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Ancestors and Children of the Lord Rhys
                             PASGEN "ap URIEN RHEGED", LORD OF GOWER
                                              By Darrell Wolcott
           An number of families in southern Carmarthenshire, including Rice of Newton[1], Bowen of Llangyndeyrn in Cedweli[2], Sir Dafydd ap Gwalter, parson of Llanedi[3], and Elidyr ap Llywarch of Abergwili[4] claim descent from Urien Rheged through his son, Pasgen. The best known of these is the Rice family, whose name comes from Sir Rhys ap Thomas, the latter having been a powerful ally of Henry Tudor at the battle of Bosworth.  A twelfth-century ancestor of that family assumed the surname "fitz Urien", being convinced he descended from Urien Rheged ap Cynfarch Oer of the Men of the North.  Local lore claims that Urien came to Gower in the sixth century, displaced the Irish Deisi and built his castle at Is Cennen. Others say it was Urien's son, Pasgen, who when forced by the Saxons to leave north Britain, resettled in Gower c. 593.[5]
          After his laborous work on Welsh pedigrees, Peter Bartrum concluded the Pasgen of Gower in the pedigree material must have been born c. 850 and was simply mistaken for the much earlier man of that name.[6]  Our studies led to the same conclusion, but pointed to other data which might explain the early tales of a man forced from his lands "in the north" who relocated in Gower. 
          We think the same Pasgen appears in the pedigrees cited for Collwyn ap Tangno, Marchweithian and Nefydd Hardd, all associated with Gwynedd.  Those citations trace upwards to a "Lludd ap Llew ap Llymidod Angel ap Pasgen".  Those of Marchweithian and the Rice family make their Pasgen "ap Owain ap Urien Rheged", while those of Collwyn and Elidyr ap Llywarch omit Owain to say "Pasgen ap Urien Rheged".  A chart of the putative "sons" of Pasgen appears thusly:
                                   850  Pasgen
                l                                     l                                    l
 878  Llyminod angel       880  Gwgan ceneu menrud    880  Ynyr*
        *Possibly this son of Pasgen was named Mor, whose son was Ynyr.  The citations conflict, but either is chronologically possible
          Leaving the Gwynedd families descended from Llyminod for last, we begin our discussion with the two sons whose eleventh-century descendants are found in or near Gower.  
                  880  Gwgan ceneu menrud*
                         910  Llowarch
                            945  Mor
                          975  Bledri
                       1005  Llywarch                Elystan Glodrydd  990
                                     l                                 l
                          1040  Elidyr                     Cadwgan  1020
                                     l                                 l
                           1070 Ellelw=========Llewelyn 1055
                                     1085  Seisyllt of Buellt
                   *This pedigree is found in Jesus College Ms 20, 33 & 34
         The pedigree cites the ancestry of Seisyllt ap Llewelyn as the man of that name who held Buellt in the early 12th century who descended from Elystan Glodrydd, as indicated by us.  There are, however, problems with other parts of the citation.  It's author gratutiously adds that Gwgan was slain at Abergwili together with Llewelyn ap Seisyllt, father of Gruffudd ap Llewelyn.  Bartrum correctly notes that the Gwgan in this pedigree could not have been contemporary with Llewelyn ap Seisyllt who was slain in 1023, although both could have fought at Abergwili at different times. But the main question raised by the pedigree is whether Gwgan was nicknamed "ceneu menrud" (Bartrum translates it "the whelp with the red neck") who (the citation continues) "had a serpent for a year about his neck".  Or whether Ceneu menrud refers to the name of his father; in giving the ancestry earlier than Gwgan, the citation simply reads "Ceneu menrud ap Pasgen ap Urien Rheged ap Cynfarch" etc. If it were necessary to include an extra generation in our chart, one could still make it compatable with a Pasgen born c. 850 by redating the ensuing men so that Ellelw occurs c. 1115 and re-identifying the man she married as Llewelyn ap Moriddig Warwyn who also had a son named Seisyllt.  He was Lord of Cantref Selyf in Brycheiniog which adjoins Buellt, but the citation's author may have gratutiously added "of Buellt" just as he added the false connection to Llewelyn ap Seisyllt.  Perhaps it is merely a coincidence that Moriddig Warwyn is also said to have been born with a snake wrapped around his neck.  The alternate pedigree might look like this:
                      850  Pasgen
                    885  Ceneu menrud
                    920    Gwgan
                    955   Llowarch
                       990   Mor
                    1020  Bledri              Maenyrch  1015
                                 l                          l
                  1055  Llywarch            Drymbenog* 1050
                                 l                          l 
                     1085  Elidyr          Moreddig Warwyn  1080
                                 l                          l
                     1120  Ellelw=======Llewelyn  1115
                              1145  Seisyllt
        *Brother of Bleddyn ap Maenyrch, last king of Brycheiniog, slain in 1093
         The Seisyllt in this chart had a daughter, Elisabeth, who married Sir Elidyr Ddu of another family descended from Pasgen[7].  While that might seem to favor this alternate descent for Ellelw, others[8] say Llewelyn ap Moriddig married a different lady.  We prefer the first chart making Gwgan the same person as ceneu menrud since the required generational gaps in the second chart are somewhat suspect (Ellelw is moved about 45 years forward, not just one standard generation, to chronologically fit the alternate marriage). Also because no citations agree with the marriage shown in our alternate chart. Either way, however, the Pasgen at the top of her pedigree occurs c. 850.
        When we turn to Ynyr/Mor ap Pasgen, we find two separate families with a penchant for repeating strings of male names, both of whom had early men named Einion ap Llywarch.  Some citations begin "Rhiryd ap Mor ap Ynyr ap Pasgen, and others omit Ynyr in that string. Still others include both Mor and Ynyr but reverse their position.
        In his "Pedigrees of Welsh Tribal Patriarchs", Peter Bartrum cites two of the early men called Einion ap Llywarch: (1) the man born c. 1005 who is cited as "ap Rhiryd ap Mor ap Ynyr ap Pasgen"; and (2) the man born c. 1165 who is cited as "ap Cynhaethwy ap Gwrwared ap Seisyllt ap Rhun ap Llywarch ap Rhiryd ap Mor ap Pasgen. We think both were descended from Llywarch ap Rhiryd, one being his son and the other a descendant of a second son, Rhun.  Since it will require considerable space to outline our work to separate the two families, we shall defer that discussion to a later paper.
          The final son we assign the Pasgen of c. 850 is the one whose descendants are found in Gwynedd, not far to the south near Gower.  The pedigrees do have some variations, but essentially look like this:
                                   850  Pasgen
                               878  Llyminod angel
                                 915      Llew
                                   950   Lludd
           l                                l                                     l
   Nefydd Hardd          980 Tangwel                         Cadfael
                                           l                                     l
                           1015 Marchweithian                    Tangno
         We did not date two of the claimed sons of Lludd as some problems arise with making the three men brothers.  Peniarth Ms 101 written by the noted antiquarian Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt claims that Nefydd Hardd fostered Idwal ap Owain Gwynedd, but caused his own son Dunod to kill the child.  If true, it would date Nefydd to c. 1100 and he could not be an uncle of Marchweithian born c. 1015.  On the other hand, one must wonder why Nefydd was later honored by inclusion among the heads of the 15 Noble Tribes of Gwynedd if the tale is true.  While we have done insufficient work on the families said to have descended from him to estimate his birthdate, Peter Bartrum says they also point to c. 1100.  So either 4 generations are omitted from the above pedigree, or he belongs to a wholly different family.
          Both Bartrum and our own work date Collwyn ap Tangno to c. 1010/20 and thus in the same generation as Marchweithian.  While Bartrum accepts that the two men might have been cousins, their pedigrees date them a whole generation apart.  Perhaps Tangwel and Tangno were brothers and the "ap Cadfael" is missing from the Marchweithian line.  To accomodate that possibility, as well as to make Collwyn fit chronologically in the chart, we must redate Lludd to c. 915.  This will either push Pasgen back a generation or one intervening man should be deleted. 
          Our attention is drawn to the name "Llyminod" called angel. It is unique as a Welsh male name and might possibly be not a name at all, but a part of the nickname.  The Welsh "llym" means keen or sharp while "miniog" connotes "sharp like the edge of a knife".  Is it possible the man called Llew[9] in the pedigrees was actually known as "Llewelyn, the angel with the sharp edged blade"?  Let's explore that possibility as we develop a plausable scenerio that might have taken this Gwynedd Pasgen to Gower with two young sons, while a third son stayed behind.
         In another paper on this site, we discussed a c. 890 event in which invaders had taken over much of northeast Wales and were subsequently driven out only by the efforts of men living elsewhere who came seeking the reward of land of their own.  Let's posit that one of the original owners who had been displaced was the c. 850 Pasgen.  When the invasion first occurred in 892, let us assume his eldest son had just turned 14 and had been sent according to the laws to be trained by his Lord, either King Anarawd over in Anglesey or more likely Gwgan Gleddyfrydd, the Lord of Rhos and Tegeingl.  The younger sons of Pasgen were yet under age 14 and were still at the bed and board of their father.  
           We have previously assumed the invaders were attacked by the warband of Gwgan into whose lordship they had come; clearly the defense was unsuccessful and we think Gwgan may have been killed in the action.  Suppose among his men who survived was a young lad whose tender age and demonstated prowess with a sword allowed him to retreat from the battlefield without a scratch while men many years his senior came home with multiple scars.  Might not his peers call the boy "an angel with a sharp edged blade" much as they had called his lord "Gwgan with the red sword"?
         If we further assume that Pasgen held lands in Tegeingl, the principal territory taken by the invaders, and fled south to Gower with his young sons, it would accord with the later stories that he had "come from the north when invaders forced him from his lands".  If that were the case, why was he called Pasgen ap Urien Rheged, a man clearly of the sixth century?  Perhaps his father's name WAS Urien, just not the famous one?  If he were seated in the lands invaded in 892, he was almost certainly a member of the ruling family although from a junior cadet.  One reasonable guess would make him a cousin of Gwgan Gleddyfrydd as:
                                 740  Caradog ap Meirion  ob 798
                                           780  Hywel   ob 825
                          l                                              l
               820  Urien                   815  Caradog Freich Fras of Rhos
                         l                                               l
              850  Pasgen                      850  Gwgan gleddyfrydd
      878  Llewelyn llyminiog angel
        910   Lluddoca, abbreviated to Lludd
             945  Cadfael
         The chart would conclude with two sons of Cadfael, Tangwel the father of Marchweithian, and Tangno the father of Collwyn and date those cousins to c. 1015 and c. 1010, respectively, both lineal descendants of the one son of Pasgen ap Urien who remained in Gwynedd.  While Marchweithian lived in Is Aled in Rhufoniog, which we believe was a part of his patrimony, Collwyn is found in Lleyn, Eifionydd and Ardudwy, cantrefs in lower Gwynedd not thought to have been ruled by the Rhos clan.[10]

[1] Dwnn i, 210; West Wales Historical Records, vol i, pp 64/65
[2] West Wales Historical Records, vol ii, pp 12
[3] West Wales Historical Records, vol i, pp 81
[4] Jesus College Ms 20, 33 & 34
[6] P.C. Bartrum "Early Welsh Genealogical Tracts", 1966, pp 141
[7] Dwnn i, 210; other citations call the lady Cecillia or Sissely
[8] Llyfr Baglan pp. 103-104, 111; Theophilus Jones "History of Brecknockshire", 1909, vol 2, pp 141; these sources say Llewelyn ap Moriddig married a daughter of Genillin ap Rhys Goch, a lady we date c. 1130
[9] The name appears as "Llen" in some citations; the name Llewelyn is often abbreviated to Llen in pedigrees and we would expand "Llew" to read "Llewelyn"
[10] See the paper "The Men of Lleyn - How They Got There" at the link below: