EUNYDD SON OF GWENLLIAN
By Darrell Wolcott
The author of the
early 15th century manuscript, Achau Brenhinoedd a Thywysogion Cymru, identified this mid-eleventh century man by reference
to his mother, an heiress of lands in, or near, Dyffryn Clwyd, without any mention of his father. Gwenllian
was the daughter of Rhys ap Marchen descended from Cynddelw Gam and second cousin of both Llewelyn Aurdorchog of Ial and Afandreg
ferch Gwyar who married Iago ap Idwal of Gwynedd. No doubt Gwenllian was a lady of noble stock, but why would her son
not be identified with the usual patrynomic form as "ap" his father's name?
We suspect the reason was
that other pedigrees cite two different men as the father of Eunydd. He is called "Eunydd ap Morien ap Morgeneu
ap Elystan ap Gwaithfoed" in some citations, but others call him "Eunydd ap Gwergynwy ap Gwrgeneu". The latter
is usually rejected out of hand by those who equate Gwergynwy ap Gwrgeneu with a son of Gwrgeneu ap Gwaeddgar, an ancestor
of Tudor Trevor who occurs c. 805. Since the mother of Eunydd was born near 1025, his father was also an eleventh century
When we read what our historians
say about Eunydd, we soon realize they have confused several same-named men who lived in very different eras:
"Eunydd, lord of Dyffryn Clwyd,
came into Powysland in the time of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, Prince of Powys, and fought with him against the English. For his services,
the Prince gave him the townships of Trefalun and Gresford in Maelor Cymraeg and Leprog Fawr, Leprog Fychan and Trefnant y
Rhiw in Tegeingl. He married Eva, daughter and heiress of Llewelyn ap Dolfyn ap Llewelyn Aurdorchog."
No doubt this "biography" originated
with a 1604 pedigree compiled by Randle Holme for Sir William Meredith of Stansty. In that document, we find this
"Eunydd the son of Gwerngwy
the son of Gwaeddgar, and of Gwenllian daughter and heiress of Rhys ap Marchen of Ruthin land, was one of the 15 houses or
tribes of the chiefest accomplishments with Dafydd the son of Owain Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales. He came to Bromfield
by the procurement of Bleddyn the son of Cynfyn, Prince of Powys, to his aid against Englishmen, and to whom the said Prince
gave the townships of Alunton and Gresford for his good service. He married Eleanor one of the daughters and heirs of
Llewelyn the son of Dolffyn of Ial, and of Tangwystl daughter and heiress of Iorwerth Sawdnorgrin ap Grono ap Hywel ap Ithel
Felyn. They had issue Ithel who married Gwladys daughter and one of the heirs of Gruffudd ap Meilyr ap Elidyr and of
Angharad daughter and heiress of Meurig ap Caradog ap Iestyn ap Gwrgan.
"Ithel and Heilyn his brother, after
the death of their father Eunydd, entered into their father's possessions and divided the same betwix them according to the
tenure of gavelkind. Ithel had for his part the townships of Alunton and Gresford in Bromfield, Lleproe Fawr, Lleproe
Fychan and Trefnant in Englefield....and Heilyn had for his part all his mother's lands in Ial and the 7 townships of his
father's possessions in Ruthin land."
Since the various claims
made in those sources are anachronistic and cannot all refer to a single man, let's examine them one by one:
1. Bleddyn ap Cynfyn was
the prince of Powys from 1069 until his death in 1075. There is no record of him ever fighting the English, either in
Bromfield or elsewhere; he was confirmed as a local ruler in Wales by Edward the Confessor in 1063 and nothing indicates the
Norman Marcher Lords invaded Powys as early as 1075. He was killed long before Dafydd ap Owain Gwynedd was born; the
active floruit of the latter was c. 1173-1203.
2. Eunydd ap Morien did
not "come into Powysland", he was born there to a family which had resided in Tegeingl since the early tenth century.
Born near 1045, this man would have served the kings of Powys as a legal duty and not simply as a friend of Bleddyn. Actually,
Bleddyn was a first-cousin of Eunydd's father. The lands in Tegeingl were almost certainly those inherited from his
father, not a royal grant to him. He was not "Lord of Dyffryn Clwyd"; while the 7 recited townships he inherited
from his mother might be described as "Ruthin land", they are located just south of the cantref of Dyffryn Clwyd
3. The lands
called Trefalun (also called Alunton or Allington) and Gresford in "Bromfield" were clearly not held by an 11th
century Eunydd. In 1086, the Cheshire portion of the Domesday Book lists both as held by a Thored, from Earl Hugh.
Together with Mortyn (also called Burton), these lands lie north of the Alun River and were probably not a part of the Welsh
Maelor Cymraeg until the following century. We believe Earl Ranulf of Chester granted that territory to a Eunydd and
Sandde Hardd in 1144, and would identify this Eunydd as a grandson of the c. 1045 man bearing the same name.
4. There was
never a lady called "Efa ferch Llewelyn ap Dolfyn ap Llewelyn Aurdorchog and the latter had no son named Dolfyn.
Such a mythical lady would occur no earlier than c. 1095, much too late to have married the son of Gwenllian. But
a lady whose mother Tangwystl was fourth from Ithel Felyn would occur about 1215. A pedigree cast for Hughes of y Ddysert in Tegeingl introduces us to a "Llewelyn ap Dolfyn ap
Iorwerth ap Madog ap Llewelyn ap Ithel Hen of the tribe of Ial (Yale)" who would occur at the right time to be the husband
of Tangwystl and father of Efa:
1005 Llewelyn Aurdorchog
1035 Llewelyn Fychan
1035 Ithel Hen
5. The Eunydd
ap Morien of c. 1045 did have sons called Heilyn and Ithel but neither could have inherited any Ial lands from the
c. 1215 Efa. In fact, it is unlikely Efa had any such lands. The seven townships she supposedly inherited from her
father were actually the seven townships which the c. 1025 Gwenllian ferch Rhys ap Marchen held, none of them in Ial.
Furthermore, Efa was not an heiress at all; she had a sister Sissely and a brother Ithel.
6. Peter Bartrum,
the modern Welsh genealogist, has suggested at least one man named Eunydd in this family was also called Eunydd Gwerngwy from a
manor in Llanynys, located in the commote of Colion in Dyffryn Clwyd. Perhaps this partially explains why some pedigrees
cite a Eunydd ap Gwerngwy ap Gwrgeneu which others then distorted to Gwerngwy ap Gwaeddgar. We suggest the correct
form was originally "Eunydd o' Gwerngwy ap Gwrgeneu". And further believe his father can be found in Peniarth Ms 128,
which cites a "daughter of Iorwerth ap Einion ap Ithel ap Gwrgeneu" as one wife of Ednyfed Goch ap Cynwrig ap Gruffudd Fychan
of Bersham. The Gwrgeneu in that citation would occur c. 1165/1170 and we think he was the father of the Eunydd who
married Efa of Ial (the instant pedigree concerning not him, but his brother Ithel).
The following charts
depict the early development of this family, the repeating name-strings often causing the medieval genealogists to assume
all three men called Eunydd must be a single person; also the confusion regarding the name of Eunydd's father can be seen
as a result of two different same-named men who lived 150 years apart:
Elystan Marchen 960
Heilyn(b) 1075 Ithel(c) 1075
(a) She married Maredudd
ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn and was mother to Madog ap Maredudd
(b) He married Marged ferch Madog ap Cadwgan, the ancestor of the families at Maesmawr and Nannau That Madog had served the brothers Rhiwallon and Bleddyn ap Cynfyn contemporaneously with Eunydd ap
(c) He married Gwenllian ferch Rhys ap Llewelyn Aurdorchog but had
no sons. A daughter, Sioned, married Maredudd ap Uchdryd of Tegeingland a second daughter
married Iorwerth ap Cynan ap Llywarch Goch ap Llywarch Hwlbwrch of Rhos
1075 Heilyn ap Eunydd
(a) His son,
Iorwerth Saithmarchog, witnessed several land grants between 1176 and 1198 and died without known issue. We believe
a daughter of Iorwerth was his heiress and married the father of Cowryd ap Cadfan. A grandson of the latter was
also called Iorwerth Saithmarchog, it being one of the 7 manors inherited by Eunydd ap Morien from his mother Gwenllian.
(b) It was this Eunydd to whom
the Maelor townships of Trefalun and Gresford were granted for his military service, probably to the Earl of Chester
GENERATIONS THREE & FOUR
l l l
1175 1170 1165
(a) This Ithel
married Gwladys ferch Iorwerth ap Madog ap Elidyr ap Rhys Sais descended from Tudor Trevor.  Representatives
of the families descended from each of his 3 sons were listed as owners of lands in Allington and Gresford in the 1315 Extent
of Yale and Bromfield
(b) This Ithel married
Efa ferch Owain Brogyntyn ap Madog ap Maredudd. His sons were Llewelyn and Hywel and representatives descended from both
sons were listed as owners of lands in Allington and Gresford in 1315
1165 Gwrgeneu ap Heilyn(a)
1200 Eunydd o' Gwerngwy
l Efa vz Llewelyn ap
Trahaearn Rhiryd Sais Einion Goch
Ieuan Dolffyn of Ial
(a) This Gwrgeneu,
missing from most modern family charts, is the source of those pedigrees which call the father of Eunydd "Gwerngwy ap Gwrgeneu"
and mistake this Eunydd for Eunydd ap Morien; the "of Gwerngwy" has been corrupted to "ap Gwerngwy"
(b) The sons of this Ithel have been confused with similarly-named sons of Ithel ap Eunydd shown in
the previous chart, even though nicknames were appended to these later men. Sons or grandsons of these men are also
listed as owners of lands in Trefalun and Gresford in 1315
The final error in the
pedigree material concerns the Ithel ap Eunydd who is said to have married Gwladys ferch Gruffudd ap Meilyr. Actually,
he married Gwladys ferch Iorwerth ap Madog as we show in the above chart for Generations Three & Four:
1025 Rhys Sais
1150 Gwladys=======Ithel 1135
Trahaearn, Rhiryd and Einion*
*We have noted
earlier that Ithel ap Gwrgeneu of c. 1195 also had sons with these names
It is only when we follow a
strict chronological timeline that a clear picture can be seen of this, or of any early family which had a propensity to repeat
strings of names in various branches of their descendants. The medieval genealogists usually had the names right but
were unaware that one A ap B in a family was often wholly different from another A ap B; they appear to have not considered
chronology important in casting a pedigree.