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Gruffydd ap Llewelyn
Gruffyd is a well documented historical figure (1), so I am not going into great detail about him here.
He was the son of Llywelyn ap Seiseyll (2) and Angharad verch Meredudd (4). His date of birth is not known but was probably somewhere very roughly around 1010. He had a brother Rhys (7)(8).
His father died in 1021 (2) or 1023 (3), after which his mother remarried to Cynvyn ap Gwerystan (21)(22), and went on to have Gruffyd's half brothers Bleddyn (4)(22) and Rhiwallawn (22).
In 1038 or 1039 he defeated Hywel in battle at either Pen Cadair or Llandbaren, and took Hywel's wife as "spoils of war" (5). She may well have been the mother of his sons Maredudd and Ithel (6).
His brother Rhys was killed in either 1053 (7) or 1056 (8). Around this time, he forged an alliance with Ĉlfgar, the Earl of East Anglia, fighting alongside him against King Edward (9)(10). Their alliance was still going in 1058 (11).
No doubt as a result of this alliance, he married Ealdgyth, Ĉlfgar's daughter (12)(13)(14)(15). It is assumed that the marriage took place during the course of this alliance, sometime in the second half of the 1050s. They had a daughter Nesta sometime over the next 5 years or so (12)(16).
Gruffydd died in about 1063. He was losing a vicious battle with Harold, earl of Wessex, and it seems Gruffydd suffered a rebellion by some of his own men, who killed him to appease Harold (17)(18)(19)(20).
He was survived by Ealdgyth, who went on to marry Harold, earl of Wessex, her husband's victor (12)(13).
Brief details of his children:
- Maredudd died following a battle against his uncles Beddyn and Rhiwallon in 1068.
- Ithel died during a battle against his uncles Beddyn and Rhiwallon in 1068.
- Nesta has her own page.
, so must have been born long before Gruffydd's marriage to Ealdgyth. As no other wife is known, it seems likely that they were his sons by Hywel's wife.
- See for example the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- "Brut y Tywysogian; or The Chronicle of the Princes of Wales", edited by John Williams, 1860. A translated section on page 39 reads:
"1021. And then a year after that, Llywelyn, son of Seisyll, died."
Another translation published in the "Journal of the Cambrian Archaelogical Association", Vol X, Third series, 1864, offers the following version on page 45:
"A.D. 1021... After that Llywelyn, son of Seisyllt, was there slain; and his son, who was called Grufydd, succeeded him as prince of Gwynedd."
- "Annales Cambriĉ", edited by John Williams, 1860, cotians the following entry on page 23:
"1023. Annus. Lewelien filius Seisil obiit."
- "Brut y Tywysogian; or The Chronicle of the Princes of Wales", edited by John Williams, 1860. A translated section on page 125 discussing the familial relationships between various Welsh chieftans reads:
"1113. ... Bleddyn, son of Cynvyn, the chiefest of the Britons, after Gruffyd, son of Llywelyn, and who were brothers by the same mother; for Angharad, daughter of Meredudd, king of the Britons, was the mother of both;"
- "Brut y Tywysogian; or The Chronicle of the Princes of Wales", edited by John Williams, 1860. A translated section on page 41 reads:
"1039. And then a year after that, the action of PenCadeir took place, and Gruffudd overcame Howel, and captured his wife, and took her to be his own wife."
Another translation published in the "Journal of the Cambrian Archaelogical Association", Vol X, Third series, 1864, offers the following version on page 51:
"A.D. 1037. The action of Pencadair between Hywel, son of Edwin, and Grufudd, son of Llywelyn, and Hywel was obliged to flee. The same year the action of the Ford of the Cross, on Severn, was fought, in which Grufudd conquered the Saxons and put them to flight.
A.D. 1038. The action of Llanbadarn, where Grufudd, son of Llywelyn, son of Seisyllt, defeated Hywel, son of Edwin, and took his wife from him, and kept her as his concubine; and that was the only action of all the actions in which Grufudd was concerned, that displeased the wise."
- Maredudd and Ithel died as adults in 1068 (23)(24)
"The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester with the two continuations", Thomas Forester, 1854 (an English translation of the chronicles), page 155, states that in 1053 ...
" Rhys, the brother of Griffyth, king of South
Wales, was put to death by order of king Edward at a place
called Bullington, on account of the plundering inroads he
had frequently made, and his head was brought to the king at
Gloucester on the eve of our Lord's Epiphany [5th January].
In the same year, on the second day of the festival of Easter
[12th April], which was celebrated at Winchester, earl Godwin came to his end while he was sitting at table with the
king, according to his usual custom; for, being suddenly
seized with a violent illness, he fell speechless from his seat.
His sons, earl Harold, Tosti, and Gurth, perceiving it, carried
him into the king's chamber, hoping that he would presently
recover; but his strength failing, he died in great suffering
on the fifth day afterwards [15th April], and was buried in
the Old Minster. His son Harold succeeded to his earldom,
and Harold's earldom was given to Algar, son of earl
A transcription of the original Latin is found in "Florentii Wigorniensis", Benjamin Thorpe, 1848, Vol 1, p211.
"Brut y Tywysogian", translation published in the "Journal of the Cambrian Archaelogical Association", Vol X, Third series, 1864, contains the following on page 55:
"A.D. 1056. Rhys, son of Llywelyn, son of Seisyllt, brother to Prince Grufudd, went to Glamorgan and Gwent, killing and devastating in his progress ; and the men of the country attacked him, and drove him to the borders of Mercia, where they caught and beheaded him, and sent his head to Edward, king of the Saxons, to Gloucester, where he was at that time."
"The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester with the two continuations", Thomas Forester, 1854 (an English translation of the chronicles), pages 156-58, states that in 1055 ...
"... Shortly afterwards, king Edward, in a council held at London, banished earl Algar, earl Leufric's son, without any just cause of offence. Algar presently went
to Ireland, and having collected eighteen pirate ships, returned
with them to Wales, where he implored Griffyth the king to
lend him his aid against king Edward. Griffyth immediately
assembled a numerous army from all parts of his dominions,
and directed Algar to join him and his army at a place anointed with his own troops; and having united their forces
they entered Herefordshire, intending to lay waste the English
Earl Ralph, the cowardly son of king Edward's sister,
having assembled an army, fell in with the enemy two miles from the city of Hereford, on the ninth of the calends of
November [24th October]. He ordered the English, conrary to their custom, to fight on horseback; but just as the
engagement was about to commence, the earl, with his French
and Normans, were the first to flee. The English seeing
his, followed their leader's example, and nearly the whole of
the enemy's army going in pursuit, four or five hundred of the
fugitives were killed, and many were wounded. Having
gained the victory, king Grifiyth and earl Algar entered
Hereford, and having slain seven of the canons who defended
the doors of the principal church, and burnt the monastery
built by bishop Athelstan, that true servant of Christ, with
all its ornaments, and the relics of St. Ethelbert, king and
martyr, and other saints, and having slain some of the citizens,
and made many other captives, they returned laden with
On receiving intelligence of this calamity, the king immeliately commanded an army to be levied from every part of
England, and on its being assembled at Gloucester, gave the
command of it to the brave earl Harold, who, zealously
obeying the king's orders, was unwearied in his pursuit of
Griffyth and Algar, and boldly crossing the Welsh border,
encamped beyond Straddell [Snowdon]; but they knowing
him to be an intrepid and daring warrior, did not venture to
wait his attack, but retreated into South Wales. On learning
this, he left there the greatest part of his army, with orders to
make a stout resistance to the enemy if circumstances should
require it ; and returning with the remainder of his host to
Hereford, he surrounded it with a wide and deep trench, and
fortified it with gates and bars. Meanwhile, after an interchange of messages, Grifhyth, Algar, and Harold, with their
attendants, met at a place called Biligesteagea, and peace being
proposed and accepted, they contracted a firm alliance with
each other. After these events, earl Algar's fleet [of pirates]
sailed to Chester, and waited there for the hire he had engaged to pay them; but he himself went to court and was
restored by the king to his earldom.".
A transcription of the original Latin is found in "Florentii Wigorniensis", Benjamin Thorpe, 1848, Vol 1, p212/14.
"Brut y Tywysogian", translation published in the "Journal of the Cambrian Archaelogical Association", Vol X, Third series, 1864, contains the following on page 55:
"A.D. 1057. The same year Algar, earl of Chester, and the Prince Grufudd, son of Llywelyn, combined, and between them collected a mighty host, and marched against those Saxons in Mercia, of whom Ranwlf was prince ; and in that battle Grufudd was victorious, and put the Saxons to flight, and pursued them hard as far as Hereford, and penetrated to the heart of the town after them, slaughtering them without mercy, until a living soul was not found in the whole town and he took vast spoil from thence, and the chief men saved
he imprisoned. The same year King Edward went against Grufudd, and Algar as far as Gwynedd, where a battle took place, in which Grufudcl nobly defeated the Saxons. Then he heard of the devastation of S. Wales by other Saxons, and went against them, and put them to a shameful flight."
"The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester with the two continuations", Thomas Forester, 1854 (an English translation of the chronicles), page 160, states that in 1058 ...
"Algar, earl of Mercia, was outlawed by king Edward for
the second time, but, supported by Griffyth, king of Wales,
and aided by a Norwegian fleet, which unexpectedly came to
his relief, he speedily recovered his earldom by force of arins.".
A transcription of the original Latin is found in "Florentii Wigorniensis", Benjamin Thorpe, 1848, Vol 1, p217.
"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."
"The ecclesiastical history of England and Normandy by Orderic Vitalis", translated by Thomas Forester, 1854, Volume II, page 18 reads:
"Earl Algar had founded a monastery at Coventry, and amply endowed it with large revenues for the subsistence of the monks belonging to it. The countess Godiva also, a devout lady, had contributed all her wealth to the monastery, and employed goldsmiths to convert all the gold and silver she possessed into sacred tapestries, and crosses, and images of saints, and other ecclesiastical ornaments of wonderful beauty, which she devoutly distributed. These excellent parents, thus devoted to God and praiseworthy for their piety, had a fine family which merited the greatest distinction, viz., Edwin, Morcar, and a daughter named Edith, who was first married to Griffith, king of Wales, and after his death to Harold, king of England."
Orderic Vitalis has confused the generations slightly here. it was Earl Algar (Aelfgar)'s father Leofric who was married to Godiva and who founded the monastery at Coventry.
Domesday Book, Philimore translation, contains the following entry under Warwickshire:
Borough of Warwick
Land of Coventry Church
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.
Domesday Book, Philimore translation, contains the following entry under Worcestershire:
Land of Osbern son of Richard
[In CLENT Hundred]
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.
See  on Nesta's page.
"The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles", Swanton translation, 1996. Extract from the Peterborough Manuscript [E] reads:
1063. Here Earl Harold with his brother Earl Tostig went into Wales both with land-army and with raiding ship-army, and conquered that land; and that people gave hostages and submitted to them, and afterwards went to and killed their king Gruffydd, and brought Harold his head, and he set another king for it.
"The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles", Swanton translation, 1996. Extract from the Worcester Manuscript [D] reads:
1063. In this year  Earl Harold went after midwinter from Gloucester to Rhuddlan, which was Gruffydd's and burnt down the manor, and his ships and all the equipment which belonged to them, and brought him to flight. And then, towards the Rogation Days, Harold went with ships from Bristol, round Wales, and that people made peace and gave hostages; and Tostig went against them with a land-army, and overran that land. But here in this same year, at harvest, on fifth August King Gruffyd was killed by his own men, because of the struggle he was waging with Earl Harold. He was king over all the Welsh race, and his head was brought to Earl Harold, and Harold brought it to the king - and his ship's figure-head and the embelishment with it.
"The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester with the two continuations", Thomas Forester, 1854 (an English translation of the chronicles), pages 164 & 166, states that in 1063 ...
"When Christmas was over, Harold, the
brave earl of Wessex, by king Edward's order, put himself
at the head of a small troop of horse, and proceeded by rapid
marches from Gloucester, whore the king then was, to Rnuddlan, with the determination to punish Griffyth, king of
Wales, for his continual ravages on the English marshes, and
his many insults to his lord, king Edward, by taking his life,
But Griffyth, being forewarned of the earl's approach, fled
with his attendants, and escaped by getting aboard a ship
but not without extreme difficulty. Harold, finding he was
gone, ordered his palace to be burnt, and setting fire to his
ships and all their rigging, began his march homeward the
same day. But about Rogation days [20 May] he sailed from
Bristol with a naval force, and circumnavigated a great part
of Wales. His brother met him, by the king's command, with
a body of cavalry, and uniting their forces, they began to lay
waste that part of the country. In consequence, the Welsh
were reduced to submission, and, giving hostages, engaged to
pav him tribute, and they deposed and banished their king, Griffyth. ...
 Griffyth, king of Wales, was slain by his
own people, on the nones [the 5th] of August, and his head
and the beak of his ship, with its ornaments, were sent to
earl Harold, who, shortly afterwards, presented them to king
Edward. The king then gave the territories of the Welsh
king to his brothers Blethgent and Rithwalon, and they
swore to tie faithful to him and Harold, and promised to be
ready to obey their orders by sea and land, and that they
would faithfully pay whatever was paid before from that
country to former kings. ".
A transcription of the original Latin is found in "Florentii Wigorniensis", Benjamin Thorpe, 1848, Vol 1, p221/22.
"Brut y Tywysogian; or The Chronicle of the Princes of Wales", edited by John Williams, 1860. A translated section on page 45 reads:
"1061. One year and one thousand and sixty was the year of Christ, when Gruffudd, son of Llywelyn, the head and shield, and defender of the Britons, fell through the treachery of his own men. The man who had been hitherto invincible, was now left in the glens of desolation, after taking immense spoils, and after innumerable victories, and countless treasures of gold and silver, and jewels and purple vestures."
Another translation published in the "Journal of the Cambrian Archaelogical Association", Vol X, Third series, 1864, offers the following version on page 57:
"A.D. 1060. Owain, son of Grufudd, son of Rhydderch, son of Iestin, died by poison; then Caradoc, son of Rhydderch, son of Iestin, hired Harallt to come with an army to S.Wales. Then, conjointly with a great host of the men of Glamorgan and Gwent, they went against Grufudd, who came to meet them with a very great host of the men of Gwynedd, Powys, and S. Wales; and a battle ensued, in which he was killed through the treachery and deceit of Madoc Min, bishop of Bangor, the same one who devised the deceit through which his father, Llywelyn, son of Seisyllt, was killed. After Grufudd, son of Llywelyn, was slain, his head was cut off and taken as a present to Harallt. The year this occurred was 1061. And so Grufudd lost his life; and he and his father were the noblest princes that had been, until their time, in Wales; and the best for bravery and war, and for peace and for government, and for generosity and justice; and by their wisdom and understanding they united Gwynedd, Powys, and S. Wales, so that the Welsh were strengthened against the Saxons and all enemies and strangers."
"Brut y Tywysogian", translation published in the "Journal of the Cambrian Archaelogical Association", Vol X, Third series, 1864, contains the following on page 47:
"A.D. 1023. ... The same year Yngharad, the widow of Llywelyn, son of Seisyllt, married Cynvyn, son of Gwerystan, lord of Cibwyr."
"Brut y Tywysogian; or The Chronicle of the Princes of Wales", edited by John Williams, 1860. A translated section on pages 57 and 59 reads:
"1062. After the murder of Grufudd, the son of Llywelyn, Meredydd, the son of Owain, the son of Edwin, was made prince of S. Wales by Harallt and Edward, king of the Saxons. The uterine brothers of the prince that was killed, namely Grufudd, the son of Llywelyn, obtained Gwynedd and Powys; that is to say, Bleddyn, the son of Cynvyn, the son of Gwerystan, lord of Cibion, and Rhiwallawn his brother. They were made princes of Gwynedd and Powys by right of their being the heirs of the princes of Dinevor (in descent), from Cadell, son of Rhodri the Great; for the heiress of that principality was Yngharad, daughter of Owain, the son of Howel Dda, and she was married to Llywelyn, the son of Seisyllt. After the murder of Llywelyn she was married to Cynvyn, son of Gwerystan, lord of Cibwyr in Gwent, son of Gwaithvoed, son of Gloddien, son of Gwrydr the Tall, son of Caradawc, son of Llew the E-ighthanded, son of Ednyved, son of Gwinau, son of Gwaenoc the Red, son of Crydion, son of Corf, son of Cynawg, son of lorwerth Hirvlawdd, son of Tegonwy, son of Teon, son of Gwineu the Happy Dreamer, son of Bywlew, son of Bywdeg, son of Khun of the Crimson Shaft, son of Llary, son of Casnar Wledig, king of Gwent, son of Gloyw the Widelanded, lord of Gloucester, son of Lludd, son of Beli the Great, son of Manogan, king of the Isle of Britain. And these brothers, namely Bleddyn and Rhiwallawn, took the sovereignty of the land of Powis from the lineage of Brochwel Ysgithrawc, which was contrary to right."
"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."
"Annales Cambriĉ", 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"