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Correction - Gruffudd may not have been a younger son & may have inherited Gower not won it in 1215. More research being undertaken.

Gruffudd Gwyr - Griffith of Gower

Gruffud or Gruffydd ap Cydifor of Defynnog became Gruffydd Gŵyr or Griffith of Gower around 1215 when he was made Lord of Gower. At that time, he probably acquired land in Gower including Llys Nini.


 He was born around 1170 to 1195, his father was Cydifor ap Gwgon and his grandfather was Gwgon ap Bleddyn Arglwydd o Cas-wis, Aberhonddu 118.  (Lord of “Cas-wis, Brecon) and his great grandfather was Bleddyn ap Maenyrch Arglwydd Brycheiniog (Lord of the Kingdom of “Breconshire”). The historian Rice Merrick of Prescedwyn also cites Gruffydd’s father as Cydifor.



Defynnog, is a parish in the Upper Swansea Valley, also known as Glyntawe. It is thought that Ynyscedwyn near Ystradgynlais  was at some time the seat of Gruffydd   Gŵyr and his family.



In 1217 Llewellyn the Great, the leader of the independent Princes of Wales led a campaign to reclaim Wales from the Normans. Travelling from Brecon to Swansea it is likely that he would have passed through Glyntawe.  Gruffydd was probably one of the many local lords to join him.  



The Brut y Tywysogion or Chronicle of the Welsh Princes, says that  Rhys Grug, Lord of Deheubarth and supporter of Llewellyn the Great, the  Prince of Wales invaded Gower and  expelled the English  in 1215. He then gave the lands back to the Welsh “Welshman to dwell in their lands" and made Morgan Gam and Gruffydd mense lords to rule Afan and Gower respectively. Gruffydd then became Gruffydd Gŵyr possibly holding Knelston as a Knight's fee (32).


However, in 1218 Llewelyn made peace with King John's son and heir Henry III. He told Rhys Grug to surrender Gower to the King but Rhys was unwilling.  In 1220 Llewelyn had to invade Rhys’ land   in order to make him give up Gower. Rhys finally gave Gower to the King’s supporter, John De Breos.


After 1220, it is likely that Gruffydd continued to hold his lands in Gower, but with John Le Breos as his overlord rather than Rhys Grug.  In 1578, Rice Merrick   wrote that ‘Pryscedwyn, the house of Thomas ab Ieuan Gwyn ap Gwilym Ddu and so lineally to Gruffydd Gŵyr(33). Therefore Gruffydd Gŵyr was an ancestor of Gwilym Ddu (born about 1370), whose grandsons were Thomas (Tomos) and William (Gwilym) ap Ieuan ap Gwilym Ddu and the owners of Llys Nini according to the 1507 quit claim.

 It is therefore possible to trace the ownership of Llys Nini back to 1217 and Gruffydd Gŵyr.



Possible Line of Gruffydd Gwyr and Gwilym Ddu

Approximate dates













Dryffin ap Cudd




Maenyrch ap Druffin




Bleddyn ap Maenyrch

Arglwydd Brycheiniog Aberhonddu

Lord of Breconshire






Gwgan ap Bleddyn

Arglwydd Cas-wis Aberhonddu







Cydifor ap Gwgan


Swansea Valley






Gruffydd "Gwyr" ap Cydifor

Defynnog, Glyntawe







Gruffydd "Fab" ap Gruffydd Gwyr








Hywel ap Gruffydd Fab








Hywel fechan ap Hywel








Gwilym Gam

Defynnog Glyntawe







Gwilym Ddu








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