This page was set up by Robert Sewell in September, 2001 to show the descent of the ancient Kings of Gwynedd and Wales. Robert Sewell graduated from McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) in 1967 with a B.Sc. degree in chemistry. After a year of studies at the University of Toronto's College of Education, he taught high school science in Collingwood, Ontario for a year and then taught chemistry, physics and general science in Hamilton, Ontario for twenty-nine years. Robert Sewell retired from teaching in June 1998.
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The information presented, along with the various spellings of our name, here has been taken from the following sources:
Medięval Wales consisted of a host of petty kingdoms, each overseen by a King or Prince; many of whom were really little more than tribal chieftains. The larger and more influential of these kingdoms were Dyfed and Gwent in the south, Powys in the midlands and Gwynedd in the north. Gwynedd proved to be the most influential. For further details and maps, please click on Medięval Wales.
As with most early medięval or
“dark age” genealogies, the line shown here must be viewed with suspicion.
All the names mentioned can be found in Nennius: Historia Brittonum
(History of the Britons) and/or Geoffrey of Monmouth: Historia Regum
Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain); but these works also
show legendary figures such as King Arthur. The line from Generation Sixteen
(Cynan Tindaethwy ap Rhodri, King of Gwynedd, died 816) on can be considered
accurate. Everything from Generation Sixteen on is shown in Sir John Edward Lloyd: A History of Wales: From the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest, Longmans, Green & Co.,1911; John Davies: A
History of Wales, London, 1993 and elsewhere; see References.
Tegid, who was also known by the Latinised name of Tacitus. Recall that the Romans had been in Britain for 300 years by this time. For more about the Romans, click on Know the Romans. Another good website, especially for young people, is The Romans.
Tegid (or Tacitus) had a son:
Brecon Gaer Roman Fort, Powys
Ędeyrn, who was also known by the Latinised name of Ęternus, had a son:
Einion Yrth, King of Gwynedd
Flourished circa 470
Einion had a son:
Cadwallon ap Einion, King of Gwynedd, who was also known as Cadwallon Lawhir (the Long Handed) because he had unusually long arms. Cadwallon ruled around the same time as the legendary King Arthur and his victory over the Saxons at Mons Badonicus.
Flourished circa 500
Cadwallon had a son:
Maelgwn ap Cadwallon, King of Gwynedd who was also known as Maelgwn Gwynedd and Maelgwn Hir (the Tall) was the King of Gwynedd. Maelgwn has been portrayed as a ruthless, wicked ruler of impressive sinfulness. He was also a man of culture, and many poets and musicians attended his court at Deganwyand. He entered a monastery, perhaps to in an attempt to atone for previous sins.
Died in 547 or 549 at Rhes of the yellow plague which had originated in Egypt.
Maelgwn had a son:
Rhun ap Maelgwyn, King of Gwynedd, also known as Rhun Hir, was King of Gwynedd.
Died in 586.
Rhun ap Maelgwyn had a son:
Beli ap Rhun, King of Gwynedd
Died in 599
Beli ap Rhun had a son:
Iago ap Beli, King of Gwynedd and reputed benefactor of Bangor Cathedral which is shown in the photograph as it is to-day.
Died in 616
Iago ap Beli had a son:
Cadfan ap Iago, King of Gwynedd
Cadfan was reputed to have been a wise king.
Died circa 625
Cadfan ap Iago had a son:
Cadwallon ap Cadfan, King of Gwynedd. Cadwallon killed Edwin of Northumbria at the battle of Meigen (Hatfield near Doncaster) in 632. In 633, he killed Edwin’s successors, Osric of Deria and Eanfrith of Bernicia. The Venerable Bede declared that it was Cadwallon’s intention to exterminate the English race. However, Cadwallon himself was killed in late 633 or 634 by Eanfrith’s brother Oswald. This defeat denoted the extinction of the possiblility of restoring Brythonic supremacy in Britain.
Cadwallon died in late 633 or 634, killed in battle.
Cadwallon married a sister of Penda, King of Mercia; and they had a son:
Cadwaladr Fendigaid (the Blessed) ap Cadwallon, King of Gwynedd
Died in 664 of plague
Calwaladr was still a child at the time of his father’s death in 633 or 634 and he was excluded from the throne of Gwynedd for twenty years or so by Cadafael ap Cynfeddw who was not of royal blood. Calwaladr eventually succeeded as King of Gwynedd circa 655; perhaps by killing Cadafael ap Cynfeddw.
Cadwaladr Fendigaid (the Blessed) ap Cadwallon had a son:
Idwal Iwrch ap Cadwaladr, King of Gwynedd
Died in 712
Idwal Iwrch ap Cadwaladr had a son:
Rhodri Molwynog, King of Gwynedd
Died in 754
Rhodri Molwynog had the following sons:
Cynan Tindaethwy ap Rhodri, King of Gwynedd.
Died in 816
Cynan and his brother Hywel were somehow excluded from the throne by a distant cousin Caradog ap Meirion from the time of their father’s death in 754 until 798. Cynan shared the Kingdom of Gwynedd with his brother Hywel ap Rhodri. Cynan died in 816; and Hywel ruled Gwynedd until his death in 825. At this time, Hywel was succeeded by Cynan’s grandson Merfyn Frych. (See Generation Eighteen)
Cynan Tindaethwy ap Rhodri had a daughter:
Merfyn Frych (the Freckled), King of Gwynedd
Died in 844
Merfyn became King of Gwynedd in 825 on the death of his mother Ethyllt’s uncle Hywel ap Rhodri. Merfyn came from either the Isle of Man or the Firth of Forth area; and may have held some position of authority on the Island of Anglesey prior to 825. He married Nest, daughter of Cadell ap Brochwel, King of Powys, and they had a son:
Rhodri Mawr ap Merfyn became King of Gwynedd in 844 on
the death of his father Merfyn Frych; King of Powys in 855 on the death
of his uncle Caell ap Brochwell; and King of Seisyllwg in 871 on the death
of his brother-in-law Gwgon. Rhodri Mawr was the first ruler recognised
as Prince of Wales. He defeated the Danish leader Horn in 856.
Rhodri Mawr ap Merfyn married Angharad, daughter of Meuric ap Dyfnwal ap Asthi, King of Seisyllwg, and they had the following sons:
Anarawd ap Rhodri Mawr, King of Gwynedd
Died in 916
Anarawd became King of Gwynedd in 878 on the death of his father. He abandoned an alliance with the Danish Kingdom of York and acknowledged Ęlfred the Great as overlord; as did his brothers and other lesser rulers. The precise nature of this overlordship is not known, and there was an attempt to portray this submission as a desire for unity among Christian rulers against the pagan Danes. However, this recognition by Welsh rulers that the King of England had claims upon them would be a central fact in the subsequent history of Wales.
Anarawd ap Rhodri Mawr had the following son:
Idwal Foel (the Bald) ap Anarawd, King of Gwynedd
Idwal became King of Gwynedd in 916 on the death of his father. He accepted English overlordship in 918. In 942, he was slain along with his brother Elisedd during an unsuccessful revolt against the English.
Idwal Foel ap Anarawd married Avandreg and they had the following children:
Meurig ap Idwal Foel
Died (slain) in 986
Meurig ap Idwal Foel had a son:
Idwal ap Meurig
Died (slain) in 996 in exile
Idwal ap Meurig had a son:
Iago ap Idwal, King of Gwynedd
Died in 1039, murdered by Gruffydd ap Llewelyn
Iago ap Idwal was at first excluded from the throne of Gwynedd by Llywelyn ap Seisyll from 1018 to 1023. Iago ap Idwal was King of Gwynedd from 1023 to 1039 when he was murdered by Llywelyn ap Seisyll’s son Gruffydd ap Llewelyn who then ruled over the whole of Wales from 1057 until his death in 1063.
Iago ap Idwal had a son:
Gruffydd ap Cynan defeated and killed Trahaearn ap Cardogog
in the battle of Mynydd Carn in 1081 and became King of Gwynedd in 1081.
The situation was chaotic and he was deposed once or twice by the Normans
early in his reign. At one point, Gruffydd took refuge in Ireland. Although
there were a couple of invasions from England, Gruffydd ruled Gwynedd more
or less continuously from about 1101 until his death in 1137.
Gruffydd married Angharad who was a daughter of Owain ap Edwin, Lord Tegeingl and a greatx2 granddaughter of Leofric, Earl of Mercia and his wife Godgifu, who was the famous “Lady Godiva” who rode nude on her horse through Coventry. See Lady Godiva for more information.
Gruffydd and Angharad had the following children:
Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd, King of Gwynedd and Prince of Wales
Died on November 28, 1170 and was interred at Bangor Cathedral.
Owain seemed to prefer the title of “Prince of Wales”
as it indicated that he was the ruler of all Wales. This title defined
his postion in the empire that to an ever increasing extent exercised
lordship over him while elevating him above English barons and other lesser
rulers in Wales.
Owain took advantage of the troubled reign of King Stephen of England (1135 – 1154) and seized some neigbouring territories. In 1157, Henry II led an army into Wales and Owain acknowledged Henry II as overlord. Owain kept all the territory he had gained with the exception of Tegeingl in the extreme north east.
Owain married Gwladys, a daughter of Llywarch ap Trahaearn ap Cardogog whose father Trahaearn ap Cardogog had been killed in 1081 by Owain’s father Gruffydd ap Cynan. (See Generation Twenty-six) It would seem that our ancestors didn’t hold long grudges over killings and murders, perhaps because these events were so common.
Owain and Gwladys had the following children:
Llywelyn Fawr "the Great" ap Iowerth, Prince of Wales
Born in 1173 probably in the area of Dolwyddelan Castle, shown in the photograph below.
Died on November 4, 1240 at Aberconwy
|Llywelyn defeated his Uncle Dafydd in 1194 and was acknowledged as overlord by other Welsh princes. At first Llywelyn was on good terms with King John of England and he married King John’s daughter Joan in 1206. However, after King John attacked him in 1210, Llywelyn allied hinself with the barons who opposed King John. When the barons pressured King John to sign the Magna Charta in 1215, the rights of Llywelyn and the Welsh were recognised.|
Llwelyn had a daughter by an unknown wife or other lady friend:
Llwelyn married Joan, a daughter of King John of England. Llewelyn was granted a dispensation from the Pope in 1222 that involved disinheriting his children born prior to his marriage to Joan. This ensured that Dayfydd, his son by Joan and nephew of King Henry III of England, would succeed him as Prince of Wales. (John Davies: A History of Wales, London, 1993, p. 139) Llwelyn and Joan had the following children:
Born circa 1230
Helen is shown in The Scots Peerage vol. 4, p. 9 (Fife) and vol. 5, p. 578 (Mar) as well as in The Complete Peerage vol. V, p. 373 (Fife) and vol. VIII, p. 403 (Mar) as a daughter of Llywelyn Fawr "the Great" ap Iowerth, Prince of Wales. Helen must not be confused with her half sister Helen, a daughter of Llywelyn and his second wife Joan, a daughter of King John of England.
Helen married first to Malcolm MacDuff, Earl of Fife who must have been quite old because he succeeded his uncle in 1228, likely before Helen was born. When he died, his son and heir Colbran was underage and had been knighted in his teens in 1264. Colbran must have married young because when he died in 1270, he could not have been more than 24 and his heir was his son Duncan who was only 8 years of age. Helen and Malcolm MacDuff had a son:
Isabel of Mar (also Isabella and Matilda)
Isabel married Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland and they had a child:
For the continuation of this line, click on Robert the Bruce.
Please visit the Sewell Genealogy Site Map for other pages in this series.