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Owain ap Gruffydd (1078 - 1170)

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Owain (Owain Gwynedd) ap Gruffydd
Born in Nant Gwynant, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Walesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Walesmap
Profile last modified | Created 19 Jan 2016
This page has been accessed 4,873 times.

Categories: House of Aberffraw 742-1499 | Kings of the Britons | Gwynedd, Wales | Cymru 742-1535.

European Aristocracy
Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd was a member of royalty, nobility or aristocracy in Wales in the Middle Ages.
Join: Cymru Welsh Royals and Aristocrats 742-1535 Project
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Preceded by
Gruffydd ap Cynan
King of Gwynedd
Succeeded by
Civil War among sons



Two major Welsh leaders named Owain were contemporaries -- but they are different people!

  • Owain Gwynedd born about 1100 was Owain ap Gruffudd ap Cynan ab Iago ab Idwal ap Meurig, King of Gwynedd, or North Wales.
  • Owain Cyfeiliog, "the Prince-Bard" born about 1130, was Owain ap Gruffudd ap Maredudd ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, Lord of Cyfeiliog.



Owain Gwynedd (circa 1080- 28 November 1170)
Owain Gwynedd /Ap Gruffydd/[1]
He was also known as Owen Gwynedd. [2]
Known as Owain Gwynedd to distinguish him from Owain Cyfeiliog.[3]

Birth and Parentage

Owain ap Gruffydd was born ([1100][4]

He was born about 1100 [3]

Owain ap Gruffyd, King of Gwynedd was born circa 1080-1100. He was the son of Gruffydd ap Cynan, King of Gwynedd and Angharad ferch Owain. [2]

Owain Gwynedd, the second son of Gruffudd ap Cynan, Prince of Gwynedd and Angharad ferch Owain, the daughter of Owain ab Edwin of Tegeingl was born around the year 1080, probably on the Isle of Anglesey, which his father had established as his power base. [5]

The Chronicle of the Princes of Wales records that "Angharad daughter of Owain son of Edwin was the wife of Gruffudd son of Cynan" and mother of "Cadwallon and Owain and Cadwalader and of many daughters"[215]. [4]


First Marriage

He married, firstly, Gwladus ferch Llywarch, daughter of Llywarch ap Trahaearn. [2]

Owain married (1) Gwladus (Gladys) ferch Llywarch, daughter of Llywarch ap Trahaearn [6]

He married first Gwladws ferch Llywarch ap Trahaearn (who died 1081) ap Caradog of Arwystli[3]

Second Marriage

Owain married secondaly (2) Cristin ferch Goronwy, daughter of Goronwy ab Owain. [6]

He married, secondly, Cristin ferch Goronwy, daughter of Goronwy ap Owain.[6]

He married second, outside of the church, his cousin Christin ferch Gronwy ab Owain ab Edwin of tegeingl. The church disapproved of this marriage actively.[3]


Had allegedly by more wives several other children and without doubt illegitimately by Angharad. Dau of Peredur. [2]

His concubines included

  • Angharad ferch Peredur[3]
  • Gwenllian ferch Ednywain[3]
  • Morfudd ferch Merwydd Hir[3]
  • Afandreg ferch Gwrgi of Penmynydd[3]
  • Anedd ferch Gwrgi of Penmynydd,[3]
  • Flynned Wyddles,[3]
  • Morfudd ferch Elfan ap Sandde of Rhas.[3]

He also had children whose mother is now unknown.[3]

1135 Battle in Ceredigion

The Chronicle of the Princes of Wales records that "Owain and Cadwalader the sons of Gruffudd son of Cynan led a large and cruel army into Ceredigion" in 1135[217]. [4]

Owain and his brothers Cadwallon and later Cadwaladr led the forces of Gwynedd against the Normans and against other Welsh princes with success. His elder brother Cadwallon met his death in battle in 1132, which left Owain as his father's heir. Owain and Cadwaladr, in alliance with Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth, met the Normans in battle at Crug Mawr, located around two miles from Cardigan, in 1136. After fierce fighting, the Normans were pushed to flee, pursued by the Welsh as far as the River Teifi. As the Norman forces attempted to cross the bridge, it collapsed under their weight, resulting in hundreds being drowned. Others fled to Cardigan, which was captured by Owain's forces and burned, though Robert fitz Martin successfully managed to hold the castle, it was the only one remaining one in Norman hands at the end of the rebellion. Ceredigion, which had been part of Deheubarth before the Normans had conquered it, was annexed to Gwynedd.[5]

1137 Succession: King of Gwynedd

He succeeded to the title of King of Gwynedd in 1137.[2]

1137 succeeded father as King of North Wales.[3]

On Gruffydd ap Cynan's death in 1137, Owain inherited a portion of his kingdom of Gwynedd, which then covered most of north Wales, but as Welsh custom decreed, had to share it with his brother Cadwaladr. [5]

1137 third expedition to Ceredigion; made peace and offered his daughter in marriage to Anarawd ap Gruffudd ap Rhys. But elder brother Cadwaladr killed Anarawd in 1143 and carried off his niece. Owain sent his son Hywell to take Cadwaladr's lands. [3]

In 1143 Cadwaladr was involved in the murder of Anarawd ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth, Owain responded by sending his son Hywel ab Owain to take his lands in the north of Ceredigion. From 1143, Owain ruled alone over most of north Wales, Cadwaladr was driven into exile in 1155. The premature death of his favourite son Rhun ap Owain in 1147, plunged Owain into a deep melancholy.[5]

1144 Invasion from Ireland

1144 Cadwaladr came from Ireland with a fleet of Irish Danes. Owain and Cadwaladr reconciled & Danes "blinded their treacherous ally." Owain forced Danes back to Dublin. 1145 Owain's sons forced Cadwaladr to seek refuge in England.[3]

1146 Castle of Mold

A bitter state of civil war existed in England as the cousins Stephen and Matilda fought each other for possession of the crown, Owain took advantage of the situation to extend Gwynedd's frontiers. In 1146 he took the castle of Mold and about 1150 captured Rhuddlan Castle and encroached on the borders of Powys. He defeated the prince of Powys, Madog ap Maredudd, who was aided by the Norman Ranulf, Earl of Chester, in battle at Coleshill.[5]

1152 Title becomes Prince

King of Gwynedd. He changed his title from King to Prince in [1152]. [4]

Changed title from King to Prince when became a vassal of Angevin house. Maintained feudal relationship in theory even after Welsh uprising of 1165 when he destroyed royal strongholds in Tegeingl and re-established power along river Dee. [3]

1157 Henry II Invades Gwynedd

Stephen's successor, Henry II invaded Gwynedd in 1157 with the support of Madog ap Maredudd of Powys and Owain's exiled brother Cadwaladr. Henry's army ravaged eastern Gwynedd, the two armies met at Ewloe. Owain's forces ambushed the English army in a narrow, valley, routing it completely, the King of England himself narrowly avoiding capture. Owain was eventually forced to come to terms with Henry, had to to surrender Rhuddlan along with other conquests in the east and was required to render homage to Henry.[5]

1157 King Henry II of England invaded Gwynedd and took back Tegeingl and IaI.

1160-1168 Battles and Alliances

Madog ap Maredudd died in 1160, which allowed Owain to regain territory in the east. Six years later, the Council of Woodstock attempted to reduce the status of the Welsh princes to that of dependent vassalage, which led to a subsequent uprising led by Owain Gwynedd and Rhys ap Gruffydd of south Wales. In 1163 he formed an alliance with Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth to challenge English rule. King Henry again invaded Gwynedd in 1165, but did not follow the usual route along the northern coast, Henry's army invaded from Oswestry and took a route over the Berwyn hills. The invasion was met by an alliance of all the Welsh princes, led by Owain. Apart from a small melee at the Battle of Crogen little fighting occurred, as torrential rain forced Henry to retreat. The infuriated Henry mutilated a number of Welsh hostages, two of which were Owain's sons. Owain was able to regain his eastern conquests, recapturing Rhuddlan castle in 1167 following a siege of three months. In 1168 he engaged in negotiations with Louis VII of France to form an alliance between Gwynedd and France against their common enemy, the English.[5]

Disputes over Control of Church

For the last years of his life, Owain was engaged in disputes with Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. Their quarrel centred on the appointment of a new Bishop of Bangor. Owain had his nominee, Arthur of Bardsey, elected, which Thomas refused to accept. Owain accordingly had Arthur consecrated in Ireland. The quarrel was not resolved and the see remained officially vacant until well after Owain's death. .[5]

His taking advantage of England led to excommunication by Archbishop Thomas Beckett. [3]

Beckett, with the support of the Pope, objected to Owain's second wife, Christina, the daughter of Gronw ap Owain, who was his first cousin. This close kinship rendered the marriage invalid under church law which led to his excommunication when he refused to put his wife aside.[5]

1169-1170 Death and Burial

Owain died November 1169. [4]

Owain died in 1170, despite having been excommunicated, he was interred in Bangor Cathedral. After his death, civil war broke out between his sons. [5]

He died on 28 November 1170.[6]

He died 28 Nov 1170[3]

He was buried in cathedral church of Bangor[3]

Welsh churchmen gave him last rites and buried him in Bangor Cathedral, but Archbiship Baldwin directed Bishop of Bangor to remove his body from the church in 1188. [3]

He was buried in Bangor Cathedral, Gwynedd. [6][7] The Bangor Cathedral site has been in use as a religious location since at least the 6th century - possibly the only cathedral in the U.K. that has held the title of "cathedral" so long. As a 12th century Norman church, it was destroyed several times by English armies in the 13th century. The present nave was rebuilt in the 14th century and later damaged in a Welsh rebellion. Extensive rebuilding occurred in the late 14th century, and was completed in 1532. [8]


Owain was married twice, his first wife Gwladys ferch Llywarch ap Trahaearn, was the mother of two of his sons, Maelgwn ab Owain Gwynedd and Iorwerth Drwyndwn, the father of Llywelyn the Great, by Christina, his second wife he had three sons including Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd and Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd. He also had a number of illegitimate sons, who by Welsh law had an equal claim on the inheritance if acknowledged by their father. This feuding did not end until his grandson Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great), became prince of Gwynedd.[5]

Children of Owain and his wife Gwladus

Children of Owain ap Gruffyd, King of Gwynedd and Gwladus ferch Llywarch[9]

  1. Iorwerth (Gwynedd) of Gwynedd Iorwerth ap Owain. Iorwerth Drwyndwn ab Owain Gwyneedd, m. Margred ferch Madog. [3]
  2. Maelgwyn ab (Owain) Owain Gwynedd Maelgwn, living 1173-1174, driven out of Anglesey to Ireland by Dafydd in 1173.[3]
  3. Gwenllian (Gwynedd) ferch Owain Gwenllian Gwynedd[10] Gwenllian I, m. Owain Cyfeiliog ap Gruffudd ap Maredudd ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn. [3]

Children of Owain and Cristen

Children of Owain ap Gruffyd, King of Gwynedd and Cristin ferch Goronwy

  1. Dafydd (Owain) ab Owain Gwynedd Dafydd ap Owain, Prince of East Gwynnedd d. 1203. King of Gwynedd, flourished 1157, d. 1203; listed by Dictionary of National Biography but not by Bartrum. m. Emma, half-sister of King Henry II of England and base daughter of Geoffrey V. Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, son of Fulk V, Count of Anjoy and King of Jerusalem 1131, bur. in Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and his first wife Erembourg of Maine; their daughter Gwennlian m. Gruffudd ap Cadwgon ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn. [3]
  2. Cadwallon (not listed here by Dictionary of National Biography. [3] )
  3. Angharad (Owain) ferch Owain ap Gwynedd or Angharad (Gwynedd) ferch Owain Angharad Gwynedd[11] Angharad, m. Gruffudd Maelor ap Madog ap Maredudd ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn. But DNB states she m. Morgan ap Seisyll. [3]
  4. Rhodri ab (Owain) Owain Gwynedd Rhodi ap Owain b. c 1135, d. 1195[6] m. 1188 (1) Gwenllian ferch Yr Arglwydd Rhys, m. (2) 1193 daughter of Reginald, King of Man.

Other Children with Identification of mother

  1. Hywel ab (Owain) Owain Gwynedd Oldest son of Owain by Flynned Wyddeles, called Pyvog. [3]Hywel ap Owain, King of Gwynedd1 d. 1170[6]
  2. Llywelyn, by Gwenllian ferch Ednywain, d. 1165[3]
  3. Maredudd Ddu, by Morfudd ferch Merwydd Hir.[3]
  4. Idwal ab (Owain) Owain Gwynedd , by Afandreg ferch Gwrgi of Penmynydd. Said to have been murdered by Dunod, son of Nefydd HGardd, foster father of Idwal.[3]
  5. Rhun (Owain) ab Owain Gwynedd , by Amedd feerch Gwrgi of Penmynydd. d. 1147.[3]
  6. Iago ab (Owain) Owain Gwynedd by Morfudd ferch Elfan ap Sandde.[3]
  7. Ffilip ab (Owain) Owain Gwynedd by Morfudd ferch Elfan ap Sandde.[3]
  8. Cadell (Owain) ab Owain Gwynedd, mother unknown[3]
  9. Cynwrig ab (Owain) Owain Gwynedd, Cynwrig I, d. 1139. mother unknown [3]
  10. Cynwrig II, d. 1165, when blinded by Henry II of England. mother unknown.[3]
  11. Madoc ab (Owain) Owain Gwynedd. Given credit in Welsh legend for the discovery of America, but his existence is not proven. [3]
  12. Einion (Owain) ab Owain Gwynedd[3]
  13. Cynan ab (Owain) Owain Gwynedd Cynan Gwynedd d. 1173[12] m. Angharad ferch Genillin Farchog. Resisted Henry II in 1157, from 1170 probably held Eifionydd, Ardudwy and Meirionydd. [3]
  14. Gwenllian II, m. Hwfa ap Cynwrig; perhaps m. (2) Cadwgon of Nannau ap Madog ap Cadwgon ap Bleddyn ap Cynfyn[3]
  15. Rhidrid ab (Owain) Owain Gwynedd m. daughter of Iarli Desmond[3]
  16. Morgan, killed in 1158; not mentioned in Bartrum[3]
  17. daughter, betrothed to causin Anarawd ap Rhys ap Gruffudd.[3]

Other Children Connected via WikiTree

These children are not listed in Boyer should be considered disputed until some source is found linking them to Owain ap Gruffud.[3]

  1. Rotpert ab (Owain) Owain Gwynedd
  2. Iefan (Owain) ab Owain Gwynedd
  3. Margaret ferch (Owain) Owain Gwynedd


  1. Source: #S00019
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 'The Peerage for Owain ap Gruffyd, King of Gwynedd
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 3.28 3.29 3.30 3.31 3.32 3.33 3.34 3.35 3.36 3.37 3.38 3.39 3.40 3.41 3.42 3.43 Carl Boyer, Medieval Welsh Ancestors of Certain Americans. By the author, Santa Clarita, California, 2004. Pages 292-294
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Cawley, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy Accessed Jan 23, 2016
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 Owain Gwynedd, The Native Princes of Wales. The Native Princes of Wales; Copyright © 2004 - 2005
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Wikipedia. Owain ap Gruffydd ("Owain son of Gruffydd) Accessed Jan 23, 2016
  7. [ Owain Gwynedd (1100-1170) Find-a-Grave,
  8. Wikipedia: Bangor Cathedral
  9. Mosley, Burkes Peerage Volume 3, page 4188.
  10. Mosley, Burkes Peerage Volume 3, page 4188.
  11. Mosley, Burkes Peerage Volume 3, page 4188.
  12. Mosley, Burkes Peerage Volume 3, page 4188.

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No known carriers of Owain Gwynedd's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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On 21 Apr 2018 at 15:53 GMT Stephen McCallum wrote:

555 Wikidata - Different birth date

On 21 Apr 2018 at 15:51 GMT Stephen McCallum wrote:

558 Wikidata - Different death date

On 28 Mar 2014 at 15:07 GMT Michelle (Bairfield) Brooks wrote:

There appears to be a mix-up for spouse Goronwy-3 dob 1105. She is shown married to Gruffydd-105 dob 1078, and Gruffudd-37 about 1117.

Will try to straighten this out.

Owain Gwynedd is 22 degrees from Elinor Glyn, 28 degrees from Frances Weidman and 20 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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