Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, Princeps Walliae



Son of Cynfyn ap Gwerystan and Angharad verch Maredudd, Queen of Wales, father of Mareddud ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn and husband of Heire verch Cillin

Bleddyn was born c.1025. With no claim on his father’s side to rule, Bleddyn founded the mediaeval line of Princes of Powys. After the death of his half brother King Gruffydd ap Llywelyn in 1063, Bleddyn ap Cynfyn and his brother Rhiwallon, in a move to recover their father's right, took the Principality of Powys from the Princes Maredudd and Ithael their nephews. In 1068 the Princes Maredudd and Ithael led an army against Bleddyn and Rhiwallon. Bleddyn and Rhiwallon met them at Maechain accompanied by a great host of Saxons, as the Saxons inhabited Powys in equal numbers with the Cymru, under their protection, from where they had fled from the conquest of the Normans under William the Conqueror in 1066. In the battle Rhiwallon was slain on the one side and Ithael ap Gruffydd on the other. Meredudd ap Gruffydd was obliged to flee before Bleddyn to the most desert mountains in Wales, where he too perished from hunger and cold.

Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, therefore, in 1069 became sole monarch, King or Prince of Powys and Gwynedd, and Mareddud ap Owain ap Edwyn ap Einion became Prince of Dinefor or South Wales. In 1072, Rhys ap Owain ap Edwyn ap Einion ap Owain ap Hywel Dda came from the Isle of Manaw, where he had been concealed to revive the claim of the family of Hywel Dda ap Cadell ap Rodri Mawr to the Welsh lands. He collected a great host of the men of Ystrad-Tywi and Brecheiniog, and in 1075 fought a battle with Bleddyn ap Cynfyn  at Welshpool, and killed him.

Upon his death, Bleddyn ap Cynfyn was succeeded or supported in his claim by his nephew Trahaiarn ap Caradawg ap Gwyn ap Collwyn ap Ednowain ap Bleddyn ap Bledrws, Lord of Arwysti. Trahaiarn had married Angharad the heiress after the deaths of her two full brothers Prince Maredudd and Ithael of Gwynedd, and that of her two half brothers Princes Rhiwallon and Bleddyn of Powys.

By this time then many, many factions of Welsh Royal decent continued to war amongst themselves for the thrones of Wales as well as to fight the English. Of Prince Bleddyn's own family, the two sons of Prince Cadwgan ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, Goronwy and Llywelyn, led an army against Rhys ap Owain ap Edwyn ap Einion, Prince of Dinefor (South Wales) at Pwll Gwttig and overcame them. Prince Cadwgan was forced to flee and Trahaiarn ap Caradawg pursued him so closely that he captured him and his brother Hywel and put them to death in revenge for the slaughter of his uncle Bleddyn ab Cynfyn.

Bleddyn’s arms were:  Argent, a lion rampant sable

Bleddyn married Heire (Haer), daughter of Cillin ap Yplaidd Rohaid Lord of Gest in Efionydd, Caernarvonshire in c.1044.  They had at least four children recorded:

Mareddudd ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn born c.1047

Efa verch Bleddyn ap Cynfyn born c.1058 in Montgomeryshire

Guladys married Rhys ap Tudor Mawr

Cadwgan ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn killed in 1112 but whose sons Goronwy and Llywelyn continued the fight for Powys

Heire was borne c.1025 in Dolbenmain, Caernarvonshire

Bleddyn had two further wives unknown and from whom at least 8 children were born. His final wife was ? verch Brochuel of Anglesey and they had a son –

Iowerth ap Bleddyn was killed in 1112

Bleddyn died in battle in 1072 aged 47


The above data comes mainly from the 1623 Visitation to Shropshire, recorded by John Kynaston, eldest son of Edward Kynaston and Katherine Lloyd


Other data comes from Princes of Powys


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