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Legendary History Prior to 1st Century BC
Beli Mawr and Llyr Llediath in Welsh Pedigrees
The Bartrum "Welsh Genealogies"
Bartrum's "Pedigrees of the Welsh Tribal Patriarchs"
A study in charting medieval citations
The Evolution of the "Padriarc Brenin" Pedigree
Generational Gaps and the Welsh Laws
Minimum Age for Welsh Kingship in the Eleventh Century
The Lands of the Silures
Catel Durnluc aka Cadell Ddyrnllwg
Ancient Powys
The Royal Family of Powys
The Royal Family of Gwynedd
The 5 Plebian Tribes of Wales
Maxen Wledig of Welsh Legend
Maxen Wledig and the Welsh Genealogies
Anwn Dynod ap Maxen Wledig
Constans I and his 343 Visit to Britain
Glast and the Glastening
Composite Lives of St Beuno
Rethinking the Gwent Pedigrees
The Father of Tewdrig of Gwent
Another Look at Teithfallt of Gwent
Ynyr Gwent and Caradog Freich Fras
Llowarch ap Bran, Lord of Menai
Rulers of Brycheiniog - The Unanswered Questions
Lluan ferch Brychan
The Herbert Family Pedigree
Edwin of Tegeingl and his Family
Angharad, Heiress of Mostyn
Ithel of Bryn in Powys
Idnerth Benfras of Maesbrook
Henry, the Forgotten Son of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn
The Muddled Pedigree of Sir John Wynn of Gwydir
The Mysterious Peverel Family
The Clan of Tudor Trevor
The Other "Sir Roger of Powys"
Ancestry of Ieuaf ap Adda ap Awr of Trevor
The Retaking of Northeast Wales
Hedd Molwynog or Hedd ap Alunog of Llanfair Talhearn
"Meuter Fawr" son of Hedd ap Alunog
The Medieval "redating" of Braint Hir
Aaron Paen ap Y Paen Hen
Welsh Claims to Ceri after 1179
The Battle of Mynydd Carn
Trahaearn ap Caradog of Arwystli
Cadafael Ynfyd of Cydewain
Maredudd ap Robert, Lord of Cedewain
Cadwgan of Nannau
Maredudd ap Owain, King of Deheubarth
Two Families headed by a Rhydderch ap Iestyn
The Era of Llewelyn ap Seisyll
Cynfyn ap Gwerystan, the Interim King
The Consorts and Children of Gruffudd ap Llewelyn
The 1039 Battle at Rhyd y Groes
The First Wife of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn
Hywel ap Gronwy of Deheubarth
The Brief Life of Gruffudd ap Maredudd
The Other Gwenwynwyn
Eunydd son of Gwenllian
Sandde Hardd of Mortyn
The Floruit of Einion ap Seisyllt
The Enigmatic Elystan Glodrydd
Cowryd ap Cadfan of Dyffryn Clwyd
Owain ap Cadwgan and Nest ferch Rhys - An Historic Fiction?
The "sons" of Owain ap Cadwgan ap Bleddyn
The Betrayal by Meirion Goch Revisited
Gwyn Ddistain, seneschal for Llewelyn Fawr
The Men of Lleyn - How They Got There
Trahaearn Goch of Lleyn
Einion vs Iestyn ap Gwrgan - The Conquest of Glamorgan
Dafydd Goch ap Dafydd - His Real Ancestry
Thomas ap Rhodri - Father of Owain "Lawgoch"
The "Malpas" Family in Cheshire
Einion ap Celynin of Llwydiarth
Marchweithian, Lord of Is Aled, Rhufoniog
Osbwrn Wyddel of Cors Gedol
Bradwen of Llys Bradwen in Meirionydd
Ednowain ap Bradwen
Sorting out the Gwaithfoeds
Three Men called Iorwerth Goch "ap Maredudd"
The Caradog of Gwynedd With 3 Fathers
Who Was Sir Robert Pounderling?
Eidio Wyllt - What Was His Birthname?
The Legendary Kingdom of Seisyllwg
The Royal Family of Ceredigion
Llewelyn ap Hoedliw, Lord of Is Cerdin
The Ancestry of Owain Glyndwr
Gruffudd ap Rhys, the Homeless Prince
The Children of Lord Rhys
Pedigree of the ancient Lords of Ial
The Shropshire Walcot Family
Pedigree of "Ednowain Bendew II"
Pedigree of Cynddelw Gam
                               HYWEL AP GRONWY OF DEHEUBARTH
                                            By Darrell Wolcott
 
          Virtually all we know of this man comes from entries in the Brut Y Tywysogyon which we shall discuss presently.  A single extant pedigree[1] identifies him as "Hywel ap Gronwy ap Cadwgan ap Elystan" and further calls the mother of Gronwy "Angharad ferch Lawr"; the mother of Angharad is cited as "Lleuci ferch Maredudd ap Owain ap Hywel Ddu".  When we chart those relationships, we begin to harbor doubts of this identification:
 
                       820  Rhodri Mawr
                _____________l___________
                l                                      l
      865 Tudwal                        850  Cadell
                l                                      l
      895  Alser                        880  Hywel Dda
                l                                      l
      930  Aelan                        915  Owain
                l                                      l
                l                          950  Maredudd   
                l                                      l
      965  Llawr*=================Lleuci  980      Elystan  990
                                    l                                        l
                       995  Angharad===============Cadwgan  1020
                                                      l
                                         1050  Gronwy
                                                      l
                                          1080  Hywel
 
       *This identification of Lleuci's husband is ours, but any other Llawr who might have married the lady would date from c. 965/970 and certainty as to his descent is not important to our chart
 
           Other pedigrees cite two wives for Cadwgan ap Elystan who were born c. 1035[2] and the families which descended from his better known sons point to a birthdate for him near 1020.  Not only does the Angharad in our chart appear almost a generation older than him, she would also be too old to be the mother of any son of his.  In our attempts to date Hywel ap Gronwy wholly independent of this lone pedigree, we turn to his appearances in the Brut.
 
         He first occurs in 1096 as active on the battlefields in the company of Uchdryd ap Edwin and the warband of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn.  We would tentatively think such a man was contemporary with Uchdryd, perhaps born c. 1055/60 but certainly before 1080.  Next, in the year 1102, King Henry I granted him lordship over Ystrad Tywy, Cydweli and Gower...all parts of what is now known as Carmarthenshire.  This again argues for a man born much earlier that 1080. We encounter Hywel again in 1105 when he was expelled from those lands, apparently by force and at the hand of Richard fitz Baldwin.  In his final Brut mention, he was betrayed to the French by a trusted friend called Gwgan ap Meurig and slain in 1106.  While not otherwise identified, we are told Hywel trusted Gwgan because the latter had nurtured his son.
 
         Thus, Hywel had an unnamed son who had been fostered out to Gwgan[3] but was no longer under his care in 1106.  If we should assume that son was at least 14 years old at Hywel's death (the time when he legally stopped being a child), we have a birthdate no later than about 1090 for the son, again pointing to c. 1060 or earlier for Hywel's birth.
 
         When we collate this finding with the pedigree chart above, we realize the Gronwy cited as his father must have been born near 1020/30 and while he could have been a son of Angharad, he could not have been a son of Cadwgan ap Elystan.  Elsewhere, the Brut reports the death of Gronwy ap Cadwgan in 1101, a man we believe was born near 1055/60.  Apparently, based on the knowledge that Cadwgan ap Elystan did have a son named Gronwy, J.E. Lloyd was the first historian to "identify" Hywel ap Gronwy[4] as his son...finding confirmation in the lone pedigree cited herein.  Earlier historians had mentioned Hywel, but none had tried to guess his ancestry.
 
         An ode to Hywel ap Gronwy which appears in extant manuscripts[5] claims to have been written during his lifetime; it ends by expressing hopes for a long life and successful reign filled with grace, fortune and progeny.  Its author and actual date of composure are unknown, but it cites him as "goriur edwin" which, although archaic orthography, appears to mean "grandson of Edwin".  The 1106 Brut entry detailing his betrayal indicates that his trusted friend, Gwgan ap Meurig, lived near the castle at Rhyd-y-gors in Carmarthen and invited Hywel to his home to spend the night.  One would suppose that Hywel himself lived not far away and had been the recognized lord of that cantref before fitz-Baldwin appeared on the scene.  Perhaps he was being secreted by friends from one safe house to another to elude fitz-Baldwin's men.  Neither the location nor the chronology favors identifying Hywel as a grandson of Cadwgan of Fferlys; indeed both support our view that he was a member of the former Deheubarth ruling family, and specifically a son of Gronwy ap Edwin ap Einion ap Owain ap Hywel Dda.
 
          Such a man would date from c. 1055 as follows: 
 
                          915  Owain ap Hywel (as our first chart)
                                           l
                                945  Einion
                                           l
                                980  Edwin
                                           l
                              1020  Gronwy
                                           l
                               1055  Hywel
                                           l
                            1085  unnamed son
 
           We are not suggesting this man founded an illustrious family or should be well-known to any student of Welsh history.  Rather we present him as simply one example of a name cited in the Brut which has been consistently misidentified as a wholly different man with the same patronymic name.  The error likely began when the author of the cited manuscipt, finding an earlier record of the maternal (but not paternal) descent of Gronwy, made the assumption his father was Cadwgan.
 
 
NOTES:
[1] Jesus College Ms 20, pedigree 30/31
[2] Dwnn i, 271, 332 and Dwnn ii, 152 cite his wife as Efa ferch Gwrgan, a sister of Iestyn ap Gwrgan.  She would occur not earlier than c. 1035.  Dwnn i, 313 and Dwnn ii,152 cite another wife as Jane ferch Brochwel ap Aeddan.  Our comprehensive work on that family identifies her father as the 3rd Brochwel ap Aeddan born c. 1005, and she also would occur c. 1035.  Both ladies are chronological matches for a man born c. 1020 but suggest one of them died very young so that he took a second wife who was also a lady young enough to bear many progeny
[3] Some early historians suggest it was Gwgan's wife who nursed Hywel's son as a baby, possibly because they sought to date Hywel late enough to be a grandson of Cadwgan ap Elystan.  We think if that had been the case, the Brut entry would not state it was Gwgan who had nurtured the boy but his wife.  In the Welsh text, the word is "meithrin" which means "to bring up", not "mamaeth" which would mean wet-nurse.  The Peniarth 20 version of the Brut places Gwgan's services in the past tense, but the Red Book of Hergest version renders the nurturing in the present tense, implying it had not ended in 1106.  We opt for the first-cited version primarily because we do not think Hywel's enemies would have required Gwgan's assistance to locate him were he staying under the same roof where his son was still living.
[4] J.E. Lloyd's "A History of Wales", 1912 edition, pp 406, note 31
[5] The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales, 1870, pp 380-381.  In the index to this work, the authors claim this ode was one of 12 "printed literally and line for line out of the Llyfr Ddu, one of the oldest Welsh manuscripts".  That reference is to the Black Book of Carmarthen which dates to the mid-13th century.  While this doesn't demonstate that it was composed during the lifetime of Hywel, it might well have been.