Einon - Prince and warrior
Einon of Gorseinon;
The original form of Gorseinon was Cors Einon; Cors meaning bog, swamp, or marsh (The C changes to a G after the word “the” which over time has been dropped from the name.)
Einon, Einion or Eynon is a popular personal name.
The village now known as Penllergaer was originally known as Gorseinon or Cor Einon (Einon’s Marsh).
Popular Tradition: Einon was a warrior prince of Dyfed, who was mortally wounded in a battle. Einon escaped from the battle but he was so badly injured that he died on marshland which became known as Cors Einon or Einon’s Marsh.
Historical Evidence for Einon.
Einon ap Owain ap Hywel Dda, (Einon son of Owain son of Hywel Dda) was an historical character.
He was born in about 933 in Dinefwr, Llandyfeisant, Carmarthenshire, died 984 in the Battle of Pen Co, Gwent. (9)
He was a prince and war lord, his father was King Owain of Deheubarth, (Dyfed, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Breconshire and Pembrokeshire ). King Owain wanted to extend his lands and take over Gower and Morgannwg ( Glamorgan).
In 960, Owain, Einon’s father tried to expand his kingdom by invading Gower. He made several expeditions into Gower during the following decade. By 966, Einon had replaced his father as leader of the war band and during the 970s and 80s Einon continued to try to conquer Morgannwg.
It is possible that Einon established a stronghold or Llys on a vantage point east of the Loughor around 970. This would have given him a strategic point from which to launch his attacks further east. The stronghold may have been called Llys Einon, which over the years became Llys Nini.
The War band, under Owain and then Einon, was also instrumental between 870 and 991 in repelling the Irish and Danes who continually raided South Wales during this time.
Einon was killed in battle in about 984, but there is some confusion about where the battle happened.
The battle is recorded by Dot Doomsday (9) as being at Pencoed Colwyn in Gwent, in the east of south Wales. While the Gwentian Chronicle records that "Einion son of Owain was slain" in 982 in "Gorwennydd where the action of Pencoed Colwynn took place" (11).
This last entry from the Gwentian Chronicle names the place of Einon’s death as Gorwennydd and not Gwent. Gorwennydd was an area of south Wales, which stretched from the River Tawe to the River Thaw or Afon Ddaw. Gorwennydd (or Gorfennydd) is about 4 miles from Llys Nini at its nearest point, which would allow the legend of how Gorseinon got its name. However, the area stretched as far as Aberthaw, over 30 miles from Gorseinon, if Einon was injured in the east of the cartref it would make the truth behind the legend unlikely. - See Gorfennydd for more detail.
If Einon fought in or around north west Swansea and was wounded he could have tried to get back to his base in Deheubarth. He may have aimed to cross the Loughor at the ancient crossing point at Llandeilo Talybont and if so, his route would have taken him through the present-day Penllergaer ( the then Gorseinon), where he may have died, thus giving his name to that place.
However, there is another story, quoted by several sources “In the year 991, there were two Princes – the Prince of South Wales, Prince Ithol and the Prince of Glamorgan, Prince Meredith. They fought a bloody battle on Garngoch Common and the Prince of South Wales, who was a brutal man, was defeated. Amongst those who took up arms against the Prince of South Wales was a man called Hywel Einon. After the battle, Einon Hywel camped his men on the Gorse, near Penllergaer. The name of Gorseynon was then created, later changed to Gorseinon.” (15 , 16)
Which, if either, of these accounts is true cannot be said. But the latter seems more confused. Prince Einon, on his death was succeeded by his brother Meredudd (Meredith) of Deheubarth and not ofGlamorgan. Ithol was the King of Gwent but was killed in 846 not 911. “ The men of Brecknock are said to have slain Ithol, the 53d king of Gwent, in 846. “(139)
(Neither of these battles should be confused with the Battle of Gower 1136 which was fought between the Welsh and the Anglo Normans or the on-going onslaughts from invading Vikings 950 to 1000.
The stone of Einon in Margam Stone Museum has the inscription “This cross of Christ, Enniaun made for the soul of Guorgoret.” J K Allen60 and others interpret Enniaun as Einon and the stone was erected between 850 and 933, which would coincide with the life of Einon ap Owain ap Hywel Dda. Then perhaps Einon’s Latinised name lives on in Llys Nini, in the former Gorseinon? It is perhaps more likely that an important property or “Llys” (court) was at that time named after a man rather than a woman.
Cors Einon and Llys Nini near Penller’rgaer are geographically close to each other, as are Porth Einon and Trenynni (Oxwich) on the Gower coast.
Moreover, the village close to Llys Nini, now known as Penllergaer, was originally called Gorseinon or Corsenion. (See origins of Gorseinon)