Rhys was king of Deheubarth and married Gwladys (1060) ferch Rhiwallon (1024) ap Cynfyn (985), King of Powys [8]
(d) Gruffudd married Gwenllian (1101) ferch Gruffudd (1070), Lord of Anglesey, ap Cynan (1035) ap Iago (1005), this Gruffudd ap Cynan later becoming King of Gwynedd [9]
(e) Robert was a base child of the king; he married Mabel, daughter of Robert fitz Hamon in 1119.  She had been a child heiress to the Vale of Glamorgan (and vast lands in Gloucester) held by her father.  Robert was made Lord of Glamorgan in 1121 after the death of King Henry I's only legitimate son.
(f) Nest was a sister of Lord Rhys, senior Welsh regulus of Deheubarth
(g)  William's estimated birthdate, and that of his son, were taken from non-sourced postings found on the internet .  Our own estimates will be discussed later in this paper.

          We can readily accept the gist of the tale as an historic event, but suggest it required one additional factor not mentioned by Gerald.  The daring and silent raid on Cardiff Castle owed its success to inside knowledge of the Earl's private living chamber and inside help in exiting the castle with the Earl's family.  The raiding party may have scaled the walls for entry, but hardly for their exit with a lady and child in tow. 
          It is in the details where we raise our questions about the event.  We find no reason to think the raid was in any way related to the 1158 killing of fellow Welshman, Morgan ap Owain.  Neither Gerald of Wales, a near contemporary of Ifor Bach, nor Professor John Lloyd, the 20th century historian, offered a date for the event.  The modern editor of Gerald's manuscript "asserted" the date was 1158, but offered no credible source for that dating. 
          Taking Gerald's wording at face value, the raid occurred at a time when Earl William had a single child, a young boy.  If true, the daughter of William who later married Ifor's son was not even born yet.  Our first correction to the assumed facts is with the estimated birthdate of Earl William. The same internet sources who date William's birth at 1116 also claim that his mother had been Mabel, daughter and heiress of Robert fitz Hamon.  They then agree that marriage occurred in 1119.  So strike the 1116 estimate and insert 1120 as the likely birth of Earl William.
           If Ifor's raid had occurred in 1158, the Earl's son may have been a first child born c. 1151/1155.  In that case, Earl William sired a firstborn child at age 31/35 and subsequently had 3 daughters as a man approaching age 40.  We suggest that this timeline is at least 5 years, and as much as 10 years, too late for a 12th century Englishman of royal birth.
           By assigning the raid to 1153, the Earl's first son would occur when he was in his mid-to-upper 20's.  Using the prior assumptions about his daughters, they would occur in the period 1154/1159.  This is too late for one of the girls to later marry Gruffudd ap Ifor, a man born near 1135.  Thus, our next correction to the tale's details will be to suggest that Gerald's report erred as to it's reference to the Earl's son as his "only child".  He may have been the only child abducted, but we believe he had one or more daughters by the date of the raid.
          It is not known for how many days, weeks or months Ifor Bach kept the Earl and his family sequestered in the mountains of Senghenydd.  But it is almost certain that they were treated as honored guests in his home, as Ifor sought to convince the Earl that Welsh noblemen could be every bit as gentlemanly, rational and civilized as their English counterparts.  Once the Earl understood that he had given Ifor no reasonable alternative to address his complaint, and that his actions were limited to undoing the Earl's authoritative edicts with no hatred toward the Earl as a person, the men began to respect each other.  In fact, we suggest the Earl praised the smaller man for his outsized "cojones".
          We even think it likely that before the men began to negotiate a solution to Ifor's complaints, the Earl was permitted to send for his young daughter(s) so his family would be reunited.  And we suggest that one element of the final agreement was the betrothal of Ifor's son Gruffudd, with one of those daughters, with the marriage deferred until the young lady reached age 14.  That marriage, we think, actually occurred about the year 1164.


(a) His wife is discussed in the text above this chart.  He had a younger brother, Cadwallon, and a young sister, Gwenllian (1145).  She married Morgan the Lord (1135) ap Caradog (1105) ap Iestyn (1075) ap Gwrgan (1042) ap Ithel Ddu (1012) [10]
(b) He married Sara (1180), daughter of Sir Mayo de Sore (1150) [11] He had a brother, Rhys, and four sisters, Nest, Maud and two unnamed. See the following APPENDIX for other men in this family named Hywel Felyn
(c) His parents already had a son named Hywel, so their parents called the older boy Hywel Felyn for a distinction. Peter Bartrum did NOT chart this man.  For our analysis of his decision to ignore him, see our paper at this link:  www.ancientwalesstudies.org/id317.html
(d)  He married Iwerydd (1210) ferch Lewys (1180) ap Rhys (1150) ap Rawlff (1115) ap Caradog (1080) ap Bleddyn (1045) ap Maenyrch (1015). [12] He had brothers Dafydd and Roger, and a sister, Nest (1200) who married Llewelyn (1200) ap Ifor (1165) ap Bledri (1130) ap Rhys (1095) ap Bledri (1065) ap Cadifor Fawr (1030). [13]  In addition to the two sons charted here, he had a son, Gruffudd, and a daughter, Sioned
(e) He had a brother Einion (1205) who had a son, Ieuan (1235) who had 3 daughters:  Efa (1270), who married Lleision (1260) ap Rhys (1225) ap Morgan Fychan (1195) ap Morgan Gam (1165) ap Morgan the Lord (1135) [14]; Gwerfyl (1270) who married Llewelyn Fychan (1260) ap Llewelyn (1230) ap Madog (1195) ap Hywel Felyn (1165) [15], her 2nd cousin; and Gwenllian (1275) who married Hywel (1265) ap Ifor Fychan (1230) ap Ifor (1195) ap Cadrod (1165) ap Einion (1130) ap Cadrod Mawr (1095) ap Einion (1065) ap Cadifor Fawr (1030) [16]
(f) He had a brother, Llewelyn, and a sister, Gwenllian (1230), who married Dafydd (1225) ap Rhys (1195) ap Hywel (1165) ap Trahaearn (1135) ap Gwgan (1105) ap Gwgan Blaidd Gwyrdd (1075) ap Bleddyn (1045) ap Maenyrch (1015) [17].  In addition to the two sons charted here, he had a daughter, Joan.

          Both men of this name continued the string of same-named sons, but did so with two sons each:
        1230  Gwilym Sais (a)
             l                  l
 1260 Ieuan         Meurig  1265              1260  Gwilym Sais
             l                  l                                ______l_____
             l                  l                                l                   l
1295 Meurig          Philip  1295        1295 Ieuan           Meurig (b) 1290
             l                  l                                l                   l
1325 Gwilym (c)  Thomas  1330      1325 Meurig           Philip  1325
                               l                                 l                   l
                         Richard (d) 1365   1355 Gwilym (e)   Thomas (f) 1360
                                                                               Richard (g) 1395
(a)  This Gwilym Sais also had a son, Madog
(b)  This Meurig also had a son, Trahaearn
(c)  This Gwilym had a son Morgan (1355) whose son, Gwilym (1385) married a daughter (1390) ferch Jeffrey (1355) ap Hywel Fychan (1320) ap Hywel (1290) ap Dafydd (1255) ap Rhys (1225) ap Hywel Fychan (1195) ap Hywel (1165) ap Trahaearn (1135) [18] descended from Bleddyn ap Maenyrch
(d)  This Richard had a daughter, Marged (1400) who married Henry (1390) ap Morgan (1360) ap Ieuan (1330) ap Dafydd (1295) ap Llewelyn Fychan (1265) ap Llewelyn (1235) ap Cynrig (1200) ap Hywel (1170) ap Madog (1135) ap Iestyn (1105) ap Gwrgan (1075) [19]
(e)  This Gwilym married a daughter (1365) ferch Ieuan Llwyd (1330) ap Hywel (1295) ap Gronwy (1265) ap Rhun Fychan (1230) ap Rhun (1200) ap Seisyll (1165) ap Cynfyn (1135) ap Genillin (1100) ap Rhys Goch (1070) Lord of Ystrad Yw [20]
(f)  This Thomas married a daughter (1365) ferch Llewelyn (1330) ap Ifor Hir (1300) ap Hywel (1265) ap Ifor Fychan (1230) ap Ifor (1195) ap Cadrod (1165) ap Einion (1130) ap Cadrod Mawr (1095) ap Einion (1065) ap Cadifor Fawr (1030) [21]
(g)  This Richard married Gwerfyl (1405) ferch Dafydd Fychan (1375) ap Dafydd (1345) ap Gronwy (1315) ap Owain Peldi (1285) ap Ifor (1255) ap Gruffudd (1225) ap Madog (1195) ap Madog (1160) ap Cadrod (1130) ap Cadrod Mawr (1095) ap Einion (1065) ap Cadifor Fawr (1030) [22]

          Both men of this name continued the tradition of same-named sons for 3 more generations:
           1230  Llewelyn ap Madog
           1260  Llewelyn Fychan (a)
                1290  Rhys (b)                               1265  Llewelyn ap Madog (c)
               _______l____________                                       l
               l                                  l                                       l
1325  Llewelyn (d)           1325  Philip               1295 Llewelyn Fychan
                              ___________l_____                              l
                              l                            l                              l
                1365 Thomas (e)    1355 Llewelyn (f)       1325  Rhys
                                                                 l                              l
                                                 1360  Llewelyn            1360  Philip (g)
                                             l                            l
                                1390 Rhys (h)         1390 Hywel (j)
(a)  He married Gwerfyl (1270) ferch Ieuan (1235) ap Einion (1205) ap Hywel (1170) ap Gruffudd (1135) ap Ifor Bach (1105) [23]
(b) This Rhys also had a son, Hywel
(c)  He also had a daughter, Sioned (1295) who married Rhys (1285) ap Philip Fychan (1255) ap Gwilym (1225) ap Maredudd (1190) ap Rhydderch (1160) ap Bledri (1130) ap Rhys (1095) ap Bledri (1065) ap Cadifor Fawr (1030) [24]
(d)  This Llewelyn had a daughter, Marged (1355) who married Gruffudd (1345) ap Llewelyn (1310) ap Rhys (1280) ap Gronwy (1245) ap Cathaearn (1215) ap Blaidd (1180) ap Effarch (1145) ap Meurig Fychan (1110) ap Meurig (1075) ap Cadifor (1035) ap Cydrich (1005) ap Gwaithfoed (975) of Ystrad Tywy [25]
(e)  He marrried a daughter (1385) ferch Gruffudd (1360) ap Hywel (1330) ap Philip Hir (1300) ap Ieuan (1265) ap Gruffudd (1235) ap Dafydd (1200) ap Cynfyn Fychan (1165) ap Cynfyn (1135) ap Genillin (1100) ap Rhys Goch (1070) Lord of Ystrad Yw [26]
(f)  This Llewelyn married Joan (1365) ferch Ieuan (1330) ap Dafydd (1295) ap Llewelyn Fychan (1265) ap Llewelyn (1235) ap Cynwrig (1200) ap Hywel (1170) ap Madog (1135) ap Iestyn (1105) ap Gwrgan (1075) [27]
(g)  He married a daughter (1375) ferch Ieuan (1345) ap Gwilym (1310) ap Hywel Sais (1275) ap Hywel Fychan (1240) ap Hywel (1210) ap Cadwgan (1175) ap Bleddyn (1140) ap Madog (1105) ap Maenyrch (1075) [28]
(h)  This Rhys had a son, Hywel (1420) who married a daughter (1420) ferch Hywel (1385) ap Philip Hir (1355) ap Ieuan (1325) ap Gruffudd (1295) ap Dafydd (1260) ap Cadwgan Fawr (1230) ap Dafydd (1200) ap Cynfyn Fychan (1165) ap Cynfyn (1135) descended from Rhys Goch of Ystrad Yw [29]
(j)  He married Gwenllian (1400) ferch Trahaearn (1365) ap Gronwy Fychan (1330) ap Gronwy (1300) ap Rhun (1265) ap Seisyll (1230) ap Cynfyn (1195) ap Genillin (1165) ap Cynfyn (1135) ap Genilin (1100) ap Rhys Goch (1070) of Ystrad Yw [30]

[1]  See our paper on the Conquest of Glamorgan at the link below:
[2]  Pen 120, 460 cites the marriage of Myfanwy ferch Gwrgan ap Ithel to Cadifor ap Cydrich ap Gwaithfoed
[3]  ByT 1175 calls Gruffudd ap Ifor the nephew of Lord Rhys since Gruffudd's mother was Nest, Lord Rhys' sister
[4]  This man was Lord of Beachley and Llanllowel in Gwent; his daughter carried these lands to her son, Adam Gwent, ancestor of the Herbert family. See our paper on that family at the link below:
[5]  Book I, chapter 6 "The Journey Through Wales"
[6]  Harl 2300(2), 177
[7]  Pen 120, 460
[8]  ABT 10
[9]  ibid
[10] Dwnn i, 238
[11] Glamorganshire Pedigrees, 6, taken from Cardiff 3.1
[12] Cardiff 2.1, 104
[13] Clark's "Limbus Patrum Morganiae et Glamorhaniae", 45
[14] Dwnn i, 95
[15] Glam 112
[16] Glam 48
[17] Glam 145
[18] Protheroe IV, 23
[19] Cardiff 2.1, 51
[20] Glam 156
[21] Glam 49
[22] Glam 45
[23] Glam 112
[24] Glam 45
[25] Cardiff 2.1, 133
[26] Bodleian Add. C179, 28
[27] Glam 24
[28] Glam 156
[29] Bodleian Add. C179, 28 but conflates Rhys with his grandfather, Rhys ap Llewelyn Fychan
[30] Bodleian Add. C179, 16
[31] Bodleian Add. C177, 63
[32] Glam 145
[33] ibid
[34] Harl 2300(2), 116; Bodleian Add. A281, 308
[35] Golden Grove Ms, 1546
[36] Bodleian Add. A281, 305
[37] ibid

          In addition to Hywel Felyn ap Gruffudd of c. 1165 and Hywel Felyn ap Hywel of c. 1200, both of whom are discussed in the text of this paper, there were two other men of that name presented by Bartrum on his chart "Cydrich 3".  The first was the grandfather of Thomas and Joan, charted as children of Madog ap Hywel Felyn.  The other was a "Hywel Felyn II" charted as born c. 1330 but unattached to any ancestry.


(a)  In addition to Madog, he had sons Dafydd and Roger and a daughter Nest. Also see note (d) in our chart of the families descended from Gruffudd ap Ifor Back in the text of this paper
(b)  He is omitted on Bartrum's charts, but is cited in several sources, which Bartrum marked as "corrupt", under Llewelyn ap Hywel Felyn ap Gruffudd.  In addition to a son, Hywel Felyn, he had another son, Einion.  Also see note (c) in our chart of the families descended from Gruffudd ap Ifor Bach in the text of this paper
(c)  In addition to Gruffudd and Hywel Felyn, he had sons Llewelyn and Gwilym Sais and a daughter, Sioned (1225) who married Caradog (1210) ap Rhys Gryg (1165) ap Lord Rhys [31]
(d)  In addition to a son Madog, he had a son Llewelyn, and a daughter Gwenllian (1230), who married Dafydd (1225) ap Rhys (1195) ap Hywel (1165) [32], which Dafydd was a brother of Einion Sais of Brycheiniog.
(e)  He had a daughter Marged (1270), who married Gwilym (1265) ap Hywel Grach (1235) ap Hywel (1205) ap Gwgan Fychan (1175) ap Gwgan (1145) ap Llewelyn (1115) ap Moriddig Warwyn (1080) ap Drymbenog (1050) ap Maenyrch (1015) [33]
(f)  He had sons Llewelyn and Gwilym Sais, and a daughter Joan (1260), who married Dafydd (1245) ap Owain Fychan (1210) ap Owain (1180) ap Cynharwy (1150) ap Llewelyn (1115) ap Moriddig Warwyn (1080) [34]
(g)  Some sources called him Thomas Hir ap Madog ap Hywel Felyn
(h)  He had another son named Lewys Hen
(j)  He had another son, Roger
(k)  He married Alis (1405) ferch Gruffudd (1375) ap Gruffudd Fychan (1340) ap Gruffudd (1310) ap Iorwerth (1280) ap Ieuan (1245) ap Idnerth (1210) ap Ifor (1175) ap Ithel Gam (1145) ap Drymbenog (1110) [35]
(m) He married a daughter (1385) of Dafydd (1350) ap Maredudd (1320) ap Gwilym (1290) ap Hywel (1260) ap Einion Sais (1225) of Brycheiniog [36]
(n)  She married Hoesgyn Fychan (1410) ap Richard (1380) ap Hoesgyn (1355) ap Rhys (1325) ap Richard (1295) ap Dafydd (1255) ap Rhys (1225) ap Hywel Fychan (1195) ap Hywel (1165) ap Trahaearn (1135) ap Gwgan (1105) ap Gwgan Blaidd Gwyrdd (1075) ap Bleddyn (1045) ap Maenyrch (1015) [37]
          All the footnotes in this Appendix point to sources and comments placed in the NOTES section of this paper