Cadafael Cadomedd ap Cynfeddw
Cadafael ap Cynfeddw was King of Gwynedd. He came to the throne when his predecessor, King Cadwallon ap Cadfan, was killed in battle, his primary notability is in having gained the disrespectful sobriquet Cadafael Cadomedd. Unusual for the era, King Cadafael was not a member of one of the leading families of Gwynedd, his name appears in the Welsh Triads as one of the "Three kings, who were of the sons of strangers", where he is identified as "Cadafael, son of Cynfeddw in Gwynedd". Cadafael's reign was a critical time for the future of the Cymry. There was an alliance of the Cymry with Penda of Mercia forged by Cadwallon ap Cadfan, there was ongoing warfare against the then-ascendant Kingdom of Northumbria. Though the alliance was effective and enjoyed several notable successes, it would end disastrously with the death of Penda and a Northumbrian supremacy both in the north and in the English Midlands; the kingdoms of Pengwern, Manaw Gododdin and Rheged would be permanently obliterated. The kingdoms of Gwynedd and Alt Clud would be diminished.
The blame for it fell hardest on Cadafael's reputation. When Cadafael's predecessor Cadwallon ap Cadfan came to the throne c. 625, the fortunes of the Kingdom of Gwynedd were at low ebb. Edwin of Northumbria was everywhere successful, having conquered and absorbed the Cymry of Elmet and decisively defeated the Welsh at Chester in 616. Edwin would launch a successful occupation of Lindsey in 625, he invaded and defeated Wessex in 626, he would invade and occupy Anglesey, besieging Cadwallon on Ynys Seiriol, off easternmost Anglesey, forcing him to flee to Ireland. When Cadwallon returned he was able to restore Gwynedd to a position of viability; this was accomplished through an alliance of the Welsh kings of Gwynedd and Pengwern with the ambitious Penda, king of Anglian Mercia, who like the Welsh was threatened by Edwin's successes. Together they would contest Northumbria's rise, the alliance would defeat and kill Edwin in 633 at the Battle of Hatfield Chase near Doncaster in South Yorkshire. Northumbria was split back into its separate predecessor kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira, Cadwallon defeated and killed their new kings, Eanfrith of Bernicia and Osric of Deira, as well.
Northumbria's core lands were devastated. Cadwallon's success had brought renewed hope for a bright future. Eanfrith's Bernician successor Oswald would reunite Northumbria into one kingdom, leading off at the Battle of Heavenfield near Hexham in 634, where he defeated and killed Cadwallon. Cadafael renewed Cadwallon's alliance with Penda and the other Welsh kings, the wars against Northumbria continued in the north and the English Midlands. Sometime between 635 and 641 Penda killed King Egric, he would kill Egric's successor Anna in 654, establishing himself as the dominant power in the region. The most significant action occurred at the Battle of Maserfield in 642/4, assumed to be near Oswestry. There Penda and his Welsh allies killed Oswald; the wars went less well in the north. Northumbria secured the entire eastern coastal region of Lothian in 638 or shortly thereafter, there were battles against the men of Alt Clut in the 640's. While the outcome of these battles is not given in the historical record, most of what is now southern Scotland came under Northumbrian control, suggesting Northumbrian success.
However and his alliance was still a major threat, they besieged Oswald's Bernician successor Oswiu at his fortress of Bamburgh in 650 or 651, though they did not defeat him. The defining moment came in 655, when Penda again led an alliance of Mercians, Welsh and East Anglians against Bernicia, besieging Oswiu at a stronghold somewhere in the north and compelling him to sue for peace. Having won this war at great cost, the members of the alliance returned south, the Welsh in particular pleased to have reclaimed items of dignity taken from the kingdom of Gododdin or Manaw Gododdin by the Northumbrians. However, while Oswiu had been beaten he had not been defeated. With many of its leaders having been killed in battle, the alliance was caught unawares in a sortie by Oswiu at the Winwaed. Penda was killed, ensuring a Bernician supremacy. Oswiu followed up his defeat of Penda by overrunning Mercia and launching a surprise assault on Pengwern's llys, killing King Cynddylan and wiping out the entire royal family.
Thereafter Pengwern disappears from the historical record, with some of its survivors moving westward to Mathrafal, any who remained becoming part of a Mercian subkingdom. Oswiu would go on to re-unite Bernicia and Deira into Northumbria and establish a temporary dominance over Mercia, becoming the premier military and political power north of the Humber Estuary. Mercia would soon throw off the Northumbrian occupation and recover to become the premier military and political power in the English Midlands; the future was much different for the Cymry of the Old North Wales. While Alt Clud would recover its independence and re-emerge as a state, the kingdoms of Manaw Gododdin and Rheged were permanently destroyed and disappear from the historical reco
Cadfan ap Iago
Cadfan ap Iago was King of Gwynedd. Little is known of the history of Gwynedd from this period, information about Cadfan and his reign is minimal; the historical person is known only from his appearance in royal genealogies, from his grant to Saint Beuno for the monastery at Clynnog Fawr, from his inscribed gravestone in Llangadwaladr church. Cadfan was the son and successor of King Iago ap Beli, is listed in the royal genealogies of the Harleian genealogies and in Jesus College MS. 20. Cadfan came to the throne near the time of the Battle of Chester in 616, in which the Northumbrians under Æthelfrith decisively defeated the neighboring Welsh Kingdom of Powys and massacred the monks of Bangor Is Coed. However, there is no evidence that Gwynedd had any part in the battle, so Cadfan's accession at that time appears to be no more than coincidence. Cadfan's gravestone is at Llangadwaladr on Anglesey, a short distance from the ancient llys of the kings of Gwynedd, reputed to be their royal burial ground.
The inscription refers to him as sapientisimus, as this term is used for ecclesiastics, it suggests that at some point, Cadfan had resigned as king to live a consecrated life. Cadfan was succeeded as king by Cadwallon ap Cadfan. Saint Beuno and the monastery at Clynnog Fawr are cited in conjunction with Cadfan. An 1828 article by P. B. Williams in the Cymmrodorion cited a manuscript stating that a local prince named'Gwytheint' gave Clynnog Fawr to God and Saint Beuno, Abbot at the monastery at Clynnog, that the donation was free from taxes and obligations forever, it goes on to say that Beuno founded a convent at Clynnog in 616, that Cadfan was Beuno's great patron, promising him extensive lands. The promise was carried out by Cadfan's son, King Cadwallon, that Cadwallon was given a golden sceptre worth 60 cows as a token of acknowledgment. A consistent version is given in W. J. Rees' 1853 Lives of the Cambro-British Saints. There are minor variations of these accounts, sometimes with the details rearranged, such as in Rice Rees' 1836 Essay on the Welsh Saints, where he says that Cadfan was given the golden sceptre by Beuno.
The fictional stories of ancient Britain written by Geoffrey of Monmouth use the names of many historical personages as characters, the use of these names is a literary convenience made in order to advance the plot of Geoffrey's stories. One of these stories uses the names of Cadfan and other contemporary people, telling of how a certain Edwin spent his exiled youth at the court of King Cadfan, growing up alongside Cadfan's son, the future King Cadwallon. There is no historical basis for this story, as is acknowledged in the preface of works on the subject. A "traditional" story arose blending Geoffrey's fiction with known history, implying that the future King Edwin of Northumbria had spent his youth at the court of King Cadfan, growing up alongside Cadfan's son, the future King Cadwallon. In point of fact and Edwin were enemies with no known youthful connections: King Edwin invaded Gwynedd and drove King Cadwallon into exile, it would be Cadwallon, in alliance with Penda of Mercia, who would defeat and at kill Edwin in 633 at the Battle of Hatfield Chase.
The story that they had spent an idyllic youth together may have had a romantic appeal. What is known from history is that in 588 King Ælla of Deira died, Æthelfrith of Bernicia took the opportunity to invade and conquer Deira, driving Ælla's 3-year old infant son, the future Edwin of Northumbria, into exile. Edwin would ally himself with Rædwald of East Anglia in 616, defeating and killing Æthelfrith and becoming one of Northumbria's most successful kings. Edwin's life in exile is unknown, there is no historical basis for placing him at the court of King Cadfan. Kings of Wales family trees
Cadwallon ap Cadfan
Cadwallon ap Cadfan was the King of Gwynedd from around 625 until his death in battle. The son and successor of Cadfan ap Iago, he is best remembered as the King of the Britons who invaded and conquered the Kingdom of Northumbria and killing its king, prior to his own death in battle against Oswald of Bernicia, his conquest of Northumbria, which he held for a year or two after Edwin died, made him the last Briton to hold substantial territory in eastern Britain until the rise of the House of Tudor. He was thereafter remembered as a national hero by the Britons and as a tyrant by the Anglo-Saxons of Northumbria; as with other figures of the era little is known of Cadwallon's early life or reign. The primary source of information about him is the Ecclesiastical History of the English People of the Anglo-Saxon writer Bede, critical of him. Cadwallon appears in the genealogies of the Kings of Gwynedd as the son of Cadfan ap Iago and a descendant of Maelgwn Gwynedd and Cunedda. Historian Alex Woolf, presents the case that the genealogists have erroneously inserted Bede's Cadwallon into the pedigree of the unrelated Kings of Gwynedd as son of Cadfan.
Instead, Woolf suggests that Bede's Cadwallon was the Catguallaun liu found in genealogies as son of Guitcun and grandson of Sawyl Penuchel, rulers in the Hen Ogledd or Brythonic-speaking area of northern Britain. Whatever the case may be, Cadwallon was affected by the ambitions of Edwin, King of Northumbria. Bede, writing about a century after Cadwallon's death, describes Edwin, the most powerful king in Britain, conquering the Brittonic kingdom of Elmet and ejecting its king, Cerdic; this opened the door to the Irish Sea, Edwin extended his rule to the "Mevanian Islands" – the Isle of Man and Anglesey. The Annales Cambriae says that Cadwallon was besieged at Glannauc, dates this to 629. Surviving Welsh poetry and the Welsh Triads portray Cadwallon as a heroic leader against Edwin, they refer to a battle at Digoll and mention that Cadwallon spent time in Ireland before returning to Britain to defeat Edwin. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, Cadwallon went to Ireland and to the island of Guernsey.
From there, according to Geoffrey, Cadwallon led an army into Dumnonia, where he encountered and defeated the Mercians besieging Exeter, forced their king, Penda of Mercia, into an alliance. Geoffrey reports that Cadwallon married a half-sister of Penda. However, his history is, on this as well as all matters, it should be treated with caution. In any case and Cadwallon together made war against the Northumbrians; the Battle of Hatfield Chase on 12 October 633 ended in the defeat and death of Edwin and his son Osfrith. After this, the Kingdom of Northumbria fell into disarray, divided between its sub-kingdoms of Deira and Bernicia, but the war continued: according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, "Cadwallon and Penda went and did for the whole land of Northumbria". Bede says that Cadwallon was besieged by the new king of Deira, Osric, "in a strong town". Furthermore, Bede tells us that Cadwallon, "though he bore the name and professed himself a Christian, was so barbarous in his disposition and behaviour, that he neither spared the female sex, nor the innocent age of children, but with savage cruelty put them to tormenting deaths, ravaging all their country for a long time, resolving to cut off all the race of the English within the borders of Britain."
Bede's negative portrayal of Cadwallon as a genocidal tyrant cannot be taken at face value. Cadwallon's alliance with the Anglo-Saxon Penda undermines Bede's assertion that Cadwallon had attempted to exterminate the English. Additionally, the fact that Cædwalla of Wessex a generation after Cadwallon's death bore a name derived directly from the British Cadwallon suggests that Cadwallon's reputation could not have been so poor among the Saxons of Wessex as it was in Northumbria; the new king of Bernicia, was killed by Cadwallon when the former went to him in an attempt to negotiate peace. However, Cadwallon was defeated by an army under Eanfrith's brother, Oswald, at the Battle of Heavenfield, "though he had most numerous forces, which he boasted nothing could withstand". Cadwallon was killed at a place called "Denis's-brook". Kings of Wales family trees Koch, John T.. Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. Alex Woolf, "Caedualla Rex Brittonum and the Passing of the Old North", in Northern History, Vol. 41, Issue 1, March 2004, pages 5–24.
Cadwallon 1 at Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England
Maelgwn Gwynedd was king of Gwynedd during the early 6th century. Surviving records suggest he held a pre-eminent position among the Brythonic kings in Wales and their allies in the "Old North" along the Scottish coast. Maelgwn was a generous supporter of Christianity, funding the foundation of churches throughout Wales and far beyond the bounds of his own kingdom. Nonetheless, his principal legacy today is the scathing account of his behavior recorded in De excidio et conquestu Britanniae by Gildas, who considered Maelgwn a usurper and reprobate; the son of Cadwallon Lawhir and great grandson of Cunedda, Maelgwn was buried on Ynys Seiriol, off the eastern tip of Anglesey, having died of the "yellow plague". Maelgwn in Welsh means "Princely Hound" and is composed of the elements mael "prince" and cwn, the old oblique case form of ci "hound, dog"; as "hound" was sometimes used as a kenning for a warrior in early Welsh poetry, the name may be translated as "Princely Warrior". After the collapse of Roman authority in Britain, north Wales was invaded and colonized by Gaelic tribes from Ireland.
The kingdom of Gwynedd began with the reconquest of the coast by northern Britons under the command of Maelgwn's great-grandfather Cunedda Wledig. Generations Maelgwn's father Cadwallon Long-Hand completed the process by destroying the last Irish settlements on Anglesey. Maelgwn was the first king to enjoy the fruits of his family's conquest and he is considered the founder of the medieval kingdom's royal family, he is thus most referenced by appending the name of the kingdom to his own: Maelgwn Gwynedd. By tradition, his llys was located in the Creuddyn peninsula of Rhos. Tradition holds that he died at nearby Llanrhos, was buried there. Other traditions say. There are no historical records to deny these traditions. Historical records of this early era are scant. Maelgwn appears in the royal genealogies of the Harleian genealogies, Jesus College MS. 20, Hengwrt MS. 202. His death in a "great mortality" of 547 is noted in the Annales Cambriae. Tradition holds that he died of the'Yellow Plague' of Rhos, but this is based on one of the Triads, written much later.
The record says only that it was a "great mortality", which followed the outbreak of the great Plague of Justinian in Constantinople by a few years. Maelgwn was a generous contributor to the cause of Christianity throughout Wales, he made donations to support Saint Brynach in Dyfed, Saint Cadoc in Gwynllwg, Saint Cybi in Anglesey, Saint Padarn in Ceredigion, Saint Tydecho in Powys. He is associated with the foundation of Bangor, but hard evidence of this is lacking. In his 1723 Mona Antiqua Restaurata, Henry Rowlands asserts that Bangor was raised to an episcopal see by Maelgwn in 550, but he provides no source for the assertion; the only contemporary information about the person is provided by Gildas, who includes Maelgwn among the five British kings whom he condemns in allegorical terms in his De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae. He says Maelgwn held a regional pre-eminence among the other four kings, going on to say that he overthrew his paternal uncle to gain the throne; the evidence suggests that Maelgwn held a pre-eminent position over the regions ruled by the descendants of Cunedda in the sense of a regional high king.
There is nothing to suggest. Gildas says as much in his condemnation, saying he held a pre-eminence over the other four kings condemned, describing him as the "dragon of the island", where the Isle of Anglesey is the ancient stronghold of the kings of Gwynedd; the fact that Maelgwn's donations to religious foundations are not restricted to the Kingdom of Gwynedd but are spread throughout northern and southern Wales in the regions where the descendants of Cunedda held sway implies that Maelgwn had a responsibility to those regions beyond the responsibilities of a king to his own kingdom. While the context is not definitive, Taliesin implies it, in his Marwnad Rhun that laments the death of Maelgwn's son Rhun, where he says that Rhun's death is "the fall of the court and girdle of Cunedda". In his work On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain written c. 540, Gildas makes an allegorical condemnation of five British kings by likening them to the beasts of the Book of Revelation, 13-2: the lion, leopard and dragon, with the dragon supreme among them.
He says that Maelgwn is the "dragon of the island", goes on with a litany of moral accusations, in the process describing him as a regional high king over the other kings. The Isle of Anglesey was the base of power of the kings of Gwynedd, so describing Maelgwn as the "dragon of the island" is appropriate. Gildas restricts his attention to the kings of Gwynedd, Penllyn, Damnonia/Alt Clud, the unknown region associated with Caninus; the Welsh kingdoms are all associated with the conquest of the Gaels by Cunedda, while Alt Clud had a long and ongoing relationshi
Hywel Dda or Hywel ap Cadell was a King of Deheubarth who came to rule most of Wales. He became the sole king of Seisyllwg in 920 and shortly thereafter established Deheubarth, proceeded to gain control over the entire country from Prestatyn to Pembroke; as a descendant of Rhodri Mawr through his father Cadell, Hywel was a member of the Dinefwr branch of the dynasty. He was recorded as King of the Annals of Ulster. Hywel is esteemed among other medieval Welsh rulers, his name is linked with the codification of traditional Welsh law, which were thenceforth known as the Laws of Hywel Dda. The latter part of his name refers to the fact; the historian Dafydd Jenkins sees in them compassion rather than punishment, plenty of common sense and recognition of the rights of women. Hywel Dda was a well-educated man by modern standards, having a good knowledge of Welsh and English; the office building and original home of the National Assembly for Wales is named Tŷ Hywel in honour of Hywel Dda. The original Assembly chamber, now known as Siambr Hywel, is used for educational courses and for children and young people's debates.
The local health board of south-west Wales bears his name. Hywel was born around the son of King Cadell of Seisyllwg, he had a brother, the younger of the two. Hywel was reputed to have married Elen, the supposed heiress of King Llywarch of Dyfed, which connection was subsequently used to justify his family's reign over that kingdom. Hywel's father Cadell had been installed as King of Seisyllwg by his father, Rhodri the Great of Gwynedd, following the drowning of the last king in the traditional line, Gwgon, in 872. After Gwgon's death, husband to the dead king's sister Angharad, became steward of his kingdom; this gave Rhodri no standing to claim the kingship of Seisyllwg himself, but he was able to install his son Cadell as a subject king. Cadell died around 911, his lands in Seisyllwg appears to have been divided between his two sons Hywel and Clydog. Hywel already controlled Dyfed by the time he assumed his father's lands in Ceredigion. No king is recorded after the death of Llywarch in 904, Hywel's marriage to Llywarch's only surviving heir ensured that the kingdom came into his hands.
Hywel and Clydog seem to have ruled Seisyllwg together following their father's death and jointly submitted to Edward the Elder of England in 918. However, Clydog died in 920. Hywel soon joined Dyfed into a single realm known as Deheubarth; this became the first significant event of his reign. In 926 or 928 Hywel made a pilgrimage to Rome, becoming the first Welsh prince to undertake such a trip and return. Upon his return he forged close relations with Athelstan of England. From the outset Athelstan's intention was to secure the submission of all other kings in Britain. In his reign, he was able to leverage his close association with Athelstan and the English crown to great effect in his ambitions within Wales. In 942 Hywel's cousin Idwal Foel, King of Gwynedd, determined to cast off English overlordship and took up arms against the new English king, Edmund. Idwal and his brother Elisedd were both killed in battle against Edwin's forces. By normal custom Idwal's crown should have passed to his sons.
He sent Iago and Ieuaf into exile and established himself as ruler over Gwynedd, which likely placed him in control of the Kingdom of Powys, under the authority of Gwynedd. As such Hywel became king of nearly all of Wales except for Gwent in the south. In 943 Hywel's wife Elen died. Hywel's reign was a violent one, but he achieved an understanding with Athelstan of England whereby Athelstan and Hywel ruled part of Wales jointly; such was the relationship between the neighbouring countries that Hywel was able to use Athelstan's mint at Chester to produce his own silver pennies. Following Hywel's death in 948, his kingdom was soon split into three. Gwynedd was reclaimed by the sons of Idwal Foel. Hywel’s name is associated with the laws of Medieval wales, which are known as the Laws of Hywel Dda. None of the law manuscripts can be dated to Hywel’s time, but Hywel’s name is mentioned in the prologues to the laws; these describe how Hywel gathered expert lawyers and priests from each commote in Wales together in Tŷ Gwyn ar Daf in order to revise and codify the Laws of Wales.
The story in the prologues lengthens with time, with more details in the versions of the prologue. It seems unlikely that this meeting took place, with the purpose of the prologues being to emphasize the royal and Christian origin and background to the laws, that in the face of criticism of the laws from outside Wales during John Peckham’s period as Archbishop of Canterbury, his name continued to be associated with Welsh law which remained in active use throughout Wales until the appointed date of implementation of the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 of Henry VIII of England who asserted his royal descent by blood-line from Rhodri Mawr via Hywel Dda. Opinions vary as to the motives for Hywel's close association with the court of Athelstan. J. E. Lloyd claimed Hywel was an admirer of Wessex, while D. P. Kirby suggests that it may have been the action of a pragmatist who recognized the realities of power in mid-10th century Br
Deheubarth was a regional name for the realms of south Wales as opposed to Gwynedd. It is now used as a shorthand for the various realms united under the House of Dinefwr, but that Deheubarth itself was not considered a proper kingdom on the model of Gwynedd, Powys, or Dyfed is shown by its rendering in Latin as dextralis pars or as Britonnes dexterales and not as a named land. In the oldest British writers, Deheubarth was used for all of modern Wales to distinguish it from Hen Ogledd, the northern lands whence Cunedda and the Cymry originated. Deheubarth was united around 920 by Hywel Dda out of the territories of Seisyllwg and Dyfed, which had come into his possession. On, the Kingdom of Brycheiniog was added. Caerleon was the principal court of the area, but Hywel's dynasty fortified and built up a new base at Dinefwr, near Llandeilo, giving them their name. After the high-water mark set by Hywel, Dinefwr was overrun. First, by the Welsh of the north and east: by Llywelyn ap Seisyll of Gwynedd in 1018.
In 1075, Rhys ab Owain and the noblemen of Ystrad Tywi succeeded in treacherously killing their English-backed overlord Bleddyn ap Cynfyn. Although Rhys was overrun by Gwynedd and Gwent, his cousin Rhys ap Tewdwr – through his marriage into Bleddyn's family and through battle – reëstablished his dynasty's hegemony over south Wales just in time for the second wave of conquest: a prolonged Norman invasion under the Marcher Lords. In 1093, Rhys was killed in unknown circumstances while resisting their expansion into Brycheiniog and his son Gruffydd was thrown into exile. Following the death of Henry I, in 1136 Gruffydd formed an alliance with Gwynedd for the purpose of a revolt against Norman incursions, he took part in Cadwaladr ap Gruffydd's victory over the English at Crug Mawr. The newly liberated region of Ceredigion, was not returned to his family but annexed by Owain; the long and capable rule of Gruffydd's son the Lord Rhys – and the civil wars that followed Owain's death in Gwynedd – permitted the South to reassert the hegemony Hywel Dda had enjoyed two centuries before.
On his death in 1197, Rhys redivided his kingdom among his several sons and none of them again rivalled his power. By the time Llywelyn the Great won the wars in Gwynedd, in the late 12th century, lords in Deheubarth appear among his clients. Following the conquest of Wales by Edward I, the South was divided into the historic counties of Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire by the Statute of Rhuddlan. In the arena of the church, Sulien was the leader of the monastic community at Llanbadarn Fawr in Ceredigion. Born ca. 1030, he became Bishop of St David's in 1073 and again in 1079/80. Both of his sons followed him into the service of the church. At this time the prohibition against the marriage of clerics was not yet established, his sons produced a number of original Latin and vernacular poems. They were active in the ecclesiastical and political life of Deheubarth. One son, Rhygyfarch of Llanbadarn Fawr, wrote the Life of Saint David and another, was a skillful scribe and illuminator, he may have written the Life of St. Padarn.
Goronwy Foel House of Dinefwr List of Welsh kings The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6 Deheubarth at Castle Wales
Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon was king of Gwynedd in Wales from around AD 655 to 682. Two devastating plagues happened during his reign, one in 664 and the other in 682. Little else is known of his reign. Though little is known about the historical Cadwaladr, he became a mythical redeemer figure in Welsh culture, he is a prominent character in the romantic stories of Geoffrey of Monmouth, where he is portrayed as the last in an ancient line to hold the title King of Britain. In Geoffrey's account, he does not die of plague, he renounces his throne in 688 to become a pilgrim, in response to a prophecy that his sacrifice of personal power will bring about a future victory of the Britons over the Anglo-Saxons. Geoffrey's story of Cadwaladr's prophecy and trip to Rome is believed to be an embellishment of the events in the life of Cædwalla of Wessex, whom Geoffrey mistakenly conflated with Cadwaladr. Cædwalla renounced his throne and travelled to Rome in 688. For Welsh commentators, the myth "provided a messianic hope for the future deliverance of Britain from the dominion of the Saxons".
It was used by both the Yorkist and Lancastrian factions during the Wars of the Roses to claim that their candidate would fulfil the prophecy by restoring the authentic lineage stemming from Cadwaladr. The red dragon has long been known as a Welsh symbol, appearing in the Mabinogion, the Historia Brittonum, the stories of Geoffrey of Monmouth. Since the accession of Henry VII to the English throne, it has been referred to as "The Red Dragon of Cadwaladr"; the association with Cadwaladr is a traditional one, without a firm historical provenance. Cadwaladr was the son of a famous father, Cadwallon ap Cadfan, the successor to King Cadafael, his name appears in the pedigrees of the Jesus College MS. 20. Cadwaladr appears to have suffered a major military defeat at the hands of the West Saxons at Pinhoe near Exeter in 658, he is said to have patronised many churches. The church of Llangadwaldr in Anglesey identifies him as its founder. Cadwaladr's name appears as'Catgualart' in a section of the Historia Brittonum, where it says he died of a dreadful mortality while he was king.
The great plague of 664 is not noted in the Annales Cambriae, but Bede's description makes clear its impact in both Britain and Ireland, where its occurrence is noted in the Irish Annals. The plague of 682 is not noted by Bede, but the Annales Cambriae note its occurrence in Britain and that Cadwaladr was one of its victims. Both the Annales Cambriae and the Irish Annals note the plague's impact in Ireland in 683, as do other sources; the genealogies in Jesus College MS. 20 and the Harleian genealogies give Cadwaladr as the son of Cadwallon and the father of Idwal Iwrch. Idwal, who fathered the king Rhodri Molwynog, may have been his successor. Cadwaladr's name is invoked in a number of literary works such as in the Armes Prydein, an early 10th-century prophetic poem from the Book of Taliesin. While the poem's "Cadwaladr" is an emblematic figure, scholars have taken the view that the Cadwaladr of Armes Prydein refers to the historical son of Cadwallon, that at this stage he "played a messianic role" of some sort, but "its precise nature remains uncertain".
He is paired with Conan Meriadoc, the founder of British settlements in Brittany. Conan and Cadwaladr are identified as warriors. Armes Prydein states that "the British shall be without their kingdom for many years and remain weak, until Conan in his chariot arrive from Brittany, that revered leader of the Welsh, Cadwaladr." Another poem states "Spendour of Cadwaladr and bright, defence of armies in desolate places. He will come across the waves, the promise of prophecy in the beginning."According to Elissa R. Henken, Cadwaladr was well established as a "prophesied deliverer" of the Britons before Geoffrey's version of his life altered its ending; this may be because he was seen as the man who would carry forward the achievement of his father Cadwallon, the last great war leader of the Britons: "it is quite that the father and son became confused in folk memory, a fusion enhanced by Cadwaladr, whose name is a compound meaning'battle-leader' having assumed his father's epithet Bendigaid." Cadwaladr figures prominently in Geoffrey of Monmouth's romantic account of the Historia Regum Britanniae.
As such, the Cadwaladr of Geoffrey is a literary invention that used the name of a historical person to advance the plot of the story. In Book XII, Chapter XIV of the Historia, Cadwaladr is given as the last in a line of kings that began with Brutus of Troy. Chapters XV – XVIII have him leaving a depopulated Britain for Brittany, where the British people have resettled. Britain itself has been emptied by plague. Cadwaladr is received as a guest by King of Brittany. Taking advantage of the depopulation, the Saxons invite more of their countrymen to join them as soon as the plague abates. From this point they become dominant in Britain, the British come to be called the "Welsh". At the same time, in Brittany, Cadwaladr intends to return to take back the island, asks Alan to provide him with an army; the Breton king agrees, but Cadwaladr hears a prophetic voice which tells him that he must sacrifice personal power for the sake of his people. If he renounces the throne, his sacrifice will lead to the restoration of British control of the island in the future, a