Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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BLEDRI ap CYDIFOR (fl. 1116-30), chieftain .

The Normans entrusted the castle of Robert Courtemayn near Carmarthen , situated perhaps at Abercywyn , to him during the Welsh revolt of 1116 . He figures in the Pipe Roll of 1130 as ‘ Bledericus Walensis ,’ who owes £1 for the killing of a Fleming by his men and one mark in respect of scutage. The cartulary of Carmarthen priory shows that, at some time between 1129 and 1134 , ‘ Bledericus ’ bestowed on that house four carucates of land in Eglwys Newydd , now Newchurch . In this record, he bears the title ‘Latemeri,’ i.e. interpreter , which confirms the impression that he was a Welshman of consequence in this district who maintained friendly relations with the invader. His descendants remained prominent landowners hereabouts for centuries. They were to be found at Cil Sant , Pwll Dyfach , Motlysgwm , and Picton .

Bledri is an unusual name, and it is natural to identify the Carmarthen magnate with the ‘ Bledhericus ’ of Gerald of Wales , whom he describes as a famous romancer , not long dead. Norman French , it is certain, was a familiar tongue to one who acted as interpreter between the two races. It is a further step, not accepted on all hands, to find in the same man the ‘ Breri ’ who is treated as an authority about 1160 by the author of a French romance of Tristan , and also the ‘ Bleheris ’ of an early form of the Perceval legend .

Sources:

  • A History of Carmarthenshire , i, 134, 136, 138;
  • E. K. Chambers , Arthur of Britain , 1927 , 149-50.

Author:

Sir John Edward Lloyd, D.Litt., F.B.A., F.S.A. (1861-1947), Bangor

Published date: 1959