Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, King of Powys

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Cadwgan ap Bleddyn

Birthdate: (56)
Birthplace: Nannau, Caernarvonshire, wales
Death: circa 1111 (48-64)
Welshpool, powys, Trallwn, wales
Immediate Family:

Son of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, King of Powys and N.N. verch Hywel
Husband of N.N. Picot de Say; Gwenllian verch Gruffydd; Sanan verch Dyfnwal; Ellyw verch Cadifor Fawr and Euron verch Hoedlyw
Father of Henry ap Cadwgan; Gruffudd ap Cadwgan; Madog ap Cadwgan; Owain ap Cadwgan; Einion ap Cadwgan and 3 others
Brother of Madog ap Bleddyn; Rhirid ap Bleddyn; Denis verch Bleddyn; Gwenllian verch Bleddyn and Llywarch ap Bleddyn
Half brother of Iorwerth ap Bleddyn; Maredudd ap Bleddyn, Brenin of Powys; Hunydd verch Bleddyn and Efa verch Bleddyn

Occupation: King of Powys
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, King of Powys

CADWGAN ap Bleddyn (-1111). Prince of Powys. Lord of Nannau. He was ancestor of the family of Lloyd of Blaenglyn, see Burke's Landed Gentry. m (1098) GWENLLIAN of Gwynedd, illegitimate daughter of GRUFFYDD ap Cynan King of Gwynnedd & his mistress --- ([1080]-).


Cadwgan ap Bleddyn

See Peter Bartrum, (June 19, 2017; Anne Brannen, curator)

See Peter Bartrum, (December 23, 2016; Anne Brannen, curator) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cadwgan ap Bleddyn (1051–1111) was a prince of Powys in eastern Wales.

Cadwgan was the second son of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn who was king of both Powys and Gwynedd. When Bleddyn was killed in 1075, Powys was divided between three of his sons, Cadwgan, Iorwerth and Maredudd. Cadwgan is first heard of in 1088 when he attacked Deheubarth, forcing its king, Rhys ap Tewdwr, to flee to Ireland. However Rhys returned later the same year with a fleet from Ireland and defeated the men of Powys in a battle in which two of Cadwgan's nephews, Madog and Rhiryd, were killed.

When Rhys ap Tewdwr was killed in 1093, Cadwgan again attacked Deheubarth, but it soon became clear that it was the Normans who would benefit from the death of Rhys. About this time Cadwgan married the daughter of one of the neighbouring Norman lords, Picot de Sai. In 1094 a Welsh revolt against Norman rule broke out, and Cadwgan played a part in this, defeating a Norman force at the battle of Coed Yspwys. Bleddyn was now an ally of Gruffydd ap Cynan, king of Gwynedd, and when Earl Hugh of Chester and Earl Hugh of Shrewsbury launched an invasion in 1098 to try to recover Anglesey for Hugh of Chester, Cadwgan was with Gruffydd. A Danish fleet hired by Gruffydd was offered a higher price by the Normans and changed sides, forcing Cadwgan and Gruffydd to flee to Ireland in a skiff.

They were able to return to Wales the following year, and Cadwgan was able to reclaim part of Powys and Ceredigion, on condition of doing homage to Earl Robert of Shrewsbury. For a while Cadwgan was able to strengthen his position. Earl Robert fell out with the king in 1102 and was defeated with the assistance of Cadwgan's brother Iorwerth. Iorwerth took his other brother, Maredudd, captive and handed him over to the king. However many of the lands which Iorwerth had been promised in exchange for his help were given to Norman lords instead, and Iorwerth broke with the king. In 1103 he was arraigned before a royal tribunal and imprisoned, leaving Cadwgan as sole ruler of the parts of Powys not in Norman hands.

However in 1109 Cadwgan's son, Owain ap Cadwgan, fell in love with Nest, wife of Gerald of Pembroke and launched a daring raid on the castle of Cenarth Bychan to abduct her. Cadwgan tried to persuade his son to return Nest to her husband but failed. The justiciar of Shropshire, Richard de Beaumais promised members of other branches of the ruling house of Powys extensive lands if they would join in an attack on Cadwgan and Owain. Ceredigion was invaded and Owain fled to Ireland, while Cadwgan made his peace with the king but was allowed to hold only one border vill. King Henry I of England later allowed him to have Ceredigion back on condition of paying a fine of £100 and promising to have nothing to do with Owain in future. When his brother Iorwerth was killed by Madog ap Rhiryd in 1111, Cadwgan again briefly took over the rule of all Powys, but later the same year Cadwgan himself was also killed by Madog at Welshpool. Madog was able to seize some of his lands, while the remainder fell to his son Owain.


John Edward Lloyd (1911). A history of Wales: from the earliest times to the Edwardian conquest. Longmans, Green & Co.


Cadwgan, lord of Nannau, near Dolgelley, Merionethshire, son of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, Prince of Powys.

From Welsh Founders of Pennsylvania by Thomas Allen Glenn, pg 140.

Family Links Spouses/Children: Ewron FERCH HOEDLYW Owain ÀP CADWGON Prince of Powys+ Cadwgon AP BLEDDYN of Nannau, King of Powys 8737

Born: Abt 1050, Nannau, Caernarvonshire, Wales Died: 1112

  General Notes:

All of the following information came from Jane Williams Flank, World Connect db=jwflank,

Cadwgan (d 1112), a Welsh prince, was a son of Bleddyn, who was the son of Cynfyn, and the near kinsman of the famous Gruffudd, son of Llewelyn, on whose death Harold appointed Bleddyn and his brother Rhiwallon kings of the Welsh. This settlement did not last very long, but Bleddyn retained to his death possession of a great part of Gwynedd., and handed his territories down to his sons, of whom, besides Cadwgan, four others, Madog, Rhirid, Maredudd, and Iorwerth, are mentioned in the chronicles. Cadwgan's name first appears in history in 1087, when, in conjunction with Madog and Rhirid, he led a North Welsh army against Rhys, son of Tewdwr, king of South Wales. The victory fell to the brothers, and Rhys retreated to Ireland, whence he soon returned with a Danish fleet, and turned the tables on his foes in the battle of Llechryd. Cadwgan escaped with his life, but his two brothers were slain. Six years later Rhys was slain by the Norman conquerors of Brecheiniog (1093), and Cadwgan availed himself of the confusion caused by the catastrophe of the only strong Welsh state in South Wales to renew his attacks on Deheubarth. His inroad on Dyved in May prepared the way for the French conquest of that region, which took place within two months, despite the unavailing struggles of Cadwgan and his family. But the Norman conquest of Ceredigion and Dyved excited the bitterest resistance of the Welsh, who profited by William Rufus' absence in Normandy in 1094 to make a great attack on their newly built castles. Cadwganl now in close league with Gruffudd, son of Cynan, the chief king of Gwynedd, was foremost among the revolters. Besides demolishing their castles in Gwynedd, the allied princes penetrated into Ceredigion and Dyved, and won a great victory in the wood of Yspwys, which was followed by a devestation foray whcih overran the shires of Hereford, Gloucester, and Worcester. But, as Mr Freeman points out, Cadwgan fought in the interest of Gwynedd rather that of Wales. His capture of the castles of Ceredigion was followed by the wholesale transplantation of the inhabitants, their property, and cattle into North Wales. A little later Cadwgan's family joined in forays that penetrated to the walls of Pembroke, the only stronghold, except Rhyd y Gors, now left to the Frenchmen. Two invasions of Rufus himself were needed to repair the damage, but the great expedition of 1097 was a signal failure. Rufus 'mickle lost in men and horses,' and Cadwgan was distinguished as the worthiest of the chieftains of the victorious Cymry in the pages of the Peterborough chronicler, who in his distant fenland monastery commonly knew little of the names of Welsh kings. Such successes emboldened Cadwgan and his ally Gruffudd to attempt to save Anglesea when threatened in 1099 by the two earls Hugh of Chester and Shrewsbury. But the treachery of their own men - either the nobles of Mona or some of their Irish-Danish allies - drove both kings to seek safety in flight in Ireland. Next year they returned to Wales, and made peace with the border earls. Cadwgan became the man of the Earl of Shrewsbury, and received as a feif from his Ceredigion and part of Powys. In 1102 Robert of Belleme called upon Cadwgan and his brothers Iorwerth and Maredudd for help in his great war against Henry I. Great gifts of lands, horses, and arms persuaded Cadwgan and Maredudd to join Robert in Shropshire, but Iorwerth stayed behind, and his sudden defection is regarded by the Welsh chroniclers as a main cause of Robert's fall. Iorwerth now appears to have endeavoured to dispossess Cadwgan and Maredudd of their lands a supporters of the fallen Earl of Shrewsbury. But though he succeeded in putting Maredudd into a royal dungeon, he made peace with Cadwgan and restored him his old territories. Thus Cadwgan escaped sharing in the disgrace and imprisonment of Iorwerth by Bishop Richard of Belmeis, Henry's steward in Shropshire. It is probable that it was some other Cadwgan who became an accomplice in the murder of Howel, son of Goronwy, in 1103, and the Owain son of Cadwgan, slain in the same year, was probably this unknown Cadwgan's son. Anyhow Cadwgan, son of Bleddyn, had a son Owain, who in 1105 began his turbulent career by two murders, and in 1110 was the hero of a more famous adventure. Cadwgan had given a great feast in his castle of Aberteiv, the modern Cardigan, which was largely attended by chieftains from all parts of Wales, for whose entertainment bards, singers, and musicians were attracted to the rejoicings by costly prizes. Among the guests were Gerald of Windsor, who after the fall of Arnulf of Montgomery was the most powerful man among the French in Dyved, and his famous wife Nest, whos beauty so excited Owain's lust that not long after he took advantage of his father's absence in Powys to carry her off by violence from the neighbouring castle of Cenarth Bychan. The rape of the Welsh Helen excited great commotion, and Cadwgan, hurrying back in great anxiety to Ceredigion, found himself powerless to effect her restoration to Gerald. Ithel and Madog, sons of Rhirid,a nd Cadwgan's nephews, were incited by Richard of Belmeis to attack Owain, and even Cadwgan, who fled to an Irish merchant ship in the harbour of Aberdovey, After running all kinds of dangers, Owain escaped to Ireland, while Cadwgan privately retired to Powys. Thence he sent messengers to Bishop Richard. King Henry's lenient treatment of him showed that the king regarded Owain's crime as no fault of his father. For a while Cadwgan was only suffered to live on a manor of his new wife, a Norman lady, daughter of Pictet Sage, but a fine of 100 £ and a promise to abandon Owain effected his restoration to Ceredigion, which in his absence had been seized by Madog and Ithel. But the fiat of the English king could effect little in Ceredigion. Owain continued his predatory attacks on the French and Flemings, in one of which a certain William of Brabant was slain. In anger Henry sent again for the weak or impotent Cadwgan, and angrily told him that he was unable to protect his territory, he had determined to put Ceredigion into more competent hands. A pension of twenty-four pence a day wa assigned to the deposed king on the conditon that he should remain in honourable restraint - he was not to be a prisioner - at the king's court, and never seek to return to his native soil. These terms Cadwgan was compelled to accept, and Gilbert, son of Richard, was invested with Ceredigion. But next year the murder of Iorwerth by his nephew Madog put Powys, which Iorwerth had lately governed, into the king's hands. He then gave it to Cadwgan, who thus once more acquired lands of his own. But Madog, already deprived of Ceredigion, was determined not to yield Powys as well to his uncle. Meanwhile Cadwgan, 'not imagining mischief,' returned to his dominions. Surrounded by Madog's retainers at Trallong Llewelyn, he as usual conducted himself weakly. Unable to fight, unwilling to flee, he fell an easy victim to hs enemies. 'Knowing the manners of the people of that country, that they would all be killing one another,' says the 'Brut y Tywysogion,' Richard, the steward, gave Cadwgan's lands to Madog, his murderer. But Henry I reversed his act and made Owain, the abductor of Nest, his father's successor. [Dictionary of National Biography III:644-6]

After the death of Bleddyn, his sons, Madog, Cadwgan and Rhiryd ruled over Powys. In 1098 they attacked Rhys ap Tewdwr, ruler of Deheubarth, and drove him into exile. He collected a fleet, returned and gave battle to them in which Madog and Rhiryd were slain. Cadwgan then became sole ruler of Powys. In 1094 he rallied the Welsh chieftains and attempted to throw off the Norman yoke. The Brut Tywysogion states that they "placed their hope in God, the creator of all things, by fasting and praying and giving alms and undergoing severe bodily penances." He was very sucessful and by 1098 had recovered nearly all the territory that had belonged to the Cymri before the Conquest. In that year the tide turned. Cadwgan and his allies were defeated and he fled to Ireland. He returned in 1099, made peace with the NOrmans and receifed Credigion and a part of Powys. He is said to have been amiable, but he lacked the stronger elements of character which the situation required. On account of the misdees of his eldest son Owain he was called before King Henry, dispossessed of his lands and placed on a daily pension of twenty-four pence on condition that he should not set foot on his native soil. He soon came to terms with the king "and was allowed to settle in the border vill which he had received as the dowry of his Norman wife" (Lloyd). This was doubtless in the valley of the Clun in Shropshire where the lands of Lord Robert de Sai were located and near the Welsh border. King Henry restored to him the Kingdom of Powys in 1111, but his reign was brief, for in that year he was slain at Welshpool by his nephew, Madog ap Rhizyd. The "border vill" or village, mentioned above, where Cadwgan settled, must have been located quite near if not entirely within the English limits of Offa's Dike. This would be a very uncomfortable location for a Welsh family at that time. Perhaps his Norman wife saved the family from trouble. He is called "Cadwgan of Nannau" in Dwnn's Visitation of Wales. That place has not been located, but probably it was the "border vill' or village in Shropshire which he received as dowry from his father-in-law, Lord Robert de Sai. [The Weaver Genealogy]


Cadwgan became king of Powys on the death of his elder brothers, Madog and Rhiryd in 1088. Cadwgan lived in a period when the Norman border earls, with the authority of Kind William II (William Rufus), were consolidating their control over Wales. In addition, there were the continuing rivalries between the Welsh princes and nobility which had become a way of life and prevented unified actions. Further complicating matters, many of the the Welsh princes establishied alliances with the English, either out of necessity or self interest. "From 1094 dow through his death in 1111, this king from Powys would be the focus and centre of Welsh politics, pursuing a policy of considered and sometimes devious resistance to the Norman kings while attempting to exploit the growing power of the Norman border lords."

In 1094, there was an uprising against the Nomans in Gwynedd, "almost certainly masterminded by Cadwgan." Norman attempts to quell the uprising failed, and it spread to Deheubarth where all but Pembroke Castle and Rhyd-y-Gors fell to the Welsh, and continued into the southeast of Wales. The rebellion continued through 1097 - almost all fo the leaders appear to have been allied with Cadwgan. By 1098, however, internal rivalries, bribery, and Norman strenght had takedn much of the force out of the rebellion. In 1099, formal peace was negotiated including rights to hold certain lands - Cadwgan seems to have gotten the better share, including all of central Powys and Ceredigion, much of which had been previously controlled by the Norman earls.

Unfortunately, Cadwgan was unable to use his success to fully consolidate his power. He, at a minimum, was distracted by family conflicts. Relations between the brothers Cadwgan, Iorweth and Maredudd deteriorated.

His son, Owain, also makes fro an interesting story, which had significant effects on Cadwgan's rule. Owain's story leads, indirectly, to the murder of Iorweth by his nephew Madog ap Rhirid, Cadwgan's murder also by Madog, and the subsequent rule by Maredudd.


In consequence, by the death of William II (William Rufus) in 1100, Welsh control had been sucessfully restored over the greater part of Wales. It is doubtful whether the insurrection which led to that restoration should be considered national in character, for it was largely motivated by local issues, racial anger and the interests of royal houses; without its comparative success, however, it is likely that Welsh nationhood could have survived in any form. The most prominent of the leaders of the insurrection were Cadwgan, Iorwerth and Maredudd, the sons of Bleddyn ap Cynfin. By 1096, they had captured Montgomery Castle and their allies had come very close to success in their attack upon Pembroke Castle. The Normans were swept out of Gwynedd, Credigion and most of the cantrefi of Powys, and their forces were defeated in Brycheiniog, Gwent, Cydweli and Gower. In about 1094, Gruffud ap Cynan escaped from prision and re-established himself as the ruler of the kingdom of his ancestors. In 1098, the earls of Chester and Shrewsbury led a campaign against him, but they were defeated on the banks of the Menai by a force of Scandinavians, and the earl of Shrewsbury was shot dead by Magnus Barefoot, king of Norway. Gruffudd consolidated his hold upon Gwyneed, and for decades he patiently rebuilt the strenght of his kingdom. Powys and what was left of the kingdom of Deheubarth came into the possession of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn and his brothers. All the later rulers of Powys would be descendants of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn; thus was the union between Gwynedd and Powys broken, a happening full of significance for the future of Wales. [A History of Wales; John Davies] 8738

  Marriage Information:

Cadwgon married Ewron FERCH HOEDLYW. (Ewron FERCH HOEDLYW was born about 1055 in Wales.)

  • Heraldic visitations of Wales and part of the Marches, between the years 1586 and 1613; ed. with notes by Samuel Rush Meyrick (Google eBook) Lewys Dwnn, Samuel Rush Meyrick William Rees, 1846 page 258

See Darrell Wolcott, "Trahaearn ap Caradog," -- for help in untangling these lines (May 26, 2016; Anne Brannen, curator).

See also for discussion of his mother.

Please see Darrell Wolcott: The Royal Family of Gwynedd - The Unofficial "History" of Gruffudd, Nephew of Iago; (Steven Ferry, March 30, 2017.)

Please see Darrell Wolcott: The Royal Family of Gwynedd - The Unofficial "History" of Gruffudd, Nephew of Iago; (Steven Ferry, March 30, 2017.)

Please see Darrell Wolcott: Henry, the Forgotten Son of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn; (Steven Ferry, April, 22, 2017.)

Please see Darrell Wolcott: The Battle of Mynydd Carn; (Steven Ferry, May 25, 2017.)

Please see Darrell Wolcott: Trahaearn ap Caradog of Arwystli; (Steven Ferry, May 25, 2017.)

Please see Darrell Wolcott; The First Wife of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn; (Steven Ferry, June 3, 2017.)

Please see Darrell Wolcott: The Brief Life of Gruffudd ap Maredudd; (Steven Ferry, June 4, 2017.)

Please see Darrell Wolcott: The Floruit of Einion ap Seisyllt; (Steven Ferry, June 9, 2017.)

Please see Darrell Wolcott: Owain ap Cadwgan and Nest ferch Rhys-an Historic Fiction?; (Steven Ferry, June 12, 2017.)

Please see Darrell Wolcott: The "Betrayal" of Meirion Goch Revisited; (Steven Ferry, June 13, 2017.)

Please see Darrell Wolcott: Pedigree of "Ednowain Bendew II";, [#74] (Steven Ferry, November 3, 2017.)

Please see Darrell Wolcott: The Pedigree of Cynddelw Gam of Ystrad Alun;; [#30] [#130] (Steven Ferry, November 23, 2017.)

Please see Darrell Wolcott: Owain Brogyntyn and His Family; (Steven Ferry, November 17, 2018.)

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Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, King of Powys's Timeline

Caernarvonshire, wales
Age 21
Montgomeryshire, Wales
Age 35
Ceredigion/Cardiganshire, Wales
Age 35
Nannau, Wales
Age 35
of, , Montgomeryshire, Wales
Age 47
Age 49
Montgomeryshire, wales
Age 50
Age 50
Age 56
powys, Trallwn, wales