The sons of Llywelyn ap Hwlcyn of Anglesey, fl. c.1451–1503/4
Guto composed a poem of praise for the five sons of Llywelyn ap Hwlcyn (poem 63), namely:
All five were also praised together by two other poets, namely Hywel Cilan (GHC poem XIX) and Rhys Goch Glyndyfrdwy (unedited). No individual poems for Meurig, Gruffudd and Dafydd have survived, but Guto and a number of other poets composed poems for Huw Lewys. Both Tudur Aled and Lewys Môn composed elegies for Rhys, and he was also praised in poems by Lewys, Hywel Rheinallt and Owain ap Siôn (TA poem LXXV; GLM poems X, XI, XII; Wiliam 1969–70: 73). On the poetry for their ancestors, see below.
Lineage The genealogical table below is based on WG1 ‘Bleddyn ap Cynfyn’ 47, 50, 51, ‘Hwfa’ 1, 5, 7, 8, ‘Iarddur’ 1, 5; WG2 ‘Carwed’ 2B, ‘Hwfa’ 8C1, 2, 5, 6. Those named in Guto’s poem for the five brothers are shown in bold print and those to whom Guto may have referred are shown in italic. The names of his patrons are underlined.
Lineage of the sons of Llywelyn ap Hwlcyn of Anglesey
As is shown, Llywelyn’s sons were second-cousins to Dafydd ap Meurig Fychan of Nannau. They had one sister, Elen, through whom they were uncles to Dafydd ap Gwilym of Llwydiarth on Anglesey. A half-sister, Mallt, is named in the genealogies, whose mother was Angharad daughter of Dafydd. Guto does not name Elen nor Mallt in his poem.
Their ancestors This note was based almost entirely on Wiliam (1969–70), unless otherwise stated. The sons of Llywelyn ap Hwlcyn were descended from Hwfa ap Cynddelw, a patriarch of one of the Fifteen Tribes of Gwynedd towards the end of the eleventh century. Although most of the poetry composed for this family has probably been lost, enough survives to show that the descendants of Hwfa were patrons of note in Anglesey throughout the Middle Ages. Bleddyn Fardd composed an elegy for Hwfa’s great-great-grandson, Gruffudd ab Iorwerth, whose name appears in documents between 1277 and 1284 (GBF poem 56). Four of Gruffudd’s sons were alive between 1284 and 1294, namely Hywel, Llywelyn, Gruffudd Fychan and Iorwerth. Iorwerth is named in 1316 and was imprisoned with his brother, Hywel, in Caernarfon castle in 1327. This Iorwerth’s seven sons were praised in a poem of reconciliation by Gruffudd Gryg about the middle of the fourteenth century, a poem which may have been motivated by the famous series of debate poems between Gruffudd and Dafydd ap Gwilym (GGGr poem 2).
Iorwerth ap Gruffudd’s eldest son, and the one named first in Gruffudd Gryg’s poem, was Iorwerth Ddu, a man who was associated with the church in Holyhead, is named in January 1336/7 and had died by 1391 (Carr 1982: 215). His son, Hywel, was closely associated with the church in Holyhead in 1371, was the beadle of the commote of Llifon between 1372 and 1375 and farmed the townships of Cleifiog and Llanbibio in 1381–2. Poetry for Hywel’s son, Hwlcyn, has survived, a man who was bailiff of Talybolion between 1392 and 1395 and also in 1397–8. Rhisierdyn composed a poem of praise for him, and it seems that he also farmed in Cleifiog and Llanbibio (GSRh poem 8). It is likely that he died sometime after 1408, during the revolt of Owain Glyndŵr, in which his son fought for the Welsh. Llywelyn ap Hwlcyn was one of the men of the commote of Talybolion who were fined for their part in the revolt in 1406, yet he evidently succeeded in regaining his status soon after its failure. He was one of the patrons of Holyhead church c.1408/10, the beadle of the commote of Llifon in 1419–20 and the bailiff of the commote of Talybolion in 1421–2 (when he also farmed in Cleifiog and Llanbibio) and between 1448 and 1454. He farmed a manor in Cemais in 1453–4 and disappears from the records after 1460 (Carr 1982: 215). It was his five sons whom Guto praised.
Meurig ap Llywelyn, fl. c.1451–84 Llywelyn ap Hwlcyn’s eldest son, Meurig, is named as a witness to a deed in 1451, and a striking stained glass window was placed in the church of Llangadwaladr in the commote of Malltraeth either by him or in his memory, in which he and his wife, Marged, are depicted kneeling before Mary (Carr 1982: 216; Lord 2003: 224). Marged was the daughter of Ieuan Fychan ab Ieuan of Pengwern. Meurig is associated with Bodeon in the commote of Malltraeth and Bodsilin in Arfon (63.10n Bodsilin). He was alive when Guto composed a poem of praise for his brother, Huw Lewys, in 1484 (poem 64).
Huw Lewys ap Llywelyn, fl. c.1461–85 Llywelyn’s second son who lived in Prysaeddfed. On him, see Huw Lewys.
Dafydd ap Llywelyn, fl. c.1470s Nothing is known about him except that he had died before Guto composed a poem of praise for his brother, Huw Lewys, in 1484 (poem 64). In light of what is known about this brothers’ dates, it is likely that he was alive during the 1470s.
Gruffudd ap Llywelyn, fl. c.1470s Nothing is known about him except that he lived in Y Chwaen (63.21n) and had died before Guto composed a poem of praise for his brother, Huw Lewys, in 1484 (poem 64). In light of what is known about this brothers’ dates, it is likely that he was alive during the 1470s.
Rhys ap Llywelyn, fl. c.1485–1503/4 Rhys, the fifth son, supported Henry Tudor at Bosworth and was subsequently appointed sheriff of Anglesey in 1485 and received citizenship status in 1486 (Carr 1982: 216). He lived in Bodychen.
Bibliography Carr, A.D. (1982), Medieval Anglesey (Llangefni) Lord, P. (2003), Diwylliant Gweledol Cymru: Gweledigaeth yr Oesoedd Canol (Caerdydd) Wiliam, D.W. (1969–70), ‘Y Traddodiad Barddol ym Mhlwyf Bodedern, Môn’, AAST: 39–79
Unless otherwise noted, copyright on the content of this website belongs to the University of Wales