COWRYD AP CADFAN OF DYFFRYN CLWYD
By Darrell Wolcott
Identified as the
patriarch of the Lloyds of Bryn Lluarth in Ceinmeirch and the Parrys of Tref Rhuddin, the pedigrees point to a birthdate
near 1175 for Cowryd ap Cadfan. His ancestry, however, is unclear and Peter Bartrum simply begins a family with
him in his epic work Welsh Genealogies 300-1400. In the earliest manuscript which names him he is cited as "Kowryd
ap Kadvan ap Alaoc wr ap Idic ap Kadell deyrnlluc" under the title "Gwehelyth Dyffryn Clwyd".
Bartrum dates that
family to the 6th century by assuming the "Alaoc wr" is identical to the "Alauc" mentioned in Vita Sancte Wenefrede where
a "Karadauc filius Alauc" is said to have beheaded St Wenefred, a man described as "sprung of royal stock". (The lady
was saved by a miracle performed by St Beuno; obviously she was not killed but perhaps assaulted.) We would reject that
identification since a "Karadauc ap Alauc" who was a great-grandson of Cadell Ddeyrnllwg would occur near 480 and be too old
to harass St Wenefrede even if he were still alive when she was young. We would, however, delete the "ap Cadell deyrnlluc"
from the citation on the grounds its author likely tried to make the same connection as Bartrum did. Most of the later
family pedigrees repeat the claim that Cowryd ap Cadfan was descended from Cadell even though they cite his arms as "argent
3 boar's heads couped sable" while descendants of Cadell bear "sable 3 nag's heads erased argent". Actually, the arms
of Cowryd appear in some sources with a chevron between the boar's heads with the added description "armed and langued gules"
or "cut flesh and armed gules". At least one source omits the added description but retains the "gules", making it the
second color rather than sable.
If those arms seem
familiar, compare them to that assigned to Ednowain Bendew of Tegeingl: "argent a chevron between 3 boar's heads couped sable".
Variation of his arms sometimes include both "armed gules" and "cut flesh gules". Could Cowryd ap Cadfan actually
be a direct descendant of Ednowain Bendew?
As we are wont to
do when a man's ancestry is unclear, let us examine the lands held by his family together with the likely ways they were acquired.
In the mid-eleventh century, we are told that Gwenllian ferch Rhys ap Marchen was the heiress of 7 townships in "Ruthin
Land" and carried her father's lands to her son, Eunydd ap Morien. This Eunydd also apparently inherited certain
tracts of land in Tegeingl from his father. His son, Heilyn, appears to have left two sons: Eunydd and Iorwerth. Eunydd ap Heilyn obtained additional lands in Trefalun and Gresford and divided
both those and the tracts in Tegeingl with his sons, Ithel and Heilyn. Iorwerth ap Heilyn apparently received
some of the Ruthin land formerly owned by his grandmother. The only known child of that Iorwerth was Iorwerth Saethmarchog
who occurs as a witness to several land grants between 1176 and 1198. The latter man may have died without issue
as none are recorded for him. If we posit a sister for him, a daughter of Iorwerth ap Heilyn, she would occur at
the right time to have married Cadfan whose son Cowryd is found holding land in the lower Clwyd valley and the commote
of Ceinmeirch in the early 13th century. A chart will illustrate the timeline for our suggestion:
1025 Gwenllian, heiress of "Ruthin lands"
(Trefalun & Gresford _________l________
1140 Iorwerth 1150 Daughter==Cadfan
*Cited in Peniarth Ms 276,
pp 181 and Harleian Ms 1972, pp 78
**Cited in Peniarth Ms 176, pp 100 and Peniarth
Ms 139, pp 155. The family which descended from him is incorrectly appended to the family of Eunydd in Bartrum's Welsh
Genealogies. These same sources say his son Ieuan (born c. 1295) married a granddaughter of Madog Hyddgam
ap Madog ap Cadwgan of Nannau; that lady, Dyddgu ferch Madog ap Madog Hyddgam was born c. 1305.
With this possible explanation
of how Cowryd acquired his lands in the lower Clwyd valley, we now turn to the question of why he was assigned arms which
appear exceedingly similar, perhaps identical, to those of Ednowain Bendew. Another look at his earliest pedigree, when
the incorrect attachment to Cadell Ddyrnllwg is removed, says his father was "Cadfan ap Aluog ap Iddig". A number of
later family pedigrees replace "Aluog" with "Gwaelawg", on what authority is unknown, but the two names are phonetically similiar
and are clearly variant spellings of a single name. The earliest name in the list, that of Iddig, would occur c. 1080
or exactly when we would expect a grandson of Ednowain Bendew to be born.
The earliest pedigrees
of Ednowain Bendew cite only two sons, Robert and Bleddri, and both appear to be mentioned not for their own sake but
to show important marriages made by daughters of each man. Either of those men might have been the father of Iddig
but judging from the husbands cited for their daughters, Bleddri may have been born c. 1050 and Robert c. 1055. Opting
for the elder of them, we propose the following chart in which a rather obscure resident of Tegeingl might have married a
nearby heiress and produced Cowryd ap Cadfan of Dyffryn Clwyd and Ceinmeirch:
1020 Ednowain Bendew
1110 Aluog Iorwerth
1140 Cadfan========daughter 1150