THE ANCESTRY OF EDWIN OF TEGEINGL
By Darrell Wolcott
Said to have resided at Trefedwen in Caerwys parish in the commote of Rhuddlan, Edwin is sometimes called King of Tegeingl
in the medieval pedigrees. He is wholly absent from the chronicles of Wales but his sons, Owain and Uchdryd, do occur
in the eleventh century.
His mother is identified  as Ethelfleda or Aldgyth daughter of Eadwine of Mercia. Her father was probably the Edwyn
who was brother to Earl Leofwine which would make her first-cousin to Earl Leofrig. The lady was first married to Siferth,
a Danish thane and son of Arngrim. When Siferth was slain about 1015 and his estates confiscated by Aethelred the Unready,
the young widow was claimed by the king's son, Edmund Ironsides; he took her to wife over his father's objections. But
young Edmund died in 1016, leaving the lady widowed for the second time. We suspect she was still very young, perhaps
born around 1000, and there is no record that she yet had borne children. (Edmund did have two sons, Edward the
Aetheling and Edmund, but there was scarcely time between his marriage to this lady and his death to attribute those children
to her) It was her third marriage which bore Edwin of Tegeingl; this son was probably born before 1020 and perhaps
as early as 1017.
claim she inherited her father's manor in Tegeingl and that Trefedwen was named after him, not after the son she also
named Edwin. It is difficult to say whether Mercia actually controlled all or part of Tegeingl in the lifetime of Eadwine
her father; certainly we are aware of Welsh chieftans who were contemporaries and who held land in the commote of Coleshill
 which adjoins Rhuddlan to the east, even closer to Mercia proper. And a passage in the Cheshire Domesday Book
says King Edward gave to Gruffudd (ap Llewelyn) all the land that lies beyond the River Dee; this may have been
merely an acknowledgement that the Welsh already possessed it and Edward simply quit claiming it on paper. Thus,
it is possible that both commotes were then (in the 10th and 11th centuries) under Welsh control and that young Edwin's
claim to the manor at Trefedwen was not maternal, but an inheritance from his father. But who was his father?
The majority, but by no
means all, of the medieval pedigrees name the father of Edwin as Gronwy. And say this Gronwy was the son of Owain
ap Hywel Dda. But since such a Gronwy would occur c. 940/950, he would be a full generation too old to be the father
of Edwin. Revised pedigrees were soon circulated which "corrected" this to Gronwy ap Einion ap Owain ap Hywel Dda.
But none of the ancient manuscripts included a son of Einion ap Owain who was named Gronwy. There was, however, an Edwin
ap Einion born c. 970 and the occurrance of that male name in the family of Owain ap Hywel Dda is likely the main reason
why the medieval genealogists attached the later Edwin of Tegeingl to this line.
Clearly the male name
Edwin was Saxon in origin, not Welsh. When we inquire as to why Einion ap Owain would have given a son a Saxon name,
we learn that he had married a Saxon lady. Her name is not recorded (nor her ancestry), but in her old age she
had insisted her lands in Mercia be given to a female relative (probably a niece) and not to her son Edwin. This
Edwin's son, Hywel, also married a Saxon princess: the Algitha or Editha whom Gruffudd ap Llewelyn had "taken for himself"
after defeating Hywel in 1041. But if we were to accept the theory that Edwin of Tegeingl also descended from Einion
ap Owain, the only way to explain finding him in Tegeingl would be through his mother; the family's patrimony was much farther
south in Deheubarth.
pedigrees claim Gronwy was the son of Allwedd, king of Tegeingl. Or that Edwin's father's name was Anlleth the
king or Osbarn ap Elvet of the North. Others confound him with Aleth of Dyfed, a later man who, like Edwin, named
one of his sons Uchdryd. Both Allwedd and Anlleth may be variations of Aleth and account for them being mistakenly
placed into Edwin's pedigrees. One citation makes Edwin the king of Man, a tradition which may be responsible for the
arms of the Isle of Man also being assigned to Owain ap Edwin. We believe it more likely, however, that Owain's arms
reflect his mother's descent. Edwin had married Iwerydd ferch Cynfyn and some believe she was a child by Cynfyn's
first wife who might have been a daughter of an Irish/Danish king whose realm included Man. The Welsh word Iwerddon
means Ireland and it's possible the daughter of Cynfyn was merely nick-named Iwerydd to denote her maternal origin.
When doubt exists as to
a man's ancestry, our inclination is to examine the lands he may have inherited and passed down to his descendants.
This includes adjoining lands which may have earlier been a part of a single gwely. The Welshman called Ednowain Bendew,
born within a couple years of Edwin of Tegeingl, is said to have resided at Llys y Coed in the parish of Cilcain, commote
of Coleshill in Tegeingl. This commote lies to the immediate east of the commote Rhuddlan. Both Llys y Coed and
Trefedwen lie in the interior of Tegeingl near its southern border, and some distance away from the coastline route the Saxons
used when invading Wales from Chester; even if the latter was in Saxon hands in the eleventh century, they would have
had little use for the interior portion of Tegeingl where it meets the Clwydian mountain range.
Ednowain Bendew was the
son of Neniad ap Gwaethfoed ap Gwrydr Hir and the latter probably can be identified as Gwrydr ap Caradog ap Lles Llyddog.
Although that earlier family is believed to have ruled the portion of Powys south of the Severn, this Gwaethfoed represents
a junior cadet:
855 Lles Llyddog
Gwrydr Hir 920
Ednowain Bendew 1020
The marriage assigned
to Gwrydr Hir points to his might having been settled in far northeast Wales; he married a daughter of Tudor Trevor, the so-called
Lord of the March whose lands of Maelor, Chirk and Whittington bordered Mercia. In the late tenth century, we posit
that Gwaethfoed ap Gwrydr might have been Lord of the commotes of Rhuddlan and Coleshill if not all of Tegeingl. If
he divided those lands between two sons, we might have the following result to explain the land holdings by the mid-eleventh
955 Gwaethfoed of Tegeingl
It is not unreasonable
to assume all these men had made their peace with the Earls of Mercia, being close neighbors. Some historians actually identify
this Edwin with the Edwin son of Aelfgar who became Earl of Mercia in the 1060's. A look at the family of Aelfgar makes
that conjecture doubtful:
960 Leofwine Eadwine*
990 Leofrig** 995 Eadwine*** Ethelfleda
1020 Algitha**** Edwin
Earl of Mercia
a brother of Leofwine
** Earl of Mercia who was
married to Lady Godiva
*** The "Edwin brother of Earl Leofrig"
reported killed by the Welsh in 1039
**** Wife of Hywel ap Edwin ap Owain of Deheubarth
who was taken from him
in battle in 1041 by Gruffudd ap Llewelyn 
The Welsh king Gruffudd
ap Llewelyn was an ally of Earl Aelfgar who twice aided the Earl in regaining his earldom when Aelfgar had been outlawed by
King Edward the Confessor. The men were in-laws of some sort; some say Gruffudd was married to Aelfgar's sister
while others say the lady was his daughter. We believe it was a sister of Aelfgar who had been married
to Hywel ap Edwin of Deheubarth, and a daughter of Aelfgar that Gruffudd married, and who was later taken to wife by
the mother of Edwin of Tegeingl was a blood relative of Aelfgar as well as an in-law of Gruffudd and we believe the giving
of Iwerydd (either his step or half sister) to Edwin as a wife was a part of the alliance he made with Aelfgar. Gruffudd
probably also elevated Edwin to a Lordship in Tegeingl, accounting for the claims he was its "king".
last years of the eleventh century and the opening years of the next, Owain ap Edwin was installed by the Normans as
ruler of Gwynedd after they had caused Gruffudd ap Cynan to flee to Ireland. It earned him the Welsh epithet "Fradwr"
or traitor; but it seems clear from the chronicles that this family remained a major player in north Wales until 1125 when
three sons of Owain ap Edwin were killed by a son of Gruffudd ap Cynan.
we tend to agree that the father of Edwin was named Gronwy. But we discount the attempts of those who attach him
to the family of Hywel Dda; medieval genealogists seem to have been obsessed with the notion that descent from Rhodri Mawr
was required for the major players in north Wales. The fact that the two men, Edwin ap Gronwy and Ednowain Bendew, who
were contemporaries with one called Lord of Tegeingl and the other called King of Tegeingl, argues for common paternal ancestry.
We suggest that they were first-cousins, sons of brothers Neiniad and Gronwy ap Gwaethfoed.
Another theory was advanced
by author T.A. Glenn in 1934 which has little to recommend it; see Appendix I.