Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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IORWERTH ap MADOG ( fl. 1240?-1268? ), jurist ,

repeatedly mentioned in various manuscripts of the ‘ Venedotian Code ’ of the Welsh Laws , is more specifically designated in one of these as ‘ Iorwerth ap Madog ap Rhahawd ’; this would make him a brother of the poet Einion ap Madog ( fl. c. 1237 ; q.v. on p. 203) — the identification is accepted by Sir John Lloyd , Hist. W. , 355. This would make him a descendant of the 9th cent. Cilmin Droed-ddu , and a cognate of the family which later became known as the Glyn s of Glynllifon, Caerns. (qq.v. on pp. 280-1 and 281-2), and which in later days produced lawyers of some note. Iorwerth 's family connections have been carefully investigated in N.L.W. Jnl. (see reference below). Even before his time, the family had been prominent in law and administration ; for example, Iorwerth 's grandfather's cousin, CYFNERTH ( fl. c. 1210 ), was the redactor of a law-book which, although of North Wales origin, was associated in later editions with South Wales ; and Iorwerth 's great-uncle, YSTRWYTH ( fl. 1204-22 ; see Lloyd , Hist. W. , 622 n. 55, and index) was, in all probability, the cleric of that name who acted as secretary and envoy of Llywelyn the Great . Iorwerth has always been regarded as the final redactor of the ‘ Venedotian Code ,’ the best-arranged and most complete of the Codes; and he was clearly regarded in his day as a very high legal authority ; but precisely what additions he made to the corpus cannot be exactly determined.


  • Dafydd Jenkins , ‘Iorwerth ap Madog,’ in The National Library of Wales Journal , viii, 164-70, is the source of practically all of this note.
  • A convenient short account of the various versions and manuscripts of the Laws will be found in J. E. Lloyd , A History of Wales: from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest , 354-6.


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959