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Nesta verch Gruffyd

born circa 1060

Father Gruffydd ap Llewelyn
Mother Ealdgyth
Husband Osbern fitz Richard
Children Hugh, Turstin, Agnes (aka Nesta)

Nesta was probably born somewhere around 1060 (1), the daughter of Gruffydd ap Llewelyn, King of Wales, and Ealdgyth his wife (3)(9). She had at least two older half brothers, Maredudd and Ithel (4).

Her father died in around 1061-64 (2). Not too long afterwards, her mother re-married to Harold Godwineson (3)(7) (whose invasion of Wales had lead to her father's death), who became king of England in January 1066. Its not known who was raising Nesta at this time, however it seems likely that her mother would do so again following Harold's death later that year at Hastings (8).

Nesta married Osbern fitz Richard (9), and they had two sons, Hugh (19)(21) and Turstin (21), and a daughter Agnes (who also went by the name Nesta) (9).

Nothing more is known of her.

Brief details of her children:


  1. Nesta's date of birth is simply estimated from the duration of her parents' marriage. They are believed to have married in the latter 1050s (2). Her father Gruffydd died in around 1061-63 (2), thus providing a window of no more than about 5-8 years for her birth.
  2. See her father's page.
  3. "The ecclesiastical history of England and Normandy by Orderic Vitalis", translated by Thomas Forester, 1854, page 461 reads:
    "The earls Edwin and Morcar, sons of Algar the first of the English earls, were attached by the strictest ties to Harold, and employed all their efforts to support his cause, he having married their sister Edith, who had been the queen of Griffith a powerful king of Wales, to whom she bore Blethyn, his successor, and a daughter named Nesta."
  4. Given that they were adults at their deaths in 1068 (5)(6), they were obviously older than Nesta, and must have been born to a different mother prior to their father's marriage to Ealdgyth in the late 1050s.
  5. "Brut y Tywysogian; or The Chronicle of the Princes of Wales", edited by John Williams, 1860. A translated section on page 47 reads:
    "1068. And then the action of Mechain took place between Bleddyn and Rhiwallon, sons of Cynvyn, and Maredudd and Ithel, sons of Gruffyd; when the sons of Gruffydd fell. Ithel was killed in the battle, and Maredudd died of cold, in his flight"
    Another translation published in the "Journal of the Cambrian Archaelogical Association", Vol X, Third series, 1864, offers the following version on pages 59 & 61:
    "A.D. 1068. A dissension occurred in Gwynedd. Meredydd and Ithel, sons of Grufudd, son of Llywelyn, led an army against Bleddyn and Rhiwallon, to regain Gwynedd, which was withheld from them by the Saxons through violence; and Bleddyn and Rhiwallon met them, accompanied by a great host of Saxons; for the Saxons inhabited Powys in equal numbers with the Welsh, under their protection, whither they had fled from the intrusion of the Normans; on which account, as the men of Gwynedd with Meredydd and Ithel were not so numerous as the host of Bleddyn and Rhiwallon, nothing but bravery could support them against double their number. But through deceit and treachery they lost the field: Rhiwallon was slain on one side, and Ithel, son of Grufudd, on the other; and Meredydd was obliged to fly, and Bleddyn pursued him so closely that he was obliged to fly to the most desert mountains in Wales, where he perished from hunger and cold."
  6. "Annales CambriŠ", edited by John Williams, 1860, cotians the following entry on page 26:
    "AD 1068. Annus. Annus. Annus. Bellum Methein inter filios Kenwin scilicet Beldin at Ruallo et filios Grifini, scilicet Maredut et Idwal, in quo filii Grifini ceciderunt, Idwal bello, Maredut frigore"
  7. "The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester with the two continuations", Thomas Forester, 1854 (an English translation of the chronicles), page 456. Within "The genealogy of the kings of Wessex" Florence states that ...
    "Edward king of England died in the twenty-third year of his reign. By his choice and gift he was succeeded by earl Harold, son of Godwin earl of Wessex, by Githa, sister of Sweyn, king of Denmark, father of St. Canute, the martyr. He had a son named Harold by his queen Aldgitha, daughter of earl Algar: the same year he fell in battle with William earl of Normandy, who succeeded him in the kingdom."
  8. "The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester with the two continuations", Thomas Forester, 1854 (an English translation of the chronicles), page 170, states that in 1066 ...
    "Harold reigned nine months and as many days. The earls Edwin and Morcar, who had withdrawn with their troops from the battle on hearing that he was dead, went to London, and sent off their sister, queen Elgitha, to Chester:".
    A transcription of the original Latin is found in "Florentii Wigorniensis", Benjamin Thorpe, 1848, Vol 1, p227/228.
  9. No single piece of evidence has been found to show the marriage between Nesta and Osbern fitz Richard. However it can be be demonstrated from an almagamation of evidence thus:
  10. "The Cartulary of Worcester Cathederal Priory (Register I)", Darlington, Pipe Roll Society 1962-63, no. 148. The abstract reads:
    Confirmation by Hugh fitz Osbert to the monks of his father's grant of Boraston and the church of Doddderhill to which he adds, for the souls of his father Osbert and his mother Nest, one saltpan at Droitwich worth 20s. Early 12th century.
  11. "The ecclesiastical history of England and Normandy by Orderic Vitalis", translated by Thomas Forester, 1854, page 432 reads:
    "... At the same time Osbern, son of Richard, surnamed Scroop, with Bernard du Neuf Marche his son-in-law, and others in league with them, who held the frontiers of Mercia, made a savage inroad into the territory of Worcester, pillaging and slaughtering the inhabitants, in spite of of the prohibition and excommunication directed against them by the man of God, Wulstan, bishop of Worcester."
  12. "Cartularum Prioratus S. Johannis Evang. de Brecon", published in Archaeologica Cambrensis, 4th series, Volume XIV, page 141-42 includes an entry in which Bernard Newmarch, with the consent of King Henry, gives to Battle Abbey his church at Brecon dedicated to St John the Evangelist. About 1100. Included in this charter is the phrase "Agnes vero uxor mea me concedente dedit unum manerium quod vocatur Berutona".
    The same charter is also found in Dugdale's "Monasticon", volume 3, page 264, num II, sub Priory of Brecon.
  13. Dugdale's "Monasticon", volume 3, page 263, num I, sub Brecknock Monastery, is an undated history of the early years of the monastery, which begins:
    Le premer conquerur des trey kantrefs de la tere de Brekenoch estoyt Bernard de Nefmarche, Norman, al tens le roy Henry fiz Willame Bastard conquerur, e roy de Engletere. Ceci Bernard de Nefmarche esposa Neste qe fut apele Agnes, la file Griffin le fiz Lewelin, qui ont ets cruel tirant de Gales. E de cele Neste engendra Mael ke pus estoyt noble chivalir. Mes le heritage de Breckenoch en cete manire perdi. Sa mere Neste sus son baron ama un chivaler, e a partir de sa mere le baty et ledement le defola.
  14. "Giraldi Cambrensis Opera", volume 6, pages 28-9, states:
    ... Bernardus de Novo Mecatu nova contra KambriŠ fines conquisitione posedit. Hic filiam NestŠ, filiŠ Griffini filii Lewelini, cujus tyrannis totam aliquamdiu Gualliam oppresserat, materno Nestam nomine, quam et Angli vertendo Anneis vocavere, sibi matrimonium copulavit.
  15. Dugdale's "Monasticon", volume 3, page 244, num VI, sub Battle Abbey, mentions:
    Eo etiam tempore quidam baronum regis, vir magnificus, Bernardus, cognomento de Novo-mercato.... and ... ejusdem Bernardi uxor, Agnes nomine, forte invalitudine tacta, eidem loco ex viri sui assensu de propria hŠreditate quandam villulam extra Waliam in Anglia sitam, quŠ Berinton vocatur ...
  16. Domesday Book, Philimore translation, contains the following entry under Worcestershire:
    Land of Osbern son of Richard
    WOR 19,1
    In `DODDINGTREE' Hundred
    Osbern son of Richard Scrope holds BERRINGTON from the King. His father Richard ^[Scrope]^ held it. 2 hides which pay tax. In lordship 2 ploughs; 8 villagers, 4 smallholders, a smith and a miller with 9 ploughs; 1 more plough would be possible. 4 male and 4 female slaves. A mill which pays 22 packloads of corn; meadow, 10 acres; woodland 1 1/2 leagues long and 1 league wide. The value was and is 20s.
  17. Domesday Book, Philimore translation, contains the following entry under Worcestershire:
    Land of Osbern son of Richard
    [In CLENT Hundred]
    WOR 19,13
    Osbern also holds ELMBRIDGE. Aldgyth [* wife of Gruffydd *] held it. 8 hides. Of these, 3 hides are exempt from tax, as the County testifies. 8 villagers and 26 smallholders with 10 ploughs; another 10 ploughs would be possible. 1 slave. A salt-house at 4s; meadow, 50 acres; woodland 1 league long and 1/2 wide. Value before 1066, 100s; now 50s.
  18. Domesday Book, Philimore translation, contains the following entry under Warwickshire:
    Borough of Warwick
    Land of Coventry Church
    WAR 6,5
    In STONELEIGH Hundred
    The Church itself holds BINLEY. 3 hides. Land for 8 ploughs. In lordship 1 plough; 4 slaves; 10 villagers and 6 smallholders with 5 ploughs. Meadow, 8 acres; woodland 1/2 league long and 1 furlong wide. Value before 1066 and now 60s. Aldgyth, wife of Gruffydd held this land. The Abbot bought it from Osbern son of Richard.
  19. Complete Peerage, Volume 9, page 257, states that Osbern Fitz Richard made a grant of land to Worcester Priory during the time of Henry I, and this was confirmed and added to by his son Hugh. It cites "Registrum Prioratus Beatae Mariae Wigorniensis", fo. 9a, Camden Society, 1865. I haven't been able to confirm this source yet, but it must refer to the same land as the confirmation which was published in Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum (20).
  20. Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum 1066-1154, Volume 3, page 357, entry 964, sub Worcester Cathedral and See, is a "Confirmation of royal. episcopal, and other charters", which includes: "Concedo et confirmo cartam Osberti filii Ricardi et Hugonis filii ipsius Osberti et Osberti filii ipsius Hugonis de Burastona cum ecclesia de Dyderenhyl et salina in Wich et alia salina viginti solidorum"
    This is dated, by the mention of other people in the (very long) confirmation, as either December 1137-May 1138, or March-June 1139, most likely at the end of April 1139.
  21. Dugdale's "Monasticon", volume 2, page 422, num XIII, sub Pershore Monastery, contains a grant witnessed by :
    Hugone filio Osberni filii Ricardi, et Turstino fratre ejus