List of rulers of Wales

Before the Conquest of Wales, completed in 1282, Wales consisted of a number of independent kingdoms, the most important being Gwynedd, Powys, Deheubarth (originally Ceredigion, Seisyllwg and Dyfed) and Morgannwg (Glywysing and Gwent). Boundary changes and the equal division of patrimony meant that few princes ever came close to ruling the whole of Wales.

The names of those known to have ruled over one or more of the kingdoms are listed below. The only person known to have ruled all of Wales was Gruffydd ap Llywelyn (c. 1010-1063), a prince of Gwynedd who became King of Wales from 1055 to 1063. However, the princes of the medieval period hailing largely from west Wales, mainly Gwynedd, had such significant authority that allowed them to claim authority beyond the borders of their kingdoms. This allowed many Princes to claim to rule all Wales.[1]

Rhodri Mawr has been suggested by some as the first sovereign of Wales, and the first to unite most of Wales. The modern-day territory of Wales was only fully united under the direct rule of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn from 1055 to 1063 according to historian John Davies. The native use of the title 'Prince of Wales' appeared more frequent by the eleventh century as a 'modernised' or reformed form of the old high kingship of the Britons. The native use of the titles ended following the killing of Llywelyn the Last and his brother, Dafydd ap Gruffydd and since then the Prince of Wales title has been used by the English and then British monarchy.

Welsh KingdomsEdit

 
Map of medieval Wales

By AD 500 the land that would become Wales had divided into a number of kingdoms free from Anglo-Saxon rule.[2] The kingdoms of Gwynedd, Powys, Dyfed, Seisyllwg, Glywysing and Gwent emerged as independent Welsh successor states.[2]

List of Welsh kingdoms[citation needed]Edit

Title of "King of Wales"Edit

 
Map of the kingdom of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn (green).

Rhodri Mawr has been suggested by some as the first sovereign of Wales, and the first to unite most of Wales. The modern-day territory of Wales was only fully united under the direct rule of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn from 1055 to 1063 according to historian John Davies. The native use of the title 'Prince of Wales' appeared more frequent by the eleventh century as a 'modernised' or reformed form of the old high kingship of the Britons. The native use of the titles ended following the killing of Llywelyn the Last and his brother, Dafydd ap Gruffydd and since then the Prince of Wales title has been used by the English and then British monarchy.

Before Welsh KingsEdit

Prior to the King or Prince of Wales title, the title King of the Britons was used to describe the King of the Celtic Britons, ancestors of the Welsh.[3] The Brut y Tywysogion, Gwentian Chronicles of Caradoc of Llancarvan version, which was written no earlier than the mid 16th century lists multiple Kings of the Britons as a "King of Wales".[4][5][6]

List of titleholders of "King of Wales"Edit

The following is a list of those assigned or claiming the title of King or Prince of Wales, including "Sovereigns and Princes of Wales 844 – 1283".[7] Some sources suggest Rhodri Mawr as the first sovereign of Wales, as well as the first to unite most of Wales.[7][8] While many different leaders in Wales claimed the title of 'King of Wales' and ruled majorities of Wales, the modern-day territory of Wales was only fully united under the direct rule of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn from 1055 to 1063 according to historian John Davies.[9][7]

Depiction Name &

life details

Personal arms House, Kingdom Welsh Titles Reign Death & cause Source
King of Wales
Cynan Dindaethwy

(Cynan ap Rhodri)

Gwynedd(insecurely from 754)
  • "King of all Wales" (Welsh: "Brenin Cymry oll"
798 – 816 Brut y Tywysogion[10]

Annals of UlsterAnnales Cambriae

Rhodri the Great

(Rhodri ap Merfyn)

likely attributed[citation needed] Gwynedd, from 855 also Powys, from 872 also Seisyllwg
  • "began to reign over the Welsh" (843 AD)
843 Brut y Tywysogion[10]

Annals of Ulster

Cadell ap Rhodri
  • "ruled over all Wales" (877 AD)
877 Brut y Tywysogion[10]
Anarawd ap Rhodri
  • "ruled over all Wales" (900 AD)
900 Brut y Tywysogion[10]
Hywel Dda(Hywel ap Cadell) Deheubarth(from 920), from 942 also Gwynedd and Powys
  • "King of all Wales" (Welsh: "Brenin Cymry oll"
942-949/50 Brut y Tywysogion[10]

Annals of UlsterAnnales Cambriae

Aeddan ap Blegywryd
  • "acquired all Wales from sea to sea" (1000 AD)
1000 Brut y Tywysogion[10]
Llywelyn ap Seisyll Gwynedd and Powys; from 1022 also Deheubarth
  • "took the government upon himself...in his time the country of Wales was twelve years without war"
  • "sovereignty of Wales"
1023 Brut y Tywysogion[10]

Annals of Ulster

Gruffydd ap Llywelyn

1010 - 1063

Gwynedd and Powys, from 1057 also the rest of Wales
  • Rex Walensium ("King of Wales")[11]
  • King of the Britons (in 1063; in 1058)
  • Had "gained all Wales prior to 1037"[10]
  • Ruled modern day Wales from 1055 to 1063.[12][13]
The Ulster Chronicle states that he was killed by Cynan in 1064, whose father Iago had been put to death by Gruffydd in 1039.[14] John of Worcester[11]

Annals of Ulster

Brut y Tywysogion

King of Wales ( and Prince of Wales title)
  Gruffudd ap Cynan

1055 –1137

likely attributed[citation needed] House of Aberffraw, Gwynedd(insecurely from 1081)
  • "king and sovereign and prince and defender and pacifier of all the Welsh" (in 1136)[15]
  • "Gruffudd king of the Welsh"[16]
1137 Died in 1137, aged 81–82. Brut y Tywysogion
  Owain Gwynedd

1100 - November 1170

likely attributed[17] Gwynedd(coat of arms is of Caernarfon which is retroactively attributed)
  • Prince over the British nation (in 1146)
  • King of Wales
  • King of the Welsh
  • Prince of the Welsh
1146–1170 Died in 1170, aged 69–70. Brut y Tywysogion; contemporary charters.[18]


Native title of "Prince of Wales"Edit

 
Wales c. 1217. Yellow: areas directly ruled by Llywelyn the Great; Grey: areas ruled by Llywelyn's client princes; Green: Anglo-Norman lordships.

Evolution from King to PrinceEdit

The native use of the title 'Prince of Wales' appeared more frequent by the eleventh century as a 'modernised' or reformed form of the old high kingship of the Britons. The Welsh had originally been the high Kings of the Britons up until the claim to be high king of late Romano-British Britain was no longer realistic after the death of Cadwaladr in 664.[19] Cadwaldr was also heavily associated with the symbol of the Red Dragon of Wales.[20][21] The princes of the medieval period hailed largely from west Wales, mainly Gwynedd. They had such significant authority that allowed them to claim authority beyond the borders of their kingdoms. This allowed many Princes to claim to rule all Wales.[1]

End of native Welsh PrincesEdit

Llywelyn the Last, the last Prince of Wales was ambushed and killed in 1282. The execution of his brother Dafydd ap Gruffydd in 1283 on the orders of King Edward I of England effectively ended Welsh independence. The title of Prince of Wales was then used by the English monarchy for the heir to the English throne.[22][23]

During the period 1400–1413, following a rebellion against English rule in Wales, there existed a native Prince of Wales, Owain Glyndwr and an English monarchy appointed Prince of Wales (who later became Henry V of England). The native Prince of Wales, Owain Glyndwr led Welsh forces against the English Prince of Wales and English rule in Wales.[24][25] The eventual defeat of Glyndwr's forces effectively ended Welsh independence. Since the death of Owain Glyndwr in 1415, the Prince of Wales title has only been held by a non-native heir to the English (and later British) monarchy.

Depiction Name &

life details

Personal arms Kingdom arms House, Kingdom Welsh Titles Reign Death & cause Source
Prince of Wales title (and King of Wales title)
  Gruffudd ap Cynan

1055 –1137

likely attributed[citation needed] House of Aberffraw, Gwynedd(insecurely from 1081)
  • "king and sovereign and prince and defender and pacifier of all the Welsh" (in 1136)[26]
1137 Died in 1137, aged 81–82. Brut y Tywysogion
  Owain Gwynedd

1100 - November 1170

[17] likely attributed Gwynedd(coat of arms is of Caernarfon which is retroactively attributed)
  • Prince over the British nation (in 1146)
  • King of Wales
  • King of the Welsh
  • Prince of the Welsh
  • Princeps Wallensium[27]
1146–1170 Died in 1170, aged 69–70. Brut y Tywysogion; contemporary charters.[28]
Prince of Wales title only
  Rhys ap Gruffydd

(The Lord Rhys) 1132 – 28 April 1197

may be attributed[citation needed]  may be attributedKingdom of Deheubarth Deheubarth(from 1155)
  • Head of all Wales (in 1197)
  • Prince of the Welsh (in 1184)
  • Prince of Wales
1184–1197 Died in 1197, aged 65. Brut y Tywysogion; contemporary charters.
  Llywelyn the Great

(Llywelyn ap Iorwerth) 1173 – 11 April 1240

[citation needed] Kingdom of Gwynedd Gwynedd(from 1194), from 1208 also Powys, from 1216 also Deheubarth
  • Prince of the Welsh (in 1228)
  • Prince of Wales (in 1240)
  • Ruled all of Wales[29]
1228–1240 Died in 1240, aged 66–67. Brut y Tywysogion

contemporary charters

  Dafydd ap Llywelyn

March 1212 - 25 February 1246

Kingdom of Gwynedd Gwynedd
  • Prince of Wales (from 1220)
1220–1246 Died suddenly in 1246, aged 33. Treaty with England
  Llywelyn the Last

(Llywelyn ap Gruffydd) 1223 – 11 December 1282

[citation needed] Kingdom of Gwynedd Gwynedd(from 1246), at times also Powys and Deheubarth

Succeeded Dafydd in 1246 as prince of Gwynedd.

  • Prince of Wales (in 1264; in 1258; in 1267; 1258–82)
  • Used title "Prince of Wales" from 1258. (Recognised by Henry III 29 September 1267)
1258–1282 Killed on 11 December 1282, aged 59.

Killed by English soldiers in an ambush trick under the guise of discussions. His head was paraded in London and placed on a Tower of London spike.[30]

Brut y Tywysogion

treaty with Scotland treaty with England letters charters

Dafydd ap Gruffydd

11 July 1238 – 3 October 1283

[citation needed] Kingdom of Gwynedd[citation needed] Gwynedd
  • Prince of Wales (in 1283)
1282–1283 Killed on October 3, 1283.

Dragged through the streets of Shrewsbury by a horse, hanged, revived and disemboweled. His bowels were thrown into a fire as he watched. Finally, his head was cut off and placed on a Tower of London spike next to his brother Llywelyn, and his body cut into quarters.[31]

Letters[32]
English rule begins following the torture and beheading of Dafydd ap Gruffydd.
  Madog ap Llywelyn (most likely, Prince of Wales arms via Kingdom of Gwynedd)[citation needed] Gwynedd
  • Prince of Wales (in 1294)
1294–1295

(Not recognised by the English monarchy)

Unknown.

Held prisoner in London (most likely the Tower of London.)

Penmachno Document
Owain Lawgoch Prince of Wales arms

via the Kingdom of Gwynedd[citation needed]

Gwynedd
  • Prince of Wales (proclaimed before 1372)
Proclamation before 1372

(Not recognised by the English monarchy)

Was killed by an assassin whilst fighting against the English in France, on the orders of the English king. Contemporary records[33]
  Owain Glyndŵr

(Owain ap Gruffydd) 1359 –1415

Prince of Wales arms

via the Kingdom of Gwynedd and Deheubarth

Northern Powys, by 1404–5 all Wales, by 1409 only Gwynedd
  • Prince of Wales

(From 1400 and technically until his death in 1415 as he never accepted a pardon from Henry IV and V of England.)

1400 – 1415

(Not recognised by the English monarchy.)

1415, aged 55–56, secretly buried. Contemporary records e.g. coronation ceremony (1404.)


DeheubarthEdit

The kingdom of Deheubarth was formed by the union of the kingdoms of Ceredigion, Seisyllwg and Dyfed. Ceredigion was absorbed into Seisyllwg and Dyfed was merged with Seisyllwg to form Deheubarth in 909.

 
Coat of arms of Deheubarth

CeredigionEdit

  • Ceredig ap Cunedda (424–453)[34][35][36]
  • Usai (453–490)
  • Serwyl (490–525)
  • Boddw (525–560)
  • Arthfoddw (560–595)
  • Arthlwys (595–630)
  • Clydog I (630–665)

DyfedEdit

SeisyllwgEdit

House Manaw

DeheubarthEdit

Deheubarth was in the possession of the Normans from 1093 to 1155

From 1234 to 1283, Deheubarth was subject to the princes of Gwynedd

  • Rhys the Hoarse's son, Rhys Mechyll (1234–1244) ruled a portion of Deheubarth
  • his brother, Maredudd ap Rhys (1244–1271) ruled a portion of Deheubarth
  • his son, Rhys ap Maredudd (1271–1283) ruled a portion of Deheubarth

GwyneddEdit

 
Traditional arms of the House of Aberffraw, rulers of the Kingdom of Gwynedd, attributed to Llywelyn the Great (d. 1240).

Kings of GwyneddEdit

MorgannwgEdit

The kingdom of Morgannwg was formed by the union of the kingdoms of Morgannwg and Gwent. Over time, in a few instances, the kingdoms were separate and independent.

 
Coat of arms of Iestyn ap Gwrgant, ruler of Morgannwg

GlywysingEdit

  • Eugenius, son of Magnus Maximus
  • Marius, son of Eugenius
  • Solar, son of Marius
  • Glywys, son of Solar (c. 470–c. 480), who gave his name to the kingdom
    • Gwynllyw, son of Glywys, ruler of Gwynllwg (c. 480–523), cantref of Glywysing
    • Pawl, son of Glywys, ruler of Penychen (c. 480–540), cantref of Glywysing
    • Mechwyn, son of Glywys, ruler of Gorfynydd (c. 480–c.500), cantref of Glywysing
  • Cadoc, son of Gwynllyw, ruler of Gwynllwg (523–580) and Penychen (540–580), died without heirs

Glywysing is ruled by the Kings of Gwent until Rhys ap Ithel

Iestyn was the last ruler of an independent Morgannwg, which was thereafter in the possession of the Normans and became the lordship of Glamorgan

GwentEdit

  • Anwn Ddu (the same person as ruled Dyfed at this time). Welsh legend claims he was appointed by Magnus Maximus, who later became Roman Emperor (and hence referred to in Welsh as Macsen Wledig - Maximus the Emperor). Some genealogies claim him to be Magnus' son. His realm was divided upon his death between his sons Edynfed and Tudwal.
in Caer-Went
in Caer-Leon

Iestyn was the last ruler of an independent Morgannwg, which was thereafter in the possession of the Normans and became the lordship of Glamorgan

  • Owain ap Caradog (1081-1113/1116)

PowysEdit

Kings of PowysEdit

 
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Powys (-1160) then the Principality of Powys Wenwynwyn (1160-1283).

House of GwertherionEdit

House of ManawEdit

Mathrafal Princes of PowysEdit

From 1160 Powys was split into two parts. The southern part was later called Powys Wenwynwyn after Gwenwynwyn ab Owain "Cyfeiliog" ap Madog, while the northern part was called Powys Fadog after Madog ap Gruffydd "Maelor" ap Madog.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Kings and Princes of Wales". Historic UK. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  2. ^ a b Davies (2008) p.915
  3. ^ Kari Maund (2000). The Welsh Kings: The Medieval Rulers of Wales. Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-2321-5.
  4. ^ "Archaeologia Cambrensis (1846-1899) | BRUT Y TYWYSOGION: GWENTIAN CHRONICLE 1863 | 1863 | Welsh Journals - The National Library of Wales". journals.library.wales. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  5. ^ Caradoc, of Llancarvan; Iolo, Morganwg; Owen, Aneurin (1863). Brut y tywysogion: the Gwentian chronicle of Caradoc of Llancarvan. University of California Libraries. London : J.R. Smith [etc.]
  6. ^ "WALES". fmg.ac. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  7. ^ a b c Turvey, Roger (6 June 2014), "The Governance of Native Wales: The Princes as Rulers", The Welsh Princes, Routledge, pp. 101–124, doi:10.4324/9781315840802-5, ISBN 978-1-315-84080-2, retrieved 26 July 2022
  8. ^ The Princes of Deheubarth Interpretation Plan Prepared for Cadw (PDF). Red Kite Environemnt. 2010.
  9. ^ K. L. Maund (1991). Ireland, Wales, and England in the Eleventh Century. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. pp. 64–67. ISBN 978-0-85115-533-3.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "Archaeologia Cambrensis (1846-1899) | BRUT Y TYWYSOGION: GWENTIAN CHRONICLE 1863 | 1863 | Welsh Journals - The National Library of Wales". journals.library.wales. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  11. ^ a b Maund, K. L. (1991). Ireland, Wales, and England in the Eleventh Century. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-85115-533-3.
  12. ^ "The National Archives - Exhibitions - Uniting the Kingdoms?".
  13. ^ "BBC Wales - History - Themes - Welsh unity".
  14. ^ Davies, John (25 January 2007). A History of Wales. Penguin UK. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-14-192633-9.
  15. ^ "Brut y Tywysogion". www.maryjones.us. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  16. ^ Turvey, Roger. Owain Gwynedd. Y Lolfa. p. 16.
  17. ^ a b Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles (1915). The book of public arms : a complete encyclopaedia of all royal, territorial, municipal, corporate, official, and impersonal arms. T.C. & E.C. Jack. p. 158. OCLC 33316096.
  18. ^ Carpenter, David (2003). The struggle for mastery: Britain 1066–1284.
  19. ^ Kessler, P. L. "Kingdoms of Cymru Celts - Wales / Cymru". www.historyfiles.co.uk. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  20. ^ Hughes, Jonathan, "Politics and the occult at the Court of Edward IV", Princes and Princely Culture: 1450–1650, Brill, 2005, p.112-13.
  21. ^ D.R. Woolf, "The power of the past: history, ritual and political authority in Tudor England", in Paul A. Fideler, Political Thought and the Tudor Commonwealth:Deep Structure, Discourse, and Disguise, New York, 1992, pp.21–22.
  22. ^ "The History Press | Llywelyn the Last". www.thehistorypress.co.uk. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  23. ^ Long, Tony. "Oct. 3, 1283: As Bad Deaths Go, It's Hard to Top This". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  24. ^ "OWAIN GLYNDWR (c. 1354 - 1416), 'Prince of Wales' | Dictionary of Welsh Biography". biography.wales. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  25. ^   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainKingsford, C. (1911), "Henry V (1387–1422)", in Chisholm, Hugh (ed.), Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. 13 (11th ed.), Cambridge University Press
  26. ^ "Brut y Tywysogion". www.maryjones.us. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  27. ^ a b Davies, John A History of Wales, the title Princeps Wallensium
  28. ^ Carpenter, David (2003). The struggle for mastery: Britain 1066–1284.
  29. ^ "Kings and Princes of Wales". Historic UK. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  30. ^ Davies, Dr John (2020). Accident or Assassination?The Death of Llywelyn 11th December 1282 (PDF). Abbey Cwmhir Heritage Trust.
  31. ^ Long, Tony. "Oct. 3, 1283: As Bad Deaths Go, It's Hard to Top This". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  32. ^ Pierce, Thomas Jones (1959). "Dafydd (David) ap Gruffydd". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
  33. ^ Brough, GJ (2012). France and the Welsh (PDF).
  34. ^ a b c A history of Wales
  35. ^ The Cambrian
  36. ^ a b c Encyclopaedia of Wales
  37. ^ a b Lloyd, John Edward (1912). A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest. Longmans, Green, and Co. p. 257 and note. Retrieved 5 February 2012. Lloyd history of Wales.
  38. ^ Heritage Consulting. Millennium File [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2003.

ReferencesEdit