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Genealogy Places of Interest

KINGDOMS LOST

  CYNAN.

  Cynan Garwyn was the eldest son of Brochfael. He was also described with a second name of Cyndrwyn of which the meaning is unknown but which may be a corruption of ‘Cynan Garwyn’. Garwyn means ‘White Shanks’, which could have described his very white legs, but some think it should be Carrwyn meaning ‘White Charriot’.

His horse, Du Hir Tynnedig (Tall Black Tinted One), is named as one of the three "Steeds of Britain". Cynan married Gwynwenwen, the daughter of Prince Domangart macAidan of the Scots. He died about 610.

The famous Battle of Chester (then called Deva) took place in 613, where history records that the leader of the Welsh facing Aethelfrith and his Saxons consisted of a grandfather and father being Cynan Garwyn and Selyf Sarffgadau. The battle was lost and both killed.

The significance of this ‘battle’ was that it split Wales from the North, where they had many allies, and from this point on Shrewsbury (Pengwern) was always under threat.

St. TYSILIO.

Tysilio was the second son of Cadfael but appeared to rebel against the ‘system’, for at an early age he left his fathers court and fled to Abbot Gwyddfarch of Meifod (Caer-Meguaidd) to become a monk. His father, Brochfael Ysgythrog, tried to dissuade him but eventually had to give way. Tysilio set up his base at a hermitage he founded at Ynys Tysilio (Church Island) in the Menai Straits between Wales and Anglesey and did much work on Ynys Mon (Anglesey).

After seven years he returned to Meifod (near Welshpool) as Abbot, where he rebuilt the Abbey. Only about two years later however his elder brother died (613 at Battle of Derva (Chester) above) and his sister-in-law Queen Gwenwynwyn wanted to marry him and make him king of South Powys. Tysilio then fled, with a handful of followers to St. Suliac in France, where he founded a new monastery. He died and was buried there in 640.

St. BEUNO.

Became the Abbot of Clynnog after being educated and ordinated in the monastery at Bangor, before becoming an actyive missionary under the benefaction of Cadvan, King of Gwynedd. Later Cadwllon, Cadvans son, deceived Beuno about some land and they fell out, neither giving way. Cadwallon’s cousin Gweddeint, recognizing the injustice, gave Beuno his township, where in about 616 he founded the Abbey of Clynnog Fawr in Carnarvonshire. It is said that Beuno became the restorer to life of his niece, the virgin St. Winefride (to whom Brochfael Ysgythrog gave land) and who is now commemorated at Holywell in Flintshire.

Just before his death ‘on the seventh day of Easter’ in c660 he is said to have had a vision. Eleven churches bearing his name are witness to his accomplishments. He is commemorated on the 21st of April.

SELYF.

Selyf Sarffgadau, whose second name meant ‘Battle Serpent’ seems to have been a battle hardened warrior even though he died aged about 27 years old.

 His brother Cynddylan seems to have attracted much more fame and is lamented at length by a sister Heledd by poems which were handed down mouth to mouth until written down over a hundred years later. Cynddylan it was who lost the lands in present day England and ‘fair Pengwern’ and whose name so resembles his fathers he may have been the eldest son.

It is known that Selyf and Cynddylan fought alongside each other at ‘Lichfield beyond the Tern’.

MANWGAN.

In 613 when he inherited the kingdom he was a very young boy after the Battle of Chesterand his uncle Eiludd, king of Dogfeiling invaded and took over the throne, which he held until 642 when he was killed at the Battle of Maes Cogwy (Oswestry). Manwgan then took the throne back and ruled until his death in 655.  

MANWGAN.

Being only three years old when his father Selyf Sarffgadau was killed at the Battle of Derva (Chester) in 613, his uncle Eluadd of Dogfeiling took advantage and invaded Powys. He held the throne for about thirty years before being killed by the Northumbrians in 642 at Oswestry. Manwgan then took the Powisian throne but it is not known how he died or when.

EILUDD POWYS.

  He was very young when he became a king, along with his brothers, and an uncle, Eluadd (Eluan Powys) took power and ruled until 642 when he was killed at Oswestry. One brother was Manwgan c610 and the other the very famous Cynddylan c615. Eiludd is mainly remembered for the memorial stone he erected to his father Selyf at Llattysilio-yn-Ial showing his full pedigree.

This uncle of Manwgan from Dogfeiling siezed his throne when father Selyf was killed at the Battle of Chester in 613. After 29 years Eiludd was himself killed at the Battle of Oswestry.

BELI

 This son of Manwgan ruled for 40 years from 655.

GWYLOG

 Gwylog ap Beli ruled for a further 30 years after his father.

  ELISEDD.

Son of Gwylog he ruled from 725 until 755 with his home at Castell Dinas-Bran (beside which his Grandson, Cyngen, erected an enscripted stone cross with ancestry in his memory) situated just outsde Llangollen on the side of the road leading to the Horseshoe Pass. An abbey was later built on the site which is now open to visitors and acting as a museum. Old poems claim Elisedd had a crown of twisted gold links with armlets and anklets of gold as his badge of sovereignty of Powys.

He had three children by an unknown wife. The first was Brochfael (The second of that name) who lived c720-793 and is the direct lineage. Brochfael had two sisters, the first being St.Enghenedd and the second Sannan c730 who married Nowy Hen (the Old) King of Brycheiniog.

Elisedd's main claim to fame was that he reclaimed the Powys kingdom from the Saxons and the pillar in his honour boasts of this and his pedigree back to Vortigern and Magnus Maximus. A tranlation of part of the badly weathered inscription reads :-

+ Concenn son of Catell, Catell son of Brochmail, Brochmail son of Eliseg, Eliseg son ofGuoillauc.

+ And that Concenn, great-grandson of Eliseg, erected this stone for his great-grandfather Eliseg.

+ The same Eliseg,who joined together the inheritance of Powys ... out of the power of the Angles with his sword and with fire.

+ Whosoever repeats the writing, let him give a blessing on the soul of Eliseg.

  BROCHFAEL (BROCHWEL) – The Second.

  Was the father of Cadell Powys of the family line.

  CADELL POWYS.

  His main claim to fame is that he was the father of Cyngen c778-854 of our family line and was also the father of Nesta c780, who married Merfyn Frych c780-844 (the Freckled) King of Gwynedd whose lineage and ruling dates were Rhorri Mawr 854-878 (The Great), Merfyn 878-900, Llywellyn 900-942, Hywel Dda 942-950 (The Good), Owain 950-986 and Maredudd 986-999.

CYNGEN (CONCENN) 

  A small reference has been found to this ancestor in the early 9th century describing how as King of Powys he built a twelve foot memorial, the Pillar of Elise, near Llangollen to recount victories against the Saxons and was emblazoned with his pedigree in correct Latin terms.

The pillar, at the foot of the Horseshoe Pass on the north end, was visited and photographed. As can be seen it stands on a mound, about 30 yards off the road and 50 yards from a ruined abbey. The abbey was knocked about during the 'reformation' period and it is thought the pillar may have been tipped over at the same time. In 1779, a Mr. Lloyd of Trevor Hill re-erected the pillar, on which thirty-one lines of inscription could be seen, with some words indecipherable. The actual inscription is as follows, with some unreadable, and with a cross mark as punctuation :-
+CONCENN FILIUS CATTELL CATELL
FILIUS BROHCMAIL BRAHCMA(i)L FILIUS
ELISEG ELISEG FILIUS GUOILLAUC
+CONCENNITAQUE PRONEPOS ELISEG
EDIFICAUIT HUNC LAPIDEM PRO AUO
SUO ELISEG
+IPSE EST ELISEG QUI NEC(?)
XIT HEREDITATEM POUO(i)S ---
--- PER VIIII ANNOS(?) E POTESTATE ANGLO
RUM IN GLADIO SUO PARTA IN IGNE
+(QUIC)UMQUE RECIT(A)UERIT MANESCRIP
(TUM LAPID)EM DET BENEDICTIONEM SUPE
(R ANIMA)M ELISEG +IPSE EST CONCENN
(---) MANU
(-) AD REGNUM SUUM POUO(i)S
(-) ET QUOD
(-)
(-) MONTEM
(---------------)
(-) MONARCHIAM
(-) MAXIMUS BRITTANIAE
(CONCE)NN PASCEN(T) MAUN ANNAN
(+) BRITU A(U)T(E)M FILIUS GUARTHI
(GIRN) QUE(m) BENED(IXIT) ROMANO
(QU)E PEPERIT EI SE(V)IRA FILIA MAXIMI
R(EG)IS QUI OCCIDIT REGEM ROMANO
RUN + CONMARCH PINXIT HOC
CHIROGRAF(i)U(m) REGE SUO POSCENTE
CONCENN + BENEDICTIO D(omi)NI IN CON
CENN ET S(uo)S I(n) TOTA FAMILIA EIUS
ET IN TOTA(m) (RE(GIONE(m) POUOIS
USQUE IN (DIEM IUDICII AMEN (?))
The capital letters in brackets above is where the letter was barely visable. Lower case in brackets is where a letter is missing and for translation purposes is inserted. The dashes in brackets cannot be guessed at with any confidence.
What was readable is set out below :-
Concenn son of Catell, Catell son of Brochmail, Brochmail son of Eliseg, Eliseg son of Guoillauc. Concenn therefore being great-grandson of Eliseg erected this stone to his Great-grandfather Eliseg. It is Eliseg who annexed the inheritance of Powys …. Throughout nine (years) from the power of the English which he made into a sword-land by fire. Whosoever shall read this hand-inscribed inscription stone, let him give a blessing on
the soul of Eliseg. It is Concenn who ….. with his hand ….. to his own kingdom of Powys. ……. And which …… …… the mountain ……. …… the monarchy. Maximus …… of Britain …… Concenn, Pascent, …… Maun, Annan. Britu, moreover, (was) the son of Guorthigirn (Vortigern) whom Germanus blessed and
whom Severa bore to him, the daughter of Maximus the king who slew the king of the Romans and Conmarch painted this writing at the command of his king Concenn.
The blessing of the lord (be) upon Concenn and all members of his family and upon all the 
land of Powys. Until the day of judgement. Amen.
Under the pillar was excavated in 1803, when a slab stone 'coffin' was found containing bones, thought to be the remains of Eliseg, being entire and very large. The skull and teeth were in good condition and very white.

It was Cyngen who re-established independence after a Saxon invasion of 823. He lived at and ruled from Mathrafal. 
It has now been found that Cyngen died an exile in Rome in 854/5 where many rulers of the day went to pass their last days 'nearer and in the service of God'.
Cyngen fathered four children, the first being Elisedd c800 (second of that name). The others were Ieuaf c802, Aeddan c804 and Gryffydd c806, who in turn had Mawn c830, Maig c832, Artan c834 and Ieuaf c836.
Cyngen was also the last descendant of the family to be able to call himself King of Powys, being known as Princes thereafter, not because of an English invasion but because Gwynedd became the leading force in Wales and other areas bowed to their power

The Pillar of Elisedd

 The Valle Crucis Abbey

The Pillar of Elisedd

The Pillar and Abbey are situated at the North end of the Horseshoe Pass, Llangollen

 

  HYWEL DDA.

Hywel (Howell) the Good, was the second son of Beli ap Selyf and lived c880 – 950. On the death of Beli, an older son Gryffyth and he shared Seisyllwg kingdom. Gryffyth died in 920 and Hywel took over his share, then merged Dyfed with it, creating a new kingdom known as Deheubarth. Following the death of a cousin in 942 he inherited Gwynedd, so becoming the ruler of the largest area of Wales.


During his reign Howel introduced laws, unusual in the fact that they were effective throughout his kingdom, were copied by the rest of Wales and were far more sophisticated than any in England.

His reign was a very peaceful one in Wales and he even achieved an understanding with Athelstan, king of England. He went on pilgramage to Rome in 928 and was the only Welsh king to have his own coins minted, this being done in Chester.

BELI OF 'THE GARTH'

  In the 10th century the family home was at Garth, in Guilsfield where the historic mansion was the residence of the Lords of Cegidfa (Guildsfield), the first of that name being Beli who was 11th in descent from Brochfael (Brochwel).

  Beli’s descendents were Gryffith (Griffith), Gwenwys (Wenwys) and Cadwgan Wenwys before we come to Prince Madog or Madoc.

GWENWYS (or Wenwys) ap GRYFFITH ap BELI OF THE GARTH

  Great-great-grandfather to Sir Gruffydd (below) is best remembered for his involvement in the capture of Lord Cobham. Gwenwys or Wenwys was the family name for 4 generations before Sir Gruffydd and it is not understood how or why it changed then.

PRINCE MADOC

  Late in the 12th. Century a Prince Madoc, who equates in time with Madoc ap Gwnwys (Wenwys), sailed from the Welsh shores. In 1790 a tribe of Welsh speaking Indians claiming decendance from Madoc were found in Missouri. This could mean that Madoc discovered America some 300 years before Columbus.

  Madog (Madoc) fathered a son Ieuan (Evan) of whom nothing is known but in turn fathered Griffith.

THE BLACK DEATH

  The black death struck on two occasions, once lasting from 1348 until 1350 and the other some ten years later in 1360. This catastrophe not only affected the more populated England but had a devastating effect on Wales, reducing its population by some half million. It would be unrealistic to believe that our ancestors were not reduced as half the population was wiped out over this period.

  A big influx of newcomers brought the population back to one million within a few years. Even the huge size of families in those times took a further 250 years to increase the numbers to eight million. The last 200 years has seen a dramatic increase to 28 million.

  GRIFFITH ap IEUAN ap MADOC

  The Welsh version of the name was Gryffith ap Ieuan (Evan) ap Madoc ap Wenwys and he was classed as a 'petty chieftain' of Guilsfield in Montgomeryshire and said to have been the Seneschal or Custodian of Caus Castle. A great-grandson, Humphrey Lloyd of Leighton, a nephew of Sir Gruffydd, was Seneschal of the Barony of Caus to Stafford, Earl of Buckingham and later to his son.