Rhys ap Tewdwr (c. 1040 – 1093) 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.
Rhys ap Tewdwr, a member of the House of Dinefwr, claimed the throne of Deheubarth following the death of his second cousin Rhys ab Owain, who was beheaded after the battle of Gwdig (modern day Goodwick) against Caradog ap Gruffydd in 1078.
He was a grandson of Cadell ab Einion ab Owain ab Hywel Dda and a great-grandson of Einion ab Owain, thus a descendant of Hywel Dda, king of the Britons.
He married more than once. His first wife was Catrin or Gwladus verch Iestyn (b. 1041 in Powys). The name of his last wife was Gwladys ferch Rhiwallon daughter of Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn of the Mathrafal dynasty of Powys.
Issue by early alliances:
Issue by Gwladys ferch Rhiwallon:
In 1081 Caradog ap Gruffydd invaded Deheubarth and drove Rhys to seek sanctuary in the St David's Cathedral.
Rhys, however, made an alliance with Gruffudd ap Cynan who was seeking to regain the throne of the Kingdom of Gwynedd, and at the Battle of Mynydd Carn in the same year they defeated and killed Caradog ap Gruffydd and his allies Trahaearn ap Caradog of Gwynedd and Meilyr ap Rhiwallon.
The same year William the Conqueror visited Deheubarth, ostensibly on a pilgrimage to St David's, but with a major show of power as well, traversing the width of southern Wales, and it seems likely he came to an arrangement with Rhys, whereby Rhys paid him homage and was confirmed in possession of Deheubarth. Rhys paid William £40 a year for his kingdom, ensuring good future relations with William that lasted until the end of William's lifetime. Rhys was content with the arrangement as it meant that he had to deal only with the jealousy of his fellow Welsh princes.
In 1088 Cadwgan ap Bleddyn of Powys attacked Deheubarth and forced Rhys to flee to Ireland. However, Rhys returned later the same year with a fleet from Ireland and defeated the men of Powys, in a battle in which two of Cadwgan's brothers, Madog and Rhiryd, were killed.
The Chronicle of the Princes claims that Cedifor ap Gollwyn, a man who traced his ancestry to the original kings of Dyfed (since the start of the previous century, the usual rulers of Deheubarth had descended from an invader, Cadell ap Rhodri)), commanded substantial authority in Dyfed.When Cedifor died in 1091, his sons demanded that Rhys surrender the throne to Gruffudd ap Maredudd, the son of a former king of Deheubarth (and the nephew of Rhys' predecessor). This triggered a revolt, but Rhys was able to defeat the rebels in a battle at St. Dogmaels, killing Gruffudd.
Rhys was unable to withstand the increasing Norman pressure. The Welsh Bruts (chronicles) state that "Rhys ap Tewdwr, king of Deheubarth, was slain by the Frenchmen who were inhabiting Brycheiniog." The Brut y Tywysogion adds "and with him fell the kingdom of the Britons." This passage lends evidence to the belief that the conquest of Brycheiniog (Brecon), led by Bernard de Neufmarche, was mostly finished by Eastertide 1093. The battle of Brecon opened the way to the conquest of Deheubarth.
The monastery and village of Penrhys in Rhondda Cynon Taff is said to be named for Rhys, as he was beheaded at the site by Norman forces. The village was originally named, Pen-Rhys ap Tewdwr (English: Rhys ap Tewdwr's Head). Upon Rhys's death, the Normans seized much of south Wales, and there was fighting over the spoils with the chieftains of Powys and Gwynedd. Eventually, Rhys's eldest son, Gruffydd, was allowed to inherit a small portion of his father's kingdom. Rhys's daughter Nest was briefly one of the numerous concubines of Henry I, to whom she bore a son, and thereafter the wife of Gerald FitzWalter of Pembroke; their sons and grandsons, the FitzGerald conquerors of Ireland, were known collectively as the "sons of Nest". Through his son Gruffydd, Rhys was an ancestor of the Tudor dynasty.
|Ancestors of Rhys ap Tewdwr|
Rhys ap Gruffydd or ap Gruffudd was the ruler of the kingdom of Deheubarth in south Wales from 1155 to 1197. Today, he is commonly known as The Lord Rhys, in Welsh Yr Arglwydd Rhys, although this title may have not been used in his lifetime. He usually used the title "Proprietary Prince of Deheubarth" or "Prince of South Wales", but two documents have been discovered in which he uses the title "Prince of Wales" or "Prince of the Welsh". Rhys was one of the most successful and powerful Welsh princes, and, after the death of Owain Gwynedd of Gwynedd in 1170, the dominant power in Wales.
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.
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn was king of Wales from 1055 to 1063, he united the whole of Wales in 1057. He was the son of King Llywelyn ap Seisyll and Angharad, daughter of Maredudd ab Owain. He was the great-great-grandson of Hywel Dda. Gruffydd ap Llywelyn is considered to be the first and last king of Wales.
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Deheubarth was a regional name for the realms of south Wales, particularly as opposed to Gwynedd. It is now used as a shorthand for the various realms united under the House of Dinefwr, but that Deheubarth itself was not considered a proper kingdom on the model of Gwynedd, Powys, or Dyfed is shown by its rendering in Latin as dextralis pars or as Britonnes dexterales and not as a named land. In the oldest British writers, Deheubarth was used for all of modern Wales to distinguish it from Hen Ogledd, the northern lands whence Cunedda and the Cymry originated.
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.
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 northern 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".
Nest ferch Rhys was the daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, last king of Deheubarth in Wales, by his wife, Gwladys ferch Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn of Powys. Her family is of the House of Dinefwr. Nest was the wife of Gerald de Windsor, constable of Windsor Castle in Berkshire, by whom she was the ancestress of the FitzGerald dynasty.
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The Battle of Mynydd Carn took place in 1081, as part of a dynastic struggle for control of the Welsh kingdoms of Gwynedd and Deheubarth. The result of the battle had a radical effect on the history of Wales.
Rhys ab Owain was a king of Deheubarth in southern Wales.
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Cadwgan ap Bleddyn (1051–1111) was a prince of the Kingdom of Powys in eastern Wales.
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Brycheiniog was an independent kingdom in South Wales in the Early Middle Ages. It often acted as a buffer state between England to the east and the powerful south Welsh kingdom of Deheubarth to the west. It was conquered and pacified by the Normans between 1088 and 1095, though it remained Welsh in character. It was transformed into the Lordship of Brecknock and later formed the southern and larger part of the historic county of Brecknockshire. To its south was the Kingdom of Morgannwg.
This article is about the particular significance of the century 1101–1200 to Wales and its people.
This article is about the particular significance of the century 1001–1100 to Wales and its people.
The history of Gwynedd in the High Middle Ages is a period in the History of Wales spanning the 11th through the 13th centuries. Gwynedd, located in the north of Wales, eventually became the most dominant of Welsh principalities during this period. Distinctive achievements in Gwynedd include further development of Medieval Welsh literature, particularly poets known as the Beirdd y Tywysogion associated with the court of Gwynedd; the reformation of bardic schools; and the continued development of Cyfraith Hywel. All three of these further contributed to the development of a Welsh national identity in the face of Anglo-Norman encroachment of Wales.
Rhys ab Owain
| Prince of Deheubarth |
Gruffydd ap Rhys