St. Collen

ByS offers two versions of Collen’s pedigree as shown in columns 2 and 3:

Gen. ByS 52 ByS G 34 ByS G 35 B. Collen
3 St. Collen St. Collen
2 St. Collen Gwennog Ethni Wyddeles Gwennog Ethni Wyddeles
1 Pedrwn Coleddog St. Melangell Coleddog Matholwch
0 Coleddog Cawrdaf [Rhicwlff] Ethni (Wyddeles) Cawrdaf
-1 Gwyn Caradog Freichfras Tudwal Tudclyd Caradog Freichfras Margred
-2 Llŷr Marini Cedig Llŷr Marini Earl of Rhydychen
-3 Einion Yrth Dyfnwal Hen
-4 Cunedda Wledig Ednyfed
-5 Macsen Wledig
-6 Llywelyn

Bartrum stated that the earlier one, shown in column 2, was probably more accurate. He reasoned that Ethni Wyddeles, the mother of Collen according to the later version, is in reality the mother of St. Melangell as indicated by ByS G 35 and ByS 53 (not shown above). Note, although Rhicwlff, the father of Melangell, was lost in ByS G 35 he is shown in ByS 53.

In fact, the later pedigree is the correct one and the B. Collen agrees with that version. The mistake that Bartrum made was to accept that the two instances of the name Ethni referred to the same person as was wrongly suggested only by the ByS G version . Evidence that they were not is provided by the Latin life. In it Melangell is said to be contemporary with Brochwel Ysgithrog, king of Powys. Bartum stated this was impossible but column 6 shows she was of gen. 1 and so the story, which explains why she became the patroness of hares, is chronologically correct.

The earlier version has confused Coleddog ap Cawdraf with Coleddog ap Gwyn who, according to triad 74, was an anheol, i.e. one who could not be expelled, of Arthur’s Court. This suggests  he may have been an earlier Coleddog than the individual in Collen’s ancestry and we may speculate that ByS 52 is referring to St. Colan of Cornwall.

The B. Collen relates a story of Collen as abbot of Glastonbury interacting with Gwyn ap Nudd. These two individuals were seperated in time by three generations which explains why the story is legendary in nature. It may be a symbolic reference to Collen removing vestiges of pagan belief from the Glastonbury area.


Custennin Gorneu and Custennin Fendigaid

Bartum argued the two names Custennin Gorneu and Custennin Fendigaid, that of the brother of Aldwr, refer to the same individual citing ByS 76 as one piece of evidence:

“Thus Custennin Gorneu and Custennin, the grandfather of Arthur, have been tacitly identified. Further confirmation of this is the fact that Erbin ap Custennin is said to have been uncle to Arthur, and Geraint ab Erbin first cousin to Arthur in the tale of ‘Geraint and Enid’ …”[1]

However, that passage has been influenced by Historia Regum Britanniae which attempts to claim a Breton ancestry for Arthur. The following table shows that Custennin Gorneu was of gen. -2 whereas Custennin Fendigaid, being the brother of Aldwr, was one generation earlier:

Gen. ByS 26 CB ByS G 24a
4 Alanus Magnus
3 Salomon II
2 Hoelus Tertius
1 Kyby Alanus Cristiolus Rystvd
0 Selyf Gereint Hoelus Secundus Howel vychan
-1 Erbin Hoelus Magnus Howel
-2 Custennyn Gorneu Budicus Emyr Llydaw
-3 Audroenus
-4 Salomon
-5 Grallonus Magnus
-6 Conanus Meriadocus

The names in the above table are as they appear in the document. Note, ByS 26 has been adjusted to show Cybi as being the son of Selyf ab Erbin as indicated by his Vitae. As indicated by ByS G 24, Budic was referred to as Emyr Llydaw. This can be confirmed by looking at parallel entries in the HRB and the ByB.

[1] Bartrum, P. C., 2009, 178.

Nowy ab Arthur

The Liber Landavensis states:

Noe ab Arthur … gave … ,in the first place, Penn Alun, with its territory, without any payment to mortal man, besides to God, and to Archbishop Dubricius, and the church of Llandaff … and also Llandeilo fawr, on the banks of the Towy, with its two territories, where Teilo, the pupil and disciple of St. Dubricius dwelt; and likewise the territory of the Aquilensians, on the banks of the river Tâf. Noe placed his hands on the four Gospels, and committed to the hand of Archbishop Dubricius this alms forever …[1]

… the lands of the Church of Llandaff, namely, Penaly, and Llandeilo fawr, and Llandyfrgwyr, which had before belonged to Archbishop Dubricius, and from the time of Noe son of Arthur …[2]

Baring-Gould and Fisher noted:

The grant of Llanddowror, with Penally and Llandeilo Fawr, to Dubricius by Nouy or Noë ab Arthur1 is clearly a forgery, as the latter lived at a much later period. Noë was the father of Sannan, the mother of Elisse, King of Powys circa 725-750, to whose memory the Valle Crucis pillar was set up.[3]

Bartrum, referring to the above authors wrote:

Noe filius Arthur occurs in the Book of Llandaf as the donor of land in Penalun [Penally] in Dyfed (BLD 77), but the charter is clearly a forgery (LBS II.401), pretending that the original recipient of the land was Dubricius.[4]

Although Bartrum did not accept the above genealogy cited by Baring-Gould and Fisher, see Sanan ferch Elise, he dated Nowy to c. 580 and came to the same conclusion concerning the authenticity of the charter. The reality is that this entry was not a forgery. Nowy ab Arthur belonged to gen. 1, see Why Bartrum’s dating of the Demetian Arthur is wrong, as did Dubricius as can be seen in the table below.

Gen. JC 9
JC 10a
13 Morgan Hen Morgan Hen
12 Owain Owain
11 Hywel Hywel
10 Rhys Rhys
9 Arthfael Arthfael
8 Gwriad [Gwriad]
7 Brochwel Cenedlon
6 Rhys Briafael Frydig
5 Nudd Hael Llywarch
4 Morgan Tewdwr
3 Athrwys Peibio Glafoeriog
2 Meurig Arberth
1 Tewdrig St. Dyfrig (Dubricius)
0 Llywarch [Efryddyl]
-1 Nynnio Peibio
-2 Erb
-3 Erbic
-4 [Creirwy]
-5 Meurig
-6 Enynny
-7 Erbic
-8 Meurig
-9 Caradog Freichfras

Note, it was through Cenedlon’s marriage to Briafael Frydig that her descendants becaume rulers of Glywysing. Morgan Hen died in the year 974 and Dubricius in the year 612. In Culhwch ac Olwen the brothers Nynnio and Peibio appear transformed into oxen.

[1] Rees, W. J., 1840, 321
[2] Ibid., 374
[3] Baring-Gould, S., Fisher, J., 1908, 401
[4] Bartrum, P. C., 2009, 579

Sanan ferch Elise


HG 15 states:

[G]ripiud . Teudos
caten . Tres sunt
filíí nougoy .
et sanant elized .
filia illorum . mater erat
regis pouis

Bartrum originally interpreted this slighlty corrupted text correctly thus:

… tres sunt filii nougoy regis pouis, et sanant filia elized illorum mater erat.[1]

This is shown int the table below where the generation numbers have been allocated:

Gen. HG 15
9 Gruffudd Tewdws Cathen
8 Nowy Sanan
7 Elise

JC 8 has:

Gruffud. a thewdos. a cathen. Meibyon y vrenhin powys. o sanant verch elisse y mam. Elisse. verch neuue hen mab tewdwr.

The full pedigree list in JC 8 is:

Gen. JC20 8
13 Tewdwr
12 Griffri
11 Elise
10 Tewdwr
9 Gruffudd Tewdws Cathen
8 Vrenhin Powys Sanan
7 Elisse
6 Tewdwr
5 Rhain
4 Cadwgon
3 Cathen
2 Ceindrech
1 Rhiwallon
0 Idwallon
-1 Llywarch
-2 Rhigeneu
-3 Rhain Dremrudd
-4 Brychan I

Y Cymmrodor XLIII 57

Comparing the two tables above, the ruler of Powys, Vrenhin Powys, in gen. 8 is clearly a reference to a Nowy, Sanan’s husband indicating Elisse verch Nowy Hen is an error and that Elisse was the son of Tewdwr. In fact, Elise is a male name.

Note, Rhain Dremrudd is an interloper in this pedigree as he was a contemporary of St. Cadog. Tne cognomen Dremrudd has been incorrectly attached to Rhain ap Cadwgan.

Bartrum correctly proposed the idea that Nowy, the husband of Sanan, was the son of Madog using the lineage that appears in JC 16:


Gen.  JC20 16b seg.
14 Lleucu
13 Adwent
12 Eliffer
11 Gronwy
10 Cynhaethwy
9 Ceno
8 Nowy
7 Madog
6 Sandde
5 Tudwal
4 Merin
3 Madog
2 Rhun
1 Cenelaph Dremrudd
0 Cynan
-1 Casanauth Wledig Thewer
-2 Brydw

Cadair Early Series (Aberystwyth University)

Nowy ap Madog occupies gen. 8 as does Nowy in the firs table and  Bartrum’s proposal was sound. Unfortunately, however, he abandoned this idea, as can be seen by his crossing out in this chart:

He tentatively adopted Dumville’s incorrect proposal that Elise, not Nowy, was the king of Powys and that his father was Gwylog who appears in HG 27 and on the PE.[2] In this scheme Nowy, the husband of Sanan, is made the son of Tewdwr ap Rhain, see the pedigree chart below:

Britons and Anglo-Saxons in the Early Middle Ages 51

Dumville’s chronology does not work. He suggests Tewdwr ap Griffri was a signatory of a land charter dated 934. In fact the LL states this individual was Tewdwr ab Elise.

[1] Cy XLIII 55.
[2] Dumville, D.N., 1993.

The king list of Gwynedd

The pedigree of the Venedotian kings is given in HG 1. However, this list poses a problem in terms of chronology until it is treated as two separate lines of descent, labelled HG 1a and HG 1b:

Gen. HG 1a
CBa HG 1b seg.
ByA 28c
13 Owain
12 Hywel D.
11 Cadell
10 Rhodri M.
9 Merfyn F.
8 Esyllt
7 Cynan D.
6 Rhodri M.
5 Idwal I.
4 Cadwaladr F. Alain II
3 Cadwallon Salomon II
2 Cadfan Hoel III (Beli m. Rhun)
1 Iago Alain I Rhun Hir Perweur
0 Beli Hoel II Maelgwn Gwynedd Rhun R.
-1 Rhun [Einion] Hoel I Cadwallon L. Einion
-2 Budic Einion Y. Mar
-3 Aldwr Cunedda W. Ceneu
-4 Salomon I Edern Coel
-5 Gradlon Padarn B.
-6 Conan M. Tegid

Although later sources show Merfyn Frych as the husband of Esyllt, a viewpoint supported by Bartrum, this earlier document is correct in stating he was her son. As can be seen in the second column, the list states that Rhun was the father of Beli. This is correct but that individual was not Rhun Hir, the son of Maelgwn Gwynedd, who appears in the fifth column above.

Rhun Hir married Perweur ferch Rhun Ryfeddfawr, whose name appears in ByA 28c, and they both belonged to gen. 1 as shown in the table. Triad 79 tells us she was one of the Three Lively Ladies of Britain. ByA 28c errs when it says Perweur was the “Mam Beli m Rhun …”. As can be seen from the second column Beli ap Rhun belonged to the same generation as his supposed parents. Brut y Brenhinedd confirms that Rhun was the father of Beli. Historia Regum Britanniae wrongly asserts that Einion was the father whereas in fact Einion Yrth was a grandfather. It was Rhun ap Einion Yrth and not Rhun Hir who fled to Armorica. His daughter, Tymyr, married Hoel II who appears in CB, see above table.

Both HRB and ByB correctly assert that Einion was Rhun’s brother. This allows us to solve a 1500 year old murder mystery which is not a whodunit but a “who was it dun to”, as we know the identity of the murderer but it is unclear who the victim was. Gildas wrote of Maelgwn:

In the first years of thy youth, accompanied by soldiers of the bravest, whose countenance in battle appeared not very unlike that of young lions, didst thou not most bitterly crush thy uncle the king with sword, and spear, and fire?[1]

The Latin text uses the word “avunculus” where the above passage reads “uncle”. Strictly speaking, that term means mother’s brother. However, in this context I believe this can be linked to the fact, given in JC 23, that an Einion was half-brother to Cadwallon Lawhir, Maelgwn’s father, through their father Einion Yrth. Their mothers were sisters, daughters of king Didlet.

Although HRB states Rhun escaped to Armorica after the death of Einion because he was driven out by the Saxons, it would seem that Maelgwn had a hand in it as well. After Maelgwn’s death his son successfully thwarted challenges to his kingship. However, it would seem that the rightful lineage to the throne was reestablished when Iago became king. As can be seen in the above table, Cadwallon ap Cadfan is correct when he tells Salomon II  in the ByB that their two fathers were two second cousins.

[1] Williams, H., 1899, 77


Why Bartrum’s dating of the Demetian Arthur is wrong

To understand why there is a problem with the birthdate of Arthur son of Pedr given by Bartrum, i.e. 560, we need to look at a manuscript that mentions this individual. The names in the tables below are in the same order as they occur in HG 2a, namely progressing from the most recent to later individuals. My allocation of the generation numbers are in the first column and they are based on the principle that the generation number of an offspring should be one greater than that of the parent. The generation number in the fourth column are those given by Bartrum. The first table shows the first segment of the Demetian pedigree. The obits shown in the 3rd column are those stated by Bartrum and originate from the AC.

Gen. HG 2a Obit acc. Bartrum Gen. acc. Bartrum Birthdate acc. Bartrum
13 Owain 18 900
12 Elen 929 18
11 Llywarch 904 17
10 Hyfaidd 893 16
9 Tangwystl 15? 790
8 Owain 811 14?
7 Maredudd 796 13
6 Tewdws 12 700
5 Rhain 11 675
4 Cadwgon 11 650
3 Cathen 10 625
2 Gwlyddien 9 600
1 Nowy 9 580
0 Arthur 8 560
-1 Pedr 7 535
-2 Cyngar 6 510

Using my generation numbers, regression analysis of the five obits in the above table give a generation step-size of 28 years. On the basis of this statistical technique and on the assumption that the average life expectancy was 60 years, it follows that an estimate of Arthur’s birthdate is 536, not 560.

Using a much larger database of obits the step-size is 32 years. Indeed, Bartrum states a male generation (the period between the birth of a father and that of his child) is about 33 years whereas a female generation (the period between the birth of a mother and that of her child) is about 20 years. The vast majority of generations in my database are male ones.

The larger database gives Arthur’s birth as occuring c. 487, this being the mid-value in the range for gen. 0. The Demetian Arthur’s birthdate is in the period that one would expect for the individual around whom the Arthurian cycle was built.

Using my generation numbering, Bartum’s estimates for the birthdates from Owain to Cyngar in the above table has an average step-size of 26 years, which is far too small. To achieve a more realistic step-size, he has given a number of parents and offsprings the same generation number, viz. Elen/Owain, Cadwgon/Rhain and Nowy/Gwlyddien. This results in a more satisfactory step-size of 33 years, but at the cost of artificially giving parents and offsprings the same generation number.

The reason why Bartrum’s analysis went astray may have been because he believed that HG 2 was a single pedigree list, whereas in reality it consists of four seperate segments. In the second segment, shown below, he made use of two dateable events, namely the birth of Gwerthefyr and that of Macsen Wledig. In the Harleian document itself there names take the form Guortepir and Maxim gulecic respectively.

Gen. HG 2b Obit acc. Bartrum Gen. acc. Bartrum Birthdate acc. Bartrum
0 Gwerthefyr 6 480
-1 Aergol Lawhir 5 460
-2 Tryffin 4 430
-3 Clodri 4? 440?
-4 Clydwyn 3 410
-5 Nyfed 2 380
-6 Annun Dyfed 2 355
-7 Macsen Wledig 388 1 330

Gildas writing in the 540s in the DE describes Gwerthefyr, whose name takes the form Vortipor, with the words “… though thy head is now becoming grey … though the end of life is gradually drawing near …”. So, Bartrum’s birthdate for him of 480 cannot be too wrong. He errs when he identifies the Macsen Wledig with the Roman emperor Magnus Maximus who died in 388. This forces him to use an average generational step-size for the second segment of 21 years, which is not credible. Again, he circumvents this problem by giving Clodri/Tryffin and Annun Dyfed/Nyfed the same generation number, resulting in a step-size of 30 years.

In this instance the name Macsen Wledig was a reference to the emperor Constantius Chlorus, who died in 306, for the following reasons. He was born in the year 250 and this date falls into the period of my gen -7. His wife was Helena. This tallies with the first part of the Mabinogion tale entitled the Dream of Macsen Wledig  in which  Macsen came to Britain and married Elen Luyddog, the daughter of Eudaf.

It will be noted that there is an anomaly in that Bartrum’s tentative birthdate given to Clodri is 10 years after that of Tryffin who Bartrum believed was his nephew.

The third segment, HG 2c, contains only two names, Protec and Protector. The full pedigree can be seen in JC 13b.

The fourth and last segment, HG 2d, is shown below. Note, the missing names that have been inserted, i.e. Custennin and Macsen Wledig, can be seen in JC 13b.

Gen. HG 2d
1 Eifudd
0 Eiludd
-1 Stater
-2 Pincr misser
-3 [Custennin]
-4 [Macsen Wledig]
-5 Constans
-6 Constantinus magnus
-7 Constantius Elen Luyddog

This segment confirms the identification of the first Macsen with Constantius, as his wife St. Helena has been given the cognomen of Eudaf’s daughter, namely Luyddog.

Amlawdd and Gwen

JC 7 states that Cunedda Wledig had two daughters, Tegid and Gwen, the latter being the wife of Amlawdd Wledig:

D6y verchet Cuneda Tecgygyl A Gwen g6reic Anla6d wledic.

ByA 29(13, 14) agrees with the above, adding that Gwen was the mother of Cynwal Garnhwch:

Dwy ferchet Kunedda: Tegit, Gwenn ferch Kunedda gwreig Amlwyd wledig, mam Kynwal garnhwch.

Amlawdd and Gwen’s son Cynwal Garnwch appears in CO as Kynwal Canhwch, the father of Gwen Alarch whose name means White Swan. Bartrum in WCD says Kynwal’s name appears to be the Welsh equivalent of the Ulster hero Conall Cernach. Cynwal may have been given this name as it was also that of Amlawdd’s own father.