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Family of Gruffydd + *ap LLEWELYN and Edith + *of MERCIA

Husband: Gruffydd + *ap LLEWELYN (1007-1063)
Wife: Edith + *of MERCIA (1034-1086)
Children: Nest +* VERCH GRUFFYDD (1056-1153)
Idwal AP GRUFFYDD (1057-1069)
Maerdudd AP GRUFFYDD (c. 1058-1069)
Marriage 1058

Husband: Gruffydd + *ap LLEWELYN


Gruffydd + *ap LLEWELYN

Name: Gruffydd + *ap LLEWELYN
Sex: Male
Father: LLywelyn + ap SEISYLL (980-1021)
Mother: Angharad + verch MAREDYDD (982-1058)
Birth 1007 Rhuddlan, Flintshire, Wales
Title frm 1039 to 1063 (age 31-56) King of Gwynedd
Occupation King of Gwynedd
Title frm 1039 to 1063 (age 31-56) King of Powys
Title frm 1043 to 1047 (age 35-40) Pretender King of Deheubarth
Title frm 1055 to 1063 (age 47-56) King of Gwent
Title frm 1055 to 1063 (age 47-56) King of Morgannwg
Title frm 1055 to 1063 (age 47-56) King of Deheubarth
Death 5 Aug 1063 (age 55-56) Snowdonia, Wales

Wife: Edith + *of MERCIA

Name: Edith + *of MERCIA
Sex: Female
Father: Alfgar III +* (1002-1062)
Mother: Aelfgifu + * (c. 999-1098)
Birth 1034 Mercia, Leicestershire, England
Occupation Queen of England
Title frm 4 Jan 1066 to 14 Oct 1066 (age 31-32) Queen Consort of England
Death 1086 (age 51-52)

Child 1: Nest +* VERCH GRUFFYDD

Sex: Female
Spouse 1: Osbern +* FITZRICHARD (1055-1080)
Spouse 2: Trahaern + ap CARADOG (1030-1081)
Birth 1056 Rhuddlan, Flintshire, Wales
Death 1153 (age 96-97)

Child 2: Idwal AP GRUFFYDD

Sex: Male
Birth 1057 Rhuddlan, Flintshire, Wales
Death 1069 (age 11-12)

Child 3: Maerdudd AP GRUFFYDD

Name: Maerdudd AP GRUFFYDD
Sex: Male
Birth 1058 (est)
Death 1069 (age 10-11)

Note on Husband: Gruffydd + *ap LLEWELYN

Gruffydd ap Llywelyn (c. 1007 – 1063/1064) was the ruler of all Wales from 1055 until his death, the only Welsh monarch able to make this boast. Called King of the Britons in the Annals of Ulster and Brut y Tywysogion, he was great-great-grandson to Hywel Dda and King Cadell ap Rhodri of Deheubarth.[1]


Gruffydd was the elder of two sons of Llywelyn ap Seisyll, who had been able to rule both Gwynedd and Powys. On Llywelyn's death in 1023, a member of the Aberffraw dynasty, Iago ab Idwal ap Meurig, became ruler of Gwynedd. According to an early story Gruffydd had been a lazy youth, but one New Year's Eve, he was driven out of the house by his exasperated sister. Leaning against the wall of another house, he heard a cook who was boiling pieces of beef in a cauldron complain that there was one piece of meat which kept coming to the top of the cauldron, however often it was thrust down. Gruffydd took the comment to apply to himself, and began his rise to power in Powys.


[edit] King of Gwynedd and Powys 1039–1055In 1039 Iago ab Idwal was killed by his own men (his son Cynan ap Iago, who may have been as young as four, was taken into exile in Dublin) and Gruffydd, already the usurper-king of Powys, was able to become king of Gwynedd. Soon after gaining power he surprised a Mercian army at Rhyd y Groes near Welshpool and totally defeated it, killing its leader, Edwin, the brother of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. He then attacked the neighbouring principality of Deheubarth which was now ruled by Hywel ab Edwin. Gruffydd defeated Hywel in a battle at Pencader in 1041 and carried off Hywel's wife. Gruffydd seems to have been able to drive Hywel out of Deheubarth in about 1043, for in 1044 Hywel is recorded as returning with a Danish fleet to the mouth of the River Tywi to try to reclaim his kingdom. Gruffydd however defeated and killed him in a close fought fight.


Gruffydd ap Rhydderch of Gwent was able to expel Gruffydd ap Llywelyn from Deheubarth in 1047 and became king of Deheubarth himself after the nobles of Ystrad Tywi had attacked and killed 140 of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn's household guard. He was able to resist several attacks by Gruffydd ap Llywelyn in the following years. Gruffydd ap Llywelyn was active on the Welsh border in 1052, when he attacked Herefordshire and defeated a mixed force of Normans and English near Leominster.


[edit] King of Wales 1055–1063In 1055 Gruffydd ap Llywelyn killed his rival Gruffydd ap Rhydderch in battle and recaptured Deheubarth. Gruffydd now allied himself with Ælfgar, son of Earl Leofric of Mercia, who had been deprived of his earldom of East Anglia by Harold Godwinson and his brothers. They marched on Hereford and were opposed by a force led by the Earl of Hereford, Ralph the Timid. This force was mounted and armed in the Norman fashion, but on October 24 Gruffydd defeated it. He then sacked the city and destroyed its Norman castle. Earl Harold was given the task of counter attacking, and seems to have built a fortification at Longtown in Herefordshire before refortifying Hereford. Shortly afterwards Ælfgar was restored to his earldom and a peace treaty concluded.


Around this time Gruffydd was also able to seize Morgannwg and Gwent, along with extensive territories along the border with England. In 1056, he won another victory over an English army near Glasbury. Now a true King of Wales, he claimed sovereignty over the whole of Wales - a claim which was recognised by the English.[citation needed] Historian John Davies states that Gruffydd was "the only Welsh king ever to rule over the entire territory of Wales... Thus, from about 1057 until his death in 1063, the whole of Wales recognised the kingship of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn. For about seven brief years, Wales was one, under one ruler, a feat with neither precedent nor successor."[2]


[edit] Death and aftermathGruffydd reached an agreement with Edward the Confessor, but the death of his ally Ælfgar in 1062 left him more vulnerable. In late 1062 Harold Godwinson obtained the king's approval for a surprise attack on Gruffydd's court at Rhuddlan. Gruffydd was nearly captured, but was warned in time to escape out to sea in one of his ships, though his other ships were destroyed. In the spring of 1063 Harold's brother Tostig led an army into north Wales while Harold led the fleet first to south Wales and then north to meet with his brother's army. Gruffydd was forced to take refuge in Snowdonia, but at this stage his own men killed him, on 5 August according to Brut y Tywysogion. The Ulster Chronicle states that he was killed by Cynan ap Iago in 1064, whose father Iago ab Idwal had been put to death by Gruffydd in 1039.[3] Gruffydd had probably made enemies in the course of uniting Wales under his rule. According to Walter Map, Gruffydd said of this:


Speak not of killing; I but blunt the horns of the offspring of Wales lest they should injure their dam.

Gruffydd's head and the figurehead of his ship were sent to Harold.


Following Gruffydd's death, Harold married his widow Ealdgyth, though she was to be widowed again three years later. Gruffydd's realm was divided again into the traditional kingdoms. Bleddyn ap Cynfyn and his brother Rhiwallon came to an agreement with Harold and were given the rule of Gwynedd and Powys. Thus when Harold was defeated and killed at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the Normans reaching the borders of Wales were confronted by the traditional kingdoms rather than a single king. Gruffydd left two sons who in 1069 challenged Bleddyn and Rhiwallon at the battle of Mechain in an attempt to win back part of their father's kingdom. However they were defeated, one being killed and the other dying of exposure after the battle.


[edit] Marriage and issueGruffydd married Ealdgyth of Mercia, daughter of Ælfgar, they had the following children:


Maredudd ap Gruffydd (died 1069)

Idwal ap Gruffydd (died 1069)

Nesta verch Gruffydd, married Osbern FitzRichard of Richard's Castle

Note on Wife: Edith + *of MERCIA

Ealdgyth (fl. c. 1057–1066), also Aldgyth or anglicized, Edith, was a daughter of Ælfgar, Earl of Mercia, the wife of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn (d. 1063), ruler of all Wales, and later the wife and queen consort of Harold Godwineson, king of England in 1066.[1]


Ealdgyth was the daughter of Ælfgar, who had been earl of East Anglia a number of times in the 1050s and was appointed earl of Mercia in c. 1057, in succession of his father Earl Leofric. Ælfgar's wife Ælfgifu was probably her mother, and Eadwine, the later earl of Mercia, and Morcar, earl of Northumbria, were her brothers.[1]


In 1055, Ælfgar was exiled on the charge of treason. He went to Ireland to muster troops and formed an alliance with Gruffudd ap Llywelyn, who had been king of Gwynedd (1039-1055) but assumed the sovereignty of all Wales in 1055. Ælfgar and Gruffudd invaded England and plundered Hereford, bringing great humiliation to Earl Ralph, who needed to call in external support to repel the invaders. When peace was made, Ælfgar resumed office before succeeding his father as earl of Mercia in c. 1057.[2]


It was presumably in the year of her father's appointment (c. 1057) that Ealdgyth married his political ally, King Gruffudd ap Llywelyn. William of Jumièges describes her as a woman of considerable beauty.[1] Walter Map also wrote of a beautiful lady much beloved by the king and so he may have had Ealdgyth in mind.[3] On her marriage, she was given a modest amount of land in England, though the only estate which can be certainly identified as having belonged to her is one at Binley, Warwickshire. She bore the king a daughter called Nest. Nest later became the wife of Osbern fitz Richard, a marcher lord on the Herefordshire border, who acquired Binley.[1][4] Nest and Osbern had a daughter who married Bernard de Neufmarché, also a marcher lord.[3] The chronicles also record two of Gruffudd's sons, Maredudd and Ithel, probably for Idwal, who died in 1069, and a third son may be Owain ap Gruffudd (d. 1059).[3]


The alliance between Ealdgyth's father and husband was of great significance in resisting the growing power of the Godwinesons. On the death of Earl Ralph in 1057, Hereford was added to Harold's earldom. The following year, Ælfgar was outlawed for a second time, but he was restored to office before long. Ælfgar is last heard of in 1062 and seems to have died by 1063, when Harold Godwineson invaded Wales. Gruffudd was killed in the event.[2]


Ealdgyth later became the wife and queen consort of her late husband's enemy Harold. The date of the marriage is unknown, but it must have taken place at some stage before the Conquest, whether before or after Harold's coronation as king of England (January 1066). It seems that Harold's choice of bride was "aimed not only at securing the support of the Mercian house for himself in his royal ambitions, but also at weakening the links between that same house and the rulers of north Wales".[1] In any event, Ealdgyth was soon to be widowed for a second time. In October that year, Harold was defeated and died in the Battle of Hastings, which was fought against the invading forces of William, Duke of Normandy, who would subsequently ascend the English throne. At the news of Harold's death, Ealdgyth's brothers went to London to fetch her and immediately sent her to Chester for shelter. It is unknown what happened to her thereafter.[1] Harold had a number of children with his common law wife Edith the Fair, but his marriage to Ealdgyth may not have produced any offspring. It has been suggested that Ealdgyth may have been the mother of Harold's son Harold, but this possibility is not universally accepted.[1][2][5]


Edith is the main character in the historical romance The Wind From Hastings, which was written by Morgan Llywelyn, and published in 1978.


Eadgyth's story is told in 'Peaceweaver', a novel by Judith Arnopp published in November 2009.




Edith or Aldgyth was born in England on an unknown date to Elfgar, Earl of Mercia (died c.1062), and his wife Aelfgifu. She had two brothers, Edwin, Earl of Mercia and Morcar, Earl of Northumbria. Her paternal grandparents were Leofric, Earl of Mercia, and the legendary Lady Godiva.[4] Her maternal grandparents were Morcar of Northumbria and Ealdgyth.[5]

Silver penny depicting King Harold II of England, the second husband of Edith of Mercia

[edit] Marriages and children


See also Gruffydd and Harold


In 1058, Edith married her first husband[6] Gruffydd ap Llywelyn of Wales, King of Gwynedd, Powys, Gwent, Glywysing, and Deheubarth (1007- 5 August 1063), an ally of her father, Elfgar who had been deprived of his Earldom of East Anglia by Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex and his brothers. Elfgar had been banished in 1055 by the orders of King Edward the Confessor and went first to Ireland, accompanied by his family, including Edith, and afterwards, Wales, where he formed an alliance with Gruffydd. With the help of the army they raised in Ireland and Wales, Gruffydd and Elgar attacked Hereford, clashed with the forces of Ralph the Timid, Earl of Hereford and soundly defeated them. Elfgar was afterwards reinstated as Earl. In 1057, upon the death of his father, Leofric, Elfgar succeeded to the Earldom of Mercia.


Gruffydd and Edith had three children:


Maredudd ap Gruffydd (died 1070)

Idwal ap Gruffydd (died 1070)

Nesta ferch Gruffydd (born c.1062), married Osbern FitzRichard of Richard's Castle, Shropshire, son of Richard Fitz Scrope, by whom she had issue, including a son, Hugh FitzOsbern who married Eustache de Say, and a daughter Nesta (Agnes) ferch Osbern, who, sometime before 1099, married Bernard de Neufmarche, Lord of Brecon. The Barons de Braose of Abergavenny descend from Sybil of Neufmarche, the daughter of Bernard and Nesta (Agnes), whose own daughter, Bertha of Hereford married William de Braose, Third Lord of Bramber.


On 5 August 1063, Edith's husband Gruffydd was killed at Snowdonia by his own men after fleeing from the invading army of Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex.


In 1064, at York, England, she married the enemy of her father and murdered husband, the aforementioned Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex (c.1022- 14 October 1066), who on Ephiphany 6 January 1066 would be crowned King Harold II of England. Although Edith was his lawful wife and Queen Consort, Harold Godwinson had had a common-law wife, Edith Swannesha, for over 20 years by whom he had several children, including Gytha of Wessex. Gytha later married Vladimir II Monomakh, Grand Duke of Kiev, by whom she had issue.


Edith had one posthumous son by her second marriage:


Harold (December 1066- 1098). He settled at the court of King Magnus II of Norway.


On 14 October 1066, King Harold II was killed at the Battle of Hastings, by the Norman forces led by William the Conqueror, who would subsequently ascend the throne as King William I of England. Edith was seven months pregnant at the time of his death. Her son Harold was born in December.


Edith died sometime after 1070. Her son by King Harold died in 1098 in Norway, where he had gone to live in exile at the court of King Magnus II.


Edith is the main character in the historical romance The Wind From Hastings, which was written by Morgan Llywelyn, and published in 1978.