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Essylt ferch Cynan Of Gwynedd (Wales)

Female 750 - Yes, date unknown

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  • Name Essylt ferch Cynan Of Gwynedd (Wales) 
    Born 750 
    Gender Female 
    Died Yes, date unknown 
    Person ID I6098  MyTree
    Last Modified 15 Aug 2009 

    Father Cynan Dindaethwy Of Gwynedd (Wales),   b. 720,   d. 816  (Age 96 years) 
    Mother Matilda Of Flint Brittany 
    Family ID F3482  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Gwriad ap Elidyr Of Man (Britain) 
    +1. Merfyn Frych Of Gwynedd (Wales),   d. 844
    Last Modified 17 Jul 2017 
    Family ID F3484  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 

    • "It must be said, however, that given the lapse of time between
      Merfyn's life and the composition of the pedigree in HG (Harleian
      Genealogies), that the connexion via Essyllt ferch Cynan, must at best
      be regarded as tradition and may be simple fiction. . . supposed
      blood-links to the ancient ruling lines of other kingdoms supplied
      later members of the line of Merfyn with a superficial layer of
      legitimacy in their attempts to dominate and intrude into neighbouring

      Merfyn's descent on his father's side is traced (Jesus College MS 20)
      back, via the legendary late 6th/early 7th century bard Llywarch Hen,
      who is associated with Powys (and who, incidentally, was at one time
      thought to be the author of the 'Canu Heledd'), along a branch of the
      line associated with the erstwhile kingdom of Rheged (north-west
      England), to Coel Hen. Further, tradition has it that Merfyn came
      "from the land of manaw". That could refer to either Manau Gododdin or
      The Isle of Man. Merfyn's father was Gwriad. An inscribed stone on the
      Isle of Man, which could date from the 9th century, reads "crux
      guriat" (cross of Guriat). Guriat is usually identified with Gwriad.

      At any rate, when Merfyn died (844), he was succeeded by his son
      Rhodri. According to the genealogies in Jesus College MS 20, Rhodri's
      mother was Nest of Powys, sister of Cyngen, king of Powys.

      Cyngen is the Concenn who erected Eliseg's Pillar, in memory of his
      great-grandfather, Eliseg (Elisedd). Elisedd would probably have been
      a contemporary of the powerful Mercian king, Offa (757-796). The
      pillar commemorates Elisedd's reclamation of Powysian territory from
      the English, and the 'Annales Cambriae' record several campaigns
      against the Welsh by Offa. At some point, Offa seems to have decided
      that there should be no doubt where the border between the English and
      the Welsh lay, and the massive earthwork, known as Offa's Dyke was
      constructed. Whether Offa's Dyke was more symbolic than truly
      defensive is the subject of debate. Even if it prevented Welsh
      incursions into England, it certainly it didn't prevent English
      incursions into Wales. 'Annales Cambriae' (822): "The fortress of
      Degannwy (Gwynedd) is destroyed by the Saxons and they took the
      kingdom of Powys into their own control."

      Cyngen died in 854, possibly having been forced into exile by Rhodri.
      Powys was subsequently annexed by Gwynedd. How this takeover was
      achieved is not recorded, but Powys was ruled as a subsidiary of
      Gwynedd until the late 11th century. In 853, the 'Annales Cambriae'
      had noted:

      "Mon (Anglesey) laid waste by black gentiles."

      The phrase "black gentiles" (and variations thereof, e.g. dark
      heathens, dark foreigners) means Danish, rather than Norwegian (fair
      heathens, fair-haired foreigners), Vikings. The first recorded Viking
      attack on Wales actually appears in the 'Annales' three years
      previously (i.e. in 850). They were responsible for the killing of one
      Cyngen, whose provenance is unknown.

      In 856, however, as recorded by the 'Annals of Ulster', Rhodri won a
      famous victory against them:

      "Horm (Gorm), chief of the dark foreigners, was killed by Rhodri son
      of Merfyn, king of Wales."

      The 'Annals of Ulster' also provide a reminder that the Vikings
      weren't the only external threat that Rhodri had to contend with

      "The Britons were driven from their land by the Saxons (presumably
      Mercians) and were placed in bondage in Móin Chonáin (Anglesey)."

      Nevertheless, Rhodri's empire building activities continued. Jesus
      College MS 20 shows him married to Angharad, sister of Gwgon of
      Ceredigion. Gwgon drowned ('Annales Cambriae' - the circumstances are
      unrecorded), in 872, and control of Ceredigion was subsequently
      acquired by Gwynedd.

      Ceredigion is still the term used in 9th century annals, but later
      tradition has it that (in the late 7th century) Seisyll, the king of
      Ceredigion, added the territory of Ystrad Tywi (literally 'Vale of
      Towy' - to the south of Ceredigion), and that the enlarged kingdom was
      thenceforth called Seisyllwg in his honour.

      In 877, however, the 'Annals of Ulster' note that:

      "Rhodri son of Merfyn, king of the Britons, came in flight from the
      dark foreigners to Ireland."

      And a year later (878):

      "Rhodri son of Merfyn, king of the Britons, was killed by the Saxons."