Nest verch Rhys, Princess of Wales, Concubine #13 of Henry I of England

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About Nest verch Rhys, Princess of Wales, Concubine #13 of Henry I of England

Nest ferch Rhys (died after 1136) was a Welsh princess of Deheubarth who was renowned for her beauty. Nest was the daughter of Prince Rhys ap Tewdwr Mawr by his wife, Gwladys ferch Rhiwallon. After her father's death in 1093, Deheubarth was conquered by the Normans and King Henry I of England appointed himself her protector. Nest is thought to have borne him a son, Henry FitzRoy (1103-1158).

Around 1095 King Henry decided to marry Nest to one of his followers, Gerald de Windsor, whom he appointed Constable of Pembroke. Nest and Gerald had five children:

  1. William FitzGerald (died 1173)
  2. Maurice FitzGerald, Lord of Llansteffan (died 1 September 1177)
  3. David FitzGerald, Archdeacon of Cardigan and Bishop of St David's
  4. Angharad de Windsor, who married William de Barry
  5. A daughter (possibly Gwladys), the mother of Milo de Cogan

During Christmas 1109, Nest and her husband were visited by her cousin, Owain ap Cadwgan, son of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, Prince of Powys. The story goes that Owain was so taken with Nest's beauty that he and fifteen companions attacked the castle of Cenarth Bychan (possibly Cilgerran Castle or Carew Castle, both in Pembrokeshire), seized Nest, and carried her and her children off.

Tradition also states that Gerald escaped by jumping down the garderobe (i.e. the lavatory chute) to get away. The children were later returned to Gerald. Nest is said to have borne Owain two sons, Llywelyn and Einion, before finally being returned to her husband.

This abduction earned Nest the nickname "Helen of Wales" because it led to civil war on a small scale. Owain ap Cadwgan left the country to avoid retribution, whilst Owain's father, Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, lost his own lands. Gerald waited for Owain to return to Wales, then ambushed and killed him. After Gerald's death, Nest became the lover of Stephen, Constable of Cardigan, by whom she had another son, Robert Fitz-Stephen who died in 1182.

Nest's daughter, Angharad, married William de Barry and had by him four sons: Robert; Philip, the founder of Ballybeg Abbey at Buttevant in Ireland; Walter; the historian Gerald of Wales. Her sons Philip and Robert campaigned in Ireland with Strongbow; Robert died there in 1182.

Robert and Philip were the founders of the family Walsh/Welsh of Kilkenny where they built a Castle known as Castle hale of Kilkenny, Ireland Castle Hale of the Walsh Mountains Kilkenny They conquered Kilkenny. They had become known as the "Welshies" rather than "Hywel" and thus named,they remain to this day; the name Hale being derived from Howell.

Therefore the Welsh and Walsh family of Kilkenny Ireland are also descended from Hywel Dda.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nest_ferch_Rhys

The daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, a Welsh prince and Gwladys ferch Rhiwallon in sometime between 1095 and 1100

Gave the site of Carew Castle as a dowry

Had at least 5 children with Gerald de Windsor

Owain ap Cadwgan, Nest's cousin and son of another Welsh Prince, started a fire at Carew Castle in 1109

de Windsor escaped but Owain captured Nest

Had two children by Owain Glyn Dŵr

After Gerald de Windsor died, she married Stephen of Cardigan Castle

It is said that Nest's ghost haunts Carew Castle in the form of a gentle white lady.

From the Cadw guidebook for Cilgerran Castle

Nest, the daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr and wife of Gerald of Windsor, was renowned for her beauty. As a princess of Deheubarth she was a notable 'catch' for Gerald in his bid to establish himself more firmly in Dyfed. There were three sons from the union and a daughter, Angharad, who became, in turn, the mother of Gerald of Wales.

The abduction of Nest in 1109 from the castle of Cenarth Bychan by her second cousin, Owain ap Cadwgan, is fully documented in the medieval 'Chronicle of the Princes'. According to the chronicle, when

   'Owain had heard that Nest was in the castle, he went with but a few men in his company to visit her as a kinswoman. And after that he came of a night to the castle and but few men with him, about fourteen, unknown to the keepers of the castle. And then he came to the chamber in which Gerald and Nest were sleeping. And they raised a shout around and about the chamber in which Gerald was, and kindled tapers and set fire to the buildings to burn them. And when he heard the shout, Gerald awoke, not knowing what to do. And then Nest said to him, "Go not out to the door, for thine enemies await thee, but follow me".
   And that he did. And she led him to the privy which adjoined the chamber. And there, as is said, he escaped by way of the privy hole. And when Nest knew that he had escaped, she cried out from within and said to the men who were outside, "Why do you cry out in vain? He whom you seek is not here. He has escaped". And when they did not find them, they seized Nest and her two sons and her daughter and another son of his by a concubine, and they sacked and plundered the castle'. 

It was not the first, nor the last, of Nest's amorous adventures. She is reputed to have told Owain: 'If thou wouldst have me faithful to thee and keep me with thee, have my children escorted to their father'. It is impossible to know, at this distance of time, whether this was guile or a desire to stay with Owain. Nest became the mistress of a number of lovers, including King Henry I, earning herself notoriety as the 'Helen of Wales'.

Castle Wales

Deheubarth (literally, "south part") was a south-western kingdom or principality of medieval Wales.

Deheubarth was founded Circa. 920 by Hywel Dda ("Hywel the Good") out of the territories of Seisyllwg and Dyfed, both of which had come into his possession. Later on the Kingdom of Brycheiniog would also be added to its territorial boundaries. The chief seat of the rulers of Deheubarth and its traditional capital was at Dinefwr (,although Carmarthen and Cardigan also served as the Kingdoms capital at certain points).

Deheubarth, like several other Welsh kingdoms, continued to exist until the Norman Conquest of Wales, but constant power struggles meant that only for part of the time was it a separate entity with an independent ruler. It was annexed by Llywelyn ap Seisyll of Gwynedd in 1018, then by Rhydderch ab Iestyn of Morgannwg in 1023. Llywelyn ap Sisyll's son, Gruffydd ap Llywelyn again annexed Deheubarth and became ruler of most of Wales, but after his death the old Dinefwr dynasty regained power.

Deheubarth onWikipedia

--------------------

From Medlands:

King Henry I had one illegitimate son by Mistress (13):

22. HENRY ([1105/09]-killed in battle 1157). Giraldus Cambrensis names "Henricus…regi Henrici primi filius…ex nobili Nesta, Resi filii Theodori filia" in South Wales[236]. He was killed during King Henry II’s invasion of Anglesey[237]. m ---. The name of Henry's wife is not known. Henry & his wife had two children:

a) MEILER FitzHenry (-1220). The Expugnatio Hibernica names "Roberto Barrensi" and "Meilerius" as "Stephanidæque alter ex fratre, alter ex sorore nepotes"[238]. He took a leading part in the invasion of Ireland and became one of the most powerful Anglo-Irish lords[239]. m [secondly?] ---, niece of HUGH de Lacy Lord of Meath, daughter of ---. The primary source which confirms her parentage and marriage has not yet been identified. Meiler & his wife had one child:

i) MEILER ---. The primary source which confirms his parentage has not yet been identified.

b) ROBERT FitzHenry. The primary source which confirms his parentage has not yet been identified. Living in Leinster about 1180, died soon afterwards. The Expugnatio Hibernica names "Henrici filius Robertus, Meilerii frater"[240]. m ---. The name of Robert's wife is not known. Robert & his wife had one child:

i) HENRY . The Expugnatio Hibernica names "Henrici filius Robertus, Meilerii frater"[241].

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is not the same as Nesta d/o Gruffydd ap Llyewellyn & 2nd wife Ealdgyth of Mercia, who married Osbern FitzRichard and they had 3 children including Nesta who married Burnard de Neufmarche and they had 3 children including Sibylle who married Miles of Gloucester.

This is of the line line which is Various Welsh unpronouncable names leading to Tewdr Mawr f/o Rhys ap Tewdr who married Gwladus. They had 4 children including Nest who married Gerald FitzWalter of WIndsor and who was also mistress to Henry I King of England and Stephen Constable of Cardiff Castle by whom she had a child RObert FitzStephen.

Summing up Sybil was the daughter of Nest and Bernard but not of Nest and Henry I.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Name: Nesta Verch Rhys 1 2 3

Sex: F

Name: Nesta Of Wales 2 1 3

Birth: ABT 1080 in Dynevor Castle, Carmarthenshire, Wales 1 3

Death: ABT 1163 1 2 3

Event: TITL Princess Of Wales 2 3

Reference Number: 8835

Note:

Nest or Nesta flourished 1106 as mistress of Henry I. She was the daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, who died 1093, King of Dehenbarth, by Gwladys, daughter of Rhywallon. Rhys was made King of South Wales by England in 1063. Nesta received as her marriage portion the lordship of Carew, and about 1095, or soon afterwards, married Gerald de Windsor, Constable of Pembroke Castle, a loyal and prudent man. She was clever and beautiful. About 1106 her cousin Owen, son of Cadwgan, visited the castle by night, and in order to get to the room where she and her husband were set fire to the castle. Nesta pulled up a board and let her husband into the drain, by which he escaped. She was carried to Poys, together with two of her sons by Gerald and two of his children by another woman. Cadwgan was angry at his son's act for he feared the wrath of the English, and begged him to send Nesta back, but he would not. However, she persuaded him to send her husband's children back to him. Her abduction led to a war, in which Gerald took a conspicuous part. After a time she rejoined her husband, who appears to have died before 1136. She was also the wife of Stephen, Constable of Cardigan. In the list of her children, given by her descendant, Giraldus Cambrenses, the names of the three fathers, to whom the greater number of them are assigned, stand in order as Gerald, Stephen and King Henry. Indeed, it seems that her eldest son was by Gerald. It is probable that her connection with Stephen did not begin before 1110, and that she bore a son to Henry in 1114. Seven of her sons became lords of Cantreds in South Wales, and from her descended some of the most famous of the conquerors of Ireland. Her children by Gerald of Windsor were William FitzGerald, her eldest son, Maurice, David, and a daughter, Angharad, and two other sons.

Reference Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 40, pp. 228/9. See Generation No. 4. Gerald of Windsor or Gerald FitzWalter, who married Nesta.

From Tompsett : "Known as the most beautiful woman in Wales. She had many lovers. In Christmas 1108 Owain ap Cadwgan of Cardigan came to visit Gerald and Nesta. He so lusted after her that he, that night, attacked the castle and carried her off and had his way with her. This upset Henry I so much that the incident started a war."[JohnFaye (8 Jun 05).FTW]

Nest or Nesta flourished 1106 as mistress of Henry I. She was the daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, who died 1093, King of Dehenbarth, by Gwladys, daughter of Rhywallon. Rhys was made King of South Wales by England in 1063. Nesta received as her marriage portion the lordship of Carew, and about 1095, or soon afterwards, married Gerald de Windsor, Constable of Pembroke Castle, a loyal and prudent man. She was clever and beautiful. About 1106 her cousin Owen, son of Cadwgan, visited the castle by night, and in order to get to the room where she and her husband were set fire to the castle. Nesta pulled up a board and let her husband into the drain, by which he escaped. She was carried to Poys, together with two of her sons by Gerald and two of his children by another woman. Cadwgan was angry at his son's act for he feared the wrath of the English, and begged him to send Nesta back, but he would not. However, she persuaded him to send her husband's children back to him. Her abduction led to a war, in which Gerald took a conspicuous part. After a time she rejoined her husband, who appears to have died before 1136. She was also the wife of Stephen, Constable of Cardigan. In the list of her children, given by her descendant, Giraldus Cambrenses, the names of the three fathers, to whom the greater number of them are assigned, stand in order as Gerald, Stephen and King Henry. Indeed, it seems that her eldest son was by Gerald. It is probable that her connection with Stephen did not begin before 1110, and that she bore a son to Henry in 1114. Seven of her sons became lords of Cantreds in South Wales, and from her descended some of the most famous of the conquerors of Ireland. Her children by Gerald of Windsor were William FitzGerald, her eldest son, Maurice, David, and a daughter, Angharad, and two other sons.

Rootsweb

-------------------- Princess of Deheubarth --------------------

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Nest verch Rhys, Princess of Wales, Concubine #13 of Henry I of England's Timeline

1072
1072
Pembroke Castle, Pembrokeshire, , Wales
1085
1085
Dynevor, Llandyfesisant, Carmarthenshire, Wales
1095
1095
Age 10
Windsor, Berkshire, , England
1099
1099
Age 14
Carew Castle, Pembroke, Wales
1100
1100
Age 15
Carru Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales
1100
Age 15
Pembrokeshire, Wales
1100
Age 15
Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, UK
1102
1102
Age 17
Selby, Yorkshire, England
1104
1104
Age 19
Carew Castle, Pembrokeshire, , Wales
1105
1105
Age 20
Narberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales