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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
What Really Happened in Deheubarth in 1022?
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
Welsh Ancestry of the Tudor Dynasty
Gruffudd ap Rhys, the Homeless Prince
The Children of Lord Rhys
Maredudd Gethin ap Lord Rhys
The 'Next Heir' of Morgan of Caerleon
Pedigree of the ancient Lords of Ial
The Shropshire Walcot Family
Pedigree of "Ednowain Bendew II"
Pedigree of Cynddelw Gam

                          THE BRIEF LIFE OF GRUFFUDD AP MAREDUDD
                                         By Darrell Wolcott
 
           Maredudd ap Bleddyn was probably the youngest son of the former king of Powys, having grown up in the shadow of his older brothers Cadwgan and Iorwerth.  Even after the those men were slain in 1111, Maredudd was not chosen to rule his father's lands.  A nephew, Owain ap Cadwgan, was a man in his late 20's while Maredudd was then approaching 50 years of age.  But when Owain was killed in 1116, it left no other grandsons of Bleddyn yet old enough for kingship[1] and Maredudd finally assumed the reins of power.  
 
          Back in his younger days, Maredudd had taken to wife Hunydd, daughter of Eunydd ap Morien of Dyffryn Clwyd[2]; the latter was a second cousin of Maredudd and had been an officer in his father's warband.  By that lady, Maredudd had sired two sons: Gruffudd and Madog[3].  By the time Maredudd finally became king of Powys, those sons had reached the early stages of manhood.  Although we have no certain way of knowing which was the elder son, Gruffudd was the first to come to the attention of the authors of the Brut.  Immediately after the death of Owain ap Cadwgan, we are told that Einion ap Cadwgan and Gruffudd ap Maredudd joined together to oust Uchdryd ap Edwin from his lands[4].  
 
         We doubt such an adventure would have been undertaken by these young cousins (men yet in their low 20's) without at least the tacit approval of Maredudd and perhaps even at his direction.  The action has all the elements of a future king-to-be demonstrating his military prowess as well as his chrisma in attracting other young noblemen to his banner.  His brother, Madog, is nowhere mentioned in this expedition and may have been yet a teen whose role in the campaign was subordinate to his elder relatives.  Gruffudd and Einion met with total success, burning Uchdryd's castle at Cymer in Meirionydd.  While some of the defenders fled, others switched allegiance and joined up with the victors.  The young men went on to seize all of Uchdryd's lands: Meirionydd, Cyfeiliog and Penllyn.  Gruffudd's share was Cyfeiliog while Einion took Meirionydd, each sharing half of Penllyn.
 
          In 1121, King Henry I invaded Powys and, we are told, was so impressed by the daring and skill of Maredudd's warband (perhaps led by Gruffudd) that he called a truce and suggested a peace treaty, which Maredudd readily accepted, as did the sons of his late brother Cadwgan.  But in 1124, a new threat arose in Powys.  Ithel ap Rhiryd ap Bleddyn, a hot-tempered nephew who had both warred against Owain ap Cadwgan and been an ally of Uchdryd ap Edwin, was released from the prison where King Henry had held him for a number of years.  He demanded a share of Powys and the other lands now controlled by Maredudd.  At first, he was denied any land at all.  But a year later, it appears Maredudd sent for him to work out an acceptable resolution to his claims.
 
         Instead, the Brut reports tersely that "Gruffudd ap Maredudd slew Ithel ap Rhiryd in the presence of his [Gruffudd's] father".  Again, there is no mention of Gruffudd's brother Madog although that man was now about 30 years old.  We take this as further indication that Gruffudd was the elder son and was being groomed by his father to be his successor.  But three short years later, we are told Gruffudd died.  There is no report of any accident or illness, but neither was he reported as "slain".  He was, most likely, less than 35 years old and missed the opportunity to become king by only four years; his father Maredudd died in 1132 and his remaining legitimate son Madog succeeded him.
 
          Gruffudd left two young sons, Owain (to later be called Owain Cyfeiliog, probably to distingish him from another contemporary Owain ap Gruffudd who was called Owain Gwynedd) and Meurig.  They were but half-brothers, each having a different mother, and we can't be sure which was the oldest.  The mother of Meurig, according to the extant pedigrees[5], was Iwera ferch Iago ap Gruffudd ap Cynan while Owain's mother is cited as Gwerfyl ferch Gwrgeneu ap Hywel (or Hoedliw) ap Ieauf ap Cadwgan ap Elystan[6].  Such a Gwerfyl would occur about 1110 and fit nicely as a consort of Gruffudd ap Maredudd only if she were descended from the c. 955 Elystan of Powys[7].  We hesitate to call her his wife for two reasons: the pedigree only makes her the mother of his son Owain while other pedigrees also make her the mother of Cadfan ap Cadwaladr ap Gruffudd ap Cynan.[8] That man was given his father's lands in Ceredigion in 1149 (during the life of his father) and there is no known precedent for such a grant to a teenage son.  Thus, we would place Cadfan's birth in or before 1128 and reject the assumption that Cadwaladr took a widowed Gwerfyl as a wife or mistress after Gruffudd ap Maredudd died in 1128.  And if Cadfan had been born to Gwerfyl prior to the time she bore Owain, would a king-in-waiting actually marry a lady who had already borne a child with another man?  Perhaps so if he deemed the alliance with the bride's family of great importance.  After all, Gruffudd seems to have already fathered a child himself by a mistress.  But it is equally as likely that Gwerfyl numbered among those well-born ladies of that age whose choice was to bear sons for important men rather than take a husband.[9] 
 
     This brings us to the second chrolonogical problem.  The mistress, Iwera, is cited as a daughter of Iago ap Gruffudd ap Cynan[10].  And a very old pedigree[11] tells us that among the children of Gruffudd ap Cynan were "Iago and his sister Yslani who married Hwfa ap Ithel Felyn".  Taken as it stands, this would date Iago to c. 1100/1110 (about the time the better known sons of Gruffudd ap Cynan were born) because Hwfa ap Ithel Felyn was born near 1095 and requires a wife born c. 1105/1110.  But a Iago born that late could not have fathered Iwera early enough for her to bear a child before 1128; indeed a daughter of such a Iago could barely have been born herself by that date.  We should date the Iago who was father to Iwera nearer to 1075/1080, permitting Iwera to be born c. 1105/1110 and bear the child Meurig between 1119 and 1128.  Accordingly, we would identify Iago as the son of Gruffudd ap Cynan, nephew of Iago, one of the victors at Mynydd Cairn in 1081 who disappeared from history immediately thereafter[12].  Probably born in Ireland where that Gruffudd ap Cynan had been born to Cynan ap Idwal, this Iago may have come to Wales in 1099 with his father's namesake Gruffudd ap Cynan ap Iago.  We further suspect the birthname of his daughter was not Iwera, this merely being a nickname to denote she was a lady from Ireland[13].  And if Iago was born c. 1080 and Yslani, wife of Hwfa, was born c. 1110, they could not have been siblings.  Perhaps the original pedigree had read "Yslani his daughter" which the medieval genealogists emended to "his sister" on the grounds both must date from the same generation as Owain Gwynedd and the other sons of the only Gruffudd ap Cynan they believed existed.  The relationships in the following charts show a reasonable timeline in which Meurig and Owain could have been sired by Gruffudd ap Maredudd before his death in 1128:
 
                         975  Idwal ap Elisedd
                     ___________l__________
                     l                                 l
         1005  Iago                     1014  Cynan
                     l                                 l
         1035  Cynan                 1041  Gruffudd     Bleddyn  1025
                     l                                 l                 l
        1070  Gruffudd                1075  Iago        Maredudd  1065
                     l                                 l                 l
       1102  Cadwaladr              1110  Iwera==/==Gruffudd  1095
              (next chart)                                 l
                                                   1127  Meurig
 
 
 
                                       985  Cadwgan*
                                                   l
         1005  Iago                1015  Ieuaf           
                   l                               l                     
        1035  Cynan           1045  Hoedliw/Hywel     Bleddyn  1025
                   l                               l                      l
      1070  Gruffudd           1080  Gwrgeneu        Maredudd  1065
                   l                               l
    1102  Cadwaladr=====/=====Gwerfyl========Gruffudd  1095
                               l             1110        l                
                   1128  Cadfan              Owain Cyfeiliog  1125
 
        *This is Cadwgan ap Elystan of Powys, not Cadwgan ap Elystan Glodrydd of Buellt.
 
           In 1149, Madog ap Maredudd, then king of Powys, gave the commote of Cyfeiliog to his nephews Owain and Meurig.  The first thing we find significant about such a gift is it would have reduced the amount of lands which his own sons stood to inherit.  Providing for the children of one's deceased brother was most unusual and we suspect it fulfilled a deathbed request of his father.  Madog may have been made the sole heir of Maredudd only if he promised to raise his brother's young sons at court and give them land of their own when they reached adulthood.  And secondly, the year 1149 may have been when this was attained.
 
           It might be significant that both children of Gwerfyl were given their own lands in the same year, 1149.  If one grant occurred early that year and the other near its close, both men may have turned 21 in 1149 and been born within 10/11 months of each other.  In fact, we are told that Madog ap Maredudd gave Cyfeiliog to his nephews "towards the end of the year". But we don't know in which month Cadfan received his father Cadwaladr's portion of Ceredigion. Nor is there any assurance that age 21 meant anything in terms of "adulthood" in the 12th century.  We have previously noted that royal sons appear to have been required to be around 28 years old before elevation to kingship[14]; the age of eligibility to own their own lands may have been much less, even as early as age 14 when legal childhood ended.  But both Cadfan and Owain were over 14 and under 28 in the year 1149.
 
           Since it was Owain ap Gruffudd ap Maredudd (now called Owain Cyfeiliog to distinguish him from Owain ap Gruffudd ap Cynan who was called Owain Gwynedd) who alone ruled Cyfeiliog in the second half of the twelfth century, what became of his brother Meurig?  The Brut last mentions him in 1156, saying he "escaped from his prison".  We are not told whether his unknown offense was against England or his brother, nor what he did after gaining his freedom.  He simply vanished from history.  Certain medieval pedigrees[15] claim Owain and Meurig had a third brother, Rhiryd Foel. But the wife and daughter assigned to him date his birth to c. 1155 and so he was more likely the son of Meurig. Certainly he was not included among the named nephews of Madog who were given Cyfeiliog in 1149. 
 
          Although we don't claim Gruffudd ap Maredudd to have been a significant figure of twelfth-century Powys, this brief biography provides a place to examine in some detail the ladies by whom he had sons, both of whom also occur in a study of the sons of Gruffudd ap Cynan.

NOTES:
[1] Ithel ap Rhirid ap Bleddyn was probably the eldest of these and may have reached sufficient years to be elevated to kingship, but he was apparently being held in prison by Henry I of England for unspecified crimes; his release is reported in 1124
[2] For whom see "Eunydd son of Gwenllian elsewhere on this site
[3] Maredudd also had base sons Iorwerth Goch and Hywel, both appearing to be younger than Gruffudd and Madog.
[4] Uchdryd was the son of Iwerydd ferch Cynfyn and thus a first cousin of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn.  The latter had given him the lordship of Cyfeiliog and other lands upon the condition he faithfully serve Cadwgan and his sons.  But after the death of Owain ap Cadwgan, the other sons claimed he "thought nothing of them"
[5] Peniarth Ms 128 pp 381a
[6] ABT 8g as copied into Peniarth Ms 131
[7] See the paper "The Enigmatic Elystan Glodrydd" for evidence there was a second man named Cadwgan ap Elystan who lived in Powys
[8] ABT 3a, which lists the sons of Cadwaladr ap Gruffudd ap Cynan, reads "Cadfan ap Cadwaladr, unfam oedd ag Owain Cyfeiliog.  Some writers have read this to be saying that the mother of Cadfan "was descended from Owain Cyfeiliog" and others as "the wife of Cadfan was a daughter of Owain Cyfeiliog".  But a strict translation would read "with the same mother as Owain Cyfeiliog", i.e. Gwerfyl ferch Gwrgeneu. It is the latter meaning accepted by Peter Bartrum in his "Welsh Genealogies AD 300-1400"
[9] Another example is the daughter of Brochwel ap Bledrus who bore Iorwerth ap Bleddyn and Sandde ap Caradog Hardd; many early rolls include a tax on men whose daughters "are led astray by men" so the practice must not have been uncommon
[10] See note 5
[11] ABT 5b; the marriage of Yslani is also cited in HLG 5b
[12] Refer to other papers on this site where we posit two separate men called Gruffudd ap Cynan, one a nephew of Iago and the other a grandson of Iago
[13] The Welsh word for Ireland is Iwerddon; the female names Iwerydd and Iwera may have merely been nicknames to denote a lady born in Ireland, with their birthnames thus obscured
[14] See the paper on this site "Minimum Age for Welsh Kingship in the Eleventh Century"
[15] Peniarth Ms 176, pp 240