Illtud

St. Samson was a generation younger than Illtud and was ordained by him at the abbey of Llanwit Major (Llanilltud Fawr). Illtud’s father was Bicanus, prince of Llydaw and his mother was Rieingulid, daughter of Anblawd, that is Amlawdd Wledig. V. Samsonis, tells that Illtud was a disciple of St. Germanus but chronology indicates this could not have been the bishop of Auxerre. The V. Ninnochae states:

“Sanctus Germanus episcopus ex Hibernensium regione transmissus a Sancto Patricio archiepiscopo, venit ad Brochanum regem Britanniæ.”[1]

It is likely that it was this Germanus who ordained Illtud. He was St. Garmon who, as indicated by Bartrum, was the Germanus of the Historia Brittonum. V. Samsonis is the oldest surviving Vita of the British saints and was written by a Breton who had direct knowledge of Illtud’s life from a deacon who had recieved the information from his uncle, Henoc. The latter indivdiual had himself obtained the material from his aunt, Anna of Gwent, the mother of the saint. This document makes it clear that Illtud was from Letavia in Wales, not Brittany. There are several indicators pointing to this being a region of Brycheiniog.

As evidence that Llydaw, in this context, is likely to have referred to a region of Brycheiniog, Parri produced the following map that shows the distribution of dedications to the family of Emyr Llydaw.[2] It demonstrates that the areas evangelised, supposedly by Bretons, covers most of Wales except Brycheiniog and surrounding areas which were, therefore, the location of their origin.

Dedications to the family of Emyr Llydaw and Ithel Hael, Parri, B., © Brecknock Society & Museum Friends.

[1] Baring-Gould, S., Fisher, J., 1911, 68.
[2] Parri, B., 2009, 133.

Cyfoesi Myrddin a Gwenddydd ei chwaer

This poem, Dialogue between Myrddin and his sister Gwenddydd, is from the LCH. It is taking place after the battle of Arderydd of 575. It then conflates Rhydderch Hen, who may have participated in that battle, with Rhydderch Hael of Gwynedd. The dialogue refers to his victory at the ford of the river Towy. This river flows through Caerfyrddin before entering Carmarthen Bay.

BGG 8 gives no name as successor to Rhydderch, see Rhydderch Hael and Rhydderch Hen, but the poem tells us it was Morgan Mawr ap Sadyrnin. The dialogue states Gwenddoleu, who was of gen. 1, see the table below, would have been the natural successor as supreme British monarch but for his death at Ardderyd. Sadyrnin was St. Sadwrn and there is a Llansadwrn both in Carmarthenshire and in Anglesey.[1] A stone bearing his name in Latin, Saturninus, was found at the parish church in Anglesey.[2] Nash-Williams states Sadwrn Farchog was the brother of St. Illtyd.[3] Their mother was Rieingulid, daughter of Amlawdd Wledig, according to the V. Illtuti. This allows us to conclude Morgan also belonged to gen. 1. The poem goes on to say Morgan was suceeded by Urien. As he too belonged to gen. 1, it may have been that Urien replaced Morgan as leader of the British forces. This may have been the reason behind Urien’s assassination. Bartrum had difficulty reconciling this sequence of three kings and suggested the sequence was in reverse order.[4] However, this was not the case and his mistake was to assume that Rhydderch Hael and Rhydderch Hen were the same individual.

Gen. BGG 6
  HG 8
-4 Coel Hen Coel Hen
-3 Ceneu [Ceneu]
-2 Mar Gwrwst Ledlwm
-1 Arthwys Meirchion Gul
0 Ceidio Cynfarch Oer
1 Gwenddoleu Nudd Cof Urien Rheged


At this point the poem goes back a generation and begins to give the pedigree of Gwynedd, starting with Maelgwn, largely in conformity with that given in HG 1, see The king-list of Gwynedd. The Venedotian sequence ends with Anarawd ap Rhodri Mawr.

[1] Wade-Evans, A. W., 1911, 30 and 74
[2] CISP LSADW/1
[3] Nash-Williams, V. E., 1950, 63
[4] Bartrum, P. C., 2009, 555