PEDIGREE OF THE ANCIENT LORDS OF IAL
By Darrell Wolcott
The earliest man known
to have held the Lordship of Ial was Llewelyn Aurdorchog, born c. 1005. The commote of Ial is believed to have been
a part of the personal holdings of the first Powys dynasty which dates at least from the 4th century Cadell Ddyrnwllg.
Some think Ial was granted to Elgudy and his son, Cynddelw Gam, in the early 10th century when lands east of the Clwyd river
and north of the Alun were retaken from Danish squatters. We suspect, however, it was only Ystrad Alun that comprised
that grant, Ial being retained by the Powys royal family until the mid-11th century when King Gruffudd ap Llewelyn gave it
to his penteulu Llewelyn Aurdorchog.
The pedigree of Llewelyn
Aurdorchog is without chronological problems until it reaches the 6th century. His ancestor Llywarch Hen was born c.
520 to Elidyr Lydanwyn ap Meirchion Gul ap Gwrwst Ledlum ap Ceneu ap Coel Hen. He was a first-cousin of Urien of
Rheged ap Cynfarch Oer ap Meirchion Gul and both resided in the far north of Britain before the Saxons took their lands.
Tradition claims he was called Llywarch Hen because he lived over 100 years, finally dying about 634. At least 25
and up to 32 children are credited to him, only two of which generated known families. Dwc ap Llywarch Hen, born
c. 560, was the direct male ancestor of Merfyn Frych who took Gwynedd from the family of Cunedda in the early 9th century.
But the man called Sandde ap Llywarch Hen, the ancestor of Llewelyn Aurdorchog, dates from a generation later.
We strongly doubt any men
of this era, when most were dead by age 65, lived over 100 years. It is much more likely this Llywarch was called Hen
to distinguish him from a son also named Llywarch, and that it was this son who died c. 634. Our chart would look like
345 Coel Hen (the old)
415 Gwrwst Ledlum (mostly bare)
450 Meirchion Gul (lean)
485 Elidyr Lydanwyn (broad and fair)
520 Llywarch Hen
555 Llywarch (ob.
c 634) 560 Dwc
(to Merfyn Frych of c. 790)
of the earliest manuscripts call this Sandde "Bryd Angel" or "with the mind of an angel". But certainly he was
not the same man whom Welsh tradition says was a knight of Arthur's court who escaped unharmed at the Battle of Camlann where
everyone thought he was an angel because he was so beautiful. If that Sandde were not merely mythical, he would have
been nearly 100 years older than Sandde ap Llywarch. We suspect the medieval genealogists appended the nickname to the
c. 585 Sandde without checking the chronology.
The majority of
the early manuscripts continue with a Mechydd ap Sandde whom we would date c. 620; at the same time, we would revise the
traditional obit of Llywarch to about that same date. Men of that era did not normally bear children while their father
was still alive. The next genealogical link is given as Madog Madogiawn, but there is no Welsh word or placename to
account for such a nickname. Either one link is missing in the subsequent family, or this link has been corrupted from
something like "Madog ap Madog Gwyn". When placed in the pedigree, the list of generations becomes chronologically possible:
650 Madog Gwyn (or Madogion)
785 Dwywg Lythyr (with the letter)
880 Cynddelw Gam (the squinter)
1005 Llewelyn Aurdorchog, Lord of Ial and Ystrad Alun
The eldest son of Llewelyn Aurdorchog,
Llewelyn Fychan, became the 2nd Lord of Ial around 1065 and he was followed by his eldest son, Ithel Felyn. Hwfa, son
of Ithel Felyn was born c. 1095 and held the Lordship of Ial until the mid-12th century and was followed by his son, Ithel
"y wyrion" usually called "Gwion" in pedigrees. It isn't clear exactly when the Lordship was taken from this family
by the descendants of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, but king of northern Powys, Madog ap Gruffudd Maelor I, seems to have done so
before his death in 1236. Sometime after the Norman conquest in 1282, the Lordships of Ial and Maelor were combined and
called "Yale and Bromfield".