Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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TRAHAEARN ap CARADOG (d. 1081 ), king of Gwynedd .

He is said to have been the son of one Caradog ap Gwyn ap Collwyn and a cousin of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn . By natural right ruler of Arwystli , his career between 1075 and 1081 is one of the foremost illustrations in Welsh history of how a bold and ambitious personality among the minor lords of Wales could usurp regal powers over an extensive area at moments when the fortunes of the major dynasties were at a low ebb. On Bleddyn 's death in 1075 , he seized authority in Gwynedd . Challenged by Gruffudd ap Cynan , the representative of the old Venedotian house, he was defeated at Dyffryn Glyngin in Meirionydd , but later in the year he retrieved himself at Bron yr Erw and drove Gruffudd into second exile in Ireland . In 1078 he invaded South Wales and killed its king ( Rhys ab Owain ) at Goodwick . The general threat to old established interests eventually brought Gruffudd and Rhys ap Tewdwr into alliance, and together they imposed a crushing defeat on their opponent at the well-known battle of Mynydd Carn , fought in 1081 , and in which Trahaearn met his end. He left four sons — Meurig , Griffri , Llywarch , and Owain . His descendants ruled in Arwystli until it was absorbed into Powys by Gwenwynwyn . A grand-daughter, Gwladus , m. Owain Gwynedd ; her son was Iorwerth Drwyndwn , father of Llywelyn the Great .


  • A History of Wales: from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest ;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • History of Gruffydd ap Cynan (1054–1137) (1910) .


Professor Thomas Jones Pierce, M.A., F.S.A., (1905-1964), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959