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Parents and Children of the Lord Rhys

                      HEDD MOLWYNOG or HEDD ap ALUNOG OF LLANFAIR TALHEARN
                                                By Darrell Wolcott
 
          Called the founder of one of the 15 Noble Tribes of North Wales, the pedigree material for his descendants points to a birthdate c. 1050/1055.[1]  Most scholars agree he descended from Tudwal Gloff ap Rhodri Mawr who, after being injured in battle as a youngster, was granted lands in the royal forests of Uwch Aled, Rhufoniog.  The manor of Llanfair Talhearn is located on a part of Tudwal's lands.
 
           The medieval pedigrees[2] give Hedd a chronologically impossible descent from Tudwal Gloff, as follows:
 
                                820  Rhodri Mawr (ob 878)
                                             l
                              865   Tudwal Gloff[3]
                                             l
                                          Alser
                                             l
                                     Alan (Aelaw)
                                             l
                                 Llawfrodedd Farfog
                                             l
                                          Llawr
                                             l
                                         Tymyr
                                             l
                                         Greddf
                                             l
                                         Alunog
                                             l
                                 1050  Hedd
 
          A man born 8 generations after Tudwal could not occur as early as 1050/55 in a society where men did not take wives until their father was either dead or retired into a monastary.[4]  We should only expect to find 6 generations to fill the  almost 200 years from Tudwal to Hedd. We believe the chart includes some men twice by separating their birth name from their nickname and presenting the latter as their father.  A whole body of early historians referred to Hedd as "Hedd Molwynog" until Peter Bartrum favored the construction "Hedd ap Alunog" found in the manuscript Hen Lwythau Gwynedd a'r Mars. If he guessed wrong, those two generations in our chart may have been a single person.
 
         A second example where we may have two names which represent a single man is the "Llawr ap Llawfrodedd Farfog" cited earlier in the chart.  A legendary character called Llawfrodedd the Bearded appears in the Mabinogion tales "How Culhwch Won Olwen" and "The Dream of Rhonabwy" (farfog means bearded).  Perhaps the author of the old genealogical manuscript encountered among his now-lost sources, a Llawr llawfrydedd (the melancholy), and assumed that nickname was another given name, thus rendering it with an "ap".  Curiously, Bartrum accepted the existence of a real Llawfrodedd Farfog[5] and dated him to c. 925...an impossible birthdate for a great-grandson of Tudwal Gloff.
 
          A third example where we cannot be certain whether both a man's birth name and his nickname are presented in the chart occurs with Greddf ap Tymyr.  This might represent a single man "Greddf Tymer" (with a temper).  In all our work on Welsh pedigrees, and that of Peter Bartrum, the name "Tymyr" occurs only one other time and then it was a female.[6] 
 
         Since the chronology requires that one, and only one, of the three listed examples be identified as two separate men, we will follow Bartrum in presenting the father of Hedd as Alunog[7] and assume those writers who rendered it as Hedd Molwynog took their construction from the eighth century man Rhodri Molwynog.
 
         Thus, we would offer this revised chart as a more credible pedigree for Hedd:
 
                                  865  Tudwal Gloff
                                               l
                                     895  Alser
                                               l
                                     930  Aelan
                                               l
                              960  Llawr llawfrydedd
                                               l
                                 990  Greddf Tymer
                                               l
                                  1020  Alunog
                                               l
                                   1050  Hedd

NOTES:
[1]  In his "A Welsh Classical Dictionary", Peter Bartrum dates Hedd to c. 1070; our own work would revise that to c. 1050.
[2] National Library of Wales Journal, vol xiii, pp 112; HLG 10b
[3] Tudwal Gloff was a son of Rhodri Mawr by a second wife (or mistress). It is assumed he was not yet 14 in 878 when his father fell, but did join the battle to avenge Rhodri in 881.  Our estimate should be within one or two years of his actual birthdate.  His older half-brothers date from 850-855.
[4] See the paper "Generational Gaps and the Welsh Laws" at the link below:
[5] Entries of a "legendary" and a "real" man of this name appear in Bartrum's Classical Dictionary; the latter dated to c. 925  We would reject the second citation in its entirety
[6] A lady named Tymyr is called a daughter of Rhun ap Maelgwn in Peniarth Ms 131
[7] There is no Welsh word "Alunog" by which Hedd may have been nicknamed; but "alluog" meaning "powerful" would have been a better choice than "molwynog" as a nickname if Alunog isn't the birth name of Hedd's father