Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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CYNGEN (d. 855 ), prince ,

was the son of Cadell , ruler of Powys , who d. in 808 . He was of the line of Brochwel Ysgithrog , and, after a long reign, ended his life as a pilgrim at Rome , being, as far as is known, the first Welsh prince to make the journey after the submission of Wales to papal authority. His only title to fame is that he erected, in a valley in Iâl , afterwards known as Pant y Groes and Valle Crucis , an elaborate memorial, of a well-known Mercian pattern, to his great-grandfather, Elise , who is declared, in a lengthy inscription, to have delivered Powys (about 725 ) from the power of the English . Very little of this inscription can now be read, but it was recorded much more fully by Edward Lhuyd in 1696 and his transcript forms the basis of modern discussion. For the most recent account, see Arch. Camb. , 1935 , 330-3. The ‘g’ in ‘ Eliseg's Pillar ’ goes back to an error of the original graver; the old form, as the pedigrees show, was Elized , which became successively Elisedd , Elise , and Elis . The monument has suffered many misfortunes: it was thrown down in the Civil Wars and the remains re-erected in 1779 . As for the ancient dynasty of Powys , it came to an end with Cyngen , for, though he is said to have had three sons, none of them appears to have succeeded him; what befell the region is uncertain, but it is likely that Rhodri Mawr became its ruler , claiming through his mother, Nest , who was Cyngen 's sister.


  • A History of Wales: from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest , 204, 244, 324-5.


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

Published date: 1959