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                             RHIRYD ap RHIWALLON - WHO WAS HE?
                                           By Darrell Wolcott

           There are 8 citations, among the early Welsh pedigrees, which mention a pre-12th century man named Rhiryd ap Rhiwallon as the ancestor of a family being cited.  Six of these extend his ancestry as "Rhiwallon ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn" while the others extend him as "Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn", (1]

           In his charts [2], Peter Bartrum notes "Bleddyn had no son named Rhiwallon.  This suggests that all those lines in Cynllaith should go back to Rhiryd (ap Rhiwallon) ap Cynfyn". He ignored a more likely solution, that perhaps it is the "ap Cynfyn" which is the real problem.

          We think Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn had only daughters.  Bartrum charts two sons for him: this Rhiryd and Meilyr ap Rhiwallon. [3]  In earlier papers, [4] we identified the Meilyr ap Rhiwallon who was killed at the Battle of Mynydd Carn as a younger brother of Cynwrig ap Rhiwallon ap Gwyn and a first-cousin of Trahaearn ap Caradog ap Gwyn.  The latter was an interim king of Gwynedd and Powys.  If Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn (older brother of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn) had a son named Rhiryd, he'd have been a man in his mid-20's when Trahaearn was killed in 1081.  Yet there is no record of such a son ever staking a kingship claim to Powys, nor of doing anything at all worthy of mention in the Brut. 

           This group of citations seems to us no different than those which call Cadwgan of Nannau "ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn".  While his father's name was Bleddyn, it is chronologically impossible that this was Bleddyn ap Cynfyn.  In fact, our analysis of these Bartrum charts finds two men named Rhiryd ap (something); one whose descendants are found in Pennardd, Ceredigion, and another whose descendants are found in the north Powys commote of Cynllaith.  We would identify the first as Rhiryd ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, and the other as Rhiryd ap Rhiwallon ap Bleddyn ap (someone NOT Cynfyn).

           Even Bartrum effectively admits the Ceredigion family of Rhiryd ap Cadwgan ap Rhiryd (shown in the first column of chart "Rhiryd ap Rhiwallon 1") actually belongs on his chart "Bleddyn ap Cynfyn 2" as a son of Cadwgan ap Rhiryd ap Bleddyn.  If charted correctly, this would leave us with only those 3 families who resided in Cynllaith and whose ancestry is yet undetermined.


           Since there is no "Rhiwallon" in his patronymic name, we would have excluded this family from further mention in the present paper.  However, we decline to leave it unexamined since our analysis found it actually consists of two families which have been conflated by Bartrum.  Our chart would look like this:


(a)  This Cadwgan married Angharad (1160) ferch Gruffudd (1125) ap Meilyr (1090) ap Elidyr (1060) ap Rhys Sais I (1025) descended from Tudor Trefor.  [5] 
(b)  This Cadwgan married Gwenhwyfar (1205) ferch Hywel Fychan (1160) ap Hywel (1130) ap Ieuaf (1095) ap Owain (1065) ap Trahaearn (1035) ap Caradog (1005).  [6]
(c)  This Efa married Cuhelyn (1195) ap Rhun (1165) ap Einion Efell (1135) ap Madog (1098) ap Maredudd (1065) ap Bleddyn (1025) ap Cynfyn (985).  [7]
(d)  This Gronwy married Gwenhwyfar (1235) ferch Dafydd (1200) ap Hywel Fychan (1160) and continuing as in item (b) above.  [8]
(e)  This Maredudd married Erdudfel (1360) ferch Cadwgan ap Hywel Fongam.  Her mother was Gwenhwyfar (1335) ferch Ieuan (1300) ap Llewelyn (1265) ap Maredudd (1230) ap Llewelyn (1200) ap Hywel (1165) ap Maredudd Hen (1128) ap Hywel (1101) ap Maredudd (1065) ap Bleddyn (1025) ap Cynfyn (985).  [9]
(f)  This Hywel married Angharad (1425) ferch y Bedo Goch (1395) ap Maredudd (1365) ap Hywel Gethin (1335) ap Rhys (1305) ap Owain Fychan (1275) ap Owain (1245) ap Gruffudd (1215) ap Gwyn (1180) ap Gronwy (1145) ap Einion (1110) ap Seisyllt (1080).  [10]
(g)  This Gruffudd married Dyddgu (1435) ferch Hywel (1405) ap Maredudd (1375) ap Dafydd (1340) ap Llewelyn (1310) ap Gruffudd Gryg (1280) ap Dafydd Fongam (1245) ap Dafydd (1215) ap Gruffudd (1180) ap Meurig Goch (1152) ap Gruffudd (1122) ap Cadifor (1090) ap Selyf (1055) of Dyfed.  [11]

                                               THE CYNLLAITH FAMILIES


          We shall begin with this family since our analysis indicates it is the earliest of those who trace back to Rhiryd ap Rhiwallon ap Bleddyn:

                                                       CHART 2

                                               970  Bleddyn  (a)
                                            1000  Rhiwallon
                                              1030  Rhiryd
                                             1065  Cadwgan
                                              1100  Einion
                                              1130  Dafydd
                                           1165  Hywel Goch
                                               1200  Ieuan
                                              1230  Dafydd
                                               1260  Gwyn
                                              1295  Dafydd
                                               1325  Ieuan
                                       1355  Gruffudd Gethin (b)
                                         1390  Ieuan Gethin  (c)
                                            1420  Maredudd  (d)
                                               1450  John  (e)


(a)  Clearly this is NOT the c. 1025 Bleddyn ap Cynfyn which the writer of the source citation believed,  The correct identity of this Bleddyn is not known. Our tentative identification is discussed later in this paper.

[b)  Gruffudd Gethin married Marged (1360) ferch Gruffudd Fychan (1320) ap Gruffudd (1290) ap Dafydd Goch (1260) ap Dafydd (1230) ap Gruffudd (1200) ap Llewelyn (1170) ap Iorwerth (1135) ap Nefydd Hardd (1105) of Nant Conwy.  [12] 

(c)  Ieuan Gethin married Mali (1405) ferch Adda (1370) ap Dafydd (1335) ap Adda (1305) ap Hywel (1275) ap Ieuaf (1240) ap Adda (1205) ap Awr (1170) ap Ieuaf (1130) ap Nynnio (1095) ap Cynwrig (1065) ap Rhiwallon (1030) ap Cynwrig (995) ap Rhiwallon (965) ap Dyngad (930) ap Tudor Trefor (900).  [13]  Bartrum calls him "Ieuaf Gethin" but both Dwnn and Llyfr Silin spell his name "Ieuan".

(d)  This Maredudd married Elen (1430) ferch y Dai (1400) ap Madog Llwyd (1365) ap Dafydd Fain (1330) ap Dafydd Welw (1300) ap Dafydd (1270) ap Madog Heddwch (1240) ap Meilyr (1205) ap Tangwel (1170) descended from Llewelyn Aurdorchog.  [14]

(e)  John married Catryn (1465) ferch Rhys (1435) ap Guttyn (1400) ap Gruffudd (1365) ap Ieuan Gethin (1335) ap Madog Cyffin (1300) descended from Einion Efell (1135), Lord of Cynllaith and base son of Madog ap Maredudd ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn.  [15]

          This is the latest (youngest) of the Cynllaith families said to descend from an ancestor named Rhiryd ap Rhiwallon ap Bleddyn,  We chart it as:


(a)  Nest married Ieuan (1335) ap Gruffudd (1300) ap Ali (1270) ap Ieuan Fychan (1240) ap Ieuan (1205) ap Heilyn (1175) ap Ieuan (1145) ap Meurig II (1110) ap Pasgen II (1080) ap Gwyn II (1050) ap Gruffudd II (1015) ap Beli II (980) ap Selyf II (945) ap Brochwel II (910) ap Aeddan II (880) of the First Powys Dynasty.  [16]
(b)  Mallt married Ieuan (1375) ap Ithel Fychan (1345) ap Ithel Foel (1315) ap Madog (1285) ap Cadwaladr (1250) ap Rhiryd Ddu (1220) ap Einion (1190) ap Rhiryd Flaidd (1155) Lord of Penllyn. [17]
(c)  This Ieuan married Lleuci (1380) ferch Einion Goch (1340) ap Dafydd Goch (1310) ap Iorwerth (1275) ap Cynwrig (1240) ap Heilyn (1210) ap Trahaearn (1180) ap Iddon (1153) ap Rhys Sais II (1124) descended from Tudor Trefor. [18]
(d)  This Hywel married Tibod (1405) ferch Einion (1375) ap Gruffudd (1340) ap Gronwy Llwyd (1305) ap Einion (1270) ap Osbwrn Wyddel (1235).  [19]
(e)  Marged married Hywel (1410) ap Morys (1375) ap Ieuan Gethin (1335) ap Madog Cyffin (1300) descended from Einion Efell, base son of Madog ap Maredudd ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn. [20]
(f)  Gwenhwyfar married Maredudd Llwyd (1420) ap Madog Llwyd (1390) ap Griffri Fychan (1360) ap Griffri (1330) ap Meurig Llwyd (1300) ap Bleddyn Llwyd (1270) ap Bleddyn Fychan (1240) ap Bleddyn (1205) ap Rhiwallon (1175) ap Radfarch Bach (1145) ap Asser (1115) ap Gwrgi (1080) ap Hedd (1050) ap Alunog (1020). [21]
           This is the only Cynllaith family in this group who did NOT descend from a Cadwgan ap Rhiryd.  We chart it as:
(a)  Some citations call this man "Ieuaf".  [22]
(b)  This Ieuan Bach married Gwenhwyfar (1395) ferch Ieuan Fychan (1370) ap Ieuan Gethin (1335) ap Madog Cyffin (1300).  [23]
(c)  This Einion married Jane (1425) ferch Iorwerth (1395) ap Ieuan (1360) ap Adda (1330) ap Iorwerth Ddu (1295) ap Ednyfed Gam (1260) descended from Rhys Sais I of the family of Tudor Trefor.  [24]
(d)  This Ieuan married Catryn (1455) ferch John (1425) ap Einion (1400) ap Madog Heddwch (1360) ap Hywel Goch (1330) ap Rhiwallon (1300) descended from Cynddelw Gam. [25]
(e)  This Dafydd married Lowri (1465) ferch Hywel (1435) ap Rhys (1400) ap Maredudd (1370) ap Tudor (1335) ap Hywel (1305) ap Cynwrig Fychan (1275) ap Cynwrig (1245) ap Llywarch (1210) ap Heilyn (1180) ap Tyfid (1145) ap Tangno (1115) descended from Marchweithian. [26]
           To meld all these Cynllaith families into an extended family descended from a common ancestor, we would assemble them as follows:


          In the 10th century, the commote called Cynllaith was a part of the northern "March", lands located on the border between Wales and England.  It lay immediately south of the commote of Nanheudwy, and both were components of the cantref of Swydd y Waun (later renamed Chirk). This Welsh expression roughly translates as "the county of damp meadows" and we might assume that large parts of it were unsuitable for either agriculture or grazing of livestock.  It was a part of the borderlands held by Tudor Trefor, the Lord of the March who headed a non-kingly family descended from the first Powys Royal Dynasty.
          We suggest the Bleddyn we seek was an illegitimate child, born in the second generation after Tudor Trefor, and granted land in Cynllaith when he reached adulthood.  It would not be wholly a wild guess to think that Cynllaith land was often given to base sons of this family; when it later was controlled by the Powys kings, Madog ap Maredudd granted his out-of-wedlock son, Einion Efell, the Lordship of Cynllaith together with much of its usuable land.
          The only such man we have encountered, in our years of early Welsh research, was a base son of Gronwy ap Tudor Trefor called Wrenoc by earlier historians. They claimed this was another name for Gronwy, but we suggested the man was actually called "y Gwreng" meaning "one of the common people" since his mother was an unnamed Saxon lady NOT married to his father. [27]   Gronwy ap Tudor Trefor died during the lifetime of his father and left no legitimate sons.  When Tudor died shortly afterward, his lands were divided between his living sons, Dyngad and Lluddoca.  No portion was allotted to their bastard nephew, but when that boy reached adulthood, his uncle Lluddoca probably followed family tradition and gave him some land in Cynllaith for his residence. 
          Until we are presented with a better candidate, we nominate this Y Gwreng as the man named Bleddyn in the Cynllaith charts .  If correct, then our c. 1000 Rhiwallon was a younger brother of the Gronwy Pefr whose son Randulph was the founder of the Peverel family.              
[1] Pen. `129, 54; Pen. 129, 94; Pen 128, 177b; Pen. 177, 37; Pen. 134, 317; and BM Add. 9866, 143 say "Rhiwallon ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn", while Pen. 287, 205 and Llifr Silin 2, 50 say "Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn"
[2]  Peter C. Bartrum "Welsh Genealogies AD 300-1400", chart "Rhiryd ap Rhiwallon 2"
[3]  ibid, Early Charts #47
[4]  See our papers "Trahaearn ap Caradog of Arwystli" and "The Battle of Mynydd Carn" at these links:
[5]  Pen. 128, 175a
[6]  Pen. 287, 297
[7]  Pen. 287, 297
[8]  Pen. 128, 443a
[9]  Pen. 118, 613 for both Erdudfel and Gwenhwyfar
[10] ibid for Angharad
[11] Ibid for Dyddgu
[12] Dwnn ii, 330
[13] Llyfr Silin 2, 105 and Dwnn ii, 330
[14] Dwnn ii, 330
[15] J.Y.W. Lloyd, "History of Powys Fadog", vol 4, p. 235
[16] Pen. 128, 177b
[17] Llyfr Silin 2, 113
[18] Pen. 128, 181b
[19] ibid
[20] Pen. 127, 151
[21] Pen. 128, 74a
[22] Harl. 2299, as copied in Lloyd's "History of Powys Fadog, vol 4, page 232, says "Ieuaf"
[23] Llyfr Silin 2, 50
[24] B.M. Add. 9867, 131
[25] Llyfr Silin 2, 50
[26] Pen. 176, 72
[27] See our paper on "The Welsh Ancestry of the Mysterious Peverel Family" at the following link: