Rhodri ab Owain (DNB00)

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RHODRI ab OWAIN (d. 1195), Welsh prince, was a son of Owain Gwynedd [q. v.] by his cousin Cristyn or Crisiant, daughter of Gronw ab Owain ab Edwin. On his father's death in 1170 he was one of many claimants for a share of Gwynedd, but whatever portion he secured was lost to him in 1174, when his elder brother, David, possessed himself of the whole region. In 1175 David imprisoned him; he succeeded, however, in escaping, and before the end of the year had driven his brother out of Anglesey and the adjacent districts, making the Conway the boundary between them. He now entered into an alliance with Rhys ap Gruffydd, prince of South Wales, and married one of his daughters, a union against which Archbishop Baldwin in vain protested, on the score of consanguinity, when he visited Anglesey with Giraldus Cambrensis in 1188. In the interval between this visit and the transcription of the first edition of the Welsh ‘Itinerary’ of Giraldus (1191), Rhodri was dispossessed of all his territory by his nephews, the sons of Cynan ab Owain. In 1193 he was for a short time reinstated in Anglesey with the aid of Godred, king of Man, an episode afterwards remembered as ‘the Gaelic summer’ (Red Book of Hergest, Oxford edit. ii. 405), but before the end of the year he was again driven out by the sons of Cynan. In 1194, when Llywelyn ab Iorwerth and the sons of Cynan overthrew David, he appears to have taken his brother's side, and probably led the forces which were defeated by Llywelyn at Coed Aneu in Anglesey. As a result of his nephew's victory, he was left with a bare livelihood. He died in 1195. The ‘Myvyrian Archaiology’ contains one poem to Rhodri by Gwalchmai (2nd edit. p. 146), one by Elidyr Sais (p. 241), and four by Llywarch ap Llywelyn (pp. 201–3).

[Annales Cambriæ; Bruts in the Myvyrian Archaiology; Itinerarium Kambriæ by Giraldus Cambrensis.]

J. E. L.