Idris ap Gwyddno


Short study of Idris ap Gwyddno and whether there is a connection to the Giant of Cadar Idris fame, mentioned in myth and legend.

Idris ap Gwyddno is often associated with the Giant named Idris connected to the landscape traditions concerning Cadar Idris in Merionydd via songs and story telling. Indeed the story of the giant appears to be in circulation in folk memory in the early 1800's. Yet what interests me here is the person described in the genealogies as Idris ap Gwyddno d. 635 AD/CE.

There is a glimpse of him described as a Prince of Merionydd who had a son named Sualda who held the same status of a Prince. There is very little other information concerning his son which I'm presently aware of. However the same applies to his father Idris. Yet there are some glimpses, such as the elusive triad which names Idris as one of the astronomers of Britian, which at present is not authenticated elsewhere. Although it appears to have some common curency in Neo-Druidism today. However Lewys Dwnn 1846 indicates Idris ap Gwyddno had a cell on the mountain, in which case it might suggest Idris was at one time a hermit. Overall the hermit/astronomy connection combined make sense within the landscape locality which is traditionally and historically associated within Merionydd. Nonetheless Lewys points out there is an attachment of Arw and Gwar connected to Idris. These might either be a possbile endearment where arw - coarse, discribed Idris temprement giving Idris Arw ap Gwyddno, however this form is not commonly found in the geaneologies. On the other hand the Gawr or giant connection could indicated his statue i.e. of being tall, another endearment, once again its not supported. Irrispectively of these speculations and conjectures Idris ap Gwyddno was killed in battle leading his fighting force against the Anglo Saxons under the leadership of King Oswald on the River Severn in 635 AD.

Genealogy line of Idris- Early Merionydd and late Manau Gododdin

Idris Arw ap Gwyddno d. 635

son Sualda


Gwyddno ap Clydno

son Idris Arw


Clydno ap Gwrin Farfdrwch

Married Marchell Fech Brychan

son Gwyddno


Gwrin Farfdrwch ap Cadwaladr

Son Clydno


Cadwaladr ap Meirion

Son Gwrin Farfdrwch


Meirion ap Tybion

Son Cadwaladr

Merionydd/Manaw Gododdin

Tybion ap Cunedda

Son Meirion

Manaw Gododdin

Cunedda Wledig ap ?

son Tybion

Manaw Gododdin/ and present day

Northwest and East Wales


Astrocelt September, 2006


Prime sources

Peniarth MS 54 (formerly Hengwrt 536) - Triads

Llyfr Coch Hergest Col. 588--600 - Triads

Secondary Sources

Batrum, P.C., 1993, A Welsh Classical Dictionary, University of Wales Press

Batrum, P.C., 19XX, Welsh Genealogies AD 300- 1500, University of Wales Press 13 vols

Dwnn, L, 1846, Heraldic Visitations of Wales, Llandovey, 2 vols

Matthews J, 1998, The Druid Source Book, Brockhampton Press

Spence, L, 1945, Magical Arts of Britian in Celtic Britian, Rider

Internet Sources (accessed 20/9/2006)

Hiberni reversuri

Early British Kingdoms

Merionydd king List

Ancient Mathew Ancestry

Cadar Idris, History, Idris ap Gwyddno, Merionydd, Wales,
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