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Who Was Sir Robert Pounderling?
Eidio Wyllt - What Was His Birthname?
Parents and Children of the Lord Rhys

                               THE HERBERT FAMILY PEDIGREE
                                         By Darrell Wolcott
 
      In the mid-1400's, two brothers assumed the surname Herbert; these were Sir William, Earl of Pembroke and Sir Richard of Coldbrook, sons of Sir William ap Thomas and his wife Gwladys Ddu, daughter of Sir Dafydd Gam.  This was probably done at the time Sir William was named Earl of Pembroke by King Edward IV.  Apparently these brothers knew their grandfather, Thomas, was the son of Gwilym ap Jenkin ap Adam but further back they were unsure.
 
      We are told King Edward IV commissioned one Hywel Lloyd and others to find the true pedigree of the Earl of Pembroke.[1]  The result of that project traced Jenkin ap Adam back through a succession of men, ending with a "Lord Herbert, Duke of Cornwall son of Godwin" [2] said to have lived prior to the 1066 Norman conquest.  Based on those now extant, this early attempt at a family pedigree probably looked like this[3]: 
 
                                           Godwin
                                           Herbert
                                           Henry
                                           Herbert
                                           Herbert
                                           Peter 
                                           Reginald 
                                           Peter 
                                           Herbert
                                           Adam
                                           Jenkin
                                           Gwilym 
                                           Thomas
                                           Sir William==Gwladys Ddu 
                               Sir William                          Sir Richard
 
      
 
         Since the first Herbert shown in this chart was subsequently identified as a companion of William the Conqueror[4], early genealogists scoffed at the notion he could have been the son of a Saxon and Godwin was dropped from the pedigree.  Soon, amended pedigrees were being cast making the second-named Herbert a base son of King Henry I[5].  That failed to convince others who said the Henry in the pedigree was the "Henry the Treasurer" found in the 1086 Domesday Book[6], but we suspect all the early generations were men called Herbert.  Yet others claimed an early marriage to Emma de Blois, half-sister to King Stephen and a daughter of Adelia, a base daughter of William the Conqueror[7].
 
         Other early marriage matches inserted in the various versions of the pedigree included Nest ferch Rhys ap Tewdwr[8], Julia daughter of Robert Corbet[9] and Lucy daughter of Milo fitz Walter[10].  It was almost certainly not Julia but Sibyl Corbet that married a Herbert.  A son of the Corbet marriage would fit chronologically with Lucy and the liaison with Lucy produced Peter.  A public record[11] calls "Sibilla" the grandmother of "Petr fili Herbti".  This section of the early Norman family probably looks like this:
                 
                                1035   Herbert, Count of Vermandois                      
                                               l
    1085  Nest vz Rhys ==/==Herbert II===Emma de Blois  1080 
                                      l      1070         l
 1105  Sybil Corbet==Herbert III      St William, archbishop ob 1154
                             l     1100
            1130   Herbert IV====Lucy dau of Milo fitzWalter  1135
                                        l
                 1165  Peter fitz Herbert==Alice dau Robert FitzRoger 1175
                                                 
 
          Without spending a lot of time dissecting the charted family, the chronological time line is possible.  If any of those men sired a child by the infamous Nest ferch Rhys ap Tewdwr[12] it would have to be the one called Herbert II although those pedigrees who include Nest match her with the father of the Herbert who married Lucy. (See Appendix below) 
 
        Reginald fitz Peter (son of Peter in the above chart) is said to have married Joan, daughter of William Fortibus (1190-1241) and their son, Peter fitz Reginald, died in 1323 leaving a son Herbert fitz Peter who was 48 years old at the inquisition taken in 1323....thus born in 1275.  It is the marriage match claimed for Peter fitz Reginald which, we believe, was faked in order to connect this family to the later Earl of Pembroke.[13]  The lady in question is Alis ferch Bleddyn Broadspear, heiress of the manors of Llanllowel and Beachley. We shall return to this lady momentarily, but first we should present a chart showing the remainder of the pedigree together with estimated birthdates which will expose the fraud:
 
                          1275  Herbert fitz Peter (birthdate on record)
                                          l
                          1255      Adam
                                          l
                          1290      Jenkin
                                          l
                        1325      Gwilym  obit 1377
                                          l
                          1360    Thomas  obit 1438
                                          l
                       1390  Sir William ap Thomas  obit 1446
 
          We date the Adam in the above chart by his marriage, which all versions of the pedigree agree was with Cristyn ferch Gwarin Ddu.  This man was descended from Ynyr, king of Upper Gwent, as follows:
 
                                   1030  Ynyr
                                   1065  Meurig
                                   1095  Ynyr Fychan
                                   1125  Caradog
                                   1155  Sir Gwarin
                                   1190  Iorwerth
                                   1230  Gwarin Ddu
                                   1265  Cristyn========Adam  1255
 
         While the medieval genealogists had made a number of emendations to the basic pedigree, some seeking to paper over the chronological problem by attaching Adam to Reginald instead of to his grandson, all insisted the family at the bottom of the chart descended from the one at the top.  But in 1876, George T. Clark debunked the pedigree as "a forgery and a clumsy one, and its statements not to be reconciled with independent dates and records".[14]  Rather than be content that the ancestry of Adam clearly was not that claimed in the pedigree, we sought to learn not only his correct ancestry but why the earlier genealogists had connected him to the old Norman family.
 
          Our journey began with two pedigrees which said the father of Adam was actually named Cynhaethwy[15] and a third pedigree which said Peter fitz Herbert had a brother named Cynhaethwy, and that man had a son named Adam[16].  Down to this point in the pedigree, all men bore common English names and married English/Norman ladies but suddenly we encounter a purely Welsh name.  Further research led us to the family of Adam Gwent.[17]  Among his sons were Adam Fychan and Cynhaethwy; while his pedigree did not chart the descendants of Cynhaethwy, it does identify a son of Adam Fychan who is styled "Lord of Beachley".  
 
         Return now to a lady mentioned earlier: Alis ferch Bleddyn Broadspear. Most of the citations which mention Bleddyn identify him as Lord of Llanllowel and Beachley.[18]  The fake Herbert pedigrees show Llanllowell descending to Sir Thomas ap Adam, older brother of Jenkin ap Adam.  They omit any mention of Beachley, a fact "corrected" by Joseph Morris in 1858.[19]  He simply takes Sir John ap Adam Fychan (the man who did inheirit Beachley) and makes him the brother of Jenkin ap Adam and assigns Llanllowel to him. 
 
        Acting on the theory that both the families we find holding those two manors c. 1300 had a common ancestor, and that ancestor was a son of Alis ferch Bleddyn, we decided to see where it might lead us if we were to identify the Cynhaethwy claimed to be a brother of Peter fitz Herbert (and father of Adam) with the man of that name cited as a son of Adam Gwent.  Our result was this chart[20]:
 
                   965  Rhiwallon
                                l
                 1000  Caradog[21]
                                l
                 1030  Breichiol
                               l
                  1060   Pyll
                               l
                 1095  Meurig
                               l
                 1125  Caradog of Penrhos            Bleddyn Broadspear
                               l                                                l
                 1160  Iorwerth=================Alis
                                                       l
                                     1190  Adam Gwent
                    ___________________l_____________
                    l                                                         l
      1220  Adam Fychan                                  Cynhaethwy  1225
                    l                                                         l
       1255  Sir John[22]                                       Adam  1255
                                                       ____________l________
            Lord of Beachley                   l                                     l
            and Beverstone[23]     Sir Thomas 1285          1290 Jenkin
 
                                           Lord of Llanllowel     Lord of Wern Ddu
                                                                              [24] 
 
          Iorwerth ap Caradog in this chart was steward to Hywel ap Iorwerth ap Owain Wan of Caerleon, ruler of Lower Gwent c. 1175.  Adam Gwent was steward to Morgan ap Hywel c. 1210[25]  Our construction is chronologically stable now that we have disconnected Jenkin ap Adam from the Norman fitz-Herbert family and placed Alis ferch Bleddyn in a marriage that produced the descendants that actually inherited her lands.  Bleddyn's ancestry is nowhere given, but it is a common Welsh name and the form "Alis ferch Bleddyn" used in the pedigrees should identify him as a Welshman.  Our guess is he was related to the ruling family in Caerleon, in whose realm Llanllowel is located[26] and in whose service we find Iorwerth ap Caradog the father of Adam Gwent.
 
           We can only guess as to why the 15th century Earl of Pembroke did not want his ancestor listed as Adam Gwent, a nobleman of purely Welsh ancestry.  We even suspect Adam's ancestors represent a junior cadet of one of the families who ruled Gwent in the tenth and eleventh centuries[27].  But Sir William Herbert, as he styled himself, was an ardent Yorkist and must have preferred to claim ancestry from an illustrous Norman family, not a "lowly" Welshman.
 
           His genealogists thus did a cut and paste job to accomplish his desire, ignoring chronology as they went.  But their principal error was in bringing Alis ferch Bleddyn into the pedigree to account for a Thomas ap Adam holding her manor of Llanllowel while failing to include the family holding Beachley.  While our construction cannot be guaranteed correct, it follows a stable timeline and places both of Alis' manors in the hands of Adam Gwent whose descendants are known to have inherited them.

Notes:
[1]  Llyfr Baglan, pp 13
[2]  LB 51
[3]  LB 51, 79
[4]  John B. Burke "Roll of the Battle Abbey", 1848 (1998 reprint, pp 55) where the companion of William I is called Herbert, Count of Vermandois.
[5]  Dwnn i, 293
[6]  Cited as a landholder in Hampshire; since his entry immediately follows land held by a "Herbert the Chamberlain", some would say they were father and son.  That this conjecture is untrue can be seen from the dates; if both held land in capite from King William I in 1086, both must date from before 1066 and if related at all, they are from the same generation. But nothing compels belief they were related.
[7]  John of Hexham, Historical Works (ed by Thomas Arnold), 1882-85, vol ii, pp 305-307
[8]  LB 79, 215, 269; Dwnn i, 196
[9]  LB 79; Dwnn i, 196, 292, 293
[10] LB 79, 215, 269, 323; Dwnn i, 196, 292, 293
[11] Archaeologia Cambrensis, 1858, pp 21
[12] Born c. 1085, Nest spent her childhood as a hostage at the court of William Rufus and Henry I before marrying Gerald of Windsor.  She is known to have had out-of-wedlock children with several important men at court, including King Henry I. In 1109, she was abducted from her husband's bed by Owain ap Cadwgan of Powys "who was moved by passion and love for the woman".  Her only complaint to Owain was "if you want me for yourself, at least send my husband's children back to him".
[13] Dwnn i, 196 may contain the identification of Peter's actual wife, Alice daughter of John St. John, although it matches her with the earlier Peter.  Burke's Dormant and Extinct Peerages says Peter had a sister named Alice who married John St John, Lord of Basing born c. 1235.  If that man had a base daughter born c. 1255 before his marriage, she would fit chronologically with Peter.
[14] Limbus Patrum Morganiae et Glamorganiae, pp 250-251
[15] Dwnn ii, 42, 43
[16] LB 323
[17] Joseph Bradney "A History of Monmouthshire", vol 3, part 2, pp 218
[18] LB 215, 269, 323; Dwnn i, 293
[19] Archaeologia Cambrensis, 1858, pp 30
[20] see note 17
[21] Caradog ap Rhiwallon appears in several Llandaff Charters; in a charter which scholars date to c. 1045, he described himself as "decomitibus" or "comes" to King Meurig (ap Hywel ap Owain ap Morgan Hen).  Text of the Book of Llan Dav, pp 261 
[22] Sir John ab Adam was a baronet called to Parliament and to military service many times between 1297 and 1307.
[23] Sir John had Beverstone from his mother and Beachley from his father.
[24] Jenkin was the younger son of Adam and received his mother's manor. She was a daughter of Gwarin Ddu, whose pedigree can be found in LB 257 and Bradney's History of Monmouthshire, vol 1, part 2b, pp 360
[25] See note 17
[26] Llanllowell was located in the parish of Llantrisant Fawr in the hundred of Usk, just north of Caerleon.
[27] Rhiwallon, the father of Caradog, could well have been a younger brother of King Meurig ap Hywel.  Not only does the chronology fit, but the nephew of a king could be expected to hold a key role at his court...perhaps even his penteulu 
 

APPENDIX:
 
       The tradition that Nest ferch Rhys ap Tewdwr was the mother of one of the early Norman Herberts (but not married to the father) is widely believed.  The Dictionary of Welsh Biography, 1959, page 683 cites a number of illegitimate sons she bore by liaisons with not only King Henry I, but by other highly-placed Norman men.  That one of these was the Herbert ancestor who was married to Emma de Blois is suggested by the fact that none of the Herbert pedigrees found in Llyfr Baglan or in Dwnn's Visitations of Wales cite Emma de Blois as mother to any of the early Herberts, but several do say Nest ferch Rhys ap Tewdwr was.  One can never be sure whether the "marriage matches" shown in medieval pedigrees were meant to indicate (a) that the lady was married to the man to whose name she is connected, or (b) that she was the mother of the next following person in the pedigree, whether or not married to the father. 
 
         Our best guess is that Emma was excluded from the pedigrees because she was not the mother of any cited son; not all the offspring of each generation was included.  According to the 12th century chronicler John of Hexham, Emma and Herbert of Winchester were the parents of William, archbishop of York.  On the other hand, Nest ferch Rhys ap Tewdwr may have been named because she was the mother of a Herbert, not because she was actually married to his father.