csawlogo.jpg

Home
Legendary History Prior to 1st Century BC
Beli Mawr and Llyr Llediath in Welsh Pedigrees
The Bartrum "Welsh Genealogies"
Bartrum's "Pedigrees of the Welsh Tribal Patriarchs"
A study in charting medieval citations
The Evolution of the "Padriarc Brenin" Pedigree
Generational Gaps and the Welsh Laws
Minimum Age for Welsh Kingship in the Eleventh Century
The Lands of the Silures
Catel Durnluc aka Cadell Ddyrnllwg
Ancient Powys
The Royal Family of Powys
The Royal Family of Gwynedd
The 5 Plebian Tribes of Wales
Maxen Wledig of Welsh Legend
Maxen Wledig and the Welsh Genealogies
Anwn Dynod ap Maxen Wledig
Constans I and his 343 Visit to Britain
Glast and the Glastening
Composite Lives of St Beuno
Rethinking the Gwent Pedigrees
The Father of Tewdrig of Gwent
Another Look at Teithfallt of Gwent
Ynyr Gwent and Caradog Freich Fras
Llowarch ap Bran, Lord of Menai
Rulers of Brycheiniog - The Unanswered Questions
Lluan ferch Brychan
The Herbert Family Pedigree
Edwin of Tegeingl and his Family
Angharad, Heiress of Mostyn
Ithel of Bryn in Powys
Idnerth Benfras of Maesbrook
Henry, the Forgotten Son of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn
The Muddled Pedigree of Sir John Wynn of Gwydir
The Mysterious Peverel Family
The Clan of Tudor Trevor
The Other "Sir Roger of Powys"
Ancestry of Ieuaf ap Adda ap Awr of Trevor
The Retaking of Northeast Wales
Hedd Molwynog or Hedd ap Alunog of Llanfair Talhearn
"Meuter Fawr" son of Hedd ap Alunog
The Medieval "redating" of Braint Hir
Aaron Paen ap Y Paen Hen
Welsh Claims to Ceri after 1179
The Battle of Mynydd Carn
Trahaearn ap Caradog of Arwystli
Cadafael Ynfyd of Cydewain
Maredudd ap Robert, Lord of Cedewain
Cadwgan of Nannau
Maredudd ap Owain, King of Deheubarth
What Really Happened in Deheubarth in 1022?
Two Families headed by a Rhydderch ap Iestyn
The Era of Llewelyn ap Seisyll
Cynfyn ap Gwerystan, the Interim King
The Consorts and Children of Gruffudd ap Llewelyn
The 1039 Battle at Rhyd y Groes
The First Wife of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn
Hywel ap Gronwy of Deheubarth
The Brief Life of Gruffudd ap Maredudd
The Other Gwenwynwyn
Eunydd son of Gwenllian
Sandde Hardd of Mortyn
The Floruit of Einion ap Seisyllt
The Enigmatic Elystan Glodrydd
Cowryd ap Cadfan of Dyffryn Clwyd
Owain ap Cadwgan and Nest ferch Rhys - An Historic Fiction?
The "sons" of Owain ap Cadwgan ap Bleddyn
The Betrayal by Meirion Goch Revisited
Gwyn Ddistain, seneschal for Llewelyn Fawr
The Men of Lleyn - How They Got There
Trahaearn Goch of Lleyn
Einion vs Iestyn ap Gwrgan - The Conquest of Glamorgan
Dafydd Goch ap Dafydd - His Real Ancestry
Thomas ap Rhodri - Father of Owain "Lawgoch"
The "Malpas" Family in Cheshire
Einion ap Celynin of Llwydiarth
Marchweithian, Lord of Is Aled, Rhufoniog
Osbwrn Wyddel of Cors Gedol
Bradwen of Llys Bradwen in Meirionydd
Ednowain ap Bradwen
Sorting out the Gwaithfoeds
Three Men called Iorwerth Goch "ap Maredudd"
The Caradog of Gwynedd With 3 Fathers
Who Was Sir Robert Pounderling?
Eidio Wyllt - What Was His Birthname?
The Legendary Kingdom of Seisyllwg
The Royal Family of Ceredigion
Llewelyn ap Hoedliw, Lord of Is Cerdin
The Ancestry of Owain Glyndwr
Welsh Ancestry of the Tudor Dynasty
Gruffudd ap Rhys, the Homeless Prince
The Children of Lord Rhys
Maredudd Gethin ap Lord Rhys
The 'Next Heir' of Morgan of Caerleon
Pedigree of the ancient Lords of Ial
The Shropshire Walcot Family
Pedigree of "Ednowain Bendew II"
Pedigree of Cynddelw Gam

NOTE:  If you have accessed this page via web search, it is an incomplete draft of research still in progress and is subject to much revision.  It cannot be accessed from our website, but web search engines are unable to distinguish between "published" pages and those "off-site" notes stored by the site author for possible future use.
                                    CYNDDYLAN  AP CYNDRWYN
                                            By Darrell Wolcott
 
        Known to us only through a collection of heroic poetry, Cynddylan is described as the son of an equally shadowy man called Cyndrwyn and supposedly resided at Llys Pengwern until he and most of his brothers and sisters were slain in an attack by the Saxons. The actual location of Cynddylan's Llys Pengwern has been debated for years.  Some have conjectured Pengwern was the name of a sizeable kingdom over which Cynddylan ruled as king.  Others say it was only a manor within Powys and held by a prince related to the royal family.  We have seen no evidence which would support the oft-repeated claim that Pengwern was identical to either Viriconium or Shrewsbury, nor that Cynddylan was a king.
 
        Manors called Pengwern were also located in Dogfeiling near Ruthin and just outside Llangollen in Nanhuedwy but, from the description of Cynddylan's manor given in the poetry, his manor was located in the present Shropshire.  Perhaps within sight of Viriconium, we would suggest an area near Whittington.  Most scholars would assign the floruit of Cynddylan as c. 600x650 which is consistent with the poem which says he fought as an ally of "the son of Pyd".  This is thought to refer to Penda, son of Pybba, the king of Mercia c. 625x655.  Some believe Cynddylan and his brothers joined Penda at the 642 battle of Maserfield where Oswald of Northumbria was slain.  In 655, Oswi the brother of Oswald met Penda's army at Winwaed where Penda fell.  Many assume Cynddylan was also killed in that battle, and that Oswi then laid waste to Llys Pengwern where all of Cynddylan's siblings, except for a sister Heledd, were killed.
 
 
         A pedigree from the Bonedd yr Arwyr section of Hengwrt Ms 33 contains a section called "Plant Cyndrwyn" which lists 12 sons and 9 daughters.  The list includes the names of 3 men and 3 ladies which also appear in the heroic poetry as brothers and sisters of Cynddylan: Elfan, Cynwraith, Cynon, Ffeur, Medlan and Heledd. Oddly however, the name of Cynddylan is missing.
 
        One copy of that now-lost manuscript bears a pencilled gloss above the Plant Cyndrwyn pedigree saying "Kyndrwyn ap Ywain ap Urien ap Kynvarch".  It is not know by whom, nor when, this gloss was added and there are reasons to question its claim.  The poetry uniformly places the family in "Pengwern" near the Tren River and not far from Uriconium.  This, then, was a part of the kingdom ruled by descendants of Cadell Ddrynllwg and of Brochwel Ysgithrog.  The lands of Rheged, the kingdom of Urien ap Cynfarch, lay north of Chester between the west coast of Britain and the Pennines.  If Cyndrwyn was an historical man dwelling in northwest Shropshire, we should expect him to represent a branch of the Powys family.  Indeed, one of his sons is called Elfan Powys in the poetry.  As with other men whose early citations list 20 or more children, we believe the list includes the children of more than one man named Cyndrwyn.  The one who was father to Cynddylan would have been born c. 580/585 and would fit chronologically as a younger son of Powys king Cynan Garwin ap Brochwel Ysgithrog.  According to traditional lore, Cyndrwyn was present at the 616 Battle of Chester and survived it; the king of Powys, Selyf ap Cynan, was killed there as well as a "king Cadell" whom we would identify as another brother of Cyndrwyn. 
 
         While this scenerio appears to be consistent with the heroic poetry, other more modern claims are not.  Much appears on the internet identifying Cynddylan as "King of Dogfeiliog" and "Oppressor of the Cadelling".  This, we believe, comes from a poor translation of a poem which some scholars date as late as c. 1100.  Known as "Marwnad Cynddylan" (A Lament for Cynddylan), it expresses affection for those who welcomed the author to travel through their lands and ends each stanza with the refrain "I shall lament until (various phrases meaning "my death") for the slaying of Cynddylan".  Written in Welsh, some unattributed translator identifies those welcomers as "the king of Dogfeiling, terror to the Cadelling".  Even if the translation was accurate, the phrase applies not to Cynddylan but to the people who welcomed the author to their lands.  But the Welsh phrase is "gwerling Dogfeiling, Cadelling ffaw" (in another stanza, "Cadelling trais").  We would render it something more like "the people (gwerin) of Dogfeiling, in the den (ffau) of the Cadelling" and "oppressed by (trais) the Cadelling".  Although the author seems to thereby suggest Cynddylan as a man who would have been revered by the men of Dofgeiling (perhaps a traditional belief in the 12th century), we believe his association with that area to be no more than flawed conjecture.
 
         This description of the folk of Dogfeiling (oppressed by the men of Powys) probably refers to the history of that territory long before the era of Cynddylan.  In the ancient pedigrees, we find reference to a family descended from Dogfael ap Cunedda which relocated to Glastening c. 540.  A son of Elno ap Dogfael born c. 480 is called "Glast" in the pedigrees, and is said to have been invited to resettle in Glastonbury in Somerset by the aid of the See of Lichfield in Staffordshire.  The man called Glast, one tradition holds, allied his warband with that of Arthur to defeat a Saxon force which had attacked Lichfield.  Now if the kingdom of Powys (the Cadelling) had been encroaching on his paternal lands around Denbigh, "Glast" may have jumped at an offer of new lands far from Powys which a grateful bishop at Lichfield arranged for him. (Lichfield itself was too far east to have been an attractive home for a Welshman, but the church lands at Glastonbury likely would have been seen as safe to Glast).
 
         So what does Glast have to do with Cynddylan?  In fact, nothing except for two similiarities: (a) the lands near Denbigh also contained a manor called Pengwern, and (b) the birthname of Glast was probably Cyndrwyn.  A pedigree from Hengwrt Ms 33 cites a "Morfael ap Glas ap Elno ap Dogfael ap Cunedda", while Plant Cyndrwyn of the same manuscript lists one son of Cyndrwyn as Morfael.  The statements of our contemporary scholar David Nash Ford to the contrary, Morfael is not called a brother of Cynddylan in Marwnad Cynddlan nor any of the other heroic poetry.  Other ancient pedigrees mention an "Elud" or "Elgud" as a second son of Glas ap Elno; modern suggestions that this man is the same person as "Elfan, brother of Cynddylan" have little to recommend them.  Glast was a man of the early 6th century, while Cynddylan belongs to the mid-7th. Thus, we believe that some of the persons named in this list were children of the c. 485 Cyndrwyn Glast of Dogfeiliog, some were children of the c. 585 Cyndrwyn of Pengwern in Powys, and others may have been fictional and taken from 9th century or later heroic poetry.
 
          The family of "Cyndrwyn" Glast can be dated by this chart:
 
                                385  Cunedda
                                           l
                                420  Dogfael
                                           l
                                  450  Elno
                                           l
                                 485  Glast*
                            _________l__________
                            l                              l
                515  Morfael**              520  Elud
 
         *Said to have fought beside Arthur at Lichfield, consistent with a man born c. 485
         ** The inclusion of his name in the list of sons of Cyndrwyn suggests that was his father's birth name, and that "Glast" was a nickname received after his relocation to Glastenbury.  Born 100 years earlier than Cynddylan, his father must have been a different Cyndrwyn than the one that fathered Cynddylan.
 
          After rereading all the poems of the Heledd collection, we would limit her siblings to 6: Cynddylan, Elfan, Cynwraith, and Cynon as brothers with Ffeuer and Medlan as sisters of Heledd.  And would reject any connection between Cynddylan and Dogfeiling.