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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.
 
                                                THE HEIRESS OF COCHWILLAN
                                               By Darrell Wolcott
 
         The Griffith family seated at Penrhyn in Caernarfonshire since the 15th century, together with the Williams family seated at Cochwillan even earlier, trace their ancestry to Ednyfed Fychan through his son Sir Tudor.  Medieval pedigrees cast by the family uniformly cite the following descent for the two families[1]:
 
                                    1165  Ednyfed Fychan (ob 1246)
                                                    l
                                    1205    Sir Tudor (ob 1278)
                                                    l
                                    1235      Heilyn (ob 1298)
                                                    l
                                     1265    Gruffudd
                                                    l
                                     1300    Gwilym (ob 1370)
                                                    l
                                     1335    Gruffudd (ob 1405)
                                 ____________l____________
                                 l                                      l
                    1365  Gwilym                               Robin  1370
                                 l                                      l
                 Griffith family of Penrhyn     Williams family of Cochwillan
 
          It is believed that a marriage with an early heiress brought the manor of Cochwillan to the family.  Located in the township of Bodfeio, Caernarfonshire, the latter contained a "gafael Iarddur" held by one Gwilym ap Gruffudd in 1352.[2]  Since most early family pedigrees identify the wife of an ancestor of Robin ap Gruffudd as an heiress of the lineage of Iarddur, it was long believed the 1352 holder of Cochwillan was the Gwilym shown above who died in 1370.
 
          Both the identity of this heiress, and the Williams ancestor she married, are far from established.  From Genealogical Account of the Families of Penrhyn and Cochwillan [3], we are told her name was Efa ferch Gruffudd ap Tudor ap Madog ap Iarddur and that she married Gruffudd ap Heilyn ap Sir Tudor ap Ednyfed Fychan. Since several other medieval pedigrees[4] claim she lived one generation later and married Gwilym ap Gruffudd ap Heilyn and at least two sources[5] call her "ferch Gruffudd ap Dafydd ap Tudor ap Madog", we should look for other ways to date the lady.
 
          A single pedigree[6] identifies her mother, calling that lady "Nest vz Iorwerth ap Llewelyn ap Gwilym ap Einion ap Rhiryd Flaidd".  Most authorities date Rhiryd Flaidd from the mid-twelfth century, so Nest would occur c. 1300.  An Efa born c. 1320 would be the right age to marry Gwilym ap Gruffudd ap Heilyn and to have been the mother to the Gruffudd ap Gwilym in our chart who died in 1405. We should expect her father, also named Gruffudd, to occur c.1280/90 and her marriage about 1335/40. But did she inherit Cochwillam prior to 1352 so that her husband owned it on that date?
 
          The identification of the Gwilym ap Gruffudd who held Cochwillan in 1352 was challenged by Glyn Roberts, former head of the Department of Welsh History at the University College of North Wales at Bangor.  In his 1950 paper "Wyrion Eden"[6], Roberts noted that the cited marriage of Efa would date to c. 1300.  But among the Penrhyn Castle papers lodged at his university was a 1375 will executed by a Gwilym ap Gruffudd ap Tudor of Llaneistyn[7] in which unidentified lands in Anglesey and Carenarvon were left to Gruffudd ap Gwilym (the father of Gwilym and Robin in the above chart).  Roberts concluded in that paper it was probably the maker of that will who held Bodfeio in 1352, and that Bodfeio might well have been among the various properties willed to Gwilym ap Gruffudd ap Heilyn.  Roberts admitted he did not know the ancestry of the Llaneistyn man and offered no guess as to why he left property to an apparently unrelated person.
 
         Fast forward to 1959 when Professor Roberts was asked to write the entry for Griffith of Penrhyn for the "Dictionary of Welsh Biography Down to 1940".  By this date, he has not only identified the 1375 will author as descending from Tudor ap Madog ap Iarddur but claims that Efa was his sister.  Furthermore, says Roberts, it wasn't Gruffudd ap Heilyn she married but his son Gwilym.  And it was her son, Gruffudd, to whom her brother willed his lands.  He gives us no insight into his reasons for drawing these conclusions, but we suspect a look at the chronology was an important factor.  A chart will show the problem:
            
                    1205  Sir Tudor               Tudor
                                l                          l
                    1235  Heilyn                  Gruffudd
                                l                    ____l____
                                l                    l             l
                   1265  Gruffudd=======Efa      Gwilym*
                                            l      1280
                               1300  Gwilym
                                            l
                               1335  Gruffudd**
 
                *Maker of the 1375 will
                  **Beneficiary of the will
                   
          Obviously, the fact that Efa was described in most of the pedigrees as "ferch Gruffudd ap Tudor" coupled with the will's author being named "ap Gruffudd ap Tudor" suggests they may have been brother and sister. But it was extremely unlikely that the brother of a c. 1280 Efa would still be alive in 1375.  Aware that other pedigrees existed which claimed that Efa's husband was Gwilym ap Gruffudd ap Heilyn[8], not his father, Roberts apparently found that if he moved both Efa and her supposed brother forward one generation, the problem was solved.  And the solution had the extra benefit of explaining the beneficiary of the 1375 will: he was the maker's nephew.  A new chart would look like this: 
                 
                        1205   Sir Tudor
                                      l
                        1235    Heilyn                     Tudor   1245
                                      l                            l
                        1265   Gruffudd                 Gruffudd  1280
                                      l                  ______l_______
                                      l                  l                    l
                         1300  Gwilym=======Efa              Gwilym 1310
                                               l       1315
                                 1335  Gruffudd
 
 
          The neatness of this solution is brought into doubt, however, by examination of another document housed in the same collection as the 1375 will.  We shall refer to it as the Release of Family Interests[9].  It would appear that Gruffudd ap Tudor had just died and that certain other descendants of Tudor were quitclaiming various lands which had been held by Gruffudd to his son, Gwilym.  Among the lands recited were two tracts described in the 1352 Extent of Anglesey as located in Gwely Tudor ap Madog[10]. Its parties can be charted as follows: 
                                           Madog
                                              l
                                           Tudor
                 __________________l___________________
                 l                            l                               l 
               Gruffudd                   Dafydd                       Hywel*
                 l                   _____l_______    
                 l                   l                   l
             Gwilym*        Gruffudd*       Madog*
 
               *Parties to the release; it would appear that Dafydd was dead and his branch of the family represented by his sons while Hywel was still living and need not be joined by his sons. It is not known why a representative of Tudor Fychan, a fourth son of Tudor, was not included. 
 
            The first question to be answered is whether the Gwilym ap Gruffudd ap Tudor in this Release is the same man who executed the 1375 will.  The will recites it was written at Penhwnllys and land in that township is also mentioned in the Release.  The testator requests burial at Lamasia which is located in the commote of Prestatyn in Tegeingl.  One nearby town, Gwylgre, is among the lands cited in the Release as formerly held by Gruffudd ap Tudor; a man of that name appears as Rhaglaw of Tegeingl around 1300[11].  While we believe both the Release and the will relate to the same Gwilym ap Gruffudd ap Tudor, neither document is helpful in linking him to Cochwillan nor to its heiress.
 
             We should be able to date Gruffudd ap Tudor from extant source materials.  He and his wife, Marged, purchased land in Carnechan in 1288[10]. He witnessed an inquiry in Dyffryn Clwyd in 1281[11]. He and his brother, Tudor, were the subject of an inquest in 1289 which established that Pennant Gwernogof had been granted to their father by Dafydd ap Llewelyn[12]. (That land is mentioned in the Release to his son)  One should expect Gruffudd to have been born before 1260; he apparently died the year his family released his lands to his son.  The catalog of the Penrhyn Castle papers says Ms 405, the Release, was executed June 10, 1310.  Its dating clause, however, reads "decimo die mensis June anno sic vi ooctdecimo anno regui regis Edward iudico".  Our reading of that is "tenth day of the month of June in the year as follows: eighteenth year of the reign of King Edward as declared".             
 
                Fixing a year to this is not as easy as it seems.  If the king is Edward I and we rely solely on his reign in England, then June 10 in his 18th year of rule would be 1291.  But if "iudico" was added to indicate the 18th year after his rule in Wales was acknowledged then the reference is to 1301.  And if the king referred to was Edward II (the assigned date of 1310 was during his reign), then June 10 of his 18th reginal year was 1326.
 
         Before attempting to defend one of those 3 years as clearly intended by the parties, another factor should be tossed into the mix.  One of those pedigrees[13] which make Efa the mother of the beneficiary of the 1375 will and the wife of Gwilym ap Gruffudd ap Heilyn (and not the wife of his father) also cites Efa as "ferch Gruffudd ap Dafydd ap Tudor ap Madog".  If that were correct, it would move Efa one generation later both as to the man she married and within her own family.  And she would not seem to be a sister of the man who executed the will, but a daughter of his first cousin. Let's redo the chart to depict that possibility:
                                                                Madog  1180
                                                                    l
                   1205  Sir Tudor                         Tudor   1215
                                l                           _____l_______          
                                l                          l                    l
                    1235  Heilyn                 Dafydd           Gruffudd 1255
                                l                         l                    l
                   1265  Gruffudd              Gruffudd           Gwilym 1285
                                l                         l
                    1300  Gwilym==========Efa 1315
                                            l
                              1335  Gruffudd  (ob 1405)
 
           This construction would support the conclusion of Glyn Roberts as to the marriage match which belongs to Efa while permitting a dating for Gwilym ap Gruffudd ap Tudor near 1285 and thus fit with the man of that name in the Release...whether it should be dated 1291, 1301, 1310 or 1326.  But it would not explain why he should will his lands to the grandson of a first-cousin.  But surely Efa is not a daughter of the Gruffudd ap Tudor born c. 1255 as she occurs a full generation too late.  Except for similarly named ancestors, there is really nothing to connect her with the man who executed the 1375 will.
        Among the other questions posed by the will are these: why was there no recitation of specific parcels of land?  And why no mention of holdings outside of Anglesey and Caernarvon?  Documents in the Public Record Office[15] show his lands in Dyffryn Clwyd were divided between his five male heirs, two first cousins and three first cousins-once removed.  We find it remarkable that a man supposedly 90 years old was survived by first cousins. Among the co-executors he named was Gwenllian ferch Madog, wife of Ieuan ap Tudor Lloyd.  Tudor Lloyd was a first cousin, the son of Hywel ap Tudor, so Ieuan was a first cousin-once removed.  We assume Ieuan was alive when the will was drafted or his wife would have been called "vidua", not "uxoro".