|King of Dyfed, Powys and Gwynedd|
Prince of Seisyllwg and Deheubarth
Mid-13th-century depiction of Hywel Dda in a Latin copy of the Laws of Hywel Dda.
|Predecessor||Idwal Foel ap Anarawd|
|Spouse||Elen ferch Llywarch|
|Issue|| Owain ap Hywel |
Rhodri ap Hywel
Edwin ap Hywel
|House||House of Dinefwr|
|Father||Cadell ap Rhodri|
Hywel Dda, sometimes anglicized as Howel the Good, or Hywel ap Cadell (c.880 – 948) was a King of Deheubarth who eventually came to rule most of Wales. He became the sole king of Seisyllwg in 920 and shortly thereafter established Deheubarth, and proceeded to gain control over the entire country from Prestatyn to Pembroke.As a descendant of Rhodri Mawr through his father Cadell, Hywel was a member of the Dinefwr branch of the dynasty. He was recorded as King of the Britons in the Annales Cambriae and the Annals of Ulster .
Hywel is highly esteemed among other medieval Welsh rulers.His name is particularly linked with the codification of traditional Welsh law, which were thenceforth known as the Laws of Hywel Dda. The latter part of his name (Dda, lit. “Good”) refers to the fact that his laws were just and good. The historian Dafydd Jenkins sees in them compassion rather than punishment, plenty of common sense and recognition of the rights of women. Hywel Dda was a well-educated man even by modern standards, having a good knowledge of Welsh, Latin, and English.
The office building and original home of the Senedd is named Tŷ Hywel (“Hywel House” or “Hywel's House”) in honour of Hywel Dda. The original Assembly chamber, now known as Siambr Hywel (“Hywel's Chamber”), is used for educational courses and for children and young people's debates. The local health board of south-west Wales also bears his name.
Hywel was the son of King Cadell of Seisyllwg. He had a brother, Clydog, who was probably the younger of the two. Hywel was later reputed to have married Elen, the supposed heiress of King Llywarch of Dyfed, which connection was subsequently used to justify his family's reign over that kingdom.
Hywel's father Cadell had been installed as King of Seisyllwg by his father, Rhodri the Great of Gwynedd, following the drowning of the last king in the traditional line, Gwgon, in 872. After Gwgon's death, Rhodri, husband to the dead king's sister Angharad, became steward of his kingdom. This gave Rhodri no standing to claim the kingship of Seisyllwg himself, but he was able to install his son Cadell as a subject king. Cadell died around 911, and his lands in Seisyllwg appear to have been divided between his two sons Hywel and Clydog.
Hywel probably already controlled Dyfed by the time he assumed his father's lands in Ceredigion. No king is recorded after the death of Llywarch in 904, and Hywel's marriage to Llywarch's only surviving heir probably ensured that the kingdom came into his hands.Hywel and Clydog seem to have ruled Seisyllwg together following their father's death and jointly submitted to Edward the Elder of England in 918. However, Clydog died in 920, evidently leaving the whole realm to Hywel. Hywel soon joined Seisyllwg and Dyfed into a single realm known as Deheubarth. This became the first significant event of his reign.
In 926 or 928 Hywel made a pilgrimage to Rome, becoming the first Welsh prince to undertake such a trip and return.Upon his return he forged very close relations with Æthelstan of England. From the outset Athelstan's intention was to secure the submission of all other kings in Britain; unusually, Hywel embraced submission to England and used it to his advantage whenever possible. In 934, Hywel supported Æthelstan's invasion of Scotland. Later in his reign, he was able to leverage his close association with Athelstan and the English crown to great effect in his ambitions within Wales.
In 942 Hywel's cousin Idwal Foel, King of Gwynedd, determined to cast off English overlordship and took up arms against the new English king, Edmund. Idwal and his brother Elisedd were both killed in battle against Edmund's forces. By normal custom Idwal's crown should have passed to his sons, but Hywel intervened. He sent Iago and Ieuaf into exile and established himself as ruler over Gwynedd, which also likely placed him in control of the Kingdom of Powys, which was under the authority of Gwynedd. As such Hywel became king of nearly all of Wales except for Morgannwg and Gwent in the south.
In 943 Hywel's wife Elen died.
Hywel's reign was a violent one, but he achieved an understanding with Athelstan of England whereby Athelstan and Hywel ruled part of Wales jointly. Such was the relationship between the neighbouring countries that Hywel was able to use Athelstan's mint at Chester to produce his own silver pennies.
Following Hywel's death in 948,his kingdom was soon split into three. Gwynedd was reclaimed by the sons of Idwal Foel, while Deheubarth was divided between Hywel's sons.
Hywel’s name is associated with the laws of Medieval Wales, which are commonly known as the Laws of Hywel Dda (Welsh: Cyfraith Hywel). None of the law manuscripts can be dated to Hywel’s time, but Hywel’s name is mentioned in the prologues to the laws. These describe how Hywel gathered expert lawyers and priests from each commote in Wales together in Tŷ Gwyn ar Daf (which is thought to have been close to Whitland, Carmarthenshire) in order to revise and codify the Laws of Wales. The story in the prologues lengthens with time, with more details in the later versions of the prologue. It seems highly unlikely that this meeting actually took place, with the purpose of the prologues being to emphasize the royal and Christian origin and background to the laws, and that in the face of criticism of the laws from outside Wales especially during John Peckham’s period as Archbishop of Canterbury. Nevertheless, his name continued to be associated with Welsh law which remained in active use throughout Wales until the appointed date of implementation of the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 of Henry VIII of England who asserted his royal descent by blood-line from Rhodri Mawr via Hywel Dda.
Opinions vary as to the motives for Hywel's close association with the court of Athelstan. J.E. Lloyd claimed Hywel was an admirer of Wessex,while D.P. Kirby suggests that it may have been the action of a pragmatist who recognized the realities of power in mid-10th century Britain. It is notable that he gave one of his sons an Anglo-Saxon name, Edwin. His policies with regard to England were evidently not to the taste of all his subjects. Athelstan and Hywel had similar interests. They both developed a coinage; they both had a kingdom; both were attributed a Law book. Hywel was aware of the greater power and acceded to it.
A Welsh language poem entitled Armes Prydein , considered by Sir Ifor Williams to have been written in Deheubarth during Hywel's reign, called for the Welsh to join a confederation of all the non-English peoples of Britain and Ireland to fight the Saxons. The poem may be linked to the alliance of Norse and Celtic kingdoms which challenged Athelstan at the Battle of Brunanburh in 937. No Welsh forces joined this alliance, and this may well have been because of the influence of Hywel. On the other hand, neither did he send troops to support Athelstan.
Owain ap Gruffudd was King of Gwynedd, North Wales, from 1137 until his death in 1170, succeeding his father Gruffudd ap Cynan. He was called "Owain the Great" and the first to be styled "Prince of Wales". He is considered to be the most successful of all the North Welsh princes prior to his grandson, Llywelyn the Great. He became known as Owain Gwynedd to distinguish him from the contemporary king of Powys Wenwynwyn, Owain ap Gruffydd ap Maredudd, who became known as Owain Cyfeiliog.
Rhodri ap Merfyn, later known as Rhodri the Great, succeeded his father, Merfyn Frych, as King of Gwynedd in 844. Rhodri annexed Powys c. 856 and Seisyllwg c. 871. He is called "King of the Britons" by the Annals of Ulster. In some later histories, he is referred to as "King of Wales", although the title is anachronistic and his realm did not include southern Wales.
The Kingdom of Powys was a Welsh successor state, petty kingdom and principality that emerged during the Middle Ages following the end of Roman rule in Britain. It very roughly covered the top two thirds of the modern county of Powys and part of today's English West Midlands. More precisely, and based on the Romano-British tribal lands of the Ordovices in the west and the Cornovii in the east, its boundaries originally extended from the Cambrian Mountains in the west to include the modern West Midlands region of England in the east. The fertile river valleys of the Severn and Tern are found here, and this region is referred to in later Welsh literature as "the Paradise of Powys".
Rhys ap Tewdwr was a king of Deheubarth in Wales and member of the Dinefwr dynasty, a branch descended from Rhodri the Great. He was born in the area which is now Carmarthenshire and died at the battle of Brecon in April 1093.
Seisyllwg was a petty kingdom of medieval Wales. It is unclear when it emerged as a distinct unit, but according to later sources it consisted of the former Kingdom of Ceredigion plus the region known as Ystrad Tywi. Thus it covered the modern county of Ceredigion, part of Carmarthenshire, and the Gower Peninsula. It is evidently named after Seisyll, king of Ceredigion in the 7th or early 8th century, but it is unknown if he was directly responsible for its establishment. In the 10th century Seisyllwg became the center of power for Hywel Dda, who came to rule most of Wales. In 920 Hywel merged Seisyllwg with the Kingdom of Dyfed to form the new kingdom of Deheubarth.
Idwal Foel or Idwal ab Anarawd was a 10th-century King of Gwynedd in Wales. A member of the House of Aberffraw, he inherited the throne from his father, Anarawd ap Rhodri. William of Malmesbury credited him as "King of the Britons" in the manner of his father.
Owain ap Hywel was king of Deheubarth in south Wales and probably also controlled Powys.
Cadell ap Rhodri (854–909) was King of Seisyllwg, a minor kingdom in southwestern Wales, from about 872 until his death.
Llywarch ap Hyfaidd was a king of Dyfed from c. 893 until its conquest around 904 by King Cadell of Ceredigion / Seisyllwg and his son Hywel.
Rhodri ap Hyfaidd (?-905) was briefly the king of Dyfed. After his brother Llywarch was killed by Hywel Dda and his father Cadell, Rhodri reigned briefly before he himself was killed and the throne was usurped by Hywel, under whom the kingdom then merged with Seisyllwg to form Deheubarth).
The Kingdom of Dyfed, one of several Welsh petty kingdoms that emerged in 5th-century sub-Roman Britain in southwest Wales, was based on the former territory of the Demetae. The Normans invaded Wales, and by 1138 incorporated Dyfed into a new shire called Pembrokeshire after the Norman castle built in the Cantref of Penfro and under the rule of the Marcher Earl of Pembroke.
Ystrad Tywi is a region of southwest Wales situated on the both banks of the River Tywi. Although Ystrad Tywi was never a kingdom itself, it was historically a valuable territory and was fought over by the various kings of Dyfed, Deheubarth, Seisyllwg, Gwynedd, Morgannwg and the Normans.
The House of Dinefwr was a royal house of Wales and refers to the descendants of Cadell ap Rhodri, King of Seisyllwg, son of Rhodri the Great.
Edwin ap Hywel was a 10th-century king of Deheubarth in Wales of the High Middle Ages.
Rhodri ap Hywel was a King of Deheubarth in South Wales, and son of Hywel Dda.
This article is about the particular significance of the century 901–1000 to Wales and its people.
The House of Aberffraw is a historiographical and genealogical term historians use to illustrate the clear line of succession from Rhodri the Great of Wales through his eldest son Anarawd.
Gwgon ap Meurig was a 9th-century king of Ceredigion and Ystrad Tywi in southwest Wales.
Hyfaidd ap Bleddri was a king of Dyfed.
Lloyd history of Wales.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Howel Dda .|
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Dinefwr DynastyBorn: 880? Died: 950
| King of the Britons |
Dyfnwal ab Owain
| Prince of Gwynedd |
Iago ab Idwal
Ieuaf ab Idwal
Llywarch ap Hyfaidd
| King of Dyfed |
Cadell ap Rhodri
| Prince of Seisyllwg |
Created out of Dyfed and Seisyllwg
| Prince of Deheubarth |
Owain ap Hywel
Rhodri ap Hywel
Edwin ap Hywel
Llywelyn ap Merfyn
| King of Powys |