Ellis-Pagoria Family History
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Rhys ap Tewdwr
Male 997 - 1093

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  • Birth  997  Carmarthenshire, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender  Male 
    Died  1093  Brecon, Breconshire, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID  I21595  Ellis-Pagoria Family Tree
    Last Modified  23 Dec 2012 
     
    Father  Tewdwr "Mawr" ap Cadell,   b. 977, Dynevor, Llandyfeisant, Carmarthenshrire, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  Unknown,   b. 979, Dynevor, Llandyfeisant, Carmarthenshrire, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID  F8711  Group Sheet
     
    Family  Gwladus verch Rhiwallon,   b. 1041, Powys, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Gruffudd ap Rhys,   b. 1081, Dynevor Castle, Llandilo, Carmarthenshire, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1136
     2. Nest verch Rhys,   b. 1073, Dynevor, Llandyfeisant, Carmarthenshire, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1136
    Family ID  F8709  Group Sheet
     
  • Notes 
    • Audrey Maxine Ellis' 23rd Great Grandfather

      Rhys ap Tewdwr (before 1065 - 1093) was a Prince of Deheubarth in south-west 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.

      Family

      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 in battle against Caradog ap Gruffydd in 1078.

      He was a grandson of Cadell ab Einion ab Owain ab Hywel Dda, and a great-grandson of Einon ab Owain ap Hywel Dda thus great-great grandson of Hywell Dda (Howell the good), king of the Britons; who fell in 984.[1] He married Gwladys ferch Rhiwallon daughter of Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn of the Mathrafal dynasty of Powys, by whom he had four sons, Gruffudd, Hywel ap Rhys, Goronwy and Cadwgan, and a daughter Nest (who married Gerald de Windsor Constable of Pembroke, progenitors of the FitzGerald and de Barry dynasties of Ireland. These celebrated Hiberno-Norman, or Cambro-Norman, families have been Peers of Ireland since at least the 14th century.

      The English variant of Tewdwr is Tudor. Henry Tudor, King of England thus the Tudor Dynasty, descended patrilineally from the rulers of the south Welsh principality of Deheubarth.

      Early rule

      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 Gruffydd 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.

      Norman homage

      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 his lifetime. Rhys was content with the arrangement as it meant that he only had to deal with the jealousy of his fellow Welsh princes.

      Internal conflict

      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.

      In 1091 he faced another challenge in the form of an attempt to put Gruffydd, the son of Maredudd ab Owain, on the throne of Deheubarth. Rhys was able to defeat the rebels in a battle at St. Dogmaels, killing Gruffydd.

      Death

      Rhys was unable to withstand the increasing Norman pressure. The Welsh Bruts 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.

      Succession

      Rhys's son Gruffydd inherited some of Deheubarth, but Rhys's death led to the Normans taking over much of the kingdom, with Gruffydd being left to rule a much smaller area.

      Rhys's daughter Nest was a legendary beauty, the so-called Helen of Wales because her abduction from her husband's castle at Cenarth Bychan started a civil war.

      Owain Tudur and James A. Garfield[citation needed] were among those who claimed descent from Rhys ap Tewdwr.

      Footnotes

      1.^ A history of Wales from the earliest times to the Edwardian conquest, Volume 2

      References
      The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales, University of Wales Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
      Remfry, P.M., A Political Chronology of Wales 1066 to 1282 (ISBN 1-899376-46-1)
      A history of Wales from the earliest times to the Edwardian conquest, Volume 2, John Edward Lloyd, 1911

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