Maredudd ap Bleddyn

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Maredudd ap Bleddyn (1047 – 9 February 1132) was a prince and later King of Powys in eastern Wales.

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Maredudd was the son of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn who was King of both Powys and Gwynedd. When Bleddyn was killed in 1075, Powys was divided between three of his sons, Iorwerth, Cadwgan and Maredudd.

Marriages and Children

Maredudd married first Hunydd ferch Einudd, who bore him two sons, Madog ap Maredudd and Gruffydd ap Maredudd. He later had a relationship with Cristin ferch Bledrus, who gave him the base sons Hywel ap Maredudd and Iowerth Goch ap Maredudd.

Life

Maredudd initially appears to have been the least powerful and the least mentioned in the chronicles. The three brothers held their lands as vassals of Robert of Bellême, 3rd Earl of Shrewsbury. In 1102 the Earl was summoned to answer charges at the court of King Henry I of England and responded by rising in rebellion against the king. All three brothers initially supported Robert and took up arms on his behalf, pillaging Staffordshire. The king deputed William Pantulf, Lord of Wem, to detach Iorwerth, who was considered to be the most powerful of the three brothers, from his alliance with Robert and his own brothers by the promise of large gifts of land. William succeeded in this, and Iorwerth, after leading a large Welsh force to help the king defeat and banish Earl Robert, then captured his brother Maredudd and handed him over to the king.

Maredudd escaped from captivity in 1107 but did not gain any real power. In 1113 he was apparently acting as penteulu or captain of the guard to his nephew, Owain ap Cadwgan who had taken over as prince of Powys. In this capacity in 1113 Maredudd was able to capture Madog ap Rhiryd, who had killed two of his brothers, Iorwerth and Cadwgan in 1111. Maredudd sent him to Owain, who took vengeance for the killing of his father by blinding Madog.

In 1114 when King Henry I of England invaded Wales, Maredudd quickly made his peace with him, while Owain allied himself with Gruffudd ap Cynan of Gwynedd to oppose the invasion. It was not until Owain was killed in 1116 that Maredudd began to strengthen his position and became ruler of Powys. In 1116 he is recorded as sending 400 men to help Hywel ab Ithel, who ruled Rhos and Rhufoniog under the protection of Powys, against his neighbours, the sons of Owain ab Edwin of Dyffryn Clwyd. Hywel won a victory at the Battle of Maes Maen Cymro in 1118, near Ruthin, but received wounds of which he died six weeks later. This enabled the sons of Gruffudd ap Cynan to annex these lands for Gwynedd, with Maredudd unable to prevent them.

In 1121 Maredudd carried out raids on Cheshire which provoked King Henry into invading Powys. Maredudd retreated into Snowdonia and asked Gruffudd ap Cynan for assistance. However Gruffudd was in no mood to defy the king on Maredudd's behalf, and Maredudd had to purchase peace at a cost of a fine of 10,000 head of cattle. Gwynedd continued to put pressure on Powys, with the sons of Gruffudd ap Cynan, Cadwallon and Owain Gwynedd annexing more territory in 1124. Cadwallon was killed in a battle with the men of Powys near Llangollen in 1132 which put a halt to further encroachment for the time being. Maredudd did not take part in this battle and died the same year, remembered by the annalist of Brut y Tywysogion as the beauty and safety of all Powys and her defender. He was succeeded by his son, Madog ap Maredudd.

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Owain Brogyntyn

Owain Brogyntyn ap Madog was the third and illegitimate son of king Madog ap Maredudd, the last king of a united Kingdom of Powys. He was the son of Madog by the daughter of the Maer du or "black mayor" of Rûg in Edeyrnion however some sources cite his mother as Susanna making him legitimate instead. He was the brother of Gruffydd Maelor the ancestor of Owain Glyndŵr. Presumably Owain Brogyntyn would have been raised by his mother at Rûg in Edeyrnion. He was acknowledged by his father and granted by him the lordship of Edeyrnion and also Dinmael. It is quite possible that he inherited some of these lands through his maternal grandfather, the Maer Du, which were confirmed and perhaps extended by his father the king of Powys. At some point he also came into possession of Castle Brogyntyn on the English borders at Selattyn close to Oswestry.

Iowerth Goch ap Maredudd, a minor Prince and nobleman of the Kingdom of Powys, was the illegitimate son of Maredudd ap Bleddyn and Cristin ferch Bledrus. The appellation "Goch", meaning red, probably referred to the colour of his hair.

Cadwallon ap Gruffydd was the eldest son of Gruffudd ap Cynan, king of Gwynedd.

References

Maredudd ap Bleddyn
Mathrafal Dynasty
Born: Unknown Died: 1132
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Owain ap Cadwgan
Prince of Powys (part)
11161132
Succeeded by
Madog ap Maredudd