HOME ~ Contact us

TRAHAERN ap Caradoc, Prince of Wales

TRAHAERN ap Caradoc, Prince of Wales. [CHART A22].
Born (about 1044)(1033), of Arwystli (Arwistle), Montgomeryshire, Wales; Son of CARADOC ap Cynfyn, Prince of Wales.

He married Nesta verch Gruyffydd, though this is lately disputed:
According to BWG, she was Nest, daughter of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn (d. 1063), the first (and only) native king of all of Wales. Gruffudd did have a daughter named Nest, wife of Osbern Fitz Richard, but there is no evidence that she was also married to Trahaern ap Caradog, and no early source for a second daughter named Nest. The sources given by Bartrum for this link are all very late, the earliest being Lewys Dwnn's visitation of Wales which started in 1586 (LD.ii.107), and the other two cited sources being early 17th century manuscripts. LD.ii.107 has Nest marrying 1st Trahaern, and 2nd, the mythical Fleance son of Banquo (alleged ancestor of the Stewarts), which gives even more cause for doubt, and I am inclined to regard the supposed marriage of Trahaern ap Caradog to a daughter of Gruffudd ap Llewelyn as a very late invention. (S3).

The History of Wales (S5) claims that he did marry Nesta verch Gruyffydd.

Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, ruler of Gwynedd, was killed in the year 1075. After him his cousin, Trahaearn ap Caradog, ruled over Gwynedd. (S6).

Gruffudd son of Cynan and grandson of Iago who had ruled Gwynedd until 1039 when he was killed and dispossessed by the aforementioned Gruffudd ap Llywelyn, was now of age to consider recovering his patrimony. Following the death of Bleddyn in 1075, he set sail from Ireland, took control of Anglesey fought and defeated Trahaern at the Battle of Bron-yr-erw. (S6).

Despite this initial success, Gruffudd ap Cynan failed to make headway in Gwynedd; Trahaern retook Anglesey and re-established his control of the kingdom. It seems that Gruffudd's Norse mercenaries deserted him and his local supporters within Gwynedd were persuaded to change sides. (S6).

Rhys ab Owain, now deprived of the support of Rhydderch ap Caradog continued to be hard pressed and in 1077 was again fighting off the attentions of "the sons of Cadwgan" at the battle of Gweunytwl, who were very probably acting at the behest of Caradog ap Gruffudd. (S6).

To make matters worse Trahaern of Gwynedd now felt reasonably secure after beating off the challenge of Gruffudd ap Cynan and was eager to follow in the footsteps of cousin Bleddyn and extend his influence in the south of the country. Indeed there was a natural mutuality of interest between Trahaern ap Caradog in Gwynedd and Caradog ap Gruffudd in Morgannwg; they both represented 'new' dynasties who both saw an opportunity to expand at the expense of Deheubarth. (S6).

In the year 1078 they seem to have acted in concert; Trahaern ap Caradog was victorious at battle of Pwllgwdig where "Rhys ab Owain fled like a wounded frightened stag before the hounds". By the end of the year Caradog ap Gruffudd delivered the coup-de grace and killed both Rhys and his brother Hywel. (S6).

By such means it was said that Trahaern ap Caradog avenged the death of his cousin Bleddyn, but despite the victory and the death of Rhys ab Owain neither Trahaern nor Caradog were able to take control of Deheubarth. Instead it was another Rhys, Rhys ap Tewdwr who emerged with a tenuous grip on the south-west in the following year. (S6).

The appearance of Rhys ap Tewdwr changed nothing from Trahaern and Caradog's point of view; it simply meant they had to try again.With the forces of both the north and the south-east of Wales arranged against him Rhys ap Tewdwr was in need of some support. He found it in Gruffudd ap Cynan, who despite earlier setbacks, remained determined to recover his grandfather's kingdom and was eager to have another crack at Trahaern. (S6).

In the year 1081 Trahaern and Caradog gathered their forces for an invasion of Deheubarth whilst Rhys and Gruffudd prepared their defences. (S6).

Everything came to a head at the Battle of Mynydd Carn. (S6).

The outcome at least was clear cut; an overwhelming victory for Rhys and Gruffudd. Both Trahaern ap Caradog and Caradog ap Gruffudd were killed and Gruffudd ap Cynan could return in triumph to Gwynedd, Iestyn ap Gwrgan an otherwise obscure cousin of poor Cadwgan ap Meurig gained power in Morgannwg whilst Rhys ap Tewdwr was confirmed in his control of Deheubarth. (S6).

At least Mynydd Carn brought the killing to an end; the preceeding eighteen years had seen the violent deaths of at least nine kings or would-be kings, as well as the deaths of thousands of unnamed and otherwise unknown soldiers in the various battles and skirmishes, not to mention the thousands of non-combatants that would have been the inevitable casualties of the customary 'ravagings' of the countryside. (S6).

Thus a measure of order emerged after the chaos and confusion of eighteen years of warfare. But the aftermath of Mynydd Carn was also marked by king William's 'pilgrimage' to St Davids and the time when Hugh the Fat took Gruffudd ap Cynan prisoner and sent his cousin Robert of Rhuddlan rampaging across the north. (S6).

The account of the battle that follows in the Historia Gruffud vab Kenan is somewhat partial and focuses entirely on Gruffudd and implies that Rhys took almost no part in the battle whatsover. Gruffudd is stated to have led the one attack that carried all before it and swept the enemy off the battlefield. (S6).

It does however contain a rather graphic account of the death of Trahaern ap Caradog, who was apparently "stabbed in the bowels" and then lay "on the ground breathing his last, chewing with his teeth the fresh herbs and groping on top of his arms; and Gwarchki the Irishman made bacon of him as a pig". (S6).

The result of the battle is however clear and indisputable; a clear victory for Rhys and Gruffudd, with Caradog, Trahaern and Meilyr all died on the battle field, their forces killed and scattered. (S6).

Rhys ap Tewdwr may well have returned to the quite enjoyment of his now securely held kingdom but Gruffudd ap Cynan had other ideas. (S6).

Gruffudd went north and ravaged Arwystli; "Thus did he pay like for like to Trahaern" says the Historia adding that Gruffudd "destroyed and killed its people; he burned its houses, and took its women and maidens captive ". Then he went on to Powys where he apparently "spared not even the churches" before returning in truimph to Gwynedd. (S6).

CARNO, a parish in the lower division of the hundred of LLANIDLOES, county of MONTGOMERY, NORTH WALES, 11 miles (W. N. W.) from Newtown, containing 1010 inhabitants. In 948, a battle was fought here for the sovereignty of North Wales, between Ievav and Iago, the sons of Edwal Voel, and those of Hywel Dda, late king of all Wales, which terminated in favour of the former. And in 1077, or, according to some, in 1082, an eminence called Mynydd Carn, from a large carnedd upon it, commemorative of some distinguished warrior of a still more remote period, was the scene of one of the most sanguinary battles ever fought in the principality, between Grufydd ab Cynan, rightful sovereign of North Wales, aided by Rhys ab Tewdwr, Prince of South Wales, and Trahaern ab Caradoc, who then usurped the throne, in which the latter was defeated and slain, after a sharp and obstinate conflict, with the flower of his army, and Grufydd succeeded to the throne. (S7).

So he died (about 1129)(1077)(1080)(1081)(1082) at the battle of Mynydd Carn.

NESTA verch Gruffydd. [CHART A22].
Born about (1055-1058(1059), of Rhuddlan, Flintshire, Wales; daughter of GRUFFYDD ap Llywelyn and Edith Swan-neck.

She married (1) Trahearn ap Caradoc Prince of South Wales (1044-1081).

She married (2) Osbern FITZRICHARD (-living in 1100)

CHILDREN of TRAHAERN ap Caradoc, Prince of Wales and NESTA verch Gruffydd:
  1. LLYARCH, Prince of North Wales. (Lord of Pembroke). [CHART A22]. Born about 1070 at Arwystli, Montgomeryshire, Wales. He married Dyddgu verch Iorwerth. He died in 1128 in North Wales.
  2. Nesta fil Trahaern. NOTE: There is confusion whether Nesta is the daughter of Trahaern or Osbern.

CHILDREN of NESTA verch Gruffydd and OSBERN FitzRichard:
  1. Nest verch Osbern.
  2. Hugh FITZOSBERN. (-1140) m. Eustache de SAY