The Powysian lineage

Understanding the descent of the kings of Powys poses considerable problems. These can be resolved when it is realised that the sons attributed to Vortigern (Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu) are in reality the offsprings of Cadell Ddyrnllug. The reason behind this intentionally incorrect attribution is given in HB 32-35. It tells how the royals of Powys were descendants of Cadell whose origins were humble. HB 34 tells us Cadell had nine sons. The Harleian manuscript gives the names of five of them, although they are incorrectly listed not as siblings but as sons of each other:

Gen. HG 22
2 Selyf Sarffgadau
1 Cynan Garwyn
0 Brochwel Ysgithrog
-1 Cyngen Mawgan Pasgen Cateyrn
-2 Cadell Ddyrnllug
Gen. HG 23
5 [H?]esselis
4 Gwrhaearn
3 Elfoddw
2 Cynin
1 Millo
0 Camuir
-1 Brydw Cateyrn
-2 Cadell Ddyrnllug
Gen. HG 27    
9 Cyngen
8 Cadell
7 Brochwel
6 Elise
5 Gwylog
4 Beli
3 Eiludd
2 Selyf Sarffgadau
1 Cynan Garwyn
0 Brochwel Ysgithrog
-1 Cyngen Glodrydd Mawgan Pasgen Cateyrn
-2 Cadell Ddyrnllug
-3 Selevan

The PE mentions four of the sons:

CONCE[NN]  PASCEN[T]  MAU[N]  ANNAN [+]  BRITU

The third and fourth elements of this part of the inscription is a reference to a single name, i.e. Mawgan. It is claimed the PE states they were the sons of Gwrtheyrn. However, this may be a misreading and the above four names were not being linked to Gwrtheyrn but rather to the largely missing previous lines. Following the above text the inscription reads:

A[ ]T[ ]M FILIUS GUARTHI[ ] QUE(m) BENED[ ] GERMANUS

HB 48 tells us that Gwrtheyrn’s son, Faustus, by his incestuous relation with his daughter, was brought up by Germanus. So, the first word in the above text may be a reference to Faustus, the only genuinely known son of Gwrtheyrn. This interpretation is supported by the use of the singular form ‘filius’.

The first segment of ABT 6k, shown below, matches the above HG 27:

Gen. ABT 6k 1st seg. ABT 6k 2nd. seg.
10 Rhodri Mawr
9 Merfyn Frych  Nest
8 Cadell
7 Brochwel
6 Elise
5 Gwylog
4 Beli
3 Eiludd
2 Selyf Sarffgadau
1 Cynan Garwyn
0 Brochwel Ysgithrog
-1 Cyngen Glodrydd
-2 Cadell Ddyrnllug
-3 Pasgen Brydw Rhuddfedel Frych Cyndeyrn
-4 Gwrtheyrn Gwrtheneu

Although the manuscript states Nest was the mother of Merfyn Frych the above table shows her as his wife. This is indicated as being the case in JC 18.

The second segment promotes the myth that, except for Cyngen, the sons of Cadell were, in reality, the sons of Gwrtheyrn. As noted by Phillimore the name Cateyrn has been ‘tortured’ into the form Cyndeyrn by later genealogies.[1] Vermaat explains the presence in the list of Rhuddfedel as a reference to the battle at Rithergabail where Cateyrn died.[2]

Interestingly, with the aid of the LaB, HB M 49  and GaC 2 it is possible to trace the Powysian ancestry back to the 2nd century BCE. The manuscript form of the names are given:

Gen. LaB HB M 49
9 Fernmail
8 Teudubir
7 Pascent
6 Guoidcant
5 Moriud
4 Eldat
3 Eldoc
2 Beuno Paul
1 Bugi Mepurit
0 Gwnlliw Briacat
-1 Tegit Pascent
-2 Kadell Drynlluc
-3 [Faustus] [Faustus]
-4 Gortegyrun Guorthigirn Guortheneu
-5 Gorthevyn Guitaul
-6 Gorthgeyrun Guitolin
-7 [Gloiuda] Gloiuda
-8 [Paul Merion] Paul Merion
-9 [Gloiu] Gloiu
-10 [Rhifedel] [Rhifedel]
-11 Rutegyrn [Rutegyrn]
-12 Deheuwynt [Deheuwynt]
-13 Eudegan [Eudegan]
-14 Eudegern [Eudegern]
-15 Elud [Elud]
-16 Endos [Endos]
-17 Endolen [Endolen]
-18 Avallad [Avallad]
-19 Amalech [Amalech]
-20 Belim [Belim]

LaB goes on to say Beli was the son of Anna. Rhifedel of gen. -10 does not appear in either of the above documents. However, he is the only known son of Rhydeyrn and appears in HG 10, GaC 2 and ABT 1c. The last king mentioned in the above list from the HB, Ffernfael ap Tewdwr, was reigning in Buellt and Gwrtheyrnion at the time the document was written according to the manuscript, i.e. c. 830, confirming he belonged to gen. 9.
[1] Cy IX, 179 n. 5
[2] Vortigern Studies > Vortigern > The Family of Vortigern > Catigern, son of Vortigern

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