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WHICH EINION WAS CAEREINION NAMED FOR?
By Darrell Wolcott
The early 15th century manuscript,
Bonedd yr Arwyr (a section of the now-lost Hengwrt 33 manuscript) claims that the commote in Powys called Caereinion was home
to Einion Yrth ap Cunedda. Few scholars today would defend that claim; nothing in the ancient sources indicates
that any of the Cunedda clan was located within Powys. Another part of that same manuscript describes a man named
Gwrgi as "mab uchelwr o Castell y Caereinion". We read this to mean he was "of the men of Castell Caereinion.
While there may have been an ancient hill fort with that name, in medieval times it was a parish in that portion of the commote
immediately adjecent to Ystrad Marchell. By the 9th century, the surrounding area was held by members of the Powys Royal
Family descended from Brochwel Ysgithrog. Nearby was Mathrafel, the seat of the king of Powys, and Cegidfa, the
residence of a noted junior line of the family.
We suggested in an earlier
paper that this family anciently held lands in Cheshire, Powys north and west of the Dee, and the portion of Shropshire
north of the Severn; and that the lands, including Caereinion and Ystrad Marchell were held by the "other Powys family", that
descended from Cassanauth Wledig. We further posited that an heiress of that family, a daughter of Bleddud ap Tegonwy,
married the king of the ruling Powys family c. 815 and carried these lands to her son, Brochwel ap Aeddan ap Cyngen ap Brochwel
The family of Bleddud ap
Tegonwy is cited twice in Bonedd y Sant, first saying that St. Llewelyn of Trallwng (Welshpool) was a son of Bleddud, and
secondly says this saint was a son of Einion ap Bleddud. Whether St. Llewelyn was the brother or son of this Einion,
the lady whom we think was the mother of Brochwel ap Aeddon would have been a sister of Einion. It may have been this
Einion whose early 9th century home was called Caer Einion and for whom the later commote was named. We suggest he either
died without an heir, or that his lands went to his sister's son who became king of Powys rather than to the holy man
who was either his son or his brother.
Those lands now called Caereinion,
we think, were eventually devolved upon Gruffudd II, born c. 1015 and son of Beli II ap Selyf II ap Brochwel II ap Aeddan
II ap Selyf ap Brochwel ap Aeddan. That Gruffudd, we believe, had sons Gwyn II and Gwrgi. We have already seen
that Gwrgi was descended from men who held Castell Caereinion; other lands in the commote were held by Einion ap Gwyn II whose
grandson was called Rhys Gwnle...Gunley being a manor in Caereinion.