Guto’s poem of praise for Maredudd ap Hywel (poem 95) is one of only two poems for Maredudd – the other belongs to Lewys Glyn Cothi (GLGC poem 208).
Some uncertainty has been expressed regarding his identity, but he is described as [t]arian a thŵr / Tref Oswallt ‘the shield and tower / of St Oswald’s town’ (95.39–40), and this geographical location is consistent with the references to Powys isaf ‘southernmost Powys’ (30), the river Tanad (36) and [y] Waun, y Traean / A’r Deuparth ‘Chirk, the Traean / and the Duparts’ (43–4). He also had an ancestor called Cuhelyn (20). In the genealogies is named a certain Maredudd ap Hywel who was descended from Cuhelyn ap Rhun and related to many of Guto’s patrons (see below). The family had connections with the commote of Cynllaith in the lordship of Chirk. Since these particulars are in keeping with those of the poem, it is suggested that this Maredudd ap Hywel was Guto’s patron. Ifor Williams’s suggestion (GGl 364) is rejected, namely that he could be the father of one Hywel ap Maredudd ap Hywel, a man named in a list of men who were protected in the Act of Resumption of 1464–5 (Evans 1995: 93).
Gruffudd Hiraethog composed a poem of praise for Siôn Edward of Oswestry (GGH poem 40), who was the son of one Maredudd ap Hywel. This Maredudd was the son of a second cousin of the Maredudd discussed below, namely Hywel ap Gruffudd ab Ieuan Fychan, a brother of Dafydd Llwyd ap Gruffudd, Abertanad. It is unlikely that this Maredudd ap Hywel was Guto’s patron, for it seems that he lived during the sixteenth century.
The genealogical table below is based on WG1 ‘Bleddyn ap Cynfyn’ 7, 8, 9. 10, 11, ‘Tudur Trefor’ 14; WG2 ‘Bleddyn ap Cynfyn’ 11 A1, A3, ‘Ireland’, ‘Tudur Trefor’ 14 C1. Those named in Guto’s poem to Maredudd are shown in bold print, and the names of his patrons are underlined.
As well as Mabli and Catrin, Maredudd had other sisters and brothers, namely Dafydd Llwyd, Hywel Fychan, Ieuan, Llywelyn, Gruffudd and Myfanwy. As is shown, he was related to many of Guto’s patrons. He was a nephew of Sieffrai Cyffin of Oswestry, and his father was a cousin of both Hywel ab Ieuan Fychan of Moeliwrch and Dafydd Cyffin of Llangedwyn. Furthermore, he was a brother-in-law of Otwel, the son of Siôn Trefor of Bryncunallt. Although it is not shown in the genealogical table, Maredudd was a second cousin of Dafydd Llwyd of Abertanad, for Dafydd’s father, Gruffudd, was the son of Ieuan Fychan ab Ieuan Gethin.
It seems that Maredudd settled in the town of Oswestry. He is the eleventh burgess named (meredith ap holl’) in an extensive list of Oswestry burgesses commissioned by the town bailiffs in 1546, along with his father, Hywel ap Morus, his brother, Hywel Fychan ap Hywel, his uncles, Sieffrai Cyffin and Rhys ap Morus, his father-in-law, Richard Ireland, and his brothers-in-law, Tomas Ireland and Robert Ireland (Oswestry Archives, OB/A12). It seems that the list is a selection of the town’s eminent burgesses between c.1450 and 1546 that was based on earlier similar lists. The genealogies show that a great many of these burgesses were related either by blood or marriage, and the list is a valuable record of the strong links established between both Welsh and English families of note in the Marches which formed the basis of Oswestry’s prosperity in this period. Guto’s name was also recorded on the list, as well as Tudur Aled’s name (see notes to poem 102).
In Pryce-Jones (2001: 32), Meredith ap Howell is named as one of Oswestry’s bailiffs in 1463, 1482 and 1503. Although likely, it is unclear whether all three records refer to the same individual.
Evans, H.T. (1995), Wales and the Wars of the Roses (second ed., Stroud)
Pryce-Jones, J. (2001), ‘Oswestry Corporation Records – the Bailiffs from Medieval Times to 1673’, Shropshire History and Archaeology: Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society, lxxvi: 30–9