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.
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
The medieval pedigrees
give Hedd a chronologically impossible descent from Tudwal Gloff, as follows:
820 Rhodri Mawr (ob 878)
865 Tudwal Gloff
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. 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 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.
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 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
960 Llawr llawfrydedd
990 Greddf Tymer