George Thomas Orlando Bridgeman.

History of the princes of South Wales online

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recurrence of the name of Meredith ap Res, as the deposed patron of the church of
Ebernant, has placed this deed between the charter of Meredud ap Sic. filii Rid ap
Meredud and the confirmation of the grant by King Edward I in 1290 ; but there was
no H. Archbishop of Canterbury in 1290, nor within 85 years of that date. John
Peckham was Archbishop in 1290 ; and Hubert Walter, the Chancellor Archbishop
and Justiciar of England, who acted as a sort of Viceroy in the West, was made Justiciar
in 1193 and deposed in 1198, so that the charter of William de Braose must have passed
during that interval. The William de Braose of that date, who was Lord of Brecon
and Bramber, had sons called William and Philip, and an uncle Philip better known as
Philip de Wigornia ( ex inf. Rev. R. Eyton) ; and the only Meredith ap Res that I
know of living at that time was a younger son of the great Lord Res ap Griffith, Prince
of South Wales. This Meredith ap Res was Lord of Llandovery after his father's
death in 1197, and died in 1201 (see page 71), when his lands passed into the hands of
his elder brother Griffith. Much of the ancient territory of the Prince* of South Wales
eventually came into the possession of Sir Res ap Meredith ap Res Grig, who was
executed in 1291, but I know not how to account for his son Meredith ap Res being
owner of these lands in 1290, unless we suppose him to have inherited a title through
his mother, who may possibly have been a descendant of De Braose. Ebernant (or
Abernant) is situated about 6 miles W.N.W. of Carmarthen, and the chapel of Convil in
Elvet is still (or was until lately) annexed to the church of Abernant.

1 Carmarthen Chartulary. The question as to whether Res ap Meredith ap Res
Grig had a son or not, has a side other than that suggested by the charters as quoted
above. Much depends upon the general character of the Caermarthen Chartulary and
the faithfulness of the transcript. The testing clause appended to the charter of Mere
dith ap Res son of Res ap Meredith may possibly have belonged, not to the charter

2 B


kept in close custody at a safe distance from the borders
of Wales; for on December 4, 1307, the Sheriff of
Norfolk has orders from King Edward II, in the first year
of his reign, to pay over to Patric de Pollesworth, a
prisoner from Scotland, to Res the brother of Malgon, and
Griffin his brother, and to the son of Res ap Mereduk,
Welshmen, abiding in the Bang's castle at Norwich, their
usual allowances such as they had been accustomed to
receive in the time of the late King Edward. 1

These allowances were similarly ordered to be paid to
them on May 8, 1308. 2

After this date I learn no more of these Welsh prisoners,
whom we may suppose to have been a son of Res ap Mere-
dith ap Res Grig, and two sons of Res Vychan ap Res ap
Maelgon. It is probable that they passed the remainder
of their lives in the King's prison, and I know of
none who claim to be descended from any of these Welsh


In 1277 Howel ap Res Grig was one of those who
remained faithful to Prince Llewelyn ap Griffith, when
he was deserted by most of his compatriots. He had
made his peace with the Bang at the commencement
of the following year, for, on January 7, 1278, Pain
de Chaworth has orders to do no injury to Howel the
son of Res Crek or his Men. Howel took part with
the rest of his countrymen in the wars of 1282-3, and
is mentioned in the Annales Cambrics, by the name of
Howel ap Res, brother of Meredith ap Res, as one of
those who were taken after the capture of Prince David
in 1283 and imprisoned in London. He must have

itself but to some exemplification thereof. King Edward's charter of May 15, 1290,
may possibly allude to the imprisonment of the grantor a century before. The charters
as here given are certainly open to suspicion, and unless King Edward's charter can be
found on the Charter-Rolls we may look upon it as quite possible that the charters were
purposely mistranscribed or falsified and that there was no such person as the Meredith
ap Res suggested by the chartulary. The mention of a " son of Res ap Mereduk " as
a prisoner in the Bong's castle at Norwich in 1307 is the only other prop for my con-
jecture that Res ap Meredith ap Res Grig had a son by a former marriage ; but the
words of Peter Langtoft's Chronicle above quoted would rather seem to imply that ho
left no children behind him.

i & 2 Rymer's Faedera.


been an old man at this time, for his father Res Grig
died in 1233. His land of Landarak (or Llanddarog
in Carmarthenshire), was forfeited in the year 1283,
and after this we hear no more of him. I have met
with no mention of his children, nor am I aware of
any who claim to be descended from him.


There is another line of descendants from the great
Lord Res ap Griffith whose position should be explained
before we revert to the elder house, the line namely
of Maelgon ap Res, which was represented at the close
of the war, in 1283, by Res Vychan ap Res ap Maelgon.
Maelgon, the founder of this line, was the son of Res ap
Griffith by Gwervil, daughter of Llewelyn ap Res ap
Wardaf Vrych. Though illegitimate by birth he never-
theless succeeded through his own spirit and energy, in
securing for himself a portion of his father's territory, of
which, indeed, the greater part was at one time under
his rule. 1 When he died in 1230, he was probably in
possession of all Cardigan Is-Ayron, except the castle,
which he had himself delivered over by treaty to the
English King. It is probable that he also held the
commot of Crewthyn, or else that of Pennarth, which
latter may perhaps have been given to him in exchange
for Crewthyn.

He was succeeded by his son Maelgon Vychan who, in
1231, recovered the castle of Cardigan from the English,
and thus, for a few years became master of the whole of
Cardigan Is-Ayron. He seems to have also held the
comrnot of Pennarth, which in 1236 he exchanged with
his cousin Meredith ap Owen for that of Mevenyth.

In May 1240 the castle of Cardigan was taken from
him by Walter Mareschal, who commanded the forces of
his brother Gilbert, Earl of Pembroke, and from hence-
forward this important castle remained, with but slight
interruptions, in the hands of the English. We find
Maelgon shortly afterwards in treaty with Earl Gilbert,

l It was not unusual for illegitimate sons in Wales, when eminent, to share the paternal
inheritance with their hrothers. There are several inquisitions in the reigns of King
Henry and the Edwards in whifh the jurors speak of it as a common custom in tlmt


who, in December of the same year, made him do
homage to him for his lands, and at the same time coven-
anted with him to give his daughter Isabella in marriage
to Res the son of Maelgon. 1 About the year 1245 Maelgon
made an exchange of lands with Meredith ap Owen, by
which the dominion of Meredith was transferred to
Is-Ayron and that of Maelgon to Uch-Ayron or the
Northern portion of Cardigan.

In 1246 he was dispossessed of his lands by the King's
officers and driven into North Wales ; and on his sub-
mission to the King, in November of the same year,
he had two commots only given up to him for his
territory. These were in the first instance Geneurglyn
and Iscoed; but he was afterwards allowed to exchange
the latter for Crewthyn, which would have brought to-
gether his reduced dominions. It is highly probable,
however, that even these were taken from him again in
1250 ; and I suspect that he held but little at the time of
his death in 1257.

Maelgon Vychan is said to have married Angharad,
daughter of Prince Llewelyn ap Jerwerth, by his wife Joan,
illegitimate daughter of King John. 2 His only son Ees
predeceased him in 1255 ; 3 as did also two of his daughters,
namely, Gwenthlian, who died in 1254, leaving by her
husband Meredith ap Llewelyn, Lord of Merioneth, an
only son and heir, whom I take to have been Llewelyn ap
Meredith, Lord of Merioneth in 1257 ; and Margaret,
wife of Owen ap Meredith, Lord of Cedewen, who died

1 Who this daughter of Earl Gilbert Mareschal was it is difficult to determine.
She may, perhaps, have been an illegitimate daughter. If not, she must have died un-
married, or without issue, very shortly after this transaction, for Earl Gilbert died with-
out lawful issue on June 27, 1241. The wife of Ees ap Maelgon apparently had her
dower assigned to her in the commot of Pennarth and was already dead on the Tuesday
next before the Feast of the Purification (Feb. 1) 1290, the date of an extent, taken at
Caron before the Abbot of Alba Landa, of the land in Pennarth which had been held by
the wife of Ees ap Maylgun for term of life by the King's gift. The jury report that
there is no manor there, nor the site of a manor or residence, nor any land in demesne ;
but certain tenants who hold a westwa and a quarter at a fixed rent of 3. 6s. 8d..per annum ;
there is also a watermill of the annual value of 13s. 4d.; and the aforesaid tenants are
bound to pay two several sums of 13s. 4d. in lieu of certain other payments. The Pleas
of court are worth 15s. per annum ; the Leyrwyte 5s. and the heriots 6s. 8d. The
tenants hold their lands by the service of carrying timber for the repairs of the King's
castle, and attending the King's expeditions as often as they are summoned, like others
of the same country (Inq. 18 Edw. I, No 56). 2 It is not unlikely that he may have
received with her some lands in North Wales in frank marriage ; and if these lands
were restored to him it would account for the close adhesion of his grandson Ees ap
Ees ap Maelgon to the Prince of North Wales, unto whom his homage was conceded
by the King at the peace of 1277. 3 Brut-y-Tywysogion.


soon after her sister in 1255. Eleanor or Elen another
daughter of Maelgon Vychan is said to have married
Meredith ap Owen, Lord of Cardigan Uch-Ayron.
Maelgon Vychan was succeeded at his death by his grand-
son Llewelyn ap Res, who was probably a minor at the
time of his grandfather's decease, for we do not find his
name among the confederate Barons in 1258, when
almost all the Welsh magnates entered into confederation
with the Barons of Scotland against the English King ;
nor do we hear any thing of him, except that he died in
1264, and was succeeded by his brother Res Vychan.
Res Vychan ap Res ap Maelgon took a more active part
in the stirring events of his time. To him Llewelyn ap
Griffith restored the cantrev Penwedic ; and we next hear
of him about the year 1270, in conjunction with Griffith
and Owen the sons of Meredith, recovering from the
English the commots of Anhunog, Perveth, and Crewthyn,
which had been taken from them after the peace. Commot
Perveth was at this time given over to him, and was still
in his possession on June 29, 1275. In the summer of
1277 he made his submission to the King through means
of Roger Mortimer, and the King received his homage at
Worcester, on July 2. Within a month of this time,
however, he had to take refuge with (his cousin) Llewelyn
ap Griffith in North Wales, for fear of being taken by
the English at Llanbadarn ; and thereupon the English-
men took possession of his whole territory. By the
treaty of peace which was made with Llewelyn in
November of the same year, 1277, the King conceded to
Llewelyn for life the homage of certain Barons of North
Wales, and with them that of Res Vychan ap Res ap
Maelgon, together with the land which he then held;
for as to the portion of his land which had been seized
by the King or his officers, it was not to be restored to
him but to remain for ever in the King's hands.

In the list of grievances that were laid before the Arch-
bishop of Canterbury in November, 1282, at the time of
the general out-break which preceded the final conquest
of Wales, Llewelyn complains on behalf of his vassal
that " whereas it was contained in the form of peace that
Res Vychan ap Res ap Maelgon should retain all the land


which he then had in possession ; yet after the peace was
concluded he was spoiled of all his lands of Geneurglyn
which he then held, together with the men and cattle
thereof." He further complains that " when certain men
of Geneurglyn had taken certain goods of some of their
neighbours of Geneurglyn, when they were in the
dominion of the Prince in Meyreon, the King's men of
Llanbadarn did take away the said goods out of the land
of the Prince from Meyreon." From which I should infer
that Res Vychan had only a portion of Geneurglyn in
his hands at the time of the peace with Llewelyn in
November 1277, and this portion was then reckoned to
belong to the land of Meyreon as being held under

On the octaves of Trinity (June 4) 1279, the Bishop of
St. David's had claimed against Res Vychan the advowson
of the church of Lampader Vawr. On that day the
King recovers the said advowson from the Bishop in the
court at Westminster, when the prelate recognizes the
King's right to the patronage and avers that he only
claimed as against Roes Boghan ap Rees ap Mailgun.

On the breaking out of the last war of Llewelyn and
David, namely on March 25, 1282, the whole cantrev
Penwedic was once more taken by Res Vychan ap Res ap
Maelgon whilst the other Princes of South Wales were at
the same time reconquering their lands; and it was
during the period of their transient success that the list of
their grievances was laid before the Archbishop who
approached them as a Mediator. But the King and his
Barons were now too strong for the Welshmen ; and after
a brief succession of triumphs which ended in the death
of Llewelyn and the capture of his brother David, Res
Vychan ap Res ap Maelgon and the other Princes were
taken prisoners in the summer of 1283, and confined in
the tower of London.

After this we hear nothing of Res Vychan ap Res ap
Maelgon or his descendants for several years ; but, in
1294, when the Welshmen took up arms to resist the pay-
ment of the subsidy which had been granted towards the
expenses of the wars in France, the men of West Wales
chose for their captains Mailgon Vychan and Canan ap


Meredith, 1 and devastated the counties of Pembroke and

This Maelgon Vychan is called by the Welsh Heralds
a son of Res Vychan ap Res ap Maelgon, and these
two chieftains would have been the natural leaders of the
men of West Wales at this period.

The insurrection commenced about Michaelmas 1294,'
when the Welshmen simultaneously rose in three different
quarters under different leaders and destroyed the King's
castles in Wales. The men of North Wales were led by
Madoc ap Llewelyn, a kinsman of the last Prince
Llewelyn; 3 those of West Wales by Maelgon Vychan
and Canan ; and in Glamorgan, Morgan ap Meredith,*
whose ancestors had been disinherited by the Earls of
Gloucester, was acknowledged by the men of those parts
as their Lord and reinstated by them in the lands of
his ancestors, from which the Earl of Gloucester was
driven out.

The revolt was of sufficient importance to oblige the
King to postpone his expedition into Gascony and to
march at once into Wales with such an army as he could
immediately collect. Having written to his brother
Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, and Henry de Lacy, Earl of
Lincoln, who were then at Portsmouth with a large army
prepared to embark for Gascony, commanding them to
join him in Wales with all speed, Edward himself set out
from Westminster on the morrow of St. Britius 6 (Nov. 14)
and reached Worcester on Nov. 21, where he heard mass
on the Feast of St. Katherine (Nov. 25) and started for
Chester on the following day. 6 The Earl of Lincoln had
been encountered and defeated by the Welsh at Denbigh,
on the Feast of St. Martin-in-the- winter 7 (Nov. 11) on his

1 De rebus in Cambria gestis (Hengwrt MS. No. 225), where Maelgon is rightly
described as Maelgon ap Re. The author gives as his authority the " Floies
Historiarum." This portion of the Hengwrt MS. No. 225 consists of a series of ex-
tracts from original charters and from the writings of early historians concerning affairs
in Wales, and is supposed to be in the handwriting of Dr. Powel the historian of Wales.
2 Walter de Hemingburgh. 3 Warrington, who gives for his authority Mills' Catalogue
of Honour, describes Madoc as an illegitimate eon of the last Prince Llewelyn ap Griffith ;
and in Rot. Parl. 2 Edw. II (Vol. 1 p. 276) it is recorded that the Burgesses of the town
of Hardelege had certain mills, &c. to farm of the King " antegturram Madoc ap Lywelyn
quondam 1'rincipis Wallie." If we could be sure that Llewelyn, and not Madoc, is here
alluded to as the " Prince of Wales " it would be authentic evidence that Madoc was
a son of that Prince; and in that case "kinsman" in the text would be merely an
euphemism for " natural son." In Hengwrt MS. No. 225 he is called Madoc ap
Llewelyn ap Meredith. 4 See page 72. 5 Matt. Westminster (Edition of 1570)
p. 395. 6 Annales de Wigornia. ^ Walter d Hemingburgh and Will. Rishanger.


way to join the head quarters of the army ; and the King
proceeded into Wales with his own army on December 8, 1
where he was greatly harassed by Madoc and the Welsh-
men, who cut off his supplies near Con way and put him
to great difficulties. Edward passed the winter at the
castle of Aberconway and pursued the war with more
success in the following year. The military events of the
year 1295 are somewhat differently recorded by the early
Historians. The King himself dates his letters at Aber-
conway from February 10 to April 6, and from April 18
to April 28 at Lammays in Anglesey. 2 According to the
Worcester Annals Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford
raised the seige of Abergavenny on February 13, when
he burnt the lands of the Welshmen and killed an
immense number of them. And on March 5 William de
Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, defeated the Welsh with
great slaughter at a place called Meismadoc, from which
battle Madoc ap Llewelyn with difficulty escaped. 3

On June 3 we find the King at Cardigan, 4 whither he
appears to have come on the promise of the Abbot of
Strata Florida that he would bring the men of Cardigan
to the King's peace ; but after the King had waited for
some time with his army and none of the Welshmen came
to seek his pardon, he was so angry with the Abbot that
he ordered the Abbey to be burnt down. 5

After this Morgan was induced by the Earl of Warwick
to submit himself to the Royal clemency with seven
hundred of his retainers. 6 And when Madoc found him-
self Jiard pressed by the English and knew that Morgan
had obtained mercy at the King's hands, he surrendered
himself to John de Haveringe, the King's Lieutenant, on
July 3 1, 7 and sought pardon of the King, who spared
his life but imprisoned him at the Tower of London. 8

About the same time Canan, who had feigned leprosy,
was taken at Brecknock, and conveyed to the King, by
whom he was condemned to die as a traitor ; and he was
accordingly hanged at Hereford on December 14, having

l Annales de Wigornia. 2 Rymer's Fsedera. 3, 5, & 6 Annales de Wigornia.
4 Kymer's Faedera. ^ Annales de Wigornia. According to Caradoc of Llancarvan
Madoc was taken prisoner at a battle fought on the hills of Cefn Digolh, near Cawrs
Castle, and sent to London where he was condemned to perpetual imprisonment in the
Tower. 8 Matthew Westminster ; Annales de Dunstaplia.

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been first drawn at the tails of horses to the place of
execution. 1

Thus ended the war of 1294-5 ; after which time, says
Bishanger, Wales was quiet, and the Welshmen began
to live after the manner of the English. Maelgon Vychan
is said to have been slain by the men of Gwent (probably
the retainers of the Earl of Gloucester) in a field between
the mill-dam and the pool of the Prior of Carmarthen. 2

At the conclusion of the peace many of the Welsh
nobles were given up as hostages and sent to England to
be inprisoned in divers castles, where they remained till
after the conclusion of the Scottish war. 3

I learn no more of the descendants of Res Vychan ap
Res ap Maelgon, except that Res the brother of Maelgon
and Griffin his brother were prisoners in the King's
castle of Norwich, together with the son of Res ap Mere-
dith in 1307 and 1308. 4


Meredith ap Owen, Lord of Cardigan Is-Ayron, was
the son of Owen ap Griffith, the surviving son and
eventual representative of the Lord Griffith ap Res. In
order to see clearly the position of his descendants at the
close of the wars of Llewelyn and David we must revert
to the earlier history of his family and take a short review
of their struggles to retain possession of the territory of
their forefathers.

When the Lord Griffith ap Res died in 1201 Cardigan
and such portions of Carmarthen as were then in his
possession were seized by his brothers Res Grig and
Maelgon. Thus Cardigan and the Lordship of Emlyn
fell into Maelgon's hands, and Ystradtywi into those of
Res Grig.

Young Res, the eldest son of Griffith ap Res, recovered
the castle of Llandovery and a portion of Cantrev Bychan

1 Annales de "Wigornia ; Matthew "Westminster says that he was taken prisoner with
two of his adherents, and being conveyed to Hereford on St. Matthias' day (Feb.
24), was drawn at the tails of horses and hanged ; his two retainers receiving a similar
punishment. It is probable that instead of St. Matthias', it should be St. Matthew's
day, September 21, which would make the discrepancy a small one. 2 Hengwrt MS.
No. 96 (being a book of Pedigrees in the autograph of Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt, the
famous antiquary). 3 Walter de Hemingburgh. 4 Rymer's Fsedera.


from his uncle Res Grig in 1202, and the castle of
Llangadoc in the following year ; but these were shortly
afterwards taken fronj him by Maelgon and his allies.

The castles of Llandovery and Dynevor were taken in
1204 by the sons of Griffith ap Res, who also recovered
Llangadoc and made their peace with their uncle Res
Grig by surrendering to him the castle of Dynevor ; and
in the course of the year 1207 the whole of Cardigan
Uch-Ayron was taken from Maelgon by Llewelyn ap
Jerwerth, Prince of North Wales, and given over to
young Res and Owen the sons of Griffith ap Res.

In 1210 Res Grig made his peace with the English,
and by their assistance retook the castle of Llandovery ;
whereupon Maelgon also became " the King's man" and
endeavoured to take the territory of Uch-Ayron from his
nephews, but he was encountered by them with much
spirit and repulsed with considerable loss. Towards the
close of the following year, however, when King John
had brought all the other Welsh Princes to his subjection,
he despatched his Warden of the Marches, Fulk de Breant,
with an English army, accompanied by Maelgon and the
other tributary Welsh Princes, to reduce to submission
the sons of Griffith ap Res, who alone held out against
him. Res and Owen, being unable to cope with so great
a force, were obliged to capitulate, and having obtained
a safe-conduct from Fulk, they repaired to the King's
Court, and, "pro maUvolenciu suit eisrelaxandu" surrendered
to him their whole land of the Honour of Cardigan, the
whole land of Cantrebochan with the castle of Lanan-
devery, and the whole land of Mathlaen ;' after which
Fulk rebuilt the castle of Aberystwith for the King.

Res Grig and Maelgon now repented of their submission
to the English Monarch, and attacked his castle of
Aberystwith ; so that on the return of Res and Owen to
South Wales the young Princes were able to retaliate
upon their uncles under colour of the King's authority,
who now granted to Res ap Griffith the whole Honour
of Cardigan which Maelgon had held, reserving to him-
self, however, the castles of Cardigan and Aberystwith
with their adjacent manors. This grant did not enable

i Bishop Stapleton's Kalendar of the Treasury of the Exchequer (see Kalendara and
Inventories in H. Majesty's Court of Exchequer, Vol. I, p. 198).


young Res to obtain possession of his lands in Cardigan

Online LibraryGeorge Thomas Orlando BridgemanHistory of the princes of South Wales → online text (page 21 of 31)