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Ancestors and Children of the Lord Rhys
                         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.[1]  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.[2]  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.[3]  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 this:
                                   340  Coel Hen (the old)
                                   380  Ceneu
                           415  Gwrwst Ledlum (mostly bare)
                                 445  Meirchion Gul (lean)
                             485  Elidyr Lydanwyn  (broad and fair)
                                 520  Llywarch Hen
                      l                                                  l
          555  Llywarch (ob. c 634)               560  Dwc
           585  Sandde                      (to Merfyn Frych of c. 790)
             Most 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[4] 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 sire 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[5]:
                               585  Sandde
                              620  Mechydd
                           650  Madog Gwyn (or Madogion)
                              685  Madog
                            715  Dwyfnerth
                              750  Tegog
                            785  Dwywg Lythyr  (with the letter)
                            815  Gwrysnadd
                               845  Elgudy
                          880  Cynddelw Gam (the squinter)
                              915  Cynwrig
                             945  Gweirydd
                                975  Coel
                  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".   

[1] See the paper "The Retaking of Northeast Wales" at the link below:
[2] The pedigree of Coel Hen extending back to Beli Mawr of c. 130 BC is cited in Harleian Ms 3859, 10; Vita Beatissimi Cadoci, #46; Historia Gruffudd vab Cynan; Jesus College Ms 20, 5;  and ABT 1c
[3] The pedigree of Merfyn Frych extending back to Dwc ap Llywarch Hen is cited in ABT 1e; Jesus College Ms 20, 17; and Historia Gruffudd vab Cynan
[4] ABT 6i where 5 of the 6 known versions of this manuscript include Mechydd ap Sandde, the other omitting him
[5] The unemended version of this pedigree is found in HLG 5.  Among it's omissions are both the father and grandfather of Llewelyn Aurdorchog.  The form "Llewelyn Aurdorchog ap Coel ap Gweirydd" is cited in several Peniarth manuscripts, the oldest being Pen. 131, 286 from the late 15th century