CADWGAN OF NANNAU
By Darrell Wolcott
all the same-named men in early Wales, perhaps none have been so hopelessly confused as the man called "Cadwgan ap Bleddyn,
Lord of Nannau". That he was NOT the more familiar Cadwgan ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn can be see by the chronology.
That man was born c. 1055, one of the older sons of Bleddyn and who first occurs in the Brut in 1088. But the Cadwgan
who stands atop the Maesmawr and Nannau pedigrees
must have been born near 1015, and our conclusion after years of research is that he was neither "ap Bleddyn" nor "of
Nannau". But he probably did have a great-grandson whose name was Cadwgan ap Bleddyn and who did live in Nannau.
The beginnings of this family can best be seen by its Maesmawr branch:
1015 Cadwgan Cadwgan 1020
1045 Madog* Idnerth Ieuaf 1055
1075 Rhiwallon====Annes 1090 Hywel 1085
1105 Dolphyn==========Sian 1120
*According to the
Cae Cyriog Ms, his daughter, Marged, married Heilyn ap Eunydd of Dyffryn Clwyd a man who was born c. 1075
The Cynfelyn in
this chart witnessed the foundation charter of Strata Marcella Abbey in 1170 as "Chenvellin filio Dolfinin". If the
Cadwgan from whom he descended were a son of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, this Cynfelyn would not have been born until 1175/80, while
the marriage matches cited for his father and grandfather confirm our date estimates. Contrast this branch of the family
with that in the "Nannau" pedigrees:
The Ynyr in this chart
sent a petition to King Edward I in 1295 asking to be named Raglot of Tal y Bont, the commote in which Nannau is located.
It was not granted, but clearly dates him to c. 1250/60. His son, Ynyr Fychan, was charged in 1322 with attacking the
castle at Ruthin and killing two men...consistent with him being born c. 1285/95. Furthermore, the cited wives of Meurig,
Ynyr and Ynyr Fychan are wholly consistent with our estimated dating. The great-grandsons of Ynyr Fychan were Hywel
Sele and Gruffudd Derwas, men clearly born c. 1375/1380. The Cadwgan at the top of this chart must have occurred c. 1165;
while the pedigrees would make Meurig ap Madog a brother of the Rhiwallon ap Madog from the first chart, that is
cite three different wives for Madog ap Cadwgan, ladies who could not possibly have been contemporaries:
ferch Cynwrig ap Rhiwallon of Maelor. There were at least two men of that name in the Maelor family, the first a
grandson of Dyngad ap Tudor Trevor and the later Cynwrig who fathered Ninniaw, Hoedliw, Ednyfed and Hwfa. A daughter
of the first Cynwrig would occur c. 1030 while a daughter of the later Cynwrig would occur about 1100. Neither lady
could have married the Madog ap Cadwgan in either of the two charts presented above.
ferch Einion ap Seisyllt of Mathafern. This lady would occur c. 1145/50 and she also could not have married the
Madog ap Cadwgan of either chart.
ferch Madog ap Philip ap Uchdryd. Our work shows this Uchdryd is likely the son of Madog Penllyn
ap Uchdryd ap Edwin. Such a lady would occur c. 1210 and probably married the Madog of c. 1195 who had the son,
think each of the ladies cited married a Madog ap Cadwgan, but three different men of that name. The generations which
are missing from the second chart, we believe, include another occurrence of "Madog ap Cadwgan" plus a third man to whom we
trace the genealogical confusion: Bleddyn ap Madog, the brother of Rhiwallon. Our revised family chart looks like this:
(same as first chart)
Ynyr Fychan 1285
The Madog of c. 1135 is probably the one
who married Efa ferch Einion ap Seisyllt, she born c. 1150. And whatever Madog ap Cadwgan married a daughter of either
Cynwrig ap Rhiwallon of Maelor, it was probably not a man of this family. There may have even been a third such lady,
a daughter of Cynwrig ap Rhiwallon ap Gwyn (the first cousin of Trahaearn ap Caradog who shared rule in Gwynedd briefly but
was slain in 1075). Such a lady would occur c. 1060 and while not of Maelor, may have married the Madog ap
Cadwgan of 1045.
More importantly, however, is
the possible existence of a Cadwgan ap Bleddyn in this family whom both
historians and genealogists have confused with the same-named son of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn. We believe the earliest Madog
ap Cadwgan, born c. 1045, served in the warbands of both Rhiwallon and Bleddyn ap Cynfyn and likely was present at Mechain
when Rhiwallon fell in battle in 1069. It is known that Eunydd ap Morien of Dyffryn Clwyd was among Bleddyn's men and
is likely where he first became acquainted with Madog ap Cadwgan. Later, the son of Eunydd married the daughter of Madog.
We conjecture that whoever Madog married (probably Sian ferch Cynwrig ap Rhiwallon of Arwystli), he named two of his sons
Rhiwallon and Bleddyn in honor of his former leaders.
We would note here that the Cadwgan ap Bleddyn
born c. 1105 could possibly have been the man of that name who married a daughter of Gruffudd ap Cynan ap Iago. Our
present belief, however, is that Gwenllian ferch Gruffudd ap Cynan nephew of Iago married Cadwgan ap Bleddyn ap
Cynfyn. She would have been born in Ireland and probably out of wedlock about 1070.
Our next conclusion is that
it was Cadwgan ap Bleddyn ap Madog of this family that first lived at Nannau, probably lands granted to him for service to
King Gruffudd ap Cynan (or to Owain Gwynedd) sometime in the first half of the 12th century. So where did the earlier
members of this family reside and who was father to the Cadwgan of 1015 with whom the pedigrees begin?
Some might guess our c. 1015 Cadwgan was Cadwgan ap Elystan Glodrydd, a man born about
the same time; the early marriages cited might have been between cousins. We would not care to defend that guess, however.
It seems unlikely any member of the Fferlys family would have served the kings of Powys and Gwynedd nor be given
lands in Meirionydd. We would look further north for his roots. If born c. 1015 somewhere in north Wales,
the first Cadwgan of this family would likely have served under King Gruffudd ap Llewelyn and would have been sent at age
14 to be trained at the household of interim king Cynfyn ap Gwerystan. If so, he was only 4/5 years younger than Gruffudd
ap Llewelyn (who also lived at Cynfyn's court) and may have held an important place in that man's household after 1039.
Unless our future studies point us in a different direction, we tend to identify Cadwgan as a brother of Llywarch Hwlbwrch
who was Gruffudd's treasurer. His family's lands would have been in Rhos where we think his descendants resided
until they obtained the lands in Nannau and Arwystli by royal grant or by favorable marriages.
Our identification of
Cadwgan is based on the single pedigree which does not mistake him for Cadwgan ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn. In it, he is
made a descendant of Gwgan Gleddyfrudd of Tegeingl although the pedigree is deficient by several generations. In chart
form, it consists of the data in the first column; our construction is shown in the second column:
King of Man (Mon) 780 Hywel ap Caradog
King of Tegeingl 815 Caradog Freich Fras
Gwgan Gleddyfrudd 850 Gwgan Gleddyfrudd
Cynfelyn 1140 Cynfelyn