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Parents and Children of the Lord Rhys
                                             LLUAN FERCH BRYCHAN
                                                By Darrell Wolcott
 
         While researching the various children assigned to Brychan in the old manuscripts, we decided to expand our comments on Lluan to show the tendancy of some modern historians to form an opinion and then emend ancient texts to make them support that view.  The question we will examine is "Who did Lluan marry?"
 
         The oldest pedigree is found in De Situ Brecheniauc from Cotton Ms Vespasian A xiv.  Scholars date the extant copy to c. 1200 and believe it had been copied from an earlier manuscript by someone who did not understand Welsh.  They date the orthography of the text to the eleventh century.[1]  The relevant pedigree reads:
 
         "Luan filia Brach mat Haidani bradouc" [2]
 
         While written in Latin, the Welsh form of the epithet "bradouc" is used to describe the man given as the son of Lluan.  The copyist has written "insidiosi" above that word, being Latin for "treacherous". This is the same meaning as the Welsh "bradog" (often spelled "fradog").  An English translation of the text would read:
 
          "Lluan, daughter of Brychan was the mother of Aidan Fradog"
 
          The genealogists and historians immediately identified the man as the same "Aydan Vradawc" mentioned in Triad #54 [3] as one of the three Unrestrained Ravagings of the Island of Britain.  That citation tells of Aeddan Fradog coming to the court of Rhydderch Hael at Alclud and leaving neither food nor drink nor beast alive.
 
           While it was Rhydderch Hen born c. 540 who resided at Alclud,
it is very likely the man who raided his court was Aeddan mac Gabrain, king of the Dal Raida Scots whose realm lay adjacent to Dumbarton (Alclud).  That Aeddan was born c. 540 and died in 607.[4]  No historic accounts of the man call him "the Treacherous", that epithet being applied only in Welsh literature.  While we agree that the triad concerns Aeddan mac Gabrain, calling him "Fradog" might be as incorrect as calling Rhydderch Hen "Hael". [5]  Indeed, Rachael Bromwich was uncomfortable calling Aeddan treacherous and rendered her translation of the Welsh word as "Wily", a position that finds no support in the Welsh language.
 
           The next pedigree of Lluan is found in a section of Cotton Ms Domitian I called Cognatio Brychan. Although the extant copy only dates from the 17th century, scholars say it was copied from a manuscript written in the early 13th century.[6]  Here we find:
 
           "Lluan mat Aidan grutauc mat Gafron vradavc" [7]
 
           Taken as written, this citation says that Lluan was not only the mother of a son named Aidan, but had a second son named Gafron. The occurrance of this second name confirmed the scholars belief that Aeddan mac Gabrain had to be a son of Lluan and that "Gafron" must be her husband.  Accordingly, they believe, the citation must be emended to substitute "uxor" for "mat" (mater) preceding Gafron's name.  The fact that it was Gafron who was given the "Fradog" epithet while Aiden was called "grutiog" or grit-like was passed off as simple confusion on the part of the writer. When A.W. Wade-Evans published his Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae et Genealogiae in 1944, he included[8] the text of Cognacio Brychan but rendered the pedigree of Lluan as "mater Aidan Bratauc et vxor Gafran".  While he included a footnote to show that wasn't the way the text actually read, Rachael Bromwich repeats his emendation [9] and claims it to be the actual text of Cognacio Brychan. Peter Bartrum also used the emended wording in his Early Welsh Genealogiocal Tracts [10] but admits in a footnote that the text says "mater" and not "uxor".
 
        These scholars were merely following the author of a set of pedigrees known as Jesus College Ms 20.  Dating to the late 14th century, this manuscript begins with the Brychan pedigrees.  The citation for Lluan reads:
 
         "Llvan verch Vrachan hono oed vam Aidan mab Gwauream vradawc" [11] (the first 3 words are actually abbreviated in the text)
 
         The English translation of this text is "Lluan, daughter of Brychan, that one was the mother of Aidan ap Gawuream".  Here, it can be seen that the author of this manuscript has rendered "mab" or "son of" from the older Latin citations which read "mat" or "mater".
 
          By the time the much later Plant Brychan was written[12], the pedigree had morphed into:
 
          "Lleian Brychan gwraic Gawron mam Aeddan Vradoc"[13]
 
          The transformation was complete; now the medieval genealogists give us simply "Lluan ferch Brychan was the wife of Gawron and mother of Aeddan Fradog".  Should we leave the matter there, we would have to date Lluan to c. 520 and acknowledge that she could not be a sister of any of the other Brychan children which can be dated.[14]
 
           But the case for Aeddan mac Gabrain being a son of Lluan has been made only by emending old texts, none of which certainly contain the name Gabrain.  However, there are other old texts which mention a "Gauron ap Aedan".  Welsh triad #29[15] says the Three Faithful Warbands of the Island of Britain include:
 
           "Teleu Gauron mab Aedan, a aethant y'r mor dros eu harglvyd"
 
           Rachael Bromwich translates this as "The warband of Gafron son of Aeddan, who went to sea for their lord".  Perhaps "Gafron" would be appropriate if the name appeared as Gavron, but it would seem as though Bromwich was putting her thumb on the scale to turn him into the historic Gabrain.  Indeed, in her discussion of the triad, she reverses these names to speak solely of Aeddan mac Gabrain in speculating on herioc acts for which his warband may have been celebrated.  But the triad is speaking of Gauron's warband, not that of Aedan. One might also wonder what would make a warband faithful for simply "going to the sea for their lord" and we shall return to that Bromwich translation later.
 
            Yet another citation which identifies a man called Gauran ap Aedan is found in a series of pedigrees of North Britain chieftans called Bonedd Gwyr y Gogledd. It first appeared in Peniarth Ms 45 of the late 14th century.  Pedigree #11 reads:
 
            "Gauran m. Aedan uradawc m Dyuynwal hen m. Idnyuet m. Maxen Wledig, amherawdyr Ruuein" [16]
 
            Dyfnwal Hen ap Ednyfed was a grandson of Anwn Dynod (missing from this citation) ap Maxen Wledig, the Maxen who was born c. 280 and had a child by Elen ferch Eudaf Hen...not the one killed in 388.[17] If this Dyfnwal Hen had a son called Aeddan Grutiog, who in turn had a son named Gauran, that latter man would date from c. 425.  By simply noting that the ancient manuscripts sometimes referred to both Gauran and Aeddan as "Vradawc", it is at least possible that the stigma earned by one man was passed on to his son and perhaps even to a grandson.  One solution which would fit all the old citations and reject Aeddan mac Gabrain's identity as the son of Lluan:
 
                                    360  Dyfnwal Hen
                                                l
                                   395  Aeddan Grutiog            Brychan  400
                                                l                                  l
                                   425  Gauran Fradog=======Lluan  440
                                                                       l
                                                       455  Aeddan Fradog
 
         In this construction, the son of Lluan bears the name assigned to him in the oldest of the pedigrees and her husband agrees with the name appearing in the later citations.  At the same time, it provides us with a Gauran ap Aeddan from the triads, one who brought shame on himself and perhaps on his son as well.  The historic Aeddan mac Gabrain had no son named Gauran or Gafron or Gawron.[18] When Iolo Morgannwg introduced his bogus group of triads[19] in 1870, he made "Aeddan Fradwr o'r Gogledd" one of the three Arrant Traitors of the Isle of Britain. This is the so-called third series of triads which have been rejected by most serious scholars and do not appear in Bromwich's work Trioedd Ynys Prydein. In the fertile imagination of Iolo, "fradog" becomes "fradwr" or "traitor". 
 
          The family we posit may well have lived in Wales by the mid-fifth century; other descendants of Dyfnwal Hen are found in Gwent[20] and Lluan herself is the patroness of Chapel Llanlluan (or Llanlleian) in the parish of Llanarthney, Carmarthenshire. Perhaps an event unmentioned in history disgraced her husband.  Return a moment to triad #29 where the warband of Gauron ap Aedan was praised for its faithfulness.  The text "a aethant y'r mor dros eu harglvyd" can also translate as "who went INTO the sea INSTEAD OF their lord".  If we then consider the warband may have been commended for its faithfulness to the Cymry rather than to their lord, one scenerio which would explain both the triad and the stigma of the Fradog epithet is this:
 
         Gauran ab Aeddan and his warband may have been battling an enemy force around 470 (where and which enemy could only be a guess) when Gauran found his army hopelessly trapped on high ground overlooking the sea. Knowing from past custom that if he were captured the foe would simply ransom him back to his family for cash, he may have negotiated such a deal for himself.  But his warband had little ransom value and could not expect to receive gentle treatment were they to surrender.  If Gauran simply saved his own hide and left his warband to their own devices, they may have elected to plunge into the sea and drown rather than risk being taken to be used as slaves by the enemy. It wasn't death they feared, but enslavement. Thus we have a warband that remained faithful to their people and a Gauran who was thereafter called "the Treacherous". 
 
          We shall conclude with the admission that we don't really know the family into which Lluan ferch Brychan married, but neither have the previous scholars convinced us they know!  Certainly a Lluan born c. 440 fits with the children of Brychan better than one born c. 520.  We think she was a sister of Meleri, Hunydd and Rhain, in which event we must also include Tybie since she is patroness of the parish of Llandebie which adjoins the parish in Carmarthenshire containing Chapel Llanlluan.[21]
                                           
NOTES:
[1] P.C. Bartrum "Early Welsh Genealogical Tracts", 1966, pp 14
[2] Y Cymmrodor, vol xix, pp 26
[3] Rachael Bromwich "Trioedd Ynys Prydein", 1961, pp 147
[4] Annales Cambriae records his obit
[5] Refer to the discussion of Rhydderch Hen and Rhydderch Hael in "Anwn Dynod ap Maxen Wledig" at the link below:
[6] ibid Note 1, pp 17
[7] ibid Note 2, pp 30
[8] pp 317 of that book
[9] ibid Note 3, pp 264
[10] Ibid Note 1, pp 18
[11] Y Cymmrodor, vol viii, pp 84
[12] Ibid Note 1, pp 75-80 for the location and dating of this tract
[13] Ibid Note 1, pp 82
[14] Of the datable children ascribed to Brychan, they occur (1) c. 430/440; (2) c. 490/500; and (3) c. 550/555
[15] ibid Note 3, pp 57
[16] ibid Note 3, pp 239; ibid Note 1, pp 73
[17] For a discussion of the two men called Maxen Wledig in the Welsh genealogies, see "Maxen Wledig and the Welsh Legends" at the link below:
[18] a list of the sons of Aeddan mac Gabrain appears in W.F. Skene "Chronicles of the Picts and Scots", pp 308-317
[19] "The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales", 1870, pp 405
[20] Buchedd Llawddog in Llanstephan Ms 34 cites Dyngad ap Nudd Hael ap Senyll ap Dyfnwal ap Ednyfed ap Antoni ap Maxen as a king of Brynn Buga (Usk in lower Gwent)
[21] Baring-Gould and Fisher "Lives of the British Saints", 1907, part 6, pp 381