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Beli Mawr and Llyr Llediath in Welsh Pedigrees
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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
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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 BRYCHAN DYNASTY
                                               By Darrell Wolcott
 
        Our earliest mention of Brychan, for whom Brycheiniog was named, is in a manuscript called De Situ Brecheniauc which scholars date to the eleventh century[1]. A slightly later manuscript, Cognatio Brychan, tells much the same story[2].  They begin with a king of Garthmadryn called Tewdrig ap Teithfallt ap Tewdwr ap Tathal descended from Annhun, king of Greece.  Tewdrig had a daughter, Marchell, who married an Irish nobleman named Anlach ap Cormac.
 
         These sources say Tewdrig took his young daughter to Ireland to escape a frigid winter, was welcomed by King Cormac who soon arranged the marriage of his son to Marchell; that this union produced a son, Brychan, and the family settled in Garthmadryn.  Modern scholars think it more likely that Anlach ap Cormac headed an Irish invasion of Wales about the time the Roman legions left Britain, and that he moved easily through the southwest territory already held by the Irish Deisi tribes and attacked Garthmadryn.  Tewdrig offered his daughter in marriage to the Irish nobleman as an alternative to war, asking only that their firstborn son be entitled to rule when he came of age.  The marriage did occur and the son, Brychan, did become king of Garthmadryn.  Later, those lands were renamed Brycheiniog (belonging to Brychan).
 
          No certain date can be fixed for the birth of Brychan, but the "accepted" date is c. 400 AD.  One might point to three separate reasons for such an estimate:
 
          1.  A new Irish incursion in Wales is more likely to have followed the pullout of the Roman Army, making a date earlier than 400 unlikely.
          2.  As a youngster, Brychan was given as a hostage to a King of Powys called Benadel[2].  If we credit Ninnius "Historia Brittonum", Powys was ruled by Cadell Ddyrnllwg after 429[3], so the era of Benedel must have preceeded that.
         3.  The cited marriage of Brychan's daughter, Meleri, to Ceredig ap Cunedda[4].  Such a lady would occur c. 435/440 and Brychan a generation earlier.
 
         We agree the birth of Brychan should be assigned to c. 400/405 for all those reasons.  Our first question concerns the children assigned to him in these early manuscripts: 11 sons and 24 daughters by 3 wives.  These numbers keep growing in medieval sources until the number of offspring passes 60.  Some of the names in these lists are obvious duplications arising from variant spellings, others perhaps added by speculative genealogists.  We shall limit our study to the original 35.  Of those, not more than 11 can be dated to any degree of approximation:  The base son, Cynog, whose mother was Banadlinet ferch Benadel; Rhein Dremrudd, the only son with a separate pedigree; and 9 daughters who married men known from other sources. 
 
         Of those daughters, only one could have been the child of a man born at the start of the fifth century: Meleri, mentioned above. Of the rest, 6 clearly date to c. 490/500, one to c. 550 and the final lady to c. 780 (if we accept the usual identification of her husband). 
 
         1.  Gwladys married Gwynlliw ap Glywys and was the mother of St. Cadoc.  His pedigree[5] dates him to c. 505 and his mother to c. 490.
         2.  Marchel married Gwrin Farfdrwch ap Cadwaladr ap Merion ap Cunedda[6].  A great-grandson of Cunedda should occur c. 485 and we would expect his wife to have been born c. 495/500.
         3.  Nefyn married Cynfarch Oer ap Meirchion Gul ap Gwrwst Ledlum ap Ceneu ap Coel Hen.  She was the mother of Urien Rheged, dating her to c. 490/495.[7]
         4.  Gwawr married Elidyr Lydanwyn ap Merchion Gul, a first cousin of Cynfarch Oer, and was the mother of Llywarch Hen.  Such a lady would occur c. 500.[8]
         5.  Tudglid married Cyngen ap Maucant (or Mawn)[9] and was the mother of Brochwel Ysgithrog.  The latter was born c. 510 and requires a mother born c. 490/495.
         6.  Lluan married Aeddon ap Dyfnwal Hen at Cinuit ap Ceretic Wledig[10] and was the mother of Gafran.  The pedigree of Aeddon points to a birthdate c. 480 and he would have married a lady born c. 490/495
 
          These six ladies all belong to the same generation and could be sisters.  They occur two full generations later than Meleri and require a Brychan born c. 460 as their father.  Others have suggested the second Brychan was unrelated to the first and must have lived in the far north of Britain since 3 of the above ladies married men living in that area.[11]  Yet the other 3 ladies married men from Wales; should we conclude there were two other men named Brychan, both born about 460?  Before offering our best judgement, let's look at the next lady said to be a daughter of Brychan.
 
          Gurycon ferch Brychan married Cadrod Calchynidd ap Cynwyd ap Cynfelyn ap Arthwys ap Mar ap Ceneu ap Coel Hen.[12]  This man was born c. 540 which would date Gurycon to c. 550/555.  She could not be a sister of the three ladies that married men who, like Cadrod, lived in the far north of Britain. Her Brychan would occur two generations later than whichever Brychan fathered Nefyn, Gwawr and Lluan.  Those who suggest a far-north Brychan include Gurycon among his daughters; we believe their position is considerably undermined by this obvious error.  The eight ladies discussed above require 3 different fathers.  And should we believe a Welsh Brychan fathered Gladys, Marchel and Tudglid and a "Men of the North" Brychan fathered Nefyn, Gwawr and Lluan, this requires 4 men named Brychan.
 
         The final daughter is Aranwen who married "Gereuerth regis de Powys, inde dicitur Ioreurthiaun".[13]  This man, identified in the early manuscripts as a man of Powys but without a patronym, remained a mystery until the medieval genealogists decided he was "Iorwerth Hirfladd ap Tegonwy ap Teon".[14]   That man almost certainly dates from c. 765 and lived over 200 years later than any of the other Brychan daughters.  It was probably this identification of Aranwen's husband which led some to believe that "daughter of Brychan" meant no more than "a lady from Brychieniog"[15].  We see no good reason to equate "Gereuerth" with Iorwerth Hirfladd; perhaps an "Iorwerth" was meant, but we suspect one from the 5th or 6th century, not the 8th. While one scholar seems to think "Ioruerthiaun" referred to a tribe in Powys called "Iorwerthian"[16] the latin "inde dicitur" appears to tell us the "regis de Powys" was "from the root of Ioruerthiaun" and indicates the latter may have been the name of a noted ancestor.  If the medieval genealogists can make "Ior" out of "Ger" in the name of Arenwen's husband, perhaps his ancestor was called "Geruerthiaun".  From there, it isn't a big stretch to render it as "Gwrtheyrn" or "Guortheyrn". And if we are looking from a king of Powys in the late 5th century, a man descended from the Gwrtheyrn known to history as Vortigern and perhaps living in the cantref of Gwerthrynion would certainly appear plausable.  The family descended from Pasgen ap Vortigern ruled Buellt and Gwerthrynion for 300 years; he is given a grandson called "Idnerth" in one old pedigree[17] who occurs c. 480.  Perhaps he was the "Gereuerth" who married Aranwen; that would date her contemporarily with the 6 Brychan daughters born 490/500 we identified earlier. 
 
            Rhein Dremrudd ap Brychan was the ancestor of Ceindrec ferch Rhiwallon who married a king of the Dyfed dynasty and gave birth to Caten[18].  We date the latter to c. 620 and Ceindrec to c. 600.  Rhein occurs 5 generations earlier or about 435/440 so we would see him as a son of the earliest Brychan and a brother of Meleri.
 
          A chart of the family which would accomodate all of these "children of Brychan" might look like this:
 
                                     400  Brychan I
                      ________________l_________________
                      l                         l                            l
            435  Meleri           418 St Cynog       Rhein Dremrudd 430
                                        (base son)                      l
                                                                460  Brychan II
       ___________________________________________l_______
       l            l             l            l         l          l            l        l
 Gwladys   Marchel   Arenwen   Nefyn   Lluan  Tudglid   Gwawr  Son 
                      (8 children born 490/500)                               l
                                                                          520 Brychan III
                                                                                       l
                                                                           555  Gurycon
 
          The three wives assigned to Brychan were called Eurbraust, Rybrawst and Proestri.  None are further identified by naming their fathers, so dating these ladies is not possible.  But since a minimum of three men called Brychan fathered the 9 ladies and 2 sons named in our chart, prehaps one wife belongs to each Brychan.  And dividing the 35 claimed children among three different men would produce a more believable number of offspring to perhaps a dozen for each man.  How the remaining 24 might have been distributed between the three Brychans is unknowable since none can be dated.
        
                
                               
 
                 

Notes:
[1]