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of ARLLECHWEDD UCHAF
By Darrell Wolcott
Early writers call this man
Iarddur of Penrhyn and say he was the Forester of Snowdon during the reign of Llewelyn ap Iorwerth. Few included the
patrynomic form of his name, but those who did call him Iarddur ap Trahaearn. Modern scholars, finding a 12th century
Iarddur ap Cynddelw mentioned in a land grant to Aberconwy Abbey and in the medieval pedigree manuscripts, have assumed the
two men were identical. A close look at the chronology would disprove that notion and a careful construction of the
pedigree material would demonstrate there were 3 men named Iarddur who lived in Caernarfon in the 12th century...all a part
of the same extended family:
1. Iarddur ap Cynddelw
born c. 1115 who is cited as "ap Trahaearn ap Bod as Kysgen (Pasgen) ap Heilig ap Glannog". He is the only Iarddur ap
Cynddelw who could have held lands in Crueddyn in 1198 which were mentioned in a land grant to Aberconwy Abbey. Early
writers call him "Iarddur of Crueddyn"
2. Iarddur ap Cynddelw
born c. 1185 who had sons named Madog an Iorwerth and who married two ladies, each born c. 1200. The pedigree material
omits him and attach these wives and sons to to the earlier man with the same name....probably his grandfather. It was
this man who fled to Ireland during the reign of Llewelyn ap Iorwerth and married an Irish lady and who later returned to
south Wales and married a lady of Ceri.
3. Iarddur ap Trahaearn
born c. 1150 who married a lady born c. 1165 and who named his only son Madog. It was this Iarddur who was called Iarddur
Penrhyn and Lord of Arllechwedd Uchaf.
These men appear to have been
related in the manner shown by this chart:
Bod ap Pasgen ap Heilig ap Glannog
1045 Trahaearn 1050
1115 Iarddur (a)
1150 Cynddelw II
1150 Iarddur (b)
1185 Iarddur II (c)
The "Eardur filii Kendelu" whose grove in Crueddyn is mentioned in a 1198 charter to Aberconwy Abbey
The Iarddur ap Trahaearn of Penrhyn, Lord of Arllechwedd Uchaf, who was the Forester of Snowden c. 1200. He had
a single son, Madog
The Iarddur ap Cynddelw who fled to Ireland during the reign of Llewelyn ap Iorwerth. He had sons Madog and Iorwerth,
both born in Ireland, and it is likely neither ever resided in Gwynedd. Iarddur and his sons appear to have returned
to Wales, but to Deheubarth far from the reach of Prince Llewelyn.
Their common ancestor, Heilig
ap Glannog was born c. 950 and was descended from the Hywel ap Caradog of Rhos who contested Cynan Tyndaethwy for Anglesey
in the first quarter of the 9th century. Heilig's lands extended across northern Gwynedd from Arllechwedd to the Clwyd
and his grandson, Bod, appears to have inherited much of 3 commotes: Arllechwedd Uchaf, Arllechwedd Isaf and Crueddyn.
Other grandsons of Heilig are found in Rhos and Nant Conwy.
Men descended from Bod likely
did not inherit blocks of contiguous land, but various manors scattered throughout his lands. While one 12th century Iarddur
may have resided in Arllechwedd Uchaf and another in Crueddyn, we think both owned manors that may have bordered each other...particularly
in Arllechwedd Uchaf. At least one manor in that commote, Penrhyn, had long been owned by the kings of Gwynedd and was
the seat of Rhodri Molwynog in the 8th centry. It appears that after Llewelyn ap Iorwerth came to power in
the late 12th century, he traded Penrhyn to Iarddur ap Trahaearn for manors just east of it at Weig and Aber. It
was at Garth Celyn in Aber where that king made his royal residence and that Iarddur was called "of Penrhyn". Just east
of Aber was the manor of Gorddinog which was probably owned by the c. 1185 Iarddur ap Cynddelw since it is found in possesion
of his descendants in the 14th century.
Most genealogists continue to
think that Iarddur ap Trahaearn of c. 1150 and Iarddur ap Cynddelw of c. 1185 were the same man. Both named a son Madog,
and both of those Madogs named a son Tudor. But neither Madog ap Iarddur ap Cynddelw nor his son Tudor lived in Gwynedd.
Some incident early in the reign of Llewelyn ap Iorwerth caused enmity between the Prince and the c. 1185 Iarddur ap Cynddelw causing
the latter to flee Gwynedd. He first married an Irish lady and secondly a lady of Ceri. Both his son Madog and
grandson Tudor married ladies of Deheubarth and it was not until some years after the Edwardian Conquest when we find his
descendants back in Gwynedd, evidently unable to successfully petition for the return of their ancestral lands until they
fell into the hands of the English crown. Apparently all the lands held by the fleeing Iarddur had been confiscated
by Llewelyn ap Iorwerth. The medieval historians and genealogists report that it was only the lands of Iorwerth ap Iarddur
which were seized, but that man would have only been in his mid-20's when Llewelyn died and it is unlikely he even owned any
land that early. We suspect that neither son of the c. 1185 Iarddur ap Cynddelw was born nor ever lived in Gwynedd.
In searching for a possible
incident which resulted in his flight from Gwynedd, we turn to the 1211 Brut entry where we are told that King John "gathered
a mighty host and made for Gwynedd, planning to dispossess Llewelyn and to destroy him utterly". Oral traditions claim
than Iarddur was a commander in Llewelyn's army and that his operational base was his own manor at Gorddinog. The Brut
report continues to say that in August of 1211, King John and his army "went across the River Conwy towards the mountains
of Eryri, and he sent some of his men to the city of Bangor to burn it". Geographically when traveling from east to
west after crossing the Conwy, one would first come to Gorddinog. A bit further west was Aber and the royal residence
of Prince Llewelyn. Bangor was yet west of there, so King John's detachment of men must have taken an inland route which
bypassed Aber to reach it. It would appear that before attacking Llewelyn, John was sending a message to the Prince
by showing that he was nearby with enough strength to sack Bangor, a place to the rear of Llewelyn's position at Aber.
We think Iarddur ap Cynddelw
at Gorddinog "got the message" even if Llewelyn didn't. Perhaps considering his position hopeless, particularly since
King John's army included the princes of Powys and Deheubarth and other noted Welsh lords, we suspect Iarddur either switched
sides or stood down his men to allow the invading army to pass freely toward Aber. He could not have known that Llewelyn
would, with the intercession of his wife Joan, daughter of King John, not only avoid capture but remainly firmly in control
of his kingdom west of the Conwy after John withdrew. Llewelyn did cede his lands east of the Conwy to John, but Iarddur's
lands remained a part of Llewelyn's kingdom. Before he had to face Llewelyn's wrath for not defending Aber with his
men, Iarddur sailed to Ireland and his lands were confiscated for treason.
Meanwhile, Iarddur ap
Trahaearn of Penrhyn remained on good terms with Prince Llewelyn. He married Gwerfyl Goch ferch Cynan ap Owain Gwynedd,
a first cousin of the Prince. Some would identify a witness to the 1198 charter to Aberconwy Abbey as his son Madog,
and his grandson Tudor ap Madog was a strong supporter of the next Llewelyn, who was his 3rd cousin. That Tudor witnessed
several charters from 1241 to 1258 and received grants of several manors in Anglesey for his services to Llewelyn ap Gruffudd.
Descendants of this Tudor were major landholders in Gwynedd in the 13th and 14th centuries.
1. Peniarth Ms 131; Journal of the National Library of Wales, Vol XII, pp 232
2. Sir John Wynn's "Survey of Penmaenmawr" ed by J.O. Holliwell (1859)
3. Peniarth Ms 134
4. Ieuan Wyddel, son of Maredudd Ddu, was foreman of the Menai jury which took
the 1352 Extent of Anglesey. Peter Bartrum suggests it was the grandfather of Maredudd Ddu whom Katrin Fechan married, Maredudd
ap Iorwerth ap Llowarch Bran. But Ieuan's nickname "the Irishman" suggests his mother was Irish.
5. Dwnn ii, 75 makes her descend from Maelgwn ap Cadwallon, Lord of Ceri; Cadwallon
was the son of Madog ap Idnerth ap Cadwgan. Dwnn ii, 166 says Maelgwn ap Seisyllt ap Cadwgan, but Seisyllt was the son
of Llewelyn ap Cadwgan and received Buellt as his portion of the family lands.
6. Journal of the National Library of Wales, Vol XIII, pp 128
7. Peniarth Ms 74, 138 & 140
9. J.E. Lloyd "History of Wales", vol II, pp 601 (Second Edition, 1912) argues
that Llewelyn ap Iorwerth was not yet in position to make such a grant as early as 1198. However, David Stephenson "The Governance
of Gwynedd", pp 199 argues that the use of the style "Llewelyn ap Iorwerth" in the charter dates it before 1210 since thereafter
he was styled simply "Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales".
10. One such example appears in "Littere Wallie" ed by J Goronwy Edwards, 1940,
11. J Beverley Smith "Llywelyn ap Gruffudd", 1998, pp 51
APPENDIX I - ABERCONWY CHARTER
The Latin text of this charter was
included in Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum (1682) where he cited his source as "Chron. S. Werburgae Cestr. In bibl.
Cottoniana". No such document now resides among the Cotton Charters in the British Museum and may have been destroyed
in a 1731 fire. Those versions of the charter published in Williams' The History of Aberconwy (1835) and Lowe's
The Heart of Northern Wales (1912) were taken from an "inspeximus" dated in 1333 held in the Public Record Office.
Literally meaning "we have seen", this inspeximus was a copy of the original charter together with a statement from Edward
III to the effect that he had seen and now confirms the grants made earlier. This later copy was also used by Colin
Gresham for his article in Archaeologia Cambrensis (Vol xciv, part 2, December 1939) which contains only the metes
and bounds of the various lands, not the dating or witness clauses.
We have not seen Dugdale's version,
but Gresham characterizes it as an accurate Latin copy "but the Welsh names have many misreadings in them". He is more
critical of Lowe's version, saying it brings in "a further set of mistakes and yet more in his translation". With that
review, we now reprint the "witness clause" from Lowe:
"Testibus hiis Yorwerthgam, gwynn filio
Ednewein-ydon capellano meo & Madoco filio Cadur" which Lowe translates as:
"These being witnesses, Yorwerthgam, Gwynn
son of Ednewein-ydon, my chaplain, and Madoc the son of Cadur"
Surely the first witness was an Iorwerth
Gam, while the man identified as the chaplan of Llewelyn ap Iorwerth would be the Gwyn ap Ednowain who witnessed other charters
in the first decade of the thirteenth century. (See Appendix II of David Stephenson's The Governance of Gwynedd, 1984).
It is the third witness to whom we refer in the present paper as Madog ap Iarddur. The form "Cadur" is unknown as a
male Welsh name of the period and it is Gresham's view that the scribe who copied the charter for the inspeximus "was not
constant in his formation of the letters n, u, v, c, and t, often writing one of them where the sense demands another".
Not having seen the Dugdale version, we do not know how he renders the name of this third witness. But Stephenson asserts
without qualification or further explanation that "Iarddur's son, Madog, witnessed Llywelyn ap Iorwerth's charter to Aberconwy
abbey". (pp 99) We would accept "Iarddur" or "Eardur" as the name which Lowe saw as "Cadur".
The dating clause is cited by Lowe
as "anno ab incarnatione Domini millesimo centesimo nonagesimo octavo, septimo idus Januarii & principatus mei anno decimo".
His translation as "in the year from the incarnation of our Lord one thousand one hundred ninety eight, the 7th of the ides
of January in the tenth year of my Princeship" seems to be literally correct. Without knowing exactly when Llewelyn
first claimed the title of Prince, we think those scholars who contend the charter could not have been granted in 1198 because
they believe Llewelyn did not yet have the legal authority are trying to read his mind. According to Giraldus'
The Journey Through Wales, at the time of his travel (1188) Llewelyn first began to attack his uncles, Dafydd and
Rhodri ap Owain. If he...not later historians...reckoned his Princeship from that date, then his 10th year was 1198.
Certainly by 1197, Rhodri was dead and Dafydd was Llewelyn's prisoner. His cousins, sons of Cynan ap Owain, hung onto
their part of Gwynedd until Gruffudd ap Cynan died in 1200 and Maredudd ap Cynan was deprived of his lands in 1201 for treachery. We
see no compelling reason why Llewelyn could not have legally issued the Aberconwy charter as early as 1198.
But a date that early almost certainly rules out Madog ap Iarddur as a witness. Of two known men bearing that name near
the start of the 13th century, Madog ap Iarddur ap Cynddelw was not yet born (he likely dates from c.1215) while Madog ap
Iarddur ap Trahaearn, a first cousin of Iarddur ap Cynddelw, was a mere teen in 1198 having been born c. 1185. If he
witnessed the charter, a date nearer 1210 would be indicated.
Another factor which bears on the
charter date can be found in a reading of the metes and bounds of the first tract of land (after the site of the Abbey itself)
described by Llewelyn: "...."ad claud inter Trefwarth & Callauwerth, & sic per dictum illius claud usque ad paludem
subtus, hinc per extremam parta terrae arabilis monachorum usque ad nemus Eardur filli Kendelu....". Lowe translates
this passage as "hence by the upper part of the Monks' cultivated land to a claud between Trefwarth and Callaurwerth, and
so by the course of that claud to a marsh of Iarddur the son of Cynddelw".
The tract of land being
described lies across the Conwy River from the abbey itself in the commote of Creuddyn; the abbey then sat where Conwy castle
stands today, on the west side of the river in the commote Arllechwedd Isaf. While most historians think the charter
reference was to the Iarddur ap Cynddelw born c. 1180/85, that seems highly unlikely. That man resided in Arllechwedd
Uchaf which lies west of Arllechwedd Isaf (the opposite direction from
Creuddyn) and was just a teen in 1198. It is unlikely that a marsh in Crueddyn would be locally known as his marsh.
More likely, it was owned by Iarddur ap Cynddelw ap Rhiryd, a great-uncle of the more familiar man of that name.