Arms of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn

Bleddyn ap Cynfyn

(? – 1073)

Blazon: Or a lion rampant gules armed and langued azure

Bleddyn “inherited” Gwynedd after the death of his half-brother Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, by which I mean that Harold Godwinson installed Bleddyn as ruler in 1063 after defeating and killing Gruffydd. Bleddyn swore allegiance to Harold, as did his brother Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn, who was granted rule of Powys. Their allegiance didn’t last five years; by 1067, the ap Cynfyn brothers were invading Godwinson’s home base in Hereford. Two years later, Rhiwallon died, and Gruffydd’s sons challenged their half-uncle for the throne. Bleddyn won. In 1073, Rhys ab Owain of Deheubarth killed Bleddyn and took over both Gwynedd and Powys. Gwynedd ended up going to Trahaearn ap Caradog, but Powys eventually passed to Bleddyn’s third son, Maredudd ap Bleddyn, establishing the House of Mathrafal. (Please insert the usual disclaimers about the improbability of Bleddyn using these arms during his lifetime, given the nascent-to-nonexistent state of Welsh heraldry at the time.)

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