Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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NEST ( fl. 1120 ), a princess of Deheubarth .

Daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr by Gwladus , daughter of Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn . About 1100 she m. Gerald of Pembroke ; there were at least three sons of the union — William , Maurice , and David Fitz-Gerald — and a daughter, Angharad , wife of William of Manorbier and mother of Giraldus Cambrensis . Clearly a woman of great charm and beauty, she became the mistress of many lovers . Her romantic abduction (almost in her husband's presence) by her kinsman, Owain ap Cadwgan , in 1109 , has earned her notoriety as the ‘Helen of Wales.’ Her numerous offspring included Robert Fitz-Stephen and Henry ‘ filius regis ’ — her child by king Henry I . The date of her death is unknown, but she lived until well after 1136 . There were others of the same name less famous than the subject of this notice: Nest , daughter of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn , Nest , the wife of Bernard Newmarch , and Nest , daughter of Gruffydd ap Rhys .


  • A History of Wales: from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest ;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Giraldi Cambrensis Opera (1861–91) .


Professor Thomas Jones Pierce, M.A., F.S.A., (1905-1964), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959