Lordship of Neuadd Wen, Coedtalog and Rhiwhiriaeth

The Cedwyn Manuscript dated 1633 traces the descent from Maredudd ap CYNAN. Many genealogists have deduced that he was the grandson of Owain Gwynedd (1100-1170), King of Gwynedd, mainly because the coat of arms bears a close resemblance to the arms of the royal line of Gwynedd. The motto of the Neuadd Wen clan was "Glew a fydd llew hyd llwyd" ("Brave is a lion until he is grey-haired").

Owain Gwynedd was the second son of Gruffydd ap Cynan (1055-1137), King of Gwynedd. After the death of Owain Gwynedd his son Cynan ap OWAIN ruled Eifionydd, Ardudwy and Meirioneth. The Welsh Biographer (1953) reveals that in 1188 Cynan ap OWAIN's eldest son Gruffydd ap CYNAN ruled Merionethshire, with his other son Maredudd ap CYNAN ruling Eifionydd. Tradition tells us that Maredudd lost his lands to Llywelyn the Great (1173-1240) in 1202, and fled to Upper Powys where Prince Gwenwynwyn gave him refuge and Lordship over Neuadd Wen, Llysun, Coedtalog and Rhiwhiriaeth.

The earlier Hengwrt Manuscript (No. 308) dated 1581 shows the pedigree as "Maredudd ap Cynan ap Cadwgan ap Elystan Glodrudd". Elystan Glodrudd, Prince of Fferllys, ruled lands in the south of Powys extending from Kerry down to Builth, and was reputedly a descendant of Beli Mawr the 1st century BC overlord of the Britons. The coat of arms of Elystan Glodrudd was a lion rampant which was associated with the Kingdom of Powys. The author argues that the descent is more probable from this Powysian family and that the former mansion at Neuadd Wen called Llys Wgan was likely to have been named after Cadwgan ap ELYSTAN.

Owen (1930) refers to Archdeacon Sulien ap CARADOG and also to his father Caradog ap COLLWYN as being Periglor (Archpriest) of Meifod. At this time Meifod was the ecclesiastical capital of Upper Powys and the burial place of Powysian princes, thus supporting the premise that the male line of the Neuadd Wen clan had strong links with Meifod and were of Powysian descent.

Owen (1930) states that prior to 1239 "the prebendal stalls at Llanfair (a portionist church) had been held by the following parties, viz, Einion AP EDNYFED and Ednyfed ap SULIEN, Morvran ap Meurig, and the Periglor of Meifod". There is a persistent tradition that Einion ap SULIEN of Rhiwhiriaeth joined the '3rd Crusade' (1189-1192) and went mising for many years before returning to festivities on the eve of his wife's wedding; she did not recognise the stranger until he played the harp and then welcomed him back as her husband.

Dafydd ap GRUFFUDD FYCHAN was of Rhiwhiriaeth, which lies a mile or so, south west of Mary's Church in Caereinion. The manor included the important mill at Melin y Ddol. The names of the farms in the area such as Glynhiriaeth, Rhiwhiriaeth Isaf and Rhiwhiriaeth Ganol are derived from the name of the manor. There is an impressive effigy of Dafydd ap GRUFFUDD FYCHAN within Llanfair Caereinion Church.

Owen (1930) argues that Dafydd ap GRUFFUDD FYCHAN was a contemporary of the "peerless Welsh patriot and rebel" Owen de Galles (Owain Lawgoch), and in all probability, was one of Owens companions in arms. Owen de Galles had local connections, as he owned the manor of Plas in Dinas in Mechain. Colin Gresham (1968) in his research on medieval stone carvings in North Wales was dubious whether Dafydd ap GRUFFUDD FYCHAN fought in Owain Glyndwr's rebellion of 1400-1410, however, he paints the picture of him being an "important landowner in Upper Powys, living little more than a dozen miles from Sycharth, and of distinguished, even princely, lineage...as a man Dafydd ap GRUFFUDD FYCHAN can be compared closely with Owain (Lawgoch) in the days before 1400, and his effigy supplies a portrait contemporary with the great Welsh hero".

Dafydd ap GRUFFUDD FYCHAN's son Maredudd was a supporter of the Welsh rebellion and was granted a pardon on the 26th May 1418 by Sir Edward de Charleton, Lord of Powys. His three grandsons Owen ap Meredudd, Dafydd Llwyd ap Meredudd and Gruffudd ap Meredudd were pardoned in 1417. Supporters of Glyndwr's rebellion were penalised and we see the noble standing and general fortunes of the Neuadd Wen clan declining there afterwards.

From the time of Maredudd ap DAFYDD the estate of Neuadd Wen was divided and sub divided according to the customs of gavelkind, until the time of Ieuan ap OWAIN (Coch o Bowys), the last male line of Maredudd ap CYNAN residing at Neuadd Wen. Robert Owen states that Margaret of Neuadd Wen the daughter of Ieuan ap OWAIN "was a lady of transcendent charms who brought the whole of Powys to her feet". Margaret married three times, first Hywel ap GRUFFUDD of Llwydiarth; then Rhys ap DAFYDD LLWYD the master of Newtown Hall (killed at the Battle of Banbury, 1469) and lastly Griffith de Brompton.

The Bolivers of Neuadd Wen were descendants of Margaret ferch IEUAN through the Newton Hall branch and took their name from Oliver ap THOMAS who was a grandson of Margaret of Neuadd Wen ; the village of Pontrobert - Robert ap Oliver's Bridge - is said to be named after his great great grandson Robert ap OLIVER .

Meredith Lloyd (fl. 1655-1677) of Brynelen chemist, lawyer and antiquary was a descendant of Maredudd ap DAFYDD of Neuadd Wen. Meredith Lloyd corresponded and collaborted with the famous antiquarian Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt and also with other notable scholars such as John Jones of Gellilyfdy and William Maurice of Llansilin. Vaughan had a high opinion of Lloyd's scholarship and his knowledge of Old Welsh. He was also known as Meredith Lloyd of Welshpool and acted as a lawyer for noble families such as the Purcells and the Herberts. He was also a resident of London and a "worthy friend" of John Aubrey FRS - the famous antiquary and natural philosopher - who took advice from Lloyd on matters relating to alchemy.

The Cedwyn Manuscript 1633 traces the lineage of the Williams family of Plas Dolanog from William ap OWEN of Neuadd Wen to William WILLIAMS of Dolanog. William WILLIAMS built Plas Dolanog (Dolanog Hall) in 1664. The Dolanog Estate bordered the Neuadd Wen lands and was passed down from generation to generation to John Bright Meredith WILLIAMS (1838 - 1908) until it was sold in the early 20th century.

The Brynglas family of Llanfair Caereinion was descended from Dafydd ap GRUFFUDD FYCHAN. The Brynglas Estate was situated on the outskirts of Llanfair Caereinion on the Cefncoch Road and included the Rhiwhiriaeth lands. There are two brass plates in a window east of the north aisle of Llanfair Caereinion Church commemorating descendants of the Brynglas family being David JONES and Oliver JONES of Brynglas.

Robert Vaughan of Llwynhir (d 1662) - who was married to Gwen Bynner - was a descendant of Dafydd Llwyd ap DAFYDD of Glanllyn and Lowri ferch HOWELL VAUGHAN of Llwydiarth. Lowri ferch HOWELL VAUGHAN was a descendant of Hywel ap GRUFFUDD of Llwydiarth and Margaret ferch Ieuan ap OWAIN of Neuaddwen. Robert VAUGHAN's great granddaughter Gwen JONES (b. 1711) married Oliver JONES (b. 1710) of Coedtalog, Llanerfyl. Oliver and Gwen JONES's granddaugther Mary JONES married Robert JONES (b. 1781) of Neuaddwen.

Gresham C A (1968), Medieval Stone Carvings in North Wales: sepulchral slabs and effigies of the 13th and 14th centuries, Cardiff University Press.
Owen R (1930), In the Heart of Powysland, Owens' Press.
Roberts J E and Owen R (1916), The Story of Montgomeryshire, Educational Publishing Co Ltd, Cardiff.
Society of the Cymmrodorion (1953), The Welsh Biographer up to 1940, Williams Lewis (Publishers), Cardiff.
Ap Roger E & Lleyn W (c 1581), Hengwrt MS No. 608