THE CHILDREN OF GRUFFUDD, NEPHEW OF IAGO
By Darrell Wolcott
studies, we have posited that the Gruffudd ap Cynan who occurs in 1075 and 1081 was a different man than the Gruffudd ap Cynan
who occurs in 1098 and died in 1137. We also identified two daughters of the earlier Gruffudd, both born c.1070.
After reviewing the people and events recorded in Gwynedd between 1124 and 1152 and the pedigree citations for several of
those men, we now suggest the earlier Gruffudd also had at least four sons born between 1072 and 1081.
The earliest manuscripts cite the
following children born to Angharad ferch Owain ap Edwin and Gruffudd ap Cynan ap Iago:
1. Ranillt, who married Madog
ap Idnerth ap Cadwgan, and was mother to Cadwallon. Our timeline for that family dates Madog to c. 1080 and Cadwallon
to c. 1113, so Ranillt should occur c. 1099.
2. Owain Gwynedd, the eldest
son who followed his father as king, was born c. 1100
3. Cadwallon is cited in 1124
with his brother, Owain, as having been sent by their father to invade Meirionydd. This suggests these were the two
eldest sons, but Cadwallon was slain in 1132. We date his birth c. 1101. But the Cadwallon ap Gruffudd ap
Cynan who was father to Tangwystl was a whole generation younger as shown below by her marriage.
4. Cadwaladr, who is not
mentioned in the Brut until after the death of his brother Cadwallon, was born c. 1105. He had two children by Tangwystl
ferch Cadwallon ap Gruffudd ap Cynan. We reject the assumption this lady was the daughter of his brother on both
chronological and religious grounds. If the marriage of Owain Gwynedd to his first cousin (Cristyn ferch Gronwy
ap Owain ap Edwin) was condemned by the church, a marriage to one's niece would have been considered incestual. We would
date Tangwystl to c. 1115 and identify her father as Cadwallon ap Gruffudd ap Cynan nephew of Iago,
a man likely born in Ireland c. 1080. This lady would have been a third-cousin of her husband:
975 Idwal ap Elisedd
1105 Cadwaladr============Tangwystl 1115
5. Gwenllian, who married
Gruffudd ap Rhys ap Tewdwr, was born c. 1101. She led an army against the Normans in 1136 while her husband was in
Gwynedd seeking assistance from her father, and was slain on the battlefield. As we have suggested elsewhere, the "Gwenllian
ferch Gruffudd ap Cynan" who married Cadwgan ap Bleddyn was born c. 1070 and was a daughter of Gruffudd ap Cynan ap Idwal.
6. Marged, who married Ieuaf
ap Owain ap Trahaearn ap Caradog, was born c. 1108. Both the marriage into that family and the chronology clearly
suggest it was not her father who was contemporary with, and helped kill Trahaearn ap Caradog in 1081:
975 Idwal ap Elisedd
Gruffudd 1041 Trahaearn (a) 1035
(a) The combatants at Mynydd Cairn in 1081
7. Susanna, who married
Madog ap Maredudd ap Bleddyn, was born near 1110. She was the mother of the first Gruffudd Maelor, he born c. 1125.
8. Annest of whom nothing
is known, but likely was born between 1105 and 1110.
Other children attributed to
Gruffudd ap Cynan ap Iago by other ladies are:
1. Iago, whose mother
was a daughter of Llychwy of Llanbeulan. His daughter, Iwera, bore Meurig to Gruffudd ap Maredudd ap Bleddyn.
This suggests a birthdate c. 1110 for Iwera and near 1075 for Iago. His father must have been the earlier Gruffudd ap
Cynan ap Idwal.
2. Yslani, who married
Hwfa ap Ithel Felyn of Ial. This lady would occur c. 1110 and might chronologically have been a half-sister of Owain
Gwynedd. However, the citations make her a sister of Iago by the same mother. One of those relationships is impossible;
she could not be a sister of the same Iago discussed immediately above. Either she was the daughter of that Iago, or
her mother was an unknown other lady. That would require positing that both men called Gruffudd ap Cynan named a son
Iago, one the father of Iwera and the other the brother of Yslani. We prefer the construction making Iwera and
Yslani daughters of a c. 1075 Iago, perhaps even the same lady cited once by her birthname and once by her nickname.
3. Duling, cited
as a priest and teacher and the father of Thomas. His mother is not identified nor is his wife. He might have
been a son of either man called Gruffudd ap Cynan.
4. Idwal, abbot
of Penmon in Anglesey. His descendant, Angharad ferch Gruffudd ap Hywel ap Cynan ap Idwal, married Maredudd ap Hywel
ap Maredudd Hen ap Hywel ap Maredudd ap Bleddyn and would date from c. 1210. This requires an Idwal ap Gruffudd
ap Cynan born c. 1075 and we identify him as a son of the first Gruffudd ap Cynan.
Thus, of the children
cited for Gruffudd ap Cynan, we think the following were actually not siblings of Owain Gwynedd but fathered by the earlier
Gruffudd ap Cynan ap Idwal:
1. Gwenllian born
c. 1070 who married Cadwgan ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, he born c. 1055
2. Malli born c.
1070 who married Ieuaf ap Cadwgan ap Elystan Glodrydd, he born c. 1055.
3. Rhael born c.
1075 who married Llywarch ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, he born c. 1060
4. Iago born c.
1075 who was father to Iwera and was also likely the father, not the brother, of Yslani.
5. Cadwallon born
c. 1079 who was father to Tangwystl and probably the father of Cunedda.
6. Cadwaladr born
c. 1080, not the one who married Tangwystl. This man, we believe, married Dyddgu ap Maredudd ap Bleddyn born c.
1095 and was father to Cadwgan and others. He occurs as the ancestor of a Cadfan ap Cadwaladr of c. 1180 and of Tangwystl
ap Cadfan ap Cadwaladr of c. 1210. That Cadfan had a brother named Richard born c. 1180 who married a daughter of Gwyn Ddistain
and fathered at least 4 daughters and a son Cadwaladr. That Cadwaladr had a son Richard who had 3 daughters who are
universally called "sisters" of the earlier 4 ladies although born two generations later.
7. Idwal born c. 1075,
the abbot of Penmon.
When Cadwgan ap Bleddyn and
Gruffudd ap Cynan ap Iago fled Anglesey to Ireland in 1098, we posit that they were met by Cadwgan's brothers-in-law...the
sons of Gruffudd ap Cynan ap Idwal, who were younger brothers of Cadwgan's late wife Gwenllian. Then between 18
and 25 years old, the boys were named Idwal, Iago, Cadwallon and Cadwaladr. Both historians and genealogists have
hopelessly confused them with same-named men born a generation later since the younger Gruffudd gave at least two of
those same names to his sons. We suggest that when Cadwgan and Gruffudd submitted to King William Rufus in 1099 and
were permitted to return to Wales, that these four young men came from Ireland with them. Additional discussions
of those men follow:
An ancient pedigree cited in
ABT (5b) says two children of Gruffudd ap Cynan were "Iago ap Gruffudd and Yslani his sister who was wife to Hwfa
ap Ithel Felyn, and their mother was a daughter of Llychwy of Llanbeulan". When we first suggested this wife might have
belonged to the earlier Gruffudd nephew of Iago (born in Ireland c. 1041), we realized that Yslani clearly dated from c. 1105/1110
and could not be a daughter of that Gruffudd. We have since taken a closer look at Iago and must conclude these two likely
were not brother and sister. A daughter of Iago called Iwera (perhaps
merely a nickname denoting an Irish lady) is said to have been the consort of Gruffudd ap Maredudd ap Bleddyn.
That man was born c. 1095 and died during his father's life in 1128. His two sons were still toddlers when their
father died. The lady called Iwera could scarcely have been born after c. 1115 (ladies were not legally eligible to
have sex until age 14) and more likely was born nearer 1100/1105. Accordingly, Iago must have been born near 1075 while
Yslani was a full generation younger than that. In fact, Iwera and Yslani occur in the same generation and we suggest
they were sisters....if not actually the same lady cited by both her birth name and her nickname. We further suspect
the ancient citation originally said "Iago tad Yslani" but was emended by medieval copyists who dated Iago to c.
1105 thinking he was a half-brother of Owain Gwynedd. That possibly altered relationship was again cited in HLG 5b,
but the latter pedigree is corrupt in several other respects as well. It reads "Ithel Felyn ap Llewelyn Aurdorchog ap
Cynwrig ap Cynddelw Gam ap Elgud; Yslani ferch Gruffudd ap Cynan was the wife of Hwfa ap Ithel Felyn". In fact Llewelyn
Aurdorchog was the son of Coel ap Gwriad ap Cynwrig, Ithel Felyn was the son of Llewelyn Fychan ap Llewelyn Aurdorchog and
we suggest Yslani was the daughter of Iago ap Gruffudd ap Cynan ap Idwal (not Gruffudd ap Cynan ap Iago). A chart of
these relationships better reflects the chronology:
975 Idwal ap Elisedd
1005 Llewelyn Aurdorchog Cynan
1035 Llewelyn Fychan 1041 Gruffudd
1065 Ithel Felyn
1075 Iago 1065 Maredudd
1095 Hwfa====Yslani* 1110 1110 *Iwera=/=Gruffudd
*These ladies were
either sisters, or a single lady known as Yslani the Irish woman...Ireland = Iwerddon; we believe this is an additional indication
that Iago was born and raised in Ireland as son of the Gruffudd, nephew of Iago, also born in Ireland.
to the early notices of a man named Cadwaladr ap Gruffudd ap Cynan, four separate wives or consorts are cited for a man
of that name:
ap Gwrgeneu ap Ho[wel?] ap Ieuaf ap Cadwgan ap Elystan is implied by the oldest citation. It simply says "Cadfan
ap Cadwaladr, unfam oedd ag Owain Cyfeiliog". Literally, "the mother [of Cadfan] was the same one who had
Owain Cyfeiliog". ABT 8g cites Owain's mother as the above Gwerfyl but her pedigree abbreviates the name of her
grandfather as Ho. and was assumed to mean "Howel" or "Hywel", but one extant copy of the lost Hengwrt Ms 33 rendered
it as "Hoedliw". This was not a family descended from Elystan Glodrydd
of Buellt, but the earlier Elystan (ap Gwaethfoed?) of Powys:
955 Elystan of Powys
1080 Gwrgeneu Maredudd 1065
1110 Gwerfyl========Gruffudd 1095 ob 1128
1125 Owain Cyfeiliog
The mother of Owain Cyfeiliog
could have been a consort of the Cadwaladr ap Gruffudd ap Cynan born c. 1105 and have borne Cadfan around 1125/1130.
Whether this Gwerfyl was actually married to either man for whom she bore a son, is unknown.
b. Dyddgu ferch Maredudd
ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, a lady who would occur c. 1095. We suggest she was the wife of a Cadwaladr born c. 1080, not the
one born near 1105.
c. Alice ferch Richard
de Clare (Strongbow), Earl of Pembroke. This lady would occur c. 1115 and would fit well with a Cadwaladr born c.
1105 and such a marriage would almost be expected by the son of the Lord of Anglesey who spent much time in
the south of Wales.
d. Tangwystl ferch Cadwallon
ap Gruffudd ap Cynan. Most historians see nothing amiss to believe Cadwaladr married the daughter of his own brother,
but we reject the idea on both religious and chronological grounds. If she were a niece, she would not occur until
c. 1130 or later. We suggest her father was a Cadwallon ap Gruffudd ap Cynan born c. 1080, she then occurring
construction of these families would look like this:
975 Idwal ap Elisedd
Gruffudd Cadwallon 1078 1080 Cadwaladr*
Dyddgu ap Maredudd of c. 1095
**First married Alice deClare about 1133; secondly, had a son by Gwerfyl ferch Gwrgeneu about 1135; and thirdly
married Tangwystl about 1140
The next citation
which requires attention is that found in Peniarth Ms 128 where the wife of Cadfan ap Cadwaladr is cited as Lleuci ferch Ithel
ap Rhys ap Ifor, sister to Rhiwallon Lloyd. This lady would occur c. 1195, her husband Cadfan about 1180 and his father
Cadwaladr near 1150. Thus, he could be neither of the men named Cadwaladr in the above chart. But such a Cadfan
and Lleuci do fit chronologically with the wife cited for Moreiddig ap Sandde Hardd and we suggest the following identity
for this Cadfan:
Cynan Bleddyn 1025
Gruffudd Maredudd 1065
1080 Cadwaladr===Dyddgu 1095
1180 Cadfan====Lleuci 1195 Sandde 1160
1210 Tangwystl=========Moreiddig 1195
There is, however, pedigree
evidence for a Cadfan son of the Cadwaladr of c. 1105. Likely born about 1128, the man in the following chart could
not be a son of either Cadwaladr shown above:
Cadfan Tudwal Gam* 1140 Rhiryd** 1120
Thomas=====Ann 1175 Ithel 1155
*ap Rhiwallon ap
Cynddelw ap Gwyryd ap Dyfnaint ap Meurig ap Iddon ap Iddig ap Llywarch ap Llofan ap Cilmin Droed Ddu ap Cadrod, the latter
born c. 795 and a brother of Merfyn Frych; thus Cilmin was first-cousin of Rhodri Mawr
**ap Cadwgan ap Rhiryd
ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn; Bleddyn was born c. 1025
Having made these identifications
of two men called Cadfan ap Cadwaladr, we now turn to the 1149 Brut entry which tells us "Cadwaladr ap Gruffudd built completely
a castle at Llanrhystud; and he gave his portion of Ceredigion to Cadwgan, his son". The corresponding entry in the Annales
Cambriae calls that son "Catwano" or Cadfan. We feel certain the Cadwaladr in this entry was the younger brother of
Owain Gwynedd since he had previously taken land in Ceredigion by force of arms. Although barely 14 years old in 1149,
this Cadfan was likely a base son and may have been confused by the Brut author with a fully-grown son of the earlier
Cadwaladr named Cadwgan. The error was corrected in the 1150 entry when Hywel ap Owain Gwynedd seized the lands and
castle of "Cadfan ap Cadwaladr, his first cousin".
A final citation bearing
on this subject is the 1152 Brut entry "Owain Gwynedd deprived Cunedda ap Cadwallon, his nephew, his brother's son,
of his eyes and testicles." The same event is mentioned in ABT 4 as "Cunedda and Tangwystl were children of Cadwallon
ap Gruffudd ap Cynan. Owain ap Gruffudd caused to be blinded Cunedda, his nephew and son of his brother; that was the
proverbial "Cunedda war of Is Conwy".
If Cunedda was actually
a brother of Tangwystl, the chronology would require he be born c. 1110/1120 and could not have been the son of Owain
Gwynedd's brother Cadwallon. But if he were Owain's nephew, then it was a lad about 19 or 20 years
old who suffered the mutilation. That seems inconsistent with his description as a man who fought the Gwynedd family for control
of lands east of the River Conwy. We suspect Cunedda was a younger brother of the Tangwystl
who'd married Owain Gwynedd's brother Cadwaladr; that he was about 32/35 years old in 1152 when he contested Owain Gwynedd
for control of the lands beyond the Conwy. In that case, he was NOT Owain's nephew but his 3rd cousin:
1100 Owain G. 1105 Cadwaladr==Tangwystl 1115 1120
One final observation
which helps separate the children of the two men named Gruffudd ap Cynan: when we look at the marriages contracted by
these men and their descendants, those who were descended from the Gruffudd of 1070 mostly took Gwynedd wives, while those
we believe were descended from the 1041 Gruffudd mostly took Powys wives. It is likely that the 4 sons we attribute
to the earlier Gruffudd settled in Powys with Cadwgan ap Bleddyn and their uncle Maredudd ap Cynan. The sons of
the later Gruffudd (Owain Gwynedd, Cadwaladr and Cadwallon) had patrimonial interests in Gwynedd and no real ties to Powys.