previously stated, the Coel kingdom extended over the complete north of England
from a line joining Chester and the Wash up into southern Scotland, as it is
today. This of course included Gododin, mentioned in the pages of The Scottish
King Arthur. Further investigation is now complete and a lot more is known about
the Cole dynasty.
Generally the area controlled by the Coels (Coles) was known as Rheged and, besides being known as North and South Rheged also had territories known as Elmet, Bryneich, Ebraunc, Salway, Middle Britain and the Pennines.
If we start with Coel Hen (Old King Cole), hen being ancient British for old, who lived from about 350 to 420 (living to 70 being very old in those days) the Coel line can be traced until about 650, when the Saxons, etc had settled their lands and wiped the family out.
Coel Hen was married to Ystradwal, the daughter of Cadfan, who was born about 360 and was much younger than Coel. They had three children, St. Ceneu c382, a daughter Gwawl c384 who married Cunedda Wledig of the family line, and Garbanion c392.
Ceneu had three sons Mor c 422, Gwarst Lledlwm (the Ragged) and Dyfnwal Moelmud (the Bald and Silent) c425. Mor had three sons, Einion c450, who fathered Eliffer Gosgorddfawr (Of The Great Army) c484 married to Erfiddyl, Ceidio c488 and Rhun Ryfedd Mawr (of great Wealth). The second son of Mor was Arthwys c 455, who it has been claimed was the real King Arthur. Arthwys had two sons, St.Pabo Post Prydain c470 – 530, whose daughter Arddyn Penasgell (Wing Headed) c510 married Brochfael Ysgythrog of the family line. The second son was Cynfelyn c474. The next son of Mor was Morydd c456, who in turn fathered Morfryn Frych (the Freckled), who after marrying Alden was later to become a king in the Gwynedd area.
Ceneu’s second son Gwarst is known to have fathered two sons, Meirchion Gul (the Lean) c422 and Masgwid Gloff c444, King of Elmet. Meirchion Gul had three sons, which caused the Rheged kingdom to be split. The first was Cynfarch Oer (the Dismal) c461, King of North Rheged, and the second Elidyr Llydanwyn (the Stout and Handsome) c464. They married two sisters Nyfain and Gwawr, the daughters of Brychan. The third was Idno c466 who had no offspring. Masgwid Gloff had five sons, Llaennog c475, King of Elmet and his brothers Einion c477, Arthwys c479, St. Cynllo c481 and Ceredig c483, none of whom became kings or had family.
Ceneu’s third son Dyfnwal Moelmud (the Bald and Silent), who fathered Cyngar c455 and Bran Hen (the Old) c460. Cyngar in turn fathered Morgan Fwlch c485 to become King of Bryneich. Bran Hen appears to be without issue.
Coel Hen’s daughter Gwawl, married to Cunedda, is reputed to have had eight sons who went with their father into north Wales to drive out the Irish and after whom many Welsh counties are named. Coels other son was Garbanion c390.
It can be seen from the above that from the fourth generation after Coel Hen the kingdom was split into many smaller kingdoms to satisfy the male offspring of current kings. It now became increasingly difficult to split kingdoms further and the practice began of leaving the kingdom to the eldest son or having joint kings. The female line were married off into as high a family as possible. It will be noticed that where there are more than one child a gap of two years separate them as this is thought to be an earliest/average gap for those times.
It is now proposed to list future generations under the kingdoms, as follows :-
EBRAUNC from Eliffer Gosgorddfawr.
Peredyr Arueu Dur (Steel Arms) c510 – 580
Gwrgant Gwron (the Hero) c540
St. Cedwyn c570
Gwrgi c510 – 580
Ceindrech Penasgell c510 (Later married Brochfael – King of Powys)
Other unknown sons.
NORTH OF SALWAY from Einion.
SOUTH OF SALWAY from Rhun Ryfedd Mawr.
Perfawr (daughter) c510 who married Rhun Hir (the Tall) of Gwynedd, c508 – 586
PENNINES from St. Pabo Post (Pillar of Britain)
Sawyl Penuchel (the Arrogant) c488 – King of North Pennines. 1st wife Deicher of Ulster.
Nesta (daughter) c494 married Maelgwn Gwynedd – King of Gwynedd c480 – 549.
St. Madog Ailither (the Pilgrim) c498
St. Santan c500. Bishop.
Unknown 2nd wife.
St. Asa c520 – 601. Bishop of Llanelwy.
St. Dynod Bwr (the Stout) c505 – 595 – King of South Pennines. Married Dwywai.
St.Deiniol Gwyn (the Blessed) c535 – 584. Bishop of Bangor.
St. Deiniolen Fab (the Younger) c560.
St. Cynwyl c537
St. Gwarthan c539
St. Aneirin Gwodryd (of Flowing Verse) c541
Arddyn Penasgell (daughter) (Wing Headed) c510. Married Brochfael Ysgythrog of family.
MIDDLE BRITAIN from Cynfelyn.
Cynwyd Cynwydion c491 – King of Cynwydion.
Cadrod Calchfynedd c507. – King of Calchwynedd. Married Gwrgan ferch Brychan.
Cynan Genhir c509
Cynfelyn Drwsgi (the Clumsy) c511.
MOVED INTO WALES from Morfryn Frych.
Myrddin Emrys (alias Merlin the Magician) c488.
NORTH RHEGED from Cynfarch Oer.
Enynny (daughter) c476. Married Caradog Freichfras (Strong Arm) – King of Gwent.
Erfiddyl (daughter) c478. Married Eiffer Gosgorddfawr (the Great Army) – King of Ebrauc.
Anarawn c482. Bishop of Llydaw.
Llew c484. King.
Arawn c486. King north of the Salway.
Urien Rheged c490. 1st wife Orwen ferch Ceredig. 2nd wife Morganna Le Fay (the Fair) then:-
Owain c510, King.
St. Kentigern Garthwys c528 – 612. Bishop of Strathclyde.
St. Cadell c516.
Gwaith Hengaer c545. Married Euronwy ferch Clinog.
Pasgen c522. King of Gwyr.
Elen (daughter) c540. Married Elisedd ap Neufedd c530.
Rhiainfelt (daughter) c600. Married Oswy c610 – 670. King of Northumbria.
SOUTH RHEGED from Elidyr Llydanwyn.
Heledd (daughter) c510. Made poems of the fall of her brother’s son Cynddylan.
Llywarch Hen (the Old) 534 – 634. Last King of South Rheged. Had 42 children.
Sandde c690. King of Ynys Manaw by marrying Celemion, heiress.
Elidyr c720. King of Ynys Manaw.
Gwriad c750. King of Ynys Manaw. Married Essylt ferch Cynan.
Merfyn Frych (Freckled) d844. K Ynys Manaw and Gwynedd. (married Nesta ferch Cadell)
Rhodri Mawr (the Great) King Gwynedd, Powys & Ceredigion
Sandde Bryd Engyl (Bright Angel) c562
Deigr c 566
Rhiell (daughter) c579
Cynddylan c581. Was said to follow Arthur’s policy when at war.
Ceinfron (daughter) c593
Ragaw (daughter) c594
Ceindreg (daughter) c595
Gwladys (daughter) c596
ELMET from Llaennog
Dwywai (daughter) c515. Married St. Dynod Bwr (the Stout) King of South Pennines.
Gwallog Marchog Trin (Battle Horseman) c520.
Ceredig c560 – 616. King of Elmet.
Einion ap Masgwid c477
Arthwys ap Masgwid c479
St. Cynllo ap Masgwid c481
Ceredig ap Masgwid c483
BRYNEICH from Morgan Fwlch.
It will be seen from the above that Old King Cole (Coel) and his descendants
were kings of an area of land bigger in size than Wales and that of Wales itself
the area of Gwynedd and Powys (which at that time extended out as far as
Lichfield) was more than half of Wales.
These three dynasties had very close associations and inter-married frequently; a substantial population would be required to marry all of Llywarch Hen’s children. Because of this closeness the fact that Cunedda (also known as Cunorix and Wledig) of Gododin on the Scottish borders should take his army to fight off the encroachment of Irish into north Wales is not surprising, especially if promised land for his troubles.
It must be remembered that at this time the entire population of Wales was probably less than two million and the Coel lands not much more, which comprised mostly of slaves, surfs and followers of the kings or leaders and that there were very few independants.
So there we have it. Old King Cole was not just the figment of a poet’s imagination but was in fact a living, breathing King who ruled a vast area of land in northern Britain and started a dynasty that continued that rule for 400 years but also spread by marriage and conquest into some of the originators and members of my own ancesters. A merry old soul indeed.