Cadell (d.1175) (DNB00)

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CADELL (d. 1175), a South Welsh prince, the son of Gruffudd, the son of Rhys, the son of Tewdwr, succeeded, though perhaps jointly with his younger brothers, Anarawd, Maredudd, and Rhys, to the limited and precarious rule of those parts of Ceredigion and the vale of Towy which his father had managed to save from the Norman marchers (1137). Favoured by the anarchy of Stephen's reign, which prevented the possibility of direct English intervention, and involved Robert of Gloucester, the lord of Glamorgan, in weightier business than the extension of his Welsh dominions, Cadell's rule commenced under fortunate auspices. The return of Gruffudd to the old palace of the kings of Deheubarth at Dinevwr prepared the way for this, and his own assumption of the title of king after it had become unusual among the South Welsh reguli illustrates his importance. The silence of the chroniclers suggests that the first years of Cadell's government were peaceful. They were marked by an alliance with Owain Gwynedd. This alliance led in 1138 to a joint expedition of Cadell and his brother Anarawd, and of Owain and his brother Cadwaladr, with a fleet of Irish Danes against Aberteiv (Cardigan), a town in the possession of the Normans. Even the murder of Anarawd by Cadwaladr could not break the alliance, as Owain expelled his brother from Ceredigion to punish the crime (1143). In 1145 (Annales Cambriæ; 1147 Brut y Tywysogion) Cadell and his brothers ventured on a general attack on the French castles which dominated the vale of Towy. The capture of Dinweileir, Earl Gilbert of Clare's stronghold (Dinevwr itself, according to the ‘Gwentian Brut’), was followed by the conquest, after a severe struggle, of the important fortress of Carmarthen. While the young Maredudd repulsed an attempt of the colonists of South Pembrokeshire to regain that castle, the capture of Llanstephan, commanding the mouth of the Towy, and the seizure of Gwyddgrug by a night surprise, completed the conquest of the valley. Next year (1148 A. C.; 1146 B. y T.) the brothers marched against the castle of Gwys; but the intervention of Howel, son of Owain Gwynedd, in favour of the Normans, sufficiently accounted, as the native chronicler thought, for the failure of the assailants (B. y T., MS. D). But the continued possession of Carmarthen, ‘the ornament and strength of Cadell's kingdom,’ in 1152 (1153 A. C.; 1149 B. y T.) shows that the ‘French’ were permanently checked by the Welsh king's exploits. In the same year Cadell's devastation of Kidwelly threatened the English settlements in Gower; but soon afterwards his arms were diverted to the reconquest of Ceredigion, the old patrimony of the lords of Dinevwr, from Owain Gwynedd and his house. The first attack resulted in the capture of the country south of the Aeron, and next year the three brothers completed its entire conquest, save one castle. Llanrhystyd, Cadwaladr's lately built stronghold, was taken after a severe struggle, but soon after regained by Howel, son of Owain (1153), though the neighbouring castle of Ystradmeurig was repaired and held for the sons of Gruffudd ap Rhys. This was the last of Cadell's exploits. Not long after he fell, when out hunting, into an ambush prepared by the French or Flemings of Tenby, and was left by them ‘half dead and cruelly bruised’ (the ‘Gwentian Brut’ says the English of Gower laid the snare). This disaster apparently incapacitated him for the wild life of a Welsh chieftain. Henceforth Maredudd and Rhys alone carried on the war with French and North Welshmen. A few years later Cadell left his dominions to his brothers and went on pilgrimage to Rome (1152 B. y T.; 1157 A. C.) He returned in safety and continued a life remarkably long for his age and country until 1175 (B. y T.; 1177 Gwentian B.), when he died in the abbey of Strata Florida, where he had already assumed the monastic habit.

[Annales Cambriæ (Rolls Ser.); Brut y Tywysogion (Rolls Ser.); Gwentian Brut (Camb. Arch. Soc.).]

T. F. T.