Gwlad Nini 500 to 1000 AD
The period after the Romans left to the arrival of the Normans is sometimes called the “Dark Ages” or the “Age of the Saints”.
During that period a number of Welsh holy men established monastic religious settlements and churches throughout Wales
St David established his church at St David’s in Pembrokeshire but is also believed to have been associated with the ancient “clas” (‘monastery, mother church’) at Llangyfelach. To get from St David’s to Llangyfelach he would have either had to use the old Roman road, crossing the River Loughor at Talybont or ship probably landing at Loughor and crossing overland to Llangyfelach. Either way he would have undoubtedly crossed “Gwlad Nini” on the old road that passes Llys Nini’s gates.
St Non was St David’s mother. There is a church called Eglwys Nunydd in Margam dedicated to her but instead of calling her “Non” they used another form of her name “Nynid”. Some people think that St David may have founded a settlement close to Llangyfelach and called it Llys Nynid, which over the years became Llys Nini.
St Teilo was born in Pembrokeshire but established his main church at Llandeilo (or Llandeilo Fawr). He also established churches in Brittany in northern France. To get there he could have either have sailed down the River Towy or travelled across land to the River Loughor and sailed down it. The ancient church at Llandeilo Talybont (or Llandeilo Fach) is also dedicated to St.Teilo.
From 500 Ad until 942 AD there was almost continual warfare between various Welsh kings. In 942 Hwyel Dda (Hwyel the Good) unified most of Wales into one Kingdom, (with the exception of the south east Wales).
Owain ap Hywel Dda, was Hywel’s son and he became king when his father died. Owain wanted to increase the size of his kingdom and in 960 and 970 he attacked the Kingdom of Morgannwg, to the east of the River Loughor. Owain’s son Einon ap Owain devastated Gower in 977. (See Einon ap Owain ap Hywel Dda)
There is a theory that Einon built a stronghold on the east of the River Loughor, a place from which his soldiers could control the conquered lands of north Gower and this place became known as Einon’s Court or Llys Enniaun, which over the years became Llys Nini.
The Normans invaded England in 1066 and in 1081 they attacked south Wales in force.