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at this time, but he and his brother Owen succeeded in
recovering the castles of Llandovery and Dynevor and
the whole of Ystradtywi from Ees Grig in the following

In the year 1216 the Welsh, under the lead of Prince
Llewelyn ap Jerwerth, recovered from the English much
of their ancient territory, including the commots of
Kidwelly and Carnwallyon (in Carmarthenshire) and a
considerable portion of Dy vet (or Pembrokeshire), which
the native Lords of South Wales continued to hold for a
time in addition to Cardigan and Ystradtywi. During
the period of this their brilliant success against the
common enemy their family differences were temporarily
adjusted and a settlement made, under the Presidency of
Llewelyn, by which Maelgon received as his share of
territory the Northern portion of Dyvet, with two of the
Southern commots of Cardigan, namely Gwynnionith
and Mabwynneon, and the two Eastern commots of
Ystradtywi, namely Mallaen and Hirfryn which adjoined
the Lordship of Brecknock. The remainder of Ystradtywi
was assigned to Res Grig ; and the remainder of Cardigan
to the sons of Griffith.

On the death of the young Lord Res ap Griffith, with-
out issue, in 1222, it would seem that, by the interference
of Llewelyn, Maelgon received a portion of his land, and
thus became Lord of the entire Southern moiety of Car-
digan (or Cardigan Is-Ayron), while Owen ap Griffith, the
brother of young Res, retained the upper moiety (or
Cardigan Uch-Ayron) ; and on Maelgon's ejectment by
the Earl of Pembroke, about 1223, his portion of Cardigan
was given by the Earl to Cynan ap Howel Sais, to be
held by him under the said Earl. Whereupon Maelgon
betook himself to Llewelyn ap Jerwerth, through whose
intercession he obtained an order from the King for a
fresh partition of lands between Maelgon and his nephews
Owen ap Griffith and Cynan ap Howel, to be determined
by certain arbitrators, of whom the half were to be nomi-
nated by Llewelyn and the other half by the Earl of
Pembroke, so that Owen's interests would seem to have
been unrepresented. The result of this commission was
an order from the King to Owen ap Griffith to give up to


his uncle Maelgon the commot of Crewthyn, which had
been adjudged to him by the said arbitrators, and this,
as I suppose, to be held by Maelgon in addition to the
land of Cardigan Is-Ayron, which had been probably
restored to him at this time, while Cynan ap Howel's
claims will have been satisfied perhaps by the acquisition
of the Lordships of Emlyn and Oysterlof.

From what follow r s I should, however, conjecture that
the commot of Pennarth was transferred to Maelgon at
this time instead of that of Crewthyn.

Owen ap Griffith died in 1235, and was succeeded in
his dominion by a son Meredith ap Owen, his uncle
Maelgon having previously died about 1230 and been
succeeded by a son Maelgon Vychan.

In 1236 the commot of Mevenyth was given by Mere-
dith ap Owen to Maelgon Vychan in exchange for that
of Pennarth ; and a few years later sometime between
1241 and 1245, a general exchange of lands was made
between them, whereby the dominion of Maelgon was
transferred toUch-Ayron and that of Meredith to Is-Ayron.

I am unable to say whether Pennarth, under this
arrangement, was taken or not by Maelgon, whose daughter
in law certainly had her dower assigned to her in that
commot ; but when Maelgon was afterwards dispossessed
of his territory, in 1246, by Nicholas de Moels Meredith
ap Owen and Meredith ap Res, who were acting under
the King's authority, it is probable that some portion
of Maelgon's lands, including the commots of Pennarth,
Mevenyth, Crewthyn, and Geneurglyn, were retained by
Meredith ap Owen, and that the rest were seized into the
King's hands, and afterwards granted to Prince Edward,
the King's son.

When Maelgon submitted himself to the King, towards
the close of the same year, two commots only were
assigned to him for his possession, namely those of
Geneurglyn and Iscoed, which had been formerly held by
Meredith ap Owen ; and Iscoed was afterwards, by the
King's favour, exchanged for Crewthyn.

I should suppose that Meredith ap Owen must have
been in some measure a consenting party to this arrange-
ment, for one at least of these commots, namely that of
Iscoed, was certainly parcel of his own proper Dominions.


If the commots of Pennarth and Mevenyth were not
made over to Meredith ap Owen at this time, it is possible
that they may have fallen into his hands in the autumn
of 1250, when Maelgon was again under the King's dis-

Whatever portion of Maelgon's lands, however, had
been appropriated by Prince Edward was subsequently
conceded by Llewelyn, in 1256, to Meredith ap Owen,
together with the land of Buellt, of which latter he does
not appear to have long retained possession.

From this time until after the death of Meredith ap
Owen in 1265 the Welsh ruled paramount in these parts
of Wales ; and, whereas Maelgon died in 1257, not long
after the first breaking out of the war, it is probable that
the whole of Cardigan, except perhaps the commot of
Crewthyn and the upper moiety of Geneurglyn, remained
in Meredith's hands until the time of his death.

Maelgon Vychan had in the mean time been succeeded
by his grandsons Llewelyn ap Res and Res Vychan ap
Res ap Maelgon in turn ; and after the death of Meredith
ap Owen Prince Llewelyn ap Griffith took the Northern
commots of Geneurglyn, Crewthyn, and Perveth, from
the sons of Meredith ap Owen and gave them over to
Res Vychan ap Res ap Maelgon.

The sons of Meredith ap Owen were Owen, Griffith,
and Canan ; who divided his lands between them. He
had also a daughter Gwenllian, wife of one Meredith,
by whom she had a daughter and heiress Elen, who
subsequently claimed against Robert Clement certain
lands in the commot of Pennarth.

Owen ap Meredith the eldest son of Meredith ap Owen
died on August 15, 1275, before the commencement of
the war with King Edward, leaving an infant son
Llewelyn, of whom hereafter.

Griffith ap Meredith, whom I take to have been the
second son, received as his share of his father's territory
the commot of Iscoed Ucherwern, a portion of the
commots of Mabwynneon and Gwynnionith, and probably
the commot of Mevenyth, which, though subsequently
accounted in the King's Courts to have been forfeited by
his father Meredith ap Owen, was at one time certainly
in Griffith's possession.


About the year 1270 Griffith and his brother Owen
and Res Vychan ap Res ap Maelgon recovered from the
English the commots of Anhunog, Perveth, and Crewthyn,
which had apparently been taken from them after the settle-
ment of the last peace, and it is possible that Mevenyth
may have been lost and recovered in the same way.

Of these lands Crewthyn seems to have been retained
by Res Vychan ; and about February 2, 1273, Owen and
Griffith restored Perveth to their brother Canan.

It would seem that the portion of Gwynnionith in
which the Parish of Llandussil was situated, originally
fell to the share of Griffith (unless the advowson of the
church was jointly held by all the sons of Meredith ap
Owen, who may possibly have presented to it in turn),
for in 1274, before the death of Owen ap Meredith, there
had been a suit pending in the Court of Canterbury
between the chapter of St. David's and Griffin son of Mere-
due ap Owen, concerning the right of presentation to this
church ; with respect to which the said Griffin voluntarily
submitted himself to the decision of Richard, Lord Bishop
of St. David's, and pledged himself by deed dated at
Trefdyn on 3 Kal. Nov. (Oct. 30), 1274, to accept the
Bishop's award. The Lord Bishop thereupon decided
that the said Griffin and his heirs for ever should have the
right of presentation, and that Howel, who had been
presented by Griffin, should be admitted and canonically
instituted thereto ; but that he and the Rectors suc-
ceeding him should make an annual payment of 20 marks
of silver to the chapter of St. David's for the use of the
canons residentiary there. He further decided that there
should be a perpetual Vicar in residence at Llandussil, to
be presented by the Rector, which Vicar should receive
one third part of the income of the church of Llandussil,
less the 20 marks with which it is charged for the chapter
of St. David's. The Bishop's award is dated at the same
time and place as the deed of Griffith, and it is subscribed
by Howel, son of Lewelin, the Rector nominated and
presented by the said Griffin son of Mereduc. 1

In the spring of the year 1277, after the death of Owen
ap Meredith, Griffith and his surviving brother Canan

1 Statute ecclcsiso Menevcnsis (Earl. MSS. 1249). Richard de Carrew was Bishop
of St. David's from 1256 to 1280.


joined Llewelyn ap Griffith and the men of North Wales
in their insurrection against the English rule, but within
a few months afterwards they made their peace with the
King, upon which the commots of Mevenyth, Perveth,
and Anhunog (which last was of the inheritance of their
nephew Llewelyn ap Owen), were taken by Pain de
Chaworth and seized into the King's hands. On making
their submission they repaired to the King's Court, with
the other Princes of South Wales, but were not at that
time allowed to do fealty and homage for their lands,
though they were afterwards admitted thereto at a
council held at Worcester on July 1 of the same year.

In 1278 Griffith ap Meredith complains to the King
and his Parliament that on the day that he had returned
to the King's peace he was deprived of one half of his
land, namely the commot of Mevenyth, which is reputed
to be worth two commots, and prays that some compen-
sation may be made to him. The answer was that his
claim had been compromised by a sum of money which
he had received at the Tower of London.

I presume that he still retained possession of the
commot of Iscoed Uchirwern ; for an extent of the lands
of " Griffin son of Mereduc " was taken at Lampader
Vawr on April 11, 1279, "by twelve of the King's men
of the county of Cardigan " when the jury found that
"there are there six westva of the annual value of twenty-
four marks of fixed rent ; they are called Uthirwern and
(sic) Iscoyt, and" the said Griffin "has nothing else
besides this of which the annual value can be stated,
because they (the jurors) know not how to estimate the
perquisites of the court or escheats." 1

This commot (which he exchanged, in the course of
the next three years, with his nephew Llewelyn ap Owen
for that of Kaerwedros) appears to have comprised the
whole extent of his lands at that time, though he after-
wards re-occupied once more the commot of Mevenyth
during the short outbreak of 1282, and was certainly in
possession of his share of Mabwynneon and Gwynnionith
in July 1282.

Hostilities with the English had been commenced in
North Wales by David ap Griffith, the brother of

l Inq. 7 Edw. I, No. 76.


Llewelyn, on March 21, 1282. They were promptly
taken up by Griffith ap Meredith and Res ap Res ap
Maelgon in the South, who possessed themselves of the
Castle of Lampader Vawr on the 25th of the same month ;
and on the following day Griffith and his brother Canan
took part in the general expedition which resulted in the
recovery of the castles of Llandovery and Carregcennen
from the English.

These brilliant exploits, however, produced but a
transient success. During the period that intervened
between this and the death of Llewelyn ap Griffith at
the close of the same year we find the sons of Meredith
ap Owen complaining that the King had forcibly deprived
them of their inheritance of Geneurglyn and Crewthyn,
which he had conceded to them after the form of peace. 1

It is not easy to see how their claim to these two
commots could be made out, but the explanation of it is
to be found in the Welsh Plea- Rolls preserved in the
Treasury of the Exchequer. It appears that after the
conclusion of peace in 1277 the King received the
homage of the respective Lords of South Wales for
the lands which they then held. Commissioners were
subsequently appointed to hear and determine the dis-
putes concerning the tenure of lands &c. in Wales,
who held their courts in different parts of the country
during the three following years. At a court held
at Montgomery, on April 29, 1280 (in crastino claus.
pasch. anno 8 Edw. I), before R. de Fremyngham and the
Justices associated with him, it appears that Griffin
Abmereduth, Canan his brother, and Leulin their nephew
had sued the King for recovery of the commots of Gen-
erglin and Creudin which were then in the King's hands.
Their plea was that Meredith Abowan, father of the said
Griffin and Canan and grandfather of the said Leulin,
was seised of the said commot of Creudin in demesne as
of fee until Leulin, Prince of Wales unjustly ejected him
by force and violence ; and the said Canan was similarly
seised of the said cominot of Generglin, as his share of
inheritance, until the same Leulin unjustly ejected him
by force and violence ; 2 and they demanded that their

1 See page 169. 2 Compare this with the account given at pages 149 and 214, from
which it slightly varies, though it may be made to tally by supposing that the sons of
Meredith ap Owen had re-entered upon Crewthyn after their father's decease.

2 D


right should be enquired into. Bogo de Knovile appeared
on behalf of the crown, and said that when the King, in
time of war between himself and Leulin, Prince of Wales,
came into those parts with his army, he found Res Vathan
ap Res ap Mailgun seised of the said commots in demesne
as of fee, which same Res Mailgun then did homage and
fealty to the King for the said commots, in the presence
of the said Griffin, Canan, and Leulin, who preferred no
claim thereto. After which the same Res Mailgun be-
came the King's capital enemy, in contravention of the
peace ; and by his forfeiture the said commots came into
the King's hands. When the peace was concluded at
Rothelan the same Res Vathan was disinherited by the
judgement of the King's court and that of the Prince of
Wales, so that his lands remained in the King's hands as
an escheat. So he (De Knovile) asked sentence on behalf
of the King, because the said Griffin, Canan, and Leulin
had preferred no claim to their right before the judgement
of disinheritance against the said Res was pronounced.

And the aforesaid Griffin, Canan, and Leulin, said that
at the time when the said Res Vathan did homage to the
King they laid claim to the land and were willing to
prosecute their claim when the time should arrive for the
purpose, and that the King took Res's homage saving the
rights of any others, and they appealed to the King's
memory whether or not they had made such protest.
Moreover they said that the aforesaid Res Vathan was a
bastard and the son of a harlot, so that he could not have
any inheritance descending to him dejure though lie held
the land de facto; wherefore they sought judgement as to
whether they ought to be excluded on account of the
forfeiture of the said Res.

And the aforesaid Bogo and other advocates on behalf of
the crown replied that whereas the said Res had neither
before the sentence of disinheritance nor afterwards until
this time been convicted of bastardy or of being a son of
a harlot therefore this kind of special plea ought not to
prejudice the King.

At the day appointed (i. e. some adjourned hearing of
this case) the aforesaid Griffin, Canan, and Leulin
appeared by their attorneys ; and whereas they had
previously submitted themselves to the King's memory


whether they had set forth anything before the King
with respect to their right to the said two commots
when Res had returned to the King's fealty, the King
is now consulted by the Justices as to whether he
wishes to make any answer in such a matter. And the
King's reply is that he recollects nothing about it. Where-
upon it is judicially pronounced to them (the complainants)
that, whereas there is no proof of their alleging their
right before execution of the sentence of disinheritance
against Res, nor yet any proof of such allegation- what
time the same Res having returned to the King's peace
did his homage to the King for the said two commots in
their presence, they not making any charge against Res,
it is judicially pronounced that they be excluded from
all action. And a day was assigned to them (probably
to hear sentence) to appear before the King wherever (he
might be in England) in one month of Easter. And the
said Griffin, Canan, and Leulin nominate as their attorney
one of themselves whichever shall happen to be present
(on the said day of adjournment). 1

The result of their suit may be gathered from the com-
plaint which they made of their grievances in 1282 ;
soon after which the career of Griffith ap Meredith was
brought to a close.

Llewelyn ap Griffith, the Prince of North Wales, was
killed on December 10, 1282. His brother David was
given up to the English in June 1283 ; and about the
same time, or shortly afterwards, Griffith ap Meredith
and Canan his brother, with other Lords of South Wales,
were taken prisoners and placed in confinement at London,
when their lands were taken into the King's hands.

In the meantime, by charter dated at Rhuddlan on
July 28, 1282, the King had granted to their kinsman
Res ap Meredith ap Res Grig such parts of the commots
of Mabwynneon and Gwynnionith as were then held by
Griffin and Canan his brother, the King's enemies and
rebels, saving the portions thereof which were held by
Llewelyn ap Owen at the commencement of the late war ; 2
and the comniot of Kaerwedros at this time fell into and
afterwards remained in the King's hands. 3

l Exchequer, Treasury of Receipt, Wallia Miscell. Bag, No. 38, m. 19. > Rot. Wall.
10 Edw. I, m. 4 in Schedule 3 Inq. 2 Edw. Ill, No. 47.


I find no mention of any children of Griffith ap Mere-
dith, nor do I know of any families who profess to be
descended from him. As he claimed and was allowed
to be the rightful patron of the church of Llandyssul in
1274, to which his nephew Llewelyn ap Owen in 1305
had the undisputed right of presentation for at least
two successive turns, and of which Owen ap Llewelyn
and Owen ap Thomas ap Llewelyn (the son and grand-
son of the same Llewelyn ap Owen) were afterwards
acknowledged to be the indisputable patrons, we may,
perhaps, infer that Griffith died without issue.

Canan ap Meredith, the youngest son of Meredith ap
Owen, inherited as his share of the paternal inheritance
a portion of the commots of Mabwynneon and Gwyn-
nionith, the commot of Crewthyn until he was deprived
of it by Prince Llewelyn ap Griffith, and probably the
commot of Perveth until it was taken into Prince Edward's
hands after the peace of 1267. This latter commot was
recovered by his brothers Owen and Griffith about the
year 1270, and was by them restored to him in 1273.

In the following year he exchanged this commot with
Res Vychan ap Res ap Maelgon for that of Pennarth.

From this time till the close of the wars of Llewelyn
and David the history of Canan ap Meredith follows that
of his brother Griffith, with whom he appears to have
acted in concert during the wars of 1277 and 1282, and with
whom he was taken prisoner, in 1283, and shut up in the
Tower of London. After this, though we hear no more
of his brother Griffith ap Meredith, who, like Res Wendot
of Ystradtywi, probably died in the King's prison,
it would seem that Canan ap Meredith once more obtained
his liberty, and he may possibly have had some portion
of his lands restored to him. We hear nothing of him
during the rebellion of Res ap Meredith ap Res Grig from
1285 to 1291 ; but in the subsequent rising of the Welsh
at Michaelmas 1294, against the collection of the heavy
war tax which the King had imposed upon them, Kynnan
(or Canan) ap Meredith and Maelgon Vychan headed the
insurrection in West Wales. 1 The insurrection, as we
have seen, was put down early in the following year ;
Maelgon Vychan was killed near Carmarthen by the men

l See page 206.


of Gwent, and Canan ap Meredith, being taken prisoner,
was conveyed to Hereford, where he was hanged on
September 14, 1295, having first been drawn to the place
of execution at the tails of horses.

Canan ap Meredith, like most of his family, was a
benefactor to the great Abbey of Strata Florida. His
charter, without date, is amongst others recited in the
confirmatory charter of King Henry VI. By this charter
Canan confirms to the Abbot and convent all the gifts
which were made by his ancestor of pious memory, the
Lord Res the great, Prince of South Wales, and by all his
sons and grandsons, also those which were made by his
father, the Lord Meredith son of Owen of good memory,
and by all other his ancestors, as well as those which were
made by his brothers Owen and Griffith and by other
faithful men ; moreover he concedes to the same Abbot
and convent all waifs thrown by the sea upon their lands.
His charter is witnessed, amongst others, by his brother
Griffith, and by Aman, then Abbot of Strata Florida,
Owen ap Griffith, then Archdeacon of Cardigan, and
Lewelyn ap Remoric, then Dean of Upper Ayron. 1

We have seen that his portion of Slabwynneon and
Gwynnionith were given to the time-serving Res ap
Meredith, at whose attainder, in 1291j they will have
escheated once more to the crown. The commot of
Pennarth, by the attainder of Canan, also fell to King
Edward I, by whom it was granted to Geoffrey Clement.

Canan ap Meredith is said by the Welsh genealogists
to have had two daughters and coheirs f namely Jonet
or Jennett, wife of Geoffrey Clement ; and Gwenllian,
wife of Sir Griffith Lloyd, Knight, of Tregarnedd in
Anglesey. I consider the marriage of these two daugh-
ters to be somewhat problematical.

As to the marriage of Jonet daughter of Canan ap Mere-
dith with Geoffrey Clement, the Heraldic pedigrees which
record it are certainly inaccurate, for they make Geoffrey,
the son of that Geoffrey to whom King Edward granted
the commot of Pennarth, to have been the husband of
Jonet and father by her of the Robert Clement who

l Hist, of Strata Florida Abby by the Rev. G. Roberta. According to Le Nere,
Hugb, the predecessor of Owen ap Griffith, was Archdeacon of Cardigan in 1274, so
that the charter must have passed between that year and 1 283, the date of Griffith's
incarceration. 2 Her. Vis. Wall. ; Golden Grove MS. ; and Mr. J. Morris's MS.


succeeded him ;* whereas this second Geoffrey certainly
died without issue and Robert Clement who succeeded
him was not his son but his brother. 2 The well known
readiness of the Welsh genealogists to establish a Cam-
brian descent for the English settlers who became pro-
prietors of Welsh lands should make us cautious in
adopting such a marriage without further proof, and I
know of nothing to corroborate it unless it be the mention
of Elen the daughter of Gwenllian, daughter of Meredith
ap Owen, by Robert son of Geoffrey Clement as his
cousin (if this be the true meaning of his words) in a
petition to the King and his council which will be
recorded on a future page. The Clements do not appear
to have ever preferred any claim to hold the commot of
Pennarth by hereditary right ; but it is nevertheless quite
possible that they may have endeavoured to strengthen
their title in the eyes of the Welshmen by such a marriage;
and if so, I should suppose the first of the two Geoffreys
to have been the husband of Cauan's daughter.

Their tenure of the commot of Pennarth dates from
the year 1290. On February 10 of that year King
Edward I grants to Geoffrey Clement, for the good service
already rendered and hereafter to be rendered by him to
the King, certain lands and rents of the annual value of
9. 11s. id. in the commot of Pennarth adjacent to the
county of Cardigan, namely the lands of Caron, Cam,
Eron, Dugayron, and Trof Bresk, which amount to
6. 15s. 4d., and one Eandir 1 (or portion) of Weron Oweyn
and two and a half Randir* in Langay tho, which are es-
timated at 2. 16s. per annum, to have and to hold to the
said Geoffrey and his heirs of the King and his heirs for
ever, by the service of attending the King's expeditions
into Wales, with his men and tenants of the said lands
whenever they should be summoned by the King or his

Online LibraryGeorge Thomas Orlando BridgemanHistory of the princes of South Wales → online text (page 22 of 31)