Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd

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Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd (c. 1147 – 1195) was prince of part of Gwynedd, one of the kingdoms of medieval Wales. He ruled from 1175 to 1195.

Kingdom of Gwynedd Kingdom in north Wales

The Kingdom of Gwynedd was a Roman Empire successor state that emerged in sub-Roman Britain in the 5th century during the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain.

Wales Country in northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.

On the death of Owain Gwynedd in 1170, fighting broke out among his nineteen sons over the division of his kingdom. Rhodri and his brother Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd, Owain's legitimate sons by his wife Cristina, defeated and killed their half brother Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd at Pentraeth that year. The other sons were largely killed or exiled between 1170 and 1174. Rhodri acquired part of Gwynedd, but soon afterwards came under pressure from his brother Dafydd who captured and imprisoned him.

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.

Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd was Prince of Gwynedd from 1170 to 1195. For a time he ruled jointly with his brothers Maelgwn ab Owain Gwynedd and Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd.

Cristin verch Goronwy or Christian verch Goronwy or Christiana ferch Goronwy was the second wife of Owain Gwynedd.

In 1175, Rhodri escaped from captivity and was able to gain enough support to drive Dafydd out of the part of Gwynedd situated west of the River Conwy. Dafydd and Rhodri then agreed to the partition of Gwynedd between them, with Dafydd retaining only Gwynedd east of the Conwy and the island of Anglesey. Rhodri and his family are mentioned in Descriptio Cambriae by Gerald of Wales which was written in c.1188 and recounts his journey around Wales raising support for the Third Crusade. In this work Gerald appears to suggest that Rhodri had made his royal home on the island – probably at Aberffraw – and gives some illuminating details about Rhodri and his young family:

River Conwy river in the United Kingdom

The River Conwy is a river in north Wales. From its source to its discharge in Conwy Bay it is a little over 27 miles (43 km) long. "Conwy" was formerly Anglicised as "Conway."

<i>Descriptio Cambriae</i> Medieval treatise on Wales and its people

The Descriptio Cambriae or Descriptio Kambriae is a geographical and ethnographic treatise on Wales and its people dating from 1193 or 1194. The Descriptio’s author, variously known as Gerald of Wales or as Giraldus Cambrensis, was a prominent churchman of Welsh birth and mixed Norman-Welsh ancestry. It is divided into two books, the first concentrating on the virtues of the Welsh people, and the second on their faults.

Gerald of Wales 12th and 13th-century Welsh clergyman, writer, and historian

Gerald of Wales was a Cambro-Norman archdeacon of Brecon and historian. As a royal clerk to the king and two archbishops, he travelled widely and wrote extensively. He both studied and taught in France and visited Rome several times, meeting the Pope. He was nominated for several bishoprics but turned them down in the hope of becoming bishop of St Davids, but was unsuccessful despite considerable support. His final post was as archdeacon of Brecon, from which he retired to academic study for the remainder of his life. Much of his writing survives.

"Many chosen youths of the family of Roderic (Rhodri) were seated on an opposite rock, and not one of them could be prevailed upon to take the cross, although the archbishop and others most earnestly exhorted them, but in vain, by an address particularly directed to them. It came to pass within three days, as if by divine vengeance, that these young men, with many others, pursued some robbers of that country. Being discomfited and put to flight, some were slain, others mortally wounded, and the survivors voluntarily assumed that cross they had before despised. Roderic, also, who a short time before had incestuously married the daughter of Rhys, related to him by blood in the third degree, in order, by the assistance of that prince, to be better able to defend himself against the sons of his brothers, whom he had disinherited, not paying attention to the wholesome admonitions of the archbishop on this subject, was a little while afterwards dispossessed of all his lands by their means; thus deservedly meeting with disappointment from the very source from which he expected support."
The Historical Works of Giraldus Cambrensis; The Itinerary of Wales and the Description of Wales
Translated by Sir Richard Colt-Hoare (1894), p.445

By this time the young nephew of Rhodri and Dafydd, Llywelyn the Great had begun to put pressure on his uncles. Rhodri also came under pressure from his nephews Gruffydd and Maredydd ap Cynan, who drove him from Anglesey in 1190. Rhodri made an alliance with Ragnald, King of Mann and the Isles, and possibly married Ragnald's daughter. In 1193, with the help of a Manx contingent, he briefly regained Anglesey, but was ejected again the same year by Gruffydd and Maredudd. Rhodri had three known sons;

Llywelyn the Great Prince of Gwynedd and de facto Prince of Wales

Llywelyn the Great, full name Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, was a King of Gwynedd in north Wales and eventually ruler of all Wales. By a combination of war and diplomacy he dominated Wales for 45 years.

Anglesey Island in Wales

Anglesey is an island off the north-west coast of Wales forming the mainland of a principal area and historic county of the same name, which includes Holy Island to the west and some islets and skerries. Anglesey island, with an area of 260 square miles (673 km2), is by far the largest island in Wales, seventh largest in the British Isles, largest by area in the Irish Sea and second most populous after the Isle of Man. The local government area of Isle of Anglesey County Council measures 276 square miles (715 km2), with a population at the 2011 census of 69,751, of whom 13,659 live on Holy Island. The Menai Strait between Anglesey and mainland Wales is spanned by the Menai Suspension Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford in 1826, and by the Britannia Bridge, built in 1850 and replaced in 1980. The largest town is Holyhead on Holy Island, where the port handles over 2 million passengers a year to the Republic of Ireland. The next largest town is Llangefni, seat of the county council. From 1974 to 1996 Anglesey was administered as part of Gwynedd. Most of Anglesey's inhabitants are Welsh speakers. Ynys Môn, the Welsh name for the island, is used for the UK Parliament and National Assembly constituencies. The island is in the LL postcode area (LL58–LL78).

The descendants of Prince Tomas were claimed by Sir John Wynn as his ancestors (a claim he would later have proven in court) and by the Anwyl of Tywyn Family. Rhodri died in 1195.

Sir John Wynn, 1st Baronet Welsh politician

Sir John Wynn, 1st Baronet, was a Welsh baronet, Member of Parliament and antiquary.

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Owain I
Prince of Gwynedd
1175–1195
Succeeded by
Llywelyn II

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