The Celtic Literature Collective

The History of Gruffydd ap Cynan

Peniarth 17 (13th C.)

I.Gruffydd's Descent from the Royal Houses of Wales, Ireland, and Norway.
IN the days of Edward King of England and of Toirdeibhach King of Ireland, Gruffydd King of Gwynedd was born in Ireland in the city of Dublin, and he was reared in the commot of Columcille, a place whiŔh is called among the Irish "Swords" (this is three miles from the place where lived his mother and his foster-mother). His father was Cynan, King of Gwynedd, and his mother was Ragnaillt, daughter of Olaf, King of the city of Dublin and a fifth part of Ireland. Therefore this Gruffydd was a man most nobly born, of royal race and most eminent lineage, as testifies likewise the pedigree and descent of his family.

For Gruffydd was a son of King Cynan, son of Iago, son of Idwal, son of Elissed, son of Meuryc, son of Anarawt, son of Rhodri, son of Etill daughter of Cynart of Castell Dindaethwy, son of Idwaire, son of Catwalader Vendigeit, son of Catwallawn, son of Catvan, son of lago, son of Beli, son of Run, son of Maelgwn, Son of Catwallawn Llauhir, son of Einnyawn Yrth, son of King Cuneda, son of Edern, son of Padern Peisrud son of Tagit, son of Iago, son of Guidauc, son of Kein, son of Gorgein, son of Doli, son of Gwrdoli, son of Dwuyn, son of Gorduwyn, son of Anwerit, son of Onuet, son of Diuwng, son of Brychwein, son of Ewein, son of Auallach, son of Aflech, son of Beli Mawr, etc.

Rodri Mawr son of Mervyn Vrych, son of Gwryat, son of Elidir, son of Sandef, son of Alcwn, son of Tegit, son of Gweir, son of Dwc, son of Llewarch Hen, son of Elidir Liedanwyn, son of Meirchyaun Gul, son of Gorwst Ledlum, son of Keneu, son of Coel Gotebauc, son of Tecvan Gloff, son of Deyeweint, son of Urban, son of Grad, son of Riuedel, son of Rideyrn, son of Enteyrn, son of Endygant, son of Endos, son of Endoleu, son of Avallach, son of Aflech, son of Beli Mawr, son of Manogan, son of Eneit, son of Kerwyt, son of Kryton son of Dyvynarth, son of Prydein, son of Aet Mawr, son of Antonius, son of Seiryoel, son of Gurust, son of Riwallaun, son of Regat daughter of Llyr, son of Rud, son of Bleidud, son of Lliwelyt, son of Brutus Ysgwyt Ir, son of Membyr, son of Madoc, son of Locrinus, son of Brut prince of Rome, son of Silvius, son of Ascanius, son of Aeneas Ysgwyt Wyn, son of Anchises, son of Capis, son of Assaracus, son of Trois son of Herctonius, son of Dardanus, son of Jupiter, son of Sadwrn, son of Celius, son of Cretus, son of Ciprius, son of Iauan, son of Japhet, son of Noah Hen, son of Lamech, son of Methusalem, son of Enoc, son of Jaret, son of Mahaleel, son of Cainan, son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God.

The pedigree Of Gruffydd on his mother?s side. King Gruffydd, son of Ragnaillt the daughter of Olaf, king of the city of Dublin and a fifth part of ireland and the Isle of Man which was formerly of the kingdom of Britain. Moreover he was king over many other islands, Denmark, and Galloway and the Rinns, and Anglesey, and Gwynedd where Olaf built a strong castle with its mound and ditch still visible and cafled "The Castle of King Olaf?. In Welsh, however, it is called Bon y Dom. Olaf himself was a son of King Sitriuc, son of Olaf Cuaran, son of Sitriuc, son of King Olaf, son of King Haarfager, son of the King of Denmark.

Be it well known that Harold Haarfager and his two brothers were sons of the king of Norway, and Alyn his brother was a king the most worshipful and renowned in all Denmark, whom Prince Thur killed in battle. And while he was despoiling him and drawing a huge torque of gold from about his neck, such as it was customary for kings and noblemen of old to wear, his hands clung to the torque and his knees to his belly. This was the first miracle that God performed for him. From this [time] forward the whole of Denmark took him as a saint and honoured him from this day outwards; and many churches were built in his name and in his honour in Denmark; and sailors call upon him in particular and sacrifice to him and offer him numerous gifts when in peril on the sea. The prince who killed him was afterwards called from this deed Thurkyl because he had slain the rightful king side by side with the island of Britain as the islands of the Cyclades are between the Tyrhennian Sea and Denmark. His third brother, to wit Rollo, set out with his fleet to France and there settled and vanquished the Franks by warfare and conquered a great part of France which is now called Normandy, for the men of Norway inhabited it. This race is from Lychlyn, and this land was divided into twelve parts according to thebarons and princes who first came to the part of France which is called Brittany or Llydaw. They built there many cities (Rouen namely was called from King Rollo its builder as Rome from Romulus and Rheims from Remus) and many other cities and castles and strong-holds. From him are descended the Norman kings who conquered England by battle, to wit King William and his two sons who succeeded him, William Longsword and Henry and Stephen his nephew, who were contemporaries of King Gruffydd. In this wise was King Gruffydd noble on his mother?s side, on the part of his mother?s father.

In the second place, on the part of his grandmother, that is his mother?s mother, King Gruffydd was the son of Ragnaillt, daughter of Mailcorcre, daughter of Dunlang, son of Tuathal, King of Leinster, a fifth part of Ireland. Slani likewise, mother of King Olaf, was daughter to Brian, King of Munster, two parts of Ireland. And then Gormflaith was the mother of King Sitriuc. She was daughter to Murchad, King of Leinster, and she had three renowned sons, to wit Donnchad, King of Munster, Sitriuc King of Dublin, and Maelsechlainn, King of Meath. Maelmorda like-wise was a son of this queen by Murchad, King of Leinster. King Gruffydd had two brothers of the same mother, Kings of Ulster, namely, Raghnall son of Mathgamhain, who by his valour gained two parts of Ireland in six weeks. He was a wonderful leaper. There was not among all the Irishmen one who could either withstand or match him in leaping. His horse excelled in various feats and swiftness. Islimach was its flame. His leap and that of his horse were equal. It was most like Cinnar, the horse of Achilles and Bucephalus, the horse of the Emperor Alexander. Gruffydd's other brother was Aedh Mac Mathgamhain, of Ulster. Since an end has been made of enumerating the pedigree and relatiies of King Gruffydd with respect to the world, we shall now enumerate his descent, with respect to God; as says the holy father both of his descent and of the descent of every man in the exposition which he made upon this verse of the Psalter, ?Ye are gods and sons of the highest are ye all.? According to this Gruffydd was the son of Cynan, the son of Adam, the son of God.

With regard to this, while King Gruffydd is commended by an earthly pedigree and a heavenly one, let us now proceed to the prophecy of Merddin, bard of the Britons, concerning him. Merddin foretold him to us as follows: A leaping wild animal that shall be the subject of prophecy has gone away to our gain; a waylayer from over the sea; corrupter [is] his name. [for] many shall he corrupt. This is in Latin : Saltus ferinus praesagitur; uenturus de mari; insidiaturus; cui nomen corruptor quia multos corrumpet.

O dearly beloved brother Welshmen, very memorable is King Gruffydd, who is commended by the praise of his earthly pedigree and the prophecy of Merddin as above. And since this is finished, let us hasten to his own particular actions as has been promised by us through ancient history. Let Christ be the author and counsellor in this matter, not Diana or Apollo. .

2. Gruffydd defeats Cenwric, Son of Rhiwallon, and Trahaiarn, Son of Caradoc, and becomes King of Gwynedd.
Wherefore when Gruffydd was still a boy, well mannered and delicately reared, and attaining to. the years of youth in his mother?s house and moving amidst her people, during this time his mother related to him every day who and what manner of man was his father, what was his patrimony, and what kind of kingdom and what sort of tyrants dwelt in it. When he heard this heaviness seized him and he was sad many days. Wherefore he went to the court of King Murchad and complained to him in particular and to the other kings of Ireland that a strange race were ruling over his paternal kingdom, and in sport besought them to give him help to seek his patrimony. They took pity upon him and promised to help him when the time should come. When he heard the answer he was glad and gave thanks for that to God and to them, immediately embarked in a ship, and raised the sails to the wind, and journeyed over the sea towards Wales, and reached the port of Abermenai. At that time there were ruling, falsely and unduly, Trahaiarn, son of Caradoc, and Cenwric, son of Rhiwallon, Kings of Powys and all Gwynedd, which they had divided between them.

Then Gruffydd sent messengers to the men of Anglesey and Arvon and the three sons of Merwyd of Lleyn, Asser, Meirion, and Gwgan, and other noblemen to ask them to come quickly to confer with him. Without delay they arrived and saluted him and said to him, "Your coming is welcome.? Then he besought them with all his might to aid him to obtain his patrimony, for he was their rightful lord, and to fight on his side valiantly with arms to repel their usurping rulers who had come from another place. After the conference was ended and the council dispersed, he went back to the ocean towards Rhuddlan Castle to Robert of Rhuddlan, a baron famous, brave, and strong, nephew to Hugh, Earl of Chester, and besought help of him against his enemies who were in his patrimony. When he [Robert] heard who he was, and wherefore he had come, and what was his request of him, he promised to be his supporter.

Hereupon there came a prophetess, Tangwystyl by name, a relation of his, the wife of Llewarch Olbwch, to greet Gruffydd her relation, and to foretell that in the future he would be king, and to present to him the fairest of shirts and the best of tunics made from the pelisse of King Gruffydd, son of King Liewelyn, son of Seisyll (for Llewarch, her husband, was chief chamberlain and treasurer to Gruffydd, son of Llewelyn). Then Gruffydd embarked and returned from his journey to Abermenai. Then he despatched the soldiers of the sons of Merwyd, who were in sanctuary in Clynnog from fear of the men of Powys who were threatening them, and other noblemen and their kinsmen, and sixty picked men of Tygeingl from the province of the above-mentioned Robert, and eighty men from Anglesey to the cantred of Lleyn to fight with King Cenwric, their oppressor. Then they departed by strategy, and came upon him unawares, and slew him and many of his men. Gruffydd at the time was. in Abermenai, that is to say, in the harbour which has been mentioned above, awaiting [to see] what fate should happen to them. Then straightway there set out in haste a youth of Arvon, Eineon was his name, the first to tell him the happy tidings, that is, the slaughter of his oppressor, and to request as a particular reward for the news a beautiful woman, Delat by name, formerly King Bleddyn?s mistress: as of old, there came to David to Philistia a certain young man, a son of an Amalekite bearing the sceptre and ring of King Saul and running from the battle that had taken place on Mount Gilboa: and David gave the armlet to him gladly as his reward for the joyful news. Then followed victoriously the troop he had sent to the attack. At once they urged him to advance, upon this good omen, to conquer Anglesey and Arvon and Lleyn and the cantreds of the marches of England, and to receive homage from their inhabitants, and so to go and perambulate all Gwynedd, the true possession of his father which God from his mercy had delivered into their hands.

When these things had been done, at their instigation he took a huge host towards the cantred of Meirionydd (where was Trahaiarn) against his other conqueror. A battle took place between them in a narrow valley, a place which is called in Welsh Gwaet Erw, or ?The Bloody Land,? by reason of the battle which took place there: and God granted victory over his enemies in that day, and many thousands fell the part of Trahaiarn, and he, lamenting, escaped with difficulty and a few [men] with him from the battle. Gruffydd and his host pursued him through plain and mountain to the borders of his own land. Therefore Gruffydd was exalted from that day forth, and was rightfully called King of Gwynedd; and he rejoiced as a strong man to run his course, freeing Gwynedd from the rulers who came to it from another place, who were ruling it without a right; as Judas Maccabeus defended the land of Israel against the kings of the pagans and neighbouring nations who frequently made an inroad among them. After so accomplishing everything Gruffydd began to pacify the kingdom and to organise the people and to rule them with a rod of iron gloriously in the Lord.

3. He Attacks Rhuddlan Castle.
Thereupon after a little time had elapsed, at the instigation of the noblemen of the country a great host congregated and advanced to Rhuddlan Castle ? to fight with Robert the castellan and with other fierce knights of the French, who had come lately to England and then came to rule the confines of Gwynedd. After he had marshalled them and had raised the ensigns, he took possession of the bailey and burnt it and took great plunder. Many French knights, armoured and helmeted, fell from their horses in the fight, and many footmen [ likewise perished], and a few of them scarcely escaped into the tower. And when the King of Ireland and his barons heard that so fair a hap as this had come [to] their kinsman and foster-son, they rejoiced mightily.

4. He is betrayed and defeated at Bron yr Erw.
Then the three sons of Merwyd and all the men of Lleyn united against Gruffydd, their rightful lord, and slew until night in their quarters in the country two hundred and twenty Irishmen of the knights of Gruffydd and his household. And when Trahaiarn, vanquished and a fugitive, heard this, he rejoiced because this schism had grown between Gruffydd and his men, and immediately he set out with the men of Powys, and exhorted them to come with him to attack Gwynedd in plentiful numbers to avenge upon them Cenwric his kinsman.

Thereupon came Gurgeneu ap Seisyll, King of Powys, and his. following, together with Trahaiarn and his following, with one mind to seek to conquer the kingdom of King Gruffydd. When the three Sons of Merwyd and the men of Lleyn and Eifyonydd heard this, like perjured, faithless men they betrayed King Gruff ydd their rightful lord and aided their enemies to be as princes over them in the province. Two brothers from Anglesey, Tewdwr and Coliwyn, behaved similarly after receiving their rewards in Clynnog Vawr at the hands of Gruffydd.

When Gruffydd heard of this treachery and the coalition there was against him by his own people together with his enemies, he came against them with the men of Anglesey and Arvon and a few Danes and Irishmen, and a great strife arose. There was great slaughter on both sides, and many fell from King Gruffydd?s host, and many were captured in the battle, Cerit, his foster?father, and Mac Ruaidhri, leader of the Irish and lord of Cruach Brandon (this place is a lofty mountain of Saint Brendan, a wonderful hermit, and nine cantreds around it). Of the noblemen of Anglesey there fell seventy-five men. Likewise King Gruffydd sat on his horse in his troop with his flashing sword mowing both traitors and enemies, like Agamemnon, King of Phrygia, of old in the fight of Troy. Then Tewdwr, a youth from Anglesey, archbetrayer of Gruffydd, approached with streaming sword and moved aside to come to his saddle-bow behind his saddle. When Gwyncu, a baron of Anglesey, beheld this he drew him unwilling from the battle to the ship that was in Abermenai. Thence they went to the island of Adron (this place was the island of Seals). Thence they journeyed to Wexford in Ireland. Thenceforward to this day this contest is called Bron yr Erw or Erw yr Alit.

Yet do not wonder that now the people should be vanquished and now the chieftains should flee because of an accident, for treachery exists from the beginning. In this wise the people of Israel behaved who betrayed and delivered their proper King and their lord, that is to say, Judas Maccabeus to Demetrius, the faithless King; and he [Judas] howbeit as a warrior of God, like unto a hero and a lion, avenged himself well upon both sides. From treachery the Roman senators with styles in the Roman Capitol slew Caesar, Emperor of Rome, after he had conquered the whole world and had pacified it by [his] battles. Also Arthur, King of the Kings of the Island of Britain, and an eminent renowned hero, wrought twelve notable battles against the Saxons and the Picts: in the first of them he was vanquished and a fugitive because of treachery in Caer Lwytcoed (this place was Dinas y Llwyn Llwyt): in the other contests he was victorious, and deservedly paid in kind his oppressors, the Saxons and the Picts, although he was an old man.

5. Gruffydd regains Gwynedd, but is kidnapped by his Scandinavian Allies Hugh Earl of Chester devastates Gwynedd.
After Gruffydd came to Ireland he complained grievously to the King and his chieftains against the traitors and his oppressors. They considered it intolerable, and urged him to return quickly with a fleet furnished for a voyage with necessaries and fighting men. Thereupon he returned to his country cleaving the ocean with thirty ships full of Irishmen and Danes; and they disembarked in Abermenai and there found Trahaiarfl ruling in the land.

When Trahaiarn heard that the royal fleet had arrived, he grieved and sighed, and dread and fear fell upon him, and he removed to him the men of Lleyn and Ardudwy and their possessions into the cantred of Meirionydd what he had got of them. Gruffydd and his host took the other portion from Lleyn and Arvon to AngleseY so that they should be in safety and under his protection. Then the Danes, the men of his house and household waxed wrath because they did not obtain their customs [i.e., customary privilege to plunder] as had been promised them, and plundered the greater part of Anglesey in spite of him, and returned to their country with their ships full of men and spoil, and carried him with them against his will. On this occasion the treachery of the DaneS towards Gruffydd was not less than that of the Cymry.

Then arose much evil and tribulation in Gwynedd, and in the midst of this, after a short time, Hugh Earl of Chester and many other princes, that is to say, Robert of Rhuddlan, Warenne of Shrewsbury, alter Earl of Hereford, assembled the largest host in the world of horsemen and footmen, and took with them Gwrgan ap Seisyll and the men of Powys, and traversed the mountains until they came into Lleyn. In this cantred they encamped for a fortnight, daily destroying and plundering and murdering. They left behind them a great slaughter of corpses. Then the country was a desert for eight years. Then the inhabitants of this country scattered portionless [and] needy into the world. Many of them went as exiles into other lands through long years, and scarcely any of them came to their own country. This was the first plague and rough advent of the Normans to the land of Gwynedd after coming to England.

6. Gruffydd ap Cynan and Rhys ap Tewdwr meet at St. David's The Battle of Mynydd Carn and Death of Trahaiarn.
Meanwhile after Gruffydd had been a year in Ireland as a guest of King Dermot and other noblemen, he eventually assembled a kingly fleet from Waterford which the King had given him full of Danes, Irishmen, and Britons, and after spreading sails at sea, and the wind being favourable behind them, and the sea tranquil, he came to Porthclais, hard by the Archbishopric of St. David?s. Then came Rhys, King of Deheubarth, and the bishops and teachers and all the clergy of the lord David togetherwith the Church of St. David?s to the harbour. First Rhys discoursed thus with the lord Gruffydd, ?Welcome Gruffydd, King of the Kings of Wales. To you I fly. Before you I fall upon my knees to beseech your help and your support.? ? Who are you?? said Gruffydd, ?and wherefore are you come hither?? ?I am Rhys," said he, ?son of Tewdwr, lord of this dominion little while ago, and now I am as an outcast, and a fugitive, and almost a nonentity, hiding in in this sanctuary.? ?Who is it that put you to flight?? quoth Gruffydd. ?My lord,? said the other, ?three kings of the chief lands of. Wales with their hosts descended upon my province lately, and daily they are plundering it.? ?Who,? said Gruffydd, ? are the kings who go among thy people and thy possession in so warlike a manner as this?? ?Caradocap Gruffydd,? said he, ?of Gwent Uch Coed and Iscoed, and the men of Gwent, and the men of Glamorgan, and many Norman arbalisters with them; Meilir ap Rhiwallon and the men of Powys with him, King Trahaiarn and the men of Arwystli.?

When Gruffydd heard the name of the usurper, he snorted with rage, and demanded of him [Rhys] what he would give him for fighting on his behalf against these men. ?Verily,? said Rhys, ?the half of thy kingdom I will give you, and besides this I will do homage to you.?

Gruffydd was agreeable to this; and after this interview they journeyed together to the Church of [St.] David{s}. to pray. Then they became faithful friends after swearing on the relics. After they had joined together in this place and received the bishop?s blessing, Gruffydd journeyed this selfsame day, he and his Danes and Irishmen and many men of Gwynedd to the number of one hundred and sixty men with Cynddelw, son of Conus of Anglesey, at their head. Rhys on his part, and a few men of the South with him, went rejoicing in his mind from his [Gruffydd?s] support.

After making a long day's journey, about eventide they came to a mountain where were encamped the Kings mentioned above. Then said Rhys to King Gruffydd, ?Lord,? said he, ?let us delay the battle until the morrow, for it is evening now and the day is spent.? ?You delay it,? said Gruffydd sobbing, ?if you desire it. I am for battle and shall charge upon them.? And thus it was. The Kings, likewise, were in dread, as they beheld the triumphant hosts of battle and Gruffydd?s troops with their ensigns before them, and the men of Denmark and their two-edged axes, and the spear-armed Irishmen with their sharp iron pila, and the men of Gwynedd armed with sword and targe. Gruffydd, the foremost warrior, advanced to battle like a hero and a lion, without respite scattering his opponents with his gleaming sword. He instilled courage into his men to fight manfully with their enemies, that they should not turn their backs to them in any way.

Then there was a contest whose memory was mighty to posterity [lit. to descendants after their parents]. The cries of the combatants rose in the air; the earth resounded with the tumult of. the horses and footmen; the noise of the conflict was heard afar; the clash of the weapons sounded incessantly. Gruffydd?s men towered valiantly, their enemies giving way with them. Perspiration from their exertions and blood formed running torrents. Then Trahaiarn was pierced in his breast [lit. in the centre] until he was on the ground dying, biting with his teeth the long grass, and groping about to come upon his weapons; and Gwcharis the Irishman made bacon of him as of a pig. At the very same place there fell around him five and (twenty knights of his household. Some of them were killed in the first troop; many thousands were killed from among them; and others turned their backs to Gruffydd?s men and turned in flight. As for Gruffydd, with his wonted custom, he and his followers pursued. them victoriously through groves and glens and marshes and mountains throughout that night by the moon and throughout the following day, and there was scarcely anyone of them who escaped from the battle to his own country.

When the battle was ended Rhys began to fear treachery on the part of Gruffydd and withdrew secretly at twilight [lit. when man and bush had the same colour], and none of them appeared from this time forth. There-fore Gruffydd was displeased. Therefore Gruffydd asked his men to ravage the possessions of Rhys. And thus it came about.

The hill, moreover, on which the battle took place the people of the country call ?Mynydd Cam,? that is to say, ?The Mountain of the Cairn,? for a huge cairn of stones is there under which was buried a hero in olden times.

After effecting enormous destruction [pla=plague] and abundant ravaging there, Gruffydd set out towards Arwystli and destroyed and slew the common folk there; and he burned its houses, and bore into captivity its women and maidens. And thus he paid Trahaiarn in kind. Thence he approached Powys where he showed on the journey cruelty to his opponents according to the custom of the conqueror ; and he spared not so much as the churches. . After thus slaying his enemies and destroying their land completely, he returned to his property and to his own patrimony, to possess it and to pacify it. And there was rest and peace in Gwynedd for a few days.

7. Gruffydd is betrayed to the Normans; The Normans occupy Gwynedd Gruffydd escapes from Prison.
As he was enjoying the kingdom according to custom, Meirion the Red, his baron, was stirred by an arrow of the devil and accused him before Hugh Earl of Chester, and betrayed him in this manner. He caused the two earls of the French, that is to say, Hugh who was mentioned above and Hugh Earl of Shrewsbury, the son of Roger of Montgomery, to come together, and with them an abundance of horsemen and footmen, to Cruc in Edeyrnyon. Moreover the traitor betrayed him by these words, ?My lord,? said he, ?two earls of the marches greet thee and beseech thee to come safely, together with thy foreigners, to a conference with them to Cruc in Edeyrnyon.? Gruffydd, believing this speech, came as far as his tenancy. When the earls perceived him, they seized both him and his following, and put him in Chester Gaol in the worst cell, with fetters upon him, for twelve years. After their capture the right thumb of the hand of each of his foreigners was broken, and thus they let them go. When that was heard, the others separated, for the Holy Writ says, ?I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall scatter.?

Intimate friends of Gruffydd say that he was a man of middle height, fair-haired, hot-headed, with a round face of good complexion, large shapely eyes, fine eye brows, a comely beard, a round neck, white skin, powerful limbs, long fingers, straight shanks, and fine feet. He was skilled and eloquent in several tongues. He was noble and merciful towards his people, cruel towards his enemies, and very gallant in battle.

Then after his capture, Earl Hugh came to his domain in great force and built castles and strong places after the manner of the French, and was lord over the land. A castle he built in Anglesey, and another in Arvon in the old city of the Emperor Constantine, son of Constans the Great. Another he made in Bangor and another in Meirionydd. He placed in them horsemen and archers on foot, and they wrought such evil as had not been done since the beginning of the world. And the cry of the people ascended to the Lord, and he heard them.

And now there passed by sixteen years, and Gruffydd was released from his prison. For a young man of Edeyrnyon (Cenwrie Hir was his name) came to Chester, and a few companions with him, to buy necessities. When he saw him fettered in the city square, he took him upon his shoulders and bore him away unperceived, and journeyed he and his companions in the afternoon, when the burgesses were eating, and maintained him in his own house for a number of days secretly. At the end of the time, Gruffydd having grown strong, he took him by night as far as Anglesey, and there Sandef, son of Aere, supported him in hiding. Thence, after a few days, he embarked to seek to go to Ireland. Yet contrary winds bore him to Porth Hodni, in Deheubarth. Thence he journeyed by land, and nine chosen companions with him; and one of the nine was killed at once. The inhabitants of that land fought with hint thrice that day; and thrice he overcame them, he and his eight companions; and there one of the noblest youths that was sprung from that country was slain by him. Thus he [Gruffydd] escaped them. Thence, this journey, he came to Ardudwy, hesitating where he should go from the treachery of the French. When the sons of Collwyn, Eginir, Gellan, Merwyd, Ednyfed saw him, they pitied him, and ministered to him secretly desert caves. After the end of some months one and sixty men joined him, and they wandered from place to place in Gwynedd, doing damage ever to Earl Hugh, like King David, son of Jesse, of Bethlehem, in the land of Judea in the time of King Saul. When the French who were there in the castle saw he was thus in disorder, they and the inhabitants of the country pursued him in forest and in the open like hounds hunting and pursuing a wearied stag. When he knew he could not escape thus he went in the skiff of the churchmen of Aberdaron, and in this and by rowing he went to Ireland. Thence again at the end of the mnth he came back in the same skiff and reached the mouth of the same river whence he had set out. Thence he set out again to Ireland.

8.Gruffydd Successfully attacks the Norman Castles of Gwynedd The Welsh Rising of 1094.
Thence, after taking council, he went by sail and oar to the islands of Denmark and to King Guthrie, his friend, to ask ships of him, and their equipment, and what pertained to them. For then he first came to him, seeking his aid with confidence. And he helped him, having compassion and condolence for his frequent perils. Thence Gruffydd set out with sixty ships and came to Anglesey, to plan an attack, he and the men of the Islands, upon the castles of the French. The men of the country were a great hindrance to them. Then there was a fierce, cruel, severe battle, from morning till afternoon; and many fell from both sides, and the bravest first; and in their midst Gruffydd leaped forward in the foremost troop, to cleave the armoured and helmeted French with his double-edged axe, like King David amidst the Philistines. And night separated the battle.

After the battle was ended, the vessels set out to the islands. He [Gruffydd], however, with one ship stayed in the island of Ron, that is to say, the Island of the Seals, and despoiled a ship coming from Chester, and slew its crew. On the morrow he sailed to Lleyn and came to Port Nevin . When the men of those cantreds heard this, there came straightway to him the men of Lleyn and Eifionydd and Ardudwy and Arvon and Rhos and Dyifryn Clwyd, and welcomed him, as they ought, as their rightful lord.

After Gruffydd had been strengthened by a great host around him through the power of God, he surounded the castle which has. been mentioned above, which was in Anglesey, and fought with it for some days, the French from their fortresses and their strongholds and their towers shooting shafts in showers and arrows and quarrels and with slings and with mangonels. Yet they weredefeated in daily battle by the Cymry ; their steward of the court who was holding the castle, was killed; and one hundred and twenty-four soldiers [lit. knights] with him. After burning the castle and prevailing over his enemy, Gruffydd rejoiced, and set out against the other castles which were in other places in his kingdom, and fought with them, and burnt them, and wrecked them, and slew their people within them in every place. He delivered Gwynedd from castles and took the kingdom to himself and duly repaid his opponents. And then there was peace in Gwynedd for two years. Remember this, also, that when Gruffydd was fighting with the castle of Aberlleniog in Mon, and one hundred and twenty men and the fourteen young boys, it was burflt and plundered by him and several of the men of the castle killed, and that after plundering it fully he returned to another place in Anglesey where he had three ships. The men of the castle and the men of Mon pursued him throughout the day, fighting behind him valiantly. And as before they went back with the plunder and with the French and Saxons bound by them, and prisoners; and they killed several of their pursuers in the long battle. On Gruffydd?s side there fell Gellan the chief harpist and musician in the fleet. Only a Padarn in skill and lucidity could relate in full the combats of Gruffydd and the wars between the Cymru and Ireland and the islands of Denmark and diverse other nations. I myself admit that I am not equal to it, and I should not be equal to it though I were as eloquent as Tullius the Bard in prose and Maro the Bard in verse. And as Gruffydd was thus sometimes free and sometimes in difficulties, he took a wife, Angharad her name, daughter of Owen ap Edwin, whom the wisest in the kingdom declare of noble birth, well-grown, with fair hair, large eyes, fine figure; regal body, strong limbs, well-developed shanks, fine feet and long fingers and thin nails; good-natured, eloquent, good with respect to food and drink; wise and prudent, and a woman of good counsel; merciful towards the kingdom, and charitable towards the needy, and righteous in everything. From her he had sons and daughters. The sons were named Cadwallon and Owen and Cadwaladr. His daughters were Gwenlliant and Margaret and Rhannillt and Susanna and Annest. He had sons and daughters also from concubines.

9.William Rufus Invades Wales.
When William Longsword King of England heard of the prowess of Gruffydd and his ferocity and his cruelty against the French, he could not endure it, and roused the whole kingdom against him, and came to Gwynedd with an abundance of troops of horsemen and footmen, intending to abolish and destroy utterly all of the people until there should be alive not so much as a dog. He had purposed also to cut down all the woods and groves so that there might not be shelter nor defence for the men of Gwynedd henceforth. There-upon he encamped, and he pitched his tents first in Mur Castell, certain of the Welsh being his guides. When Gruffydd heard this he assembled the host of the whole kingdom and went against him to create obstacles for him in narrow places when he descended from the mountains. And he [Rufus] was afraid and led his hosts through the Perveddwlad until he reached Chester without doing any kind of injury on that journey to the inhabitants of the country. He did not take with him any kind of profit or gain except one cow. He lost a great part of the knights and esquires and servants and horses and many other possessions. Thus he [Gruffydd] reduced the French to nought.

Meanwhile, at all times, Gruffydd, and his host with him, were now before, now behind, now on the right now on the left of them, preventing them from doing any injury in his kingdom. If Gruffydd had allowed his men to come to close quarters with them in the woods, that would have been the last day for the King of England and his Frenchmen. He [Gruffydd] however spared him as King David of old [spared] Saul.

10. The Normans invade Anglesey; The intervention of King Magnus; The Death of Hugh Earl of Shrewsbwry; Gruffydd Makes Peace.
After this was ended Hugh Earl of Chester, who has been mentioned above, the root of all evil, like Antiochus of old, collected a fleet and a mighty wonderful host of the country, sorrowing, and complaining with grief and mindful of the men of the castle: and the razing of his castles and the slaughter of his knights. He joined with him another Hugh Earl of Shrewsbury and his host, so that together and as one they might come to avenge the losses which Gruffydd had caused them. Thereupon they and their host went in their fleet by sea to the dominion of Gruffydd, and Owen ap Edwin and Uchtryd his brother, and their power [went] before them. When this was. perceived, the men of Gwyn.edd and Powys combined towithstand them without yielding to them. Therefore the lords of Powys, Cadwgan and Maredudd his brother, removed to Gruffydd, [taking] their dwellings with them.

Then after taking counsel together they went to Anglesey, they and Gruffydd, and there defended themselves as in a stronghold which was surrounded by the ocean. For there had come to Gruffydd Sixteen long-keeled ships to his aid from Ireland who were to contend on sea against the fleet of the earls. When the earls heard that, they sent messengers to the ships which had come to support Gruffydd to ask them to fail him when he should be in the greatest straits, and to come to them on their own terms (lit. whatever they desired of good). Thus it turned out that after believing the guile of the French theypoured back to the island, breaking their promise to Gruffydd.1o When Gruffydd knew that, he grieved and feared much, for he knew not what course to take agains.t his French Opponents and the traitor-ships. Then he and Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, his son-in-law, having taken counsel together journeyed in a skiff until they came to Ireland, committing their people and property to the will of God, who, with whole-hearted attention, [lit., with a will that does not neglect] is accustomed to support every man when he is in the greatest straits. When their people heard that [i.e., their desertion] they took to flight, concealing themselves and hiding in caves in the earth, and in bogs, and woods, and groves, and fern- brakes, and copses, and precipices, and swamps, and underwoods, and rocks, and in all manner of other places where they could hide from fear of the Jews, that is the French and other peoples. who had come to attack them. For as says the Holy Writ, ?The people shall be without a prince.? Before long the earls and their hosts pursued them gleefully all that day until evening the length and breadth of the island, plundering it and slaughtering the people and breaking the limbs of others. And night put an end to the pursuit.

On the morrow, behold! through the providence of God, a royal fleet appearing close in without notice. When this was seen, the French and the traitors who had deceived Gruffydd were dejected. And as the French were always treacherous, so they sent secretly and immediately certain of the Welsh allied with them to the men of the island to ask them to come at Once to peace, and gave security to them; for they feared that they would be overcome by the fugitive Welsh on the one hand and by the royal fleet on the other. And thus it came to pass. And thus the French traitors deceived the Welsh on both sides, besieged in the island, after they had caused a plague which could come to the memory of future generations (lit. to descendants: after their parents).

The King of Norway, however, owned the fleet which they suddenly saw, whom God, from his mercy, had guided to Anglesey to deliver the people besieged by the foreigners; for they had called upon their Lord in their suffering and their tribulation, and God heard them.

After the King had been told through an interpreter what island it was, and who was their lord ; what ravaging had been done, and what pursuit made; [and] who [were] the pursuers. ; he cbmmjserated them, and grew angry, and approached the land with three ships.

The French, however, terrified as women when they saw this, fought in armour and bestrode their horses according to their custom and advanced towards the King and his guard of three ships. The King and his following fought against them valiantly, and the French fell from their horses like fruit from their branches, some dead, some wounded by the missiles of the Norsemen. The King himself rising up in the prow of the boat, wounded in the eye with an arrow Hugh Earl of Shrewsbury, and he fell mortally wounded to the earth from his armoured horse, beating upon his arms. Because of this accident the French turned in flight and presented their backs to the shafts of the Norsemen. And the King and his fleet directed their course thence, for he came, and great might with him, to survey the island of Britain and Ireland which are on the confines of the world, as said Vergil, ?The Britons are entirely cut off from the whole world.?

Hereupon Earl Hugh and the other French, joyful from the return of King Magnus, took with them the men of Gwynedd and all their possessions fully to the cantred of Rhos from fear of the arrival of Gruffydd hour by hour. Then the cattle and plunder of every owner was counted, and thence halved, and with half he set off to Chester.

Then, moreover, the perjured traitors of Danes who had betrayed Gruffydd were expecting the promises which Hugh had promised them, and captives. of men, women, youths, and maidens; and he paid them like a faithful man to unfaithful, confirming the divine ordinance, for he had succeeded in collecting all the toothless, deformed, lame, one-eyed, troublesome, feeble hags and offered them to them in return for their treachery. When they saw this, they loosened their fleet and made for the deep towards Ireland. The man who was ruling at this time caused some of them to be maimed and their limbs to be broken and others to be cast out shamefully from his whole kingdom.

Meanwhile behold Gruffydd, according to his usual Custom, coming from Ireland; and he found the whole land deserted, and its people had gone to another place. Then he sent messengers to Earl Hugh, and made peace with him; and in that can.tred there were given three holdings to him. And then he spent his life for some years in poverty and misery, hoping for the future providence of God.

11. Gruffydd re-establishes himself on the Mainland; Henry I twice advances against Gruffydd Without Success.

Then after years passed by, he went to the court of Henry King of England, who succeeded his brother, and from him obtained a boon, and affection, and acknowledgment through the intercession and skill of Herveius Bishop of Bangor. And he [the King] gave him in peace and love the Cantred of Lleyn, and Eifyonydd, and Ardudwy, and Arllechwedd, them and their people and their possessions; and immediately, when Gruffydd returned from the court, he took their habitations to these countries, praising God who casts. down the rich and proud from their seats and raises the humble in their room, who makes the needy rich, who abases man and elevates him. Then likewise everything prospered before Gruffydd, and on all sides he freed everything before Gwynedd, for his hope was in the Lord: and daily there slipped to him others from Rhos, and their possessions with them, without permission of the Earl of Chester, and increased his people. In the following year. he advanced to Anglesey, and the people with him, and settled it; and thence to other commots. In this wise he took back by his might everything in Gwynedd, as did Maccabeus, son of Mattathias of old in Israel, and he brought the whole folk from various places of exile, who had gone into exile from the pursuit mentioned above; and he increased the possessions in Gwynedd joyfully, as in the case of the land of Israel and their [i.e., the Israelites] return from the Babylonian captivity.

The Earl was offended because of the seizure of his land and because it was thus conquered without his permission. When the King of England heard that, he was amazed and opened his treasury, and went to unstinting expense in horsemen and footmen, and took with him the King of Scotland and the Scots, and the men of the south. Thus he came to Gruffydd?s posses-sions and encamped in Mur Castell. Gruffydd on his part, according to his experience in warfare, took up a position against him in the arms of snowclad Snowdon. Thence messages passed between the King and him for the space of some days, and they made peace. Then King Henry returned to England, and Gruffydd to his kingdom.

Again, a second time, after a while, King Henry came back, and a great host with him, and encamped in the same place which was mentioned above in the mountains, designing to root up Gruffydd?s dominion and to destroy it, and to slay and put an end to the people with the edge of the sword. When that was heard, a host having been assembled, Gruffydd came against him according to his usual custom, and placed his possessions and his multitude of villeinswith the women and children in the recesses. of the mountains of Snowdon, where they did not suffer a single peril. Therefore the King feared to fall into the hands of Gruffydd because of his snare, when he descended from the mountain, and returned, making peace with him.

Alas, O God, how many times did the Earl of Chester design to oppose Gruffydd and could not! And how many times. did the men of Trahaiarn the guileful, and yet they could not bring it to completion!

12. Closing Years of Gruffydd's Reign.
After this Gruffydd reigned many years happily and mightily, with mildness and peace, enjoying harmoniČously friendship with the kings nearest to him, to wit, Henry King of England and Murchad King of Ireland, and King of the Isles of Denmark; and he was famous and illustrious both in the realms far from him and in those near to him. Then he increased all manner of good in Gwynedd, and the inhabitants began to build churches in every direction therein, and to plant the old woods and to make orchards and gardens, and surround them with walls and ditches, and to construct walled buildings, and to support themselves from the fruit of the earth after the fashion of the Romans. Gruffydd, on his part, made great churches for himself in his chief places, and constructed courts and [gave] banquets constantly and honourably. Wherefore, he also made Gwynedd glitter then with limewashed churches like the firmament with stars. He ruled the people with a rod of iron, making compact and peace with the kingdoms next to him. Further, he set his sons, still youths, over his most distant cantreds, to occupy and to maintain them as a fearless wall against strange races and foreigners, if they ever meditated rising afresh against him. Other minor kings sought his court and his protection, to seek his support and counsel as often as strange peoples harassed them. Eventually, however, Gruffydd became old and lost the sight of his eyes, and devoted his energy to works of mercy. As he was intent upo n an immortal reputation from warfare, he purposed also to go to a secret place to lead a godly life and discountenance completely his whole worldly sovereignty. Likewise, as the end of this world was coming nigh, he called his sons and depicted his mortality, as did King Ezechias another occasion; and thereupon divided all his possessions ; and his justice will remain for ever and ever. He sent twenty shillings to the Church of Christ in Dublin where he was born and reared, and a similar amount to all the chief churches of Ireland, and the same to St. David?s and the same to the monastery at Chester, and the same to the monastery at Shrewsbury, and more than this to the Church of Bangor, and ten shillings to Holyhead, and thesame to Penmon, and the same to Clynnog, and the same to Enlli, and the same to Meifod, and the same to Llanarmon, and the same to Dineirth, and many of the other chief churches. And he gave this wealth to the bishop and archdeacon and priests and dignitaries and doctors and Christian poor. I will commend his protection to the Holy Ghost who knows and perceives everything.

At his latter end there came to him the most important and the wisest of all the kingdom, David, Bishop of Bangor, Symeon, the Archdeacon, a man who was ripe in years and wisdom, [the] prior of the monastery of Chester, and many priests. and clerics to anoint his body with consecrated oil in accordance with the command of the Apostle James. His sons also were among them, and he blessed them, and told them what manner of men they should be in the future, like Jacob the Patriarch blessing his sons of old in Egypt. He enjoined upon them to be courageous and to oppose their enemies stoutly, after his fashion in his latter days. Likewise Queen Angharad, his wedded wife, was there; and to her he gave half his goods, and two parts of land, and the harbour of Abermenai. His daughters and certain of his nephews were there, and to all of these also he gave porlions of his property to support them after his days. Welshmen and Irishmen and Danes lamented the decease of King Gruffydd like the mourning of the Jews for Joshua the son of Nun. Eighty-two years was Gruffydd and then he died; and he was buried at Bangor in a vault at the left side of the great altar in the church. We pray that his soul may rest in the same manner, that is in God, together with the souls of othergood kings, for ever and ever. Amen.

SOURCE
Anonymous. the History Of Gruffydd Ap Cynan. trans. and ed. by Arthur Jones. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1910.