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:
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.|
|-2||Cadell Ddyrnllug||Rhuddfedel Frych|
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 indicates two of the sons of Cadell Ddyrnllug were also the sons of Rhuddfedel Frych. This suggests the latter individual was Cadell’s wife despite the fact that the manuscript suggests the individual was male. Uncertainty on the gender of an individual occasionally occured with the manuscript copyists. It would seem that the cognomen ‘Frych’ is a corruption of ‘ferch’ meaning ‘daughter’.
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|
|-2||Kadell Drynlluc||[Rhuddfedel Frych]||[Rhuddfedel Frych]|
|-8||[Paul Merion]||Paul Merion|
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.