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
Owain Brogyntyn and his Family
The Other Gwenwynwyn
Eunydd son of Gwenllian
Sandde Hardd of Mortyn
The Floruit of Einion ap Seisyllt
The Enigmatic Elystan Glodrydd
The Unofficial "History" of Elystan of Powys
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
The Royal Family 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
                                       ITHEL of BRYN in POWYS
                                           By Darrell Wolcott
          This man occurs c. 1010 in the pedigrees of Einion ap Gwalchmai and Rhiryd Flaidd, but no sources connect him to known families of that era.  His line appears to become extinct after two more male generations, ending with two daughters born near the start of the following century.  Yet based on the status of those families connected by marriage, Ithel must have been descended from noble Cymric stock.  Is what we know about him sufficient to make an educated guess as to who they were?
          We begin with what the pedigree sources tell us; the mother of renowned bard Einion ap Gwalchmai ap Meilyr is cited as Genhedles (or Genilles) ferch Gwrgeneu ap Ednowain ap Ithel of Bryn[1].  Elsewhere we are told that the father of Rhiryd Flaidd, Gwrgeneu ap Collwyn, was a son of Arianrod ferch Gwrgeneu ap Ednowain ap Ithel of Bryn[2]. Marriage matches cited include: Ithel married to Nest ferch Cynfyn ap Gwerystan[3]; Ednowain married to Generys ferch Rhys Sais of Maelor[4]; and Gwrgeneu married to Gwledyr ferch Seisyll ap Gwrgi[5].
           Daughters of Cynfyn were born between c. 1020 and 1030, some by a first (unnamed) wife, others perhaps by Angharad ferch Maredudd ap Owain who he married after she was widowed in 1023. Rhys Sais ap Ednyfed ap Llywarch Gam ap Llyddocca ap Tudor Trevor was born c. 1020/1025 and his daughter Generys about 1055.  These marriages point to birthdates for Ithel near 1005/1015 and for his son Ednowain near 1040/1045.  No dates are known for Seisyll ap Gwrgi or his daughter, but Gwrgeneu would occur c. 1075 which is consistent with the known floruit of the men who wed his daughters.
          The final thing we can learn from the pedigrees is that Ithel is said to be "of Byrn in Powys and of Pennant Melangell parish".[6]  These two locations, while both in Powys, are not near each other. In 1086, Bryn was a "village" in Teigeingl (now Flintshire) to which the following lands belonged: Cwybr, Cefn Du, Bryn Hedydd, Llewerlydd and half of Pentre[7]. This territory bordered the Royal Manor at Rhuddlan.  The seat of King Gruffudd ap Llewelyn, Rhuddlan sat on the river Clwyd near its mouth with the Irish Sea in the northwest corner of the cantref of Tegeingl.  Pennant Melangell was a civil parish located in the commote of Mochnant some 30 miles to the south in what is now Montgomeryshire.  We suspect one of these places was his patrimony and the other a grant from the king to reward his services. 
         Much after his era, the Heralds assigned Ithel the following arms: "argent, 3 hounds courant in pale sable, collared by the field"[8]. When considering the nature of his probably services to his king, these arms suggest he may have been the Pencynydd or chief huntsman of the king's court.  The arms are not associated with any other Welsh families of the era but solely to the Lord of the Bryn. They provide no clue to his ancestry but may be helpful if given in recognition of his position.
         Welsh law in the early eleventh century required that boys from noble families, on their 14th birthday, be sent to their father's Lord and become thereafter that Lord's man[9].  If we assume Ithel turned 14 somewhere near 1025, he would have been sent to the royal manor of interim king of Powys, Cynfyn ap Gwerystan, and thus grew up with the young Nest ferch Cynfyn he would later marry.  Another youngster of that household was Cynfyn's stepson Gruffudd ap Llewelyn, already designated as the future king.  When Gruffudd did become king in 1039, it would be natural for him to select men he grew up with as his trusted court officers...especially if they were also related to him.  We know that another youngster who had entered the household shortly before Gruffudd's father was slain was Llewelyn ap Coel, the man King Gruffudd chose as his "head of household" or penteulu and who wore a gold torc denoting the Celtic battle leader and became better known as Llewelyn Aurdorchog.  That Llewelyn was to marry another of the daughters of Cynfyn, this one called Efa.  Since she was born c. 1020, we believe she was merely a step-sister of Gruffudd by Cynfyn's first wife and not a blood relative of the future king.  We have suggested elsewhere that the two men were related by blood, and believe the mother of Llewelyn Aurdorchog was a sister of Gruffudd's father.  Did a similar blood relationship exist between Ithel and Gruffudd?
         In examining the male names chosen by the family of Llewelyn Aurdorchog, we find a son called Ithel Hen and another called Ednowain.  The eldest son, Llewelyn Fychan, named his first son Ithel who became better known as Ithel Felyn.  It would not be merely a wild guess to suspect Ithel of Bryn might be a brother of Llewelyn Aurdorchog.  They were born perhaps 5 years apart, both married daughters of Cynfyn, one and perhaps both served at the court of King Gruffudd and both surely were "foster" brothers of that king. And both might have also been his first cousins.
          Our search also considered what families might have owned land in the vicinity of Rhuddlan and Bryn.  One version of the Brut y Tywysygion[10] mentions, under date of 890, that Anarawd ap Rhodri Mawr had invited certain "Men of the North" to expel the Saxons who had taken over lands in north Wales, including Tegeingl;if successful, those men could claim the land for themselves.  In the 11th century, we trace all the known families north of the river Dee and east of the Clwyd to two patriarchs:  Lles Llyddog ap Ceido and Cynddelw Gam ap Elgudy.  While ancestors of both those men were once Men of the North, by the time of Anarawd's invitation (probably nearer 900 than 890) both those families are thought to have relocated to the area between the Wye and Severn rivers in south Powys.  The 11th century descendants of Lles Llyddog include Cynfyn ap Gwerystan, Ednowain Bendew and (we think) Edwin of Tegeingl.  Cynddelw Gam's only know male descendant was Coel ap Gweirydd, the father of Llewelyn Aurdorchog.
        Cynfyn is called Lord of Cibwr by medieval genealogists[11] who misidentify it as the commote of that name in Senghennydd, Glamorgan.  His family never had any connection to that area; his home was probably Cwybr in the commote of Rhuddlan in Tegeingl.  Ednowain Bendew was seated in the parish of Cilcain, commote of Coleshill in Tegeingl, while Edwin held land in the parishes of Caerwys and Ysgeifiog, commote of Rhuddlan in Tegeingl. 
         We aren't told where Llewelyn Aurdorchog's patrimony was located, only that he was called Lord of Ial.  Most scholars think the commote of Ial had long been the property of the Royal Family of Powys; it is there where Cyngyn ap Cadell erected the Pillar of Eliseg in the ninth century.  Normally, when a Welsh king granted land to a man who served him with honor, it was escheat or forfeited land which had been acquired by the king or his family.  Grants made of land which was a part of the king's patrimony were normally limited to his top court officials; thus we would contend Llewelyn Aurdorchog only received Ial after his services to Gruffudd ap Llewelyn.  It is entirely possible his father's land was actually Bryn and that Ithel received it as his gavelkind[12] since his putative brother Llewelyn now had an entire commote. And also possible that Ithel was granted the non-dynastic land in Pennant Melangell parish for his services in a lesser office. One suspects that Gwrgeneu, grandson of Ithel, actually resided on the latter land since his eldest daughter married the Lord of Penllyn, a commote immediately adjacent to Mochnant; as co-heiress, she carried those lands to her husband and son.
          A positive identification of Ithel of Bryn must await evidence not now seen, but the scant data currently available is at least not inconsistent with his having been a younger son of Coel ap Gweirydd.

[1] HLG 2b; Dwnn ii,16
[2] Peniarth Ms 139; Journal of National Library of Wales, vol xii, pp 117 & 138
[3] HLG 2c; Dwnn ii, 16
[4] HLG 2d; Archaeologia Cambrensis, 1873, pp 305
[5] HLG 2e
[6] HLG 2b
[7] Domesday Book for Cheshire, pp FT 1,1  There were other lands called Bryn in and near Wales, but only one in Powys.  Several writers, including Peter Bartrum, mistake the Bryn held by Ithel with Bryn in Llanyblodwel, Salop (Shropshire).
[8] Sources are listed in Siddon's "The Development of Welsh Heraldry", pp 50
[9] Refer to our paper "Generational Gaps and the Welsh Laws" elsewhere on this site
[10] Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales, pp 688
[11] History of Powys Fadog, vol 1, pp 68
[12] Under the law of gavelkind, the youngest son was entitled to the residence of his father irrespective of how the remainder of the father's lands were divided with his brothers