Gruffydd ap Rhys

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Gruffydd ap Rhys (c.1090–1137), pretender to the kingdom of Deheubarth. Following the death of his father, Rhys ap Tewdwr, in 1093, Gruffydd was taken to Ireland for safety. In 1113 he returned with kinsmen and ‘young hot-heads’ to claim his inheritance, but others declined to support him. His rising against Norman settlers in 1116 was seen as ‘repairing and renewing the Brittanic kingdom’ in the spirit of the struggle between British and invader. Gruffydd ravaged south-west Wales but failed to capture the new castles or make permanent conquests. He had to be content with lands in the Tywi valley. He married Gwenllian, daughter of Gruffydd ap Cynan, king of Gwynedd; in the general uprising after Henry I's death (1135), Gruffydd took part in the Welsh victory near Cardigan in 1136, while Gwenllian led his army against Kidwelly castle and was killed there. He died soon afterwards and his four sons inherited his claims in Deheubarth.

Ralph Alan Griffiths