Princess

The last remaining direct descendant of Owain Gwynedd was the princess Gwenllian (12831337). She was imprisoned in Sempringham Priory, Lincs, by England's Edward I, who later bestowed the title Prince of Wales on his son (who became Edward II). The title has remained in the English royal family ever since.

FAMILY: Dewi's grandparents, with his father David in the foreground (right)

RAILWAY RECORD: Dewi's father's service record as a railwayman

Connecting himself to the Tanycastell line brought Dewi genealogical gold in two ancestral lines. One goes straight back to Hedd Molwynog in the 12th century, head of the ninth noble tribe of Gwynedd and steward to Owain Gwynedd (c1109-70), a prince of Wales now buried in Bangor Cathedral. Molwynog's crest, depicting a stag, was adopted centuries later by his colourful descendant William Jones.

The other line goes back through Gwynedd himself, who fought off invasion by England's Henry II, all the way to Rhodri, the first King of All Wales (844-877) having extended his control of Gwynedd to that of other, smaller Welsh kingdoms (his father and grandfather were both kings of the Isle of Man). Rhodri is commemorated as Fawr, 'the Great', for this achievement, akin to that of his Wessex contemporary Alfred. Very little is known of Rhodri today, but for centuries his line dominated Welsh power structures, and he was renowned for his success as a warrior, particularly against the Vikings. He defeated them in a notable battle in Anglesey in 856, and died at the hands of the Mercians 20

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years later. Molwynog is believed to be descended from Rhodri too, so the two branches probably also connected earlier in history.

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