Gwalchmai ap Gwyar

The HRB IX 11 tells us Gwalchmai, referred to as Gualguainus son of Loth, was twelve years old and had been knighted by pope Sulpicius. If this is a reference to the papacy of Simplicius (468-483) then it suggests Gwalchmai was likely of gen. -1. This dating is confirmed by a piece of inforamtion by William of Malmesbury, despite the fact he wrongly believes Gwalchmai was a nephew of Arthur:

“Regnavit in ea parte Britanniæ quae adhuc Walweitha vocatur: miles virtute nominatissimus, sed a fratre et nepote Hengistii … Cæterum, alterius bustum, ut præmisi, tempore Willelmi regis repertum est super oram maris, quatuordecim pedes longum …”[1]

“He [Walwen] reigned in that part of Britain [Ros in the province of Wales] which is still called Walweitha. A warrior most renowned for his valour, he was expelled from his kingdom by the brother and nephew of Hengist … The tomb of the other [that is Walwen], however, as I have said, was found in the time of king William upon the sea-shore, fourteen feet in length …”[2]

This would be compatible with HRB IX 9 which states Loth had married in the time of Aurelius Ambrosius. It follows that Loth would have been of gen. -2. That name appears in the ByB fol. 81 as “lew vab kynvarch”, that is Llew ap Cynfarch.[3]. Bromwich explains:

“Considerable confusion prevails in Welsh sources owing to the fact that Geoffrey of Monmouth gives Arthur’s sister Anna as the mother of Gualguanus. In the fourteenth-century Birth of Arthur (Cy. XXIV, pp. 250 ff.) an attempt is made to reconcile the native tradition with that of Geoffrey by substituting the name Gwyar for that of Anna as Arthur’s sister …”[4]

In its bid to reconcile contradictory traditions, it incorrectly maintains Gwyar was the daughter of Gwrlais and Eigr. However, it correctly says that Gwyar was  first married to Emyr Llydaw and then to Llew ap Cynfarch. This explains the reference to Aurelius Ambrosius in HRB IX 9, mentioned above, as Emyr Llydaw is likely to be a title held by him. Emyr Llydaw was of gen. -2, see table below, as indeed was Llew, see above.

Gen. ByS J 21 Proposed pedigree
-3 Kvnedda wledic Cynfarch
-2 Karedic Emhyr Llydaw Gwyar Llew
-1 Gwenn Petrwn Gwalchmai Medrod
0 Padarn

[1] Hardy, T. D., 1840 vol. 2, 466.
[2] Chambers, E. K., 1927, 17.
[3] Parry, J.J., 1937.
[4] Bromwich, R., 2006, 369.

Afan Buellt

The lines of descent for St. Afan of Buellt:

The name of the cantref of Buellt, Builth in English, derives from ‘bu’ and ‘gellt’ respectively meaning ‘ox’ and ‘pasture’. It occupied the northern portion of Brycheiniog and abuts onto Ceredigion. Afan’s grandfather, Tegid Foel who was the husband of Ceridwen, would have been a near contemporary of Ceredig ap Cunedda Wledig.

Roger Cornfoot St Afan’s Church, Llanafan-Fawr CC BY-SA 2.0

The church of Llanafan Fawr is dedicated to the saint as is that at Llanfechan. At the former is an inscription that reads:
but it is late, dating from the 13th/14th c.[1] He also founded Llanafan Trawsgoed in Ceredigion.

His supposed death at the hands of Danes may be a conflation with the 10th c. Jeuan who was said to be bishop for one day.[2]

Geraldus Cambrensis tells us:
“But here it is proper to mention what happened during the reign of king Henry the First to the lord of the castle of Radnor, in the adjoining territory of Builth, who had entered the church of Saint Avan (which is called in the British language Llan Avan), and, without sufficient caution or reverence, had passed the night there with his hounds. Arising early in the morning, according to the custom of hunters, he found his hounds mad, and himself struck blind.”
The text goes on to tell of his death in battle at Jerusalem.[3]

[1] Westwood, J.O., 1879, 72.
[2] Jones, T., 1909, Vol. 1, 226.
[3] Rhys, E., 1908, 14.

Rhun ab Alun Dyfed

Following on from the Myrddin stanza 17 in Pen. 98, see Myrddin Emrys, we have:
“Vch law rhyd y garw faen ryde
y mae bedd Rhun ap Alun Dyv[ed]”

In the version of made from the manuscript in Widow Wynn’s possession this takes the form:
“ychlaw rhŷd garwvayn ryde
y may bêdh Hun ap Alim Dyfe.”[1]

“Above the ford of the rough stone
is the grave of Rhun son of Alun Dyfed.”[2]

Pen. 177 has the following lines concerning Rhun’s death:
“Rhun ab Alun Dyfed who was buried on the edge of the Hard (or Difficult) Ford in the Gwynfynydd in Penllyn. And there he was killed when he retreated from Ciltalgarth.”[3]

The Ymddiddan Myrddin a Thaliesin mentions both poets lamenting the death of warriors in a battle which occurred in Dyfed against Maelgwn. It would seem that Rhun perished in this conflict. The location of Gwyn Mynydd is near Ganllwyd in Gwynedd.

Gwyn Mynydd has possibly the same meaning as Ben Nevis. Gaelic ‘Beinn’ means ‘mountain’ and ‘Niamh’ (pronounced ˈniːəv) could signify ‘bright’. It, therefore, appears that the two verses of stanza 18, which are quoted above, are a continuation of the previous stanza.

The ‘Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion’ mentions the combat between the Demetian Pryderi and the Venedotian Gwydion in which the former was killed. This story places the event at Y Felenrhyd and may be a reference to the same conflict.

BBC Englynion y Beddau stanza 24 refers to the same ford (W. rhyd):
“Piev y bet in Rid Vaen Ked
ae pen gan yr anvaered?
Bet Run mab Alun Diwed.”

“Whose is the grave at Rhyd Faen-ced
With its head downhill?
The grave of Rhun son of Alun Dyfed.”[4]

Dyfyr, another son of Alun Dyfed, is mentioned in Geraint ac Enid as having accompanied Geraint from Arthur’s court to Erbin in Cornwall and Breuddwyd Rhonabwy tells us he was one of Arthur’s counsellors. Culhwch ac Olwen mentions that a son of Alun Dyfed was needed for tht hunt for Twrch Trwyth for unleashing the dogs. The BBC Englynion y Beddau stanza 25 mentions Alun Dyfed’s father, Meigen, whose father’s name is given in stanzas 17 to 19. Meigen’s other sons, Eiddew and Eidal, are mentioned in stanzas 46 and 47.

[1] Arch. Camb. Parochialia  (Part 1), 155.
[2] Jones, T., 1967, 136, 137.
[3] Bartrum, P.C., 2009, 642.
[4] Jones, T., 1967, 122, 123.

The ancestry of Marchell ferch Tewdrig

Marchell was the mother of Brychan by Anlach, a king ruling in Ireland.

Gen. CB 10 seg.
DSB 10 JC 1 seg.
-7 Annun nigri Annhun Annwn du
-6 Tathal Teudfal Thathal
-5 Teithrin Teuder Teidtheryn
-4 Teithphal Teudfall Teidfallt
-3 Teudric Teuderic Tewdric
-2 Marchel Marchel Marchell
-1 Brichan Brachan Vrachan
0 sancti Kynauc

Morris points that Marchell’s father, Tewdrig, bears a Germanic name, that is Theodoric as does her grandfather, Teithfallt which derives from Theudebald.[1] He also suggests her grandfather’s name, Teidhrin, may have evolved from Theodhere.[2] It may well also be that Marchell’s name, rather than being a variant of L. Marcella,[3] is related to the Germanic Marshall. If this family is truely Germanic in origin, the question arises who was the founder, Annun Ddu. Bartrum points out that HG 16, which is a list of Roman emperors, places an “Antun du & Cleopatre” in between the earlier Valerian and the later Aurelian.[4] The former emperor’s rule ended in 260 and the latter’s started in 270. Chronology thus indicates identifying Annun with Mark Antony is wrong. The intervening decade was during the Gallic empire which included Britain and was a rift that occurred within the Roman empire.

The Gallic Empire under Tetricus I by 271.

It may well be that an Antonius Niger was one of the usurpers during this period. That Annun Ddu was of gen. -7 lends support to this identification.

[1] Morris, J., 1995, Vol. 1, 49.
[2] Morris, J., 1995, Vol. 3, 167.
[3] Koch, J.T., 2006, 301.
[4] Bartrum, P.C., 2009, 21.

The king-lists of Gwent and Glywysing part 1

The pedigree tables below shows the lists relevant for the reconstruction of the pedigrees of the royals of Gwent and Glywysing. Note, the generation numbers increase from top to bottom.  It is proposed that the names in square brackets have been lost in the surviving manuscripts whereas those in round brackets are corruptions that should be ignored. The names appear as in the respective manuscripts except for those in square brackets which are given in their equivalent modern form as are those that appear in the accompanying text.

Gen. Date range MP 3b seg. Harl. 4181b seg. JC 9 GM 1b HG 29 HG 28
-8 211×242 Meirchion Meirchion
-7 243×275 Mevric Meurig
-6 276×307 Krierwy Karairyw Enenni Caradawc vreichvras
-5 308×340 [Meurig] Meuric Meuric Meuric
-4 341×372 Edric Edric Erbic Erbic
-3 373×405 [Cadivor] Cadivor [Cadivor]
-2 406×437 Vrban Urban Erb
-1 438×470 Nynniaw Kynaw Nynnyaw
0 471×502 (Teithvallt) [Llywarch] (Teithvael) [Llywarch] Llywarch
1 503×535 Tewdric St. Tewdrig Thewdric Tewdrig Teudubric
2 536×567 Mevric Meurig Meuric Meyrig [Meurig]
3 568×600 Adros Ad[r]os Adroes Adroes Atroys
4 601×632 Morgan Morgan Morgant Morgan Morcant Morcant
5 633×665 Einvdd Enyth [Ei]Nud (hael) (Haddhail) [Einudd] (Iudhail) [Einudd] [Einudd]
6 666×697 Rys Rhys Rees Rys Ris Iudhail
7 698×730 [Brochwel] [Brochwel] Brochuael [Brochwel] [Brochwel] Fernmail
8 731×762 [Gwriad] [Gwriad] Gwryat [Gwriad] [Gwriad] Atroys
9 763×795 Arthvael [Arthfael] Ar[th]uael [Arthfael] Artmail [I]udhail
10 796×827 Mevric Meurig Rees Meyrig Mouric
11 828×860 Brochuael Brochwel Howel Brochuail [B]rocmail
12 861×892 Eweint
13 893×925 Morgant

Table 1

Gen. Date range MP 3a seg. Harl. 4181a GM 1a
7 698×730 Brochuael Brochwel Brochuail
8 731×762 Gwraidd (Edwin Vryth) Gwriad Gyriat
9 763×795 Arthavael Arthmael Arthuayl
10 796×827 Rys Rhys Rys
11 828×860 Howel Howel Howel
12 861×892 Owain Owain Ywain
13 893×925 Morgan (mwynvawr) [Hen] Morgan (Mwynfawr) [Hen]

Table 2

JC 9 claimns the husband of Enynny was called Caradog Freichfras. However, this is a corrupted transcription from an earlier document of Creirwy, or its abbreviation.

The name Einudd of gen. 5 takes the form Ainydd in Mostyn 212b (not shown). In JC 9 it has become corrupted to Nud Hael. In HG 29 the name Einudd was replaced by Ithel. This error was due to the fact that both Ithel and his father Einudd had sons called Rhys, see table 3. This lead to Einudd disappearing altogether in HG 28 and 29 and to the belief that Ithel was the son of Morgan.

Bartrum noted that ‘Ris’ of HG 29 was the ‘Rees’ of JC 9. He also took the ‘Artmail’ of HG 29 to be the ‘Arthuael map Gwryat’ of JC 9. His original conclusion that the names Gwriad and Brochwel had been lost in HG 29 was correct.

To understand why Brochwel and Gwriad disappeared from HG 29 one needs to look at MP 3 which the compilers incorrectly thought was one line of descent whereas it needs to be considered as two, namely MP 3a and 3b as shown in the tables 2 and 1 respectively. The Brochwel, father of Gwriad, of gen. 7 in MP 3a was assumed to be the Brochwel ap Meurig of gen. 11 in MP 3b. So, when the two lists were incorrectly joined into a single sequence, MP 3, Brochwel ap Rhys and his son, Gwriad, were removed as those names were assumed to be corrupt repetitions. In Harl. 4181 even Brochwel’s grandson, Arthfael, was seen as an incorrect repetition and removed from the combined list, see table 1. In Harl. 4181a Gwriad actually appears but in the corrupted form Edwin Vryth.

As mentioned earlier, the name Einudd became altered to Ithel. Chronology suggests that the Ffernfael ab Ithel who died in 775, according to the Annales Cambriae, was the son of Einudd.

The lists result in the tree diagram below:

Table 3 The date associated with each generation number is the mid-value of its generation range.

Modron, the wife of Urien Rheged

The first wife of Maelgwn Gwynedd was either Sanan ferch Cyngen or an unnamed daughter of Sawyl Benisel. The De Excidio Britanniae tells us he murdered his wife in order to marry the wife of his brother’s son. This suggests she was possibly a generation younger than him. It is proposed this lady was Gwallwen ferch Afallach, the mother of Rhun ap Maelgwn Gwynedd, according to ByA 28d.

Furthermore, it is proposed that another daughter of Afallach was Modron who appears in triad 70 as the mother of Owain and Morfudd, by Urien Rheged. The story of this is told in Pen. 147 as a  ‘Washer at the Ford’ tale-type. It describes the incident to have occurred within Denbighshire, in the parish of Llanferres. This area is the location of Caerfallwch, that is the hill-fort of Afallach, now known as Moel-y-Gaer. It lies in a region intermediate between the kingdoms of Gwynedd and Rheged.

Gen. ByA 28d Triad 70(ii)
2 Rhun Owain Morfudd
1 Gwallwen Modron Urien Rheged
0 Maelgwn Gwynedd Afallach

Cadwaladr Fendigaid

There is an entry in Hengwrt 33 V, NLW Cwrtmawr 453 (c.1615×1630) that states:

“The age of the Lord when Cadwaladr Vendigaid went to Rome: 653.”[1]

There are two possible chronologies for Cadwaladr Fendigaid:

1. HRB XII 14 tells us his mother was a sister of Penda. This is confirmed by ByA 28a:

“Mam Gatwaladyr vendigait, merch Pyt, chwaer y Banna ap Pyt.”[2]

where Panna ap Pyd is the Welsh for Penda son of Pybba. The Annales Cambriae tells us his father died at ‘bellum cantscaul’ c.632 to 634. Bartrum estimated her marriage to Cadwallon c. 632.[3]  Thus, AC dating Cadwaladr’s death in 682, during a plague, is plausible. That there was indeed a plague around this time is confirmed by entries in a number of Irish annals.

2. Bartrum argued that the plague in which Cadwaladr died actually occurred in 664. Reference to it is given by Bede:

“In the same year of our Lord 664, there happened an eclipse of the sun, on the third day of May, about the tenth hour of the day. In the same year, a sudden pestilence …”[4]

The timing of the eclipse is accurate to within days, as the following reconstruction of the eclipse path shows:


The earlier date is supported by HB 64 which talks of his death during the reign of Oswy. HRB states Cadwaladr reigned for 12 years which would give a start to his reign close to the time of his Rome visit. Charles Oman argued that HRB dating his death in Rome to 689 is a conflation with the Wessex Ceadwalla.[5]

The second of the two chronologies appears to carry more weight.

[1] Guy, B., 2016, 23.
[2] Bartrum, P.C., 1966, 91.
[3] Bartrum, P.C., 1993, 90.
[4] Sellar, A.M., 1907.
[5] Oman, C., 1921.

The two Teilos

The Vita Teliaui mentions the following kings as Teilo’s contemporaries:

“Teudiric filio teithpall. Idon filio ynyr guent. Gurcant maur. Mailcun. Aircol lauhir. Catgucaun tredicil. Rein.”[1]

The dating for each of the seven kings listed will be considered.

1. Tewdrig ap Teithfall was of gen. -3. However, that name was at times incorrectly ascribed to Tewdrig ap Llywarch of gen. 1. see Tewdrig.

2. The Buchedd Beuno states Iddon ab Ynyr Gwent had dealings with Cadwallon ap Cafan who belonged to gen. 3, see list 1a in Harleian Genealogies. This dating for Iddon is confirmed by the Liber Landavensis which tells us:

“In the time of the aforesaid King Iddon, the Saxons came into his country to plunder, and he with his army pursued them, and in his way came to St. Teilo …”[2]

Bartrum claims the chronology indicated by the LL is imposssible as Teilo was a contemporary of Dewi. However, the Dewi concerned could have been the later individual, see The two bishop Davids.

3. Gwrgan Fawr was the father of Onbrawst who was married to Meurig ap Tewdrig.[3] Meurig was of gen. 2 as shown in list 9a of Jesus College ms. 20.

4. Maelgwn Gwynedd was of gen. 0, see list 1b in Harleian Genealogies.

5. Aergol Lawhir was of gen. -2, see list 2b in Harleian Genealogies.

6. Cadwgon ap Cathen of gen. 4 has a cognomen that takes the form Trydelic in ABT 18 G and Tredylic in ABT 18 H2. As Bartrum noted, his giving land to Teilo is probably a reference to the church of Teilo.[4]

7. It is unclear which Rhain is being spoken of.

There appears to have been two Teilos. The earlier one was a contemporary of Tewdrig, Maelgwn and Aergol. A possible candidate for the earlier Teilo is Eiludd ap Stater of gen. -1 whose name appears in list 2c of Harleian Genealogies. The Vita explains the evolution of his name thus:

“After he grew up in age, virtue, and wisdom, he was called by intelligent persons by the suitable name of Elios; and Elios, in Greek, is interpreted in Latin by Sol, [the Sun;] for his learning shone as the sun, by illustrating the doctrine of the faithful. But illiterate men corruptly pronouncing the termination of the word, it came to pass, in course of time, that he was called not Elios, but Eliud.”[5]

As noted by Wade-Evans:

“Teilo is not said to be of the stock of Cunedda in B.L.D., nor is his name in P.K. This throws doubt on his Cuneddan origin.”[6]

The later Teilo, who was descended from Cunedda, was the son of Ensych, see list 5 in Bonedd y Saint, and belonged to gen. 1, as did Dubricius, see list 10a of Jesus College ms. 20, who he succeeded as bishop of Llandaff. He could have been a contemporary of Iddon and Gwrgan. He was not of the same period as Aergol Lawhir and as noted by Bartrum:

“In the Book of Llandaf persons named Aircot, Aircol appear as witnesses to two charters in the times of bishops Aeddan and Elwystl. But the properties concerned are in the Dore Valley and a different person is probably indicated.”[7]

[1] Evans, J. G, Rhys, J., 1893, 118.
[2] Rees, W. J., 1840, 361.
[3] Evans, J. G, Rhys, J., 1893, 140.
[4] Bartrum, P.C., 2009, 95.
[5] Rees, W. J., 1840, 333.
[6] Arch. Camb. 86, 163, n. 3.
[7] Bartrum, P.C., 2009, 5.

Elidir Mwynfawr

Elidir the Wealthy was killed in Arfon, according to the Chirk Codex, and a failed attempt to avenge his death was made by Rhydderch Hael, Mordaf Hael, Nudd Hael and Clydno Eidyn. Their pedigrees are shown below.

Gen. BGG 8 BGG 9 BGG 12 ByA 17 seg.
ByS 18 seg.
HG 7
-5 Macsen Wledig Macsen Wledig
-4 Ednyfed Ednyfed
-3 Dyfnwal Hen Dyfnwal Hen Dyfnwal Hen Dyfnwal Hen Dyfnwal Hen Dyfnwal Hen
-2 Cedig Cedig [Gwidol] Gwidol Cedig Cynfelyn
-1 Tudwal Tudclyd Serwan Gwrwst Briodor Gwrwst Briodor Senyllt Clinog Eitin
0 Rhydderch Hael Mordaf Hael Elidir Mwynfawr Elidir Mwynfawr Nudd Hael
1 Dingad
2 St. Lleuddad

Jocelin’s Life of Kentigern

In his Life of Kentigern, Jocelin combined the lives of the northern Cyndeyrn Garthwys, that is Kentigern, with the southern Cyndeyrn ap Cyngar. As a result the story appears to state anachronisms. However, in reality, Kentigern of gen. 2 would have been a contemporary of Moken if he was Morgan Fwlch, one of Barturm’s candidates for the name. However, when the story shifts to the south with with Dewi in Menevia, Cadwallon Lawhir and Maelgwn Gwynedd the saint was Cyngar, not Kentigern. Finally, the Vita returns to the north with Kentigern and Rhydderch Hen.

Gen. ByS 6b ByS 13 seg. ByS 14 HG 1b seg. HG 6 HG 10 seg.
3 Morgan
2 Cyndeyrn Garthwys Rhydderch Hen Coleddog
1 Cyndeyrn Owain Denw Rhun Tudwal Morgan Fwlch
0 Cyngar Asaph Urien Lleuddun Luyddog Maelgwn Gwynedd Clinoch Cyngar
-1 Garthog Sawyl (Benuchel) [Benisel] Cadwallon Lawhir Dyfnwal Hen
-2 Ceredig Pabo (Post Prydyn)
-3 Cunedda Wledig

Jocelin did not give the name of Kentigern’s father, perhaps, because of having to avoid choosing between Owain ab Urien and Cyngar ap Garthog. Cyndeyrn was probably the saint of Llangyndeyrn. Nothing is known about him as his story was absorbed into that of Kentigern.