LLOWARCH AP BRAN - LORD OF MENAI
By Darrell Wolcott
Many leading families
of Anglesey trace their descent to this early twelfth century nobleman but the pedigrees they cast contain an abundance of
misinformation. Most of the errors and omissions stem from like-named men who have been confused with each other, and
this is true even for his ancestry from Tudwal Gloff ap Rhodri Mawr. Both our work and that of noted Welsh genealogist
Peter Bartrum point to a birthdate near 1120 for Llowarch.
PROBLEM # 1 - The ancestry of Llowarch:
Tudwal Gloff was perhaps
the youngest son of Rhodri Mawr, too young to have taken part in the battle when his father was killed in 878, but received
the leg wound which accounts for his nickname "the lame" in the 881 "revenge of Rhodri" battle of Conwy. A birthdate
near 865 is indicated since no boys younger than 14 were sent into battle. If Llowarch ap Bran were born 255 years later,
he would be in the 8th following generation, not the 6th as shown by many pedigrees. We believe the descent was as
865 Tudwal Gloff
extant pedigrees skip from this Alser directly to Tudwal Gloff; this chart may be compared to that found in our paper "Llewelyn
ap Hoedliw, Lord of Is Cerdin"
101 mentions an Aelan ap Alser ap Tudwal Gloff who had a son, Llawr, a man born c. 960. It is thus possible that the
Eunydd in our chart was "ap Aelan ap Alser ap Aelan ap Alser ap Tudwal" and that his pedigrees simply omit one pair of "Aelan
ap Alser" by scribes who assumed it was a duplication.
PROBLEM #2 - The wife of Llowarch:
early manuscript Hen Lwythau Gwynedd a'r Mars says the mother of Llowarch's sons was Rhael ferch Gronwy
ap Owain ap Edwin of Tegeingl. Such a lady could not have been born later than 1126 since Gronwy was slain in 1125.
While this Rhael may have been a second wife of Llowarch, it is unlikely she was the mother of his sons Cadwgan and Iorwerth. Those
men were born c. 1150/55 and normally we should expect both their mother, and a wife for Llowarch, to have been born
nearer 1135. 
The pedigrees in HLG go
on to say that Cadwgan ap Llowarch married Gwenllian ferch Cynan ap Owain Gwynedd, while Iorwerth ap Llowarch married Gwenllian
ferch Hywel ap Ieuaf ap Owain ap Trahaearn ap Caradog. Both these ladies would date from 1160/70 and fit well with those
claimed marriages. No other children of Llowarch are mentioned in this early manuscript, but the late 16th century pedigree
of John Griffith of Llanbeblig says one wife of Ednyfed Fychan was Tanglwyst ferch Llowarch ap Bran. That possibility
is discussed in our paper about Tangwystl. 
It is certain that Llowarch
ap Bran had a third son, Madog. He appears in only a couple medieval pedigrees, one of which incorrectly calls him the
son of Iorwerth ap Llowarch. But in the 1352 "Extent of Anglesey", we find three tracts of land which were known,
respectively, as Gwely Cadwgan ap Llowarch, Gwely Iorwerth ap Llowarch and Gwely Madog ap Llowarch. While missing
from the pedigrees, there may have been a fourth son, Bleddyn. The 1352 Extent for the commote of Talybolion identifies
the hamlet of Bodwigan in Trelywarch township as containing a Gwely Bleddyn ap Llowarch.
PROBLEM #3 - Gruffudd ap Llowarch:
A number of pedigrees list Gruffudd
as another son of Llowarch but there was no Gwely in 1352 bearing that designation; indeed, based on his descendants
shown in those pedigrees, he occurred two generations after Llowarch. The 16th century families in those pedigrees
resided mainly in Merioneth, one in Caernarfon and none in Anglesey. The one signed in 1588 by descendant Robert Lloyd
and that cast by descendant Humphrey Meredyth about the same time both derive their families from a Gruffudd ap Ieuan
ap Rhys ap Tudor, and identify this Tudor as a son of Maredudd ap Llewelyn ap Gruffudd Lloyd ap Llewelyn ap Gruffudd ap Llowarch.
Unsigned pedigrees gathered by Lewys Dwnn near the turn of the 17th century identify a Tudor as a son of Hywel ap Tudor
ap Gruffudd ap Maredudd ap Iorwerth ap Llowarch. Unlike the editor of Dwnn's manuscripts, we find those signed
by the descendants to be more credible but believe they also are flawed. The conflicting pedigrees look like this:
Dwnn's "correction" Family records
Llowarch ap Bran
1225 Gruffudd 1215
*A single lady is assigned
as wife to both men named Rhys ap Tudor 
the correct pedigree can be found from data reported in the 1352 Extent of Anglesey. The hamlet of Caergybi in
the township of Trelywarch and commote of Talybolion contained several tracts of land held by various descendants of
Llowarch ap Bran. Gwely Cadwgan ap Llywarch was held by, among others, a Tudor ap Hywel ap Tudor. But more
interestingly, a vacant plot in that gwely is described as "escheat" land from Maredudd ap Llewelyn. Such escheat occurs
when an owner dies without heirs and we believe that the circa 1340 Tudor in the family charts was appended to Maredudd
ap Llewelyn in error. If this man was actually Tudor ap Hywel ap Tudor, it might explain why the Dwnn editor insisted
on a correction but then erred by using the wrong Tudor ap Hywel ap Tudor., one descended from Iorwerth ap Llowarch. 
Since he was a descendant
of Cadwgan ap Llowarch, not of Iorwerth ap Llowarch, we suspect the correct pedigree looks like this:
1120 Llowarch ap Bran
1245 Gruffudd Lloyd
The 1914 compilation of Anglesey pedigrees
assembled by John Griffith also give Llowarch sons named Llowarch Fychan and John; no families are shown for those men
nor is any source cited. We doubt any such sons existed, (NOTE: See our recent addition to
Note 18 below) but if they did they must have pre-deceased their father and thus no gwely bore their names
in 1352. We must note, however, that there were 4 additional tracts of land in the parish of Porthamel which joined the three
named for sons of Llowarch: Gwely Menew ap Moriddig, Gwely Isaac ap Moriddig, Gwely Ieuaf ap Moriddig and Gwely Tegerin ap
Moriddig. This Moriddig is not positively identified, but the location of that land certainly argues for his being
of the same stock as Llowarch.
PROBLEM #4 - Cadwgan of Plas Goch
As the family pedigrees
progress downward from Cadwgan ap Llowarch, many of them skip directly to a son of a Cadwgan of Plas Goch named
Iorwerth. But that Iorwerth can be closely dated to c. 1245 so the Cadwgan that was his father must date from about
1215 or two full generations later than Cadwgan ap Llowarch. One son of that Iorwerth ap Cadwgan was Gywn ap Iorwerth.
This man sold a plot of land to a kinsman in 1317, but was dead before 1352 when his sons were named as land owners in
Gwely Cadwgan ap Llowarch. A birthdate for Gwyn near 1275 (and his sons, Hywel and Llewelyn, near 1310) would
put him in the fifth generation after Llowarch and his sons who were alive in 1352 would represent the sixth generation.
Another son of the same Iorwerth ap Cadwgan was Llewelyn, whose son Ieuan ap Llewelyn owned the land called Myfyrion; that
Ieuan was also living in 1352 and served on the jury which oversaw the Extent. We suspect his father was slightly
older than Gwyn and that he himself was perhaps 5/10 years older than his cousins. The timeline down from Llowarch seems
to permit of only two generations which could have been alive in 1352; the 5th and 6th. The following chart will
Iorwerth (omitted from pedigrees)
Cadwgan of Plas Goch (also omitted)
1305/1310 Hywel and Llewelyn
*In other lines of descent from Llowarch,
men in the fifth generation might have been born as late as 1285/90 and, if living in 1352, been men in their 60's.
But men of the 7th generation were but teens in 1352; the 6th generation Ieuan ap Llewelyn was childless.
PROBLEM #5 - Philip ap Iorwerth
Henry Rowlands thought Iorwerth ap
Cadwgan of Plas Goch had a third son, Philip. Two pedigrees from Lewys Dwnn cite a Madog ap Philip ap Iorwerth ap
Cadwgan while two of the 1352 jurors for the Extent of Anglesey were named Ieuan ap Madog ap Philip and Llewelyn ap Madog
ap Philip. But if Philip was a member of the fifth generation after Llowarch, his grandsons Ieuan and Llewelyn would
belong to the seventh generation and would scarcely have been adults by 1352, perhaps born near 1335. While their father
Madog, if born c. 1305, might have died prior to 1352, it does not seem reasonable that mere teenagers would have
sat on the Extent jury. But when we place those men in the sixth generation where they fit more reasonably with their
1352 role, we are compelled to place Philip in the same generation as Iorwerth ap Cadwgan of Plas Goch. We suspect
the pedigrees have more omissions than the two missing from this Cadwgan ; our guess would be Philip [ap Cadwgan]
ap Iorwerth ap Cadwgan ap Llowarch rather than Philip ap Iorwerth ap Cadwgan ap Llowarch as cited. Our chart for this
line of the family looks like this:
1315 Ieuan Llewelyn
Dafydd Gethyn* 1355
*This man joined the rebellion of Owain
Glendower and was apparently captured and held in the castle at Carnarvon. In 1405, he deeded certain lands to the Constable
of that castle, not as a way of buying a pardon from King Henry IV, but as an apparent bribe to obtain his freedom.
PROBLEM #6 - Maredudd Ddu ap Gronwy ap Maredudd
Most genealogists claim
this man had an elder son, Cynwrig, by a first wife and a younger son, Ieuan Wydddel by a second wife. Historian
Henry Rowlands makes the same claim and tries to explain why Ieuan Wyddel but not Cynwrig was named as an owner of Gwely
Iorwerth ap Llowarch in the 1352 Extent of Anglesey. When a workable timeline is applied to the "brothers", it becomes
clear....while both men were sons of a Maredudd Ddu, Ieuan Wyddel was a full generation older than Cynwrig. In 1352,
the former was a representative of the senior branch of the family descended from Iorwerth ap Llowarch while Cynwrig was a
junior member of a lesser branch of that family. Cynwrig's uncle, Gruffudd ap Gronwy, was cited as the representative
of that branch.
Both Cynwrig and his sister,
Arddun, married spouses which date them to c. 1325 while Ieuan Wyddel was born closer to 1290.The Maredudd Ddu who was
father to Ieuan served as Rhaglaw of Menai in 1306/08 at a time when the Maredudd Ddu who fathered Cynwrig
could not have been yet an adult. Dafydd, the son of Ieuan Wyddel held the same office in 1359/60
In a deed dated 1317, Gwyn ap
Iorwerth ap Cadwgan sold a plot of land to Maredudd Ddu ap Gronwy ap Maredudd. Since a subsequent
marriage is cited between the son of Gwyn and the daughter of Maredudd Ddu, it seems clear this buyer must have been the
Maredudd Ddu of c. 1295 and not the same-named man of c. 1255. Our chart of the families looks like this:
1120 Llowarch ap Bran
Adda* 1190 Iorwerth 1185
Maredudd 1225 Cadwgan 1215
1255 Maredudd Ddu Gronwy
1260 Iorwerth 1245
1290 Ieuan Wyddel
Maredudd Ddu 1295 Gwyn 1275
Cynwrig 1325 Arddun====Hywel 1310
*This branch of the family is found in Dii,268 which follows
the descendants of Iorwerth ap Maredudd ap Adda; since none of that line is named in the 1352 Extent of Anglesey, we believe
the Adda branch of the family was represented by Gruffudd ap Gronwy (who is named) and suspect he was the elder brother of
the Maredudd Ddu of 1295. That Gruffudd could not have been a son of the Gronwy of 1220.
 Brut y Tywysogyon, entries for 878 and 881
 HLG 4a makes Llowarch "ap Bran ap Dyfnwal ap Eunydd ap Aelan ap Alser ap
 Noted historian Henry Rowlands, whose work "Antiquitates Parochiales" published
in Archaeologia Cambrensis in 1849, cited Llowarch as sixth in descent from Tudwal Gloff. However, the editor of Philip
Yorke's 1887 work "The Royal Tribes of Wales" notes that Llowarch was eighth in descent from Tudwal, but does not name
the intervening generations.
 HLG 4a does not specifically say that Rhael was the wife of Llowarch, but
that she was the mother of Cadwgan and Iorwerth, sons of Llowarch.
 Brut y Tywysogyon, entry for 1125
 Either Rhael was born c. 1125 or her ancestry is cited incorrectly.
Instead, she may have been a daughter of Gronwy ap Owain ap Uchdryd ap Edwin, but we would reject that option.
 Dwnn ii, 154; See our Tangwystl paper at the following link:
 Dwnn ii, 257/258 and 264
 The Extent of Anglesey translated by A.D. Carr in Transactions of the Anglesey
Antiquarian Society and Field Club, 1971/72, pp 255
 Dwnn ii, 89, 224/225, 232, 234 and 251
 The various pedigrees of men descended from this Gruffudd point to a birthdate
for him near 1185.
 Dwnn ii, 232 Robert Lloyd of Rhiw Goch of Trawsfynydd parish in Merionydd
was High Sheriff of that Shire in 1596 and later dates
 Dwnn ii, 234 Humphrey ap Maredudd of Clynnog Fawr was High Sheriff
of Carnarvonshire in 1614
 Dii, 89 but see Dwnn ii, 224/225 for comparison
 The editor of Dwnn's manuscripts claimed Robert Lloyd was mistaken, that
his Rhys ap Tudor should be attached to Hywel ap Tudor ap Gruffudd. We think the editor was mistaken.
 Dwnn ii, 89 says the Rhys ap Tudor ap Hywel married Marged ferch Ieuan ap
Gruffudd Lloyd ap Maredudd ap Llewelyn ap Ynyr of Ial; such a lady would occur circa 1355. Dwnn ii, 232 says
the Rhys ap Tudor ap Maredudd married that same lady, but made her a daughter of Ieuan ap Llewelyn ap Gruffudd Llwyd
ap Maredudd ap Llewelyn ap Ynyr, a lady born c. 1385 Dwnn ii, 251 says Rhys ap Tudor ap Maredudd married a Marged ferch
Ieuan ap Llewelyn ap Gruffudd ap Sir Ieuan Lloyd. We think that last citation is merely a corrupt form of the lady
first mentioned. Several Peniarth pedigrees cite her as Gwerfyl ferch Ieuan ap Llewelyn ap Gruffudd Llwyd, etc.
We believe the lady was born c. 1385 and married the Rhys ap Tudor ap Hywel descended from Cadwgan ap Llowarch. Bartrum's
chart assigned her to the same-named man who descended from Iorwerth ap Llowarch
 The man of that name wrongly inserted by the Dwnn editor was descended from
Iorwerth ap Llowarch and in the 1352 Extent, was an owner of land in Ysgeifiog, Menai which was part of Gwely Maredudd ap
 The work is "Pedigrees of Anglesey & Carnarvonshire Families", 1914,
pp 390 It is merely a compilation of extant pedigrees found by the author, who did no work to test their chronological stability.
Update: We possibly have identified a Eunydd ap Llowarch Fychan ap Llowarch. See our paper "Three
Men Called Iorwerth Goch ap Maredudd" note 4 at the link below:
 One good possibility is Moriddig ap Blegoryd ap Dyfnwal, a first cousin
of Llowarch ap Bran ap Dyfnwal. All the land in Porthamel might well have been once called Gwely Dyfnwal ap Eunydd
before it was divided into the 7 Gwelys which existed in 1352.
 His son, Gwyn, was an adult in 1317 and dead
before 1352. Three of his grandsons served on the jury for the 1352 Extent of Anglesey. Iorwerth must have been
in the fourth generation after Llowarch; thus 4 x 32 = 128 + 1120 = 1248
 By a deed dated in 1317, he sold some land to a kinsman, Maredudd Ddu ap
Gronwy ap Maredudd. The deed is reproduced in Archaeologia Cambrensis, 1849, pp 105. He stated his name as Gwyn
ap Iorwerth ap Cadwgan.
 ibid Note 9, pp 255 for Hywel ap Gwyn and pp 247 for Llewelyn ap Gwyn
 ibid Note 9, pp 247
 32 x 5 = 160 + 1120 = 1280; thus men in the fifth generation were 65+
years old in 1352. Men in the sixth generation were in their 40's while those in the seventh generation were still children.
We would think all the owners named in the Extent were born between 1285 and 1325.
 Archaelogia Cambrensis, 1849, pp 104
 Dwnn ii, 252 and 265
 ibid Note 9, pp 247
 History records an epidemic of Bubonic Plague hit Anglesey in 1349 killing
half the population in some areas while barely touching others
 The constable was Thomas Barneby, a man said to have used his position for
personal profit. In 1414, a royal commission was appointed to investigate his activities.
 No single pedigree we have seen includes both Ieuan Wyddel and Cynwrig but
Dii,194 cites the mother of Cynwrig as Gwenllian ferch Ithel Fychan ap Ithel Lloyd while Dii, 208 says the mother of Ieuan
Wyddel was Cathryn, daughter of an Irish nobleman. The incorrect conclusion they were brothers comes from same-named
ancestors cited for both: Maredudd Ddu ap Gronwy ap Maredudd; in addition, both men named Gronwy are assigned the same wife.
This seems to indicate the drafters of both pedigrees believed the same Maredudd Ddu was father of both men. However, that
wife was a granddaughter of Ednyfed Fychan and would date to c. 1230/35 which fits her only with the Gronwy of 1220.
 Rowland's "Antiquitates Parochiales" published in Archaeologia Cambrensis,
1849, pp 43
 He occurs in the 5th generation after Llowarch or c. 1280 but
was still active in 1352 when named foreman of the Menai jury formed to assess land for the Extent of Anglesey.
 Public Record Office SC6/1170/5
 Public Record Office SC/1149/9
 See Note 20