Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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EDNYFED FYCHAN ( EDNYFED ap CYNWRIG ) and his descendants .

Ednyfed ap Cynwrig (d. 1246 ), claiming descent from Marchudd , was a member of one of a group of kindreds long settled in Rhos and Rhufoniog . As seneschal (in Welsh , distain ) of Gwynedd c. 1215-1246 ( Hist. W. , ii, 684-5), his political and military services to Llywelyn the Great were rewarded, not only by the grant to Ednyfed himself of bond vills in Anglesey , Nantconwy , Arllechwedd Uchaf , and Creuddyn , but also by the concession, made to all the descendants of Ednyfed 's grandfather ( Iorwerth ap Gwrgan ) that they should for the future hold their lands throughout Wales free from all dues and services other than military service in time of war. This special tenure, known as that of ‘ Ŵyrion Eden ,’ is prominent in the 14th cent. in the lordship of Denbigh amongst the collateral branches of the family ( Survey of Denbigh . lv, 297, 303; Ellis , Tribal Law and Custom , i, 113), Ednyfed 's own descendants in the same period are found in the townships of Trecastell , Penmynydd , Erddreiniog , Clorach , Gwredog , Trysglwyn , and Tregarnedd in Anglesey , and in Crewyrion , Creuddyn , Gloddaeth , Dinorwig , and Cwmllannerch in Caerns. ( Rec. Caern. , passim ). They are also found in Llansadwrn in Carms. and at Llechwedd-llwyfan , Cellan , and Rhyd-onnen in Cards. ( Cal. Pat. Rolls , 1225-32 , 271; Carm. Hist. , i, 178; Cal. Fine Rolls , 1327-37 , 304; Cal. Inquisitions , vii, no. 418; Bridgeman , Princes of South Wales , 264). Even before the conquest of 1282 , therefore, Ednyfed 's immediate descendants formed a ‘ministerial aristocracy’ of considerable wealth, and their widespread possessions, combined with the favourable terms on which they were held, made them the forerunners of that class of Welsh squires whose emergence is characteristic of the post-conquest period.

The pedigrees are not in complete agreement about the number of Ednyfed 's children, but during the reigns of Dafydd ap Llywelyn and Llywelyn ap Gruffydd ( 1240-82 ) several of his sons figure prominently amongst the counsellors of those princes . For some years before his death in 1268 , GORONWY AB was seneschal to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd ( Hist. W. , ii, 743; Litt. Wall. , 4, 28, 45). His brother, TUDUR AB , was captured during Henry III 's inconclusive campaign against Dafydd ap Llywelyn in Sept. 1245 , and was released in May 1247 on swearing fealty to the king . Despite marks of royal favour in the following years, Tudur was one of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd 's leading advisers after 1256 , succeeding his brother Goronwy as seneschal and remaining faithful to the prince until his death in 1278 . His loyalty was emulated by his son HEILYN ; he had been a hostage in the king 's hands between 1246 and 1263 and he submitted finally to Edward I in 1282 ( Litt. Wall. , 3-4, 26, 50-2, 77, 85, 97-9, 101-3, 109, 111-3; Cal. Close Rolls , 1242-7 (369, 457, 510), 1247-51 (5, 72, 518), 1256-9 (184, 207), 1261-4 (207); Cal. Pat. Rolls , 1232-47 (466, 496), 1258-66 (248); Assize Roll , 9, 14, 118-22, 157, 261; Rec. Caern. , 210-11). The Goronwy ap Heilyn of the period 1277-82 ( Assize Roll , passim ) was probably not of this line. Other sons of Ednyfed in the following of the later princes of Gwynedd were HYWEL ( bishop of S. Asaph , 1240-7 ), CYNWRIG , and RHYS ( Thomas , S. Asaph , i, 215; Litt. Wall. , passim ). For Gruffydd ab Ednyfed and his descendants, see under Sir Gruffydd Llwyd (d. 1335 ) .

From Goronwy ab Ednyfed (d. 1268 ) were descended the ‘ Tudors of Penmynydd .’ His son, TUDUR (d. 1311 ), and grandson GORONWY AP (d. 1331 ), appear to have been members of that Welsh official class of which their kinsmen, Sir Gruffydd Llwyd (q.v.) and Rhys ap Gruffydd (d. 1356 ) (q.v.) , were outstanding members. In the next generation the brothers TUDUR and HYWEL AP , both of whom d. c. 1367 , are found in possession of Trecastell , Erddreiniog , and half of Penmynydd in Anglesey and ‘ Gavell Gron. ap Eden .’ (which included the nucleus of the later Penrhyn estate — see below), and half of ‘ Gavell Kennyn ’ in Crewyrion in Caerns. , as well as the Cardiganshire possessions mentioned above. Their possessions in Anglesey and Caernarvonshire passed to Tudur 's sons — GORONWY OF PENMYNYDD (d. 1382 ), EDNYFED OF TRECASTELL (d. c. 1382 ), RHYS OF ERDDREINIOG , GWILYM OF CLORACH , and MAREDUDD , whose precise share of the family inheritance is not known. Goronwy , Rhys , and Gwilym were in the personal following of Richard II . Maredudd , father of Owain Tudur and great-grandfather of Henry VII (see the article Tudors of Penmynydd ), is a more shadowy figure; he was escheator of Anglesey before 1392 and is described in 1404 as an esquire to the bishop of Bangor . The three surviving brothers and their near kinsmen were prominent supporters of Owain Glyn Dŵr (q.v.) . Rhys was executed at Chester in 1412 . The greater part of their lands were forfeited to the Crown and came into the possession of the Griffiths of Penrhyn (q.v.) , also descended from Ednyfed Fychan through Tudur ab Ednyfed . A remnant of the Tudor lands at Penmynydd remained in the possession of the descendants of Goronwy ap Tudur (d. 1382 ) through his daughter Morfydd and her husband, Gwilym ap Gruffydd of Penrhyn .


  • Transactions of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society and Field Club , 1951 , 34-72.
  • [See further the articles Griffith of Penrhyn and Williams of Cochwillan in Appendix; Griffith, Pirs; Tudor, Edmund, Jasper, and Owen; Tudor (Thoedor) of Penmynydd; Williams of Marl(e); Williams, John ( 1582-1650 ).]


Professor Glyn Roberts, M.A., (1904-1962), Bangor

Published date: 1959