Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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CYNAN ap HYWEL (d. 1242? ), prince ,

was the son of Hywel Sais (d. 1204 ), who was established by his father, the Lord Rhys ( 1132 - 1197 ) (q.v.) , at S. Clears , and who usually acted with Maelgwn ap Rhys in the family quarrels. Cynan is first heard of in Maelgwn 's train, when, in 1210 , his cousins, Rhys and Owain , captured him in their attack upon their uncle's camp at Cilcennin . His next appearance is in 1223 , when, still in opposition to Llywelyn of North Wales , he is the ally of William Marshall in the earl's great invasion of the South, and in that capacity harries Is Aeron , which is placed in his keeping. His permanent reward was the bestowal upon him of Emlyn and Ystlwyf (between the Cynin and the Cowin ) in return for his support. On 18 Nov. it was announced by the king that Cynan had done homage for his rightful patrimony and was not to be molested. He was holding lands in South Wales in June 1225 , when Llywelyn and the earl Marshall were commissioned to make a fair division between Maelgwn , Owain , and Cynan , and in March, 1238 , when he was named as one of the vassals of English magnates who were forbidden to do homage to David as Llywelyn 's heir. According to inquests of 1288 and 1299 , Walter Marshall found him, on Llywelyn 's death in 1240 , hostile to the Crown , and accordingly deprived him of Emlyn and Ystlwyf . His later history is unknown, but it is clear from the elegy of Dafydd Benfras (q.v.) upon Gruffydd ap Llywelyn that in 1244 he was dead. Prydydd Bychan (q.v.) has an elegy upon him couched in the traditional vein; he is ‘ England 's foe,’ has made England bend, and on a hundred nights has made war upon Rhos .


  • A History of Wales: from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest , 633-4, 662, 666, 710.


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

Published date: 1959