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Cynllibiwg (or some variation) was evidently a place name in early medieval Wales.

The earliest surviving reference to it is in the Historia Brittonum, which describes a marvelous spring in the regione of Cinlipiuc that has an abundance of fish despite not being fed by a stream.[1] John Edward Lloyd notes that this Cinlipiuc appears to be one of the various district names created by adding the element -wg to a personal name, in this case an unknown Cunalipi or Cynllib.[2] The Domesday Book refers to a place called Calcebuef, which rendered ten shillings; one editor suggests this is a corruption of Cynllibiwg and that it derives ultimately from the name of Saint Cynllo.[3] However, Lloyd connects this name instead to the cantref of Buellt.[4] The Red Book of the Exchequer, a mainly 13th-century compilation, mentions a region of seven cantrefs between the Severn and the Wye that had been known as Kenthlebiac during the time of Rhys ab Owain of Deheubarth (died 1078).[5] This would place Cynllibiwg in the region later known as Rhwng Gwy a Hafren, but reveals nothing about its extent and nature. The editor suggests that seven cantrefs should be amended to three, perhaps Arwystli, Maelienydd, and Elfael; these are mentioned earlier in the list as part of Powys in the time of 'Meic Menbis', but no longer such.[5]

It has been postulated as an early kingdom,[6] but is not mentioned by the great majority of historians.[7]


  1. ^ Historia Brittonum, ch. 70; Nennius: British History, and The Welsh Annals, ed. John Morris (Phillimore, 1980), cap. 70 (p. 81).
  2. ^ Lloyd, John Edward (1912). A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest. Longmans, Green, and Co. p. 281. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  3. ^ Domesday Book: Herefordshire ed. Thorn and Thorn (Phillimore 1983), A10 (f.179b) and notes on it.
  4. ^ Darby, H. C. (1986). Domesday England. Cambridge University Press. p. 328. ISBN 0-521-31026-1. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  5. ^ a b Red Book of Exchequer, ed. Hubert Hall (3 vols. HMSO, 1896: Rerum Britannicarum medii aevi scriptores, 99) II, 762.
  6. ^ Paul Remfry, "Discovering the lost kingdom of Radnor", British Archaeology, no 34, May 1998
  7. ^ Standard works on Welsh history and early/medieval Wales which do not mention Cynllibiwg at all include the following: John Davies, History of Wales (Penguin, 1992); Sir J. E. Lloyd, A history of Wales from the earliest times to the Edwardian Conquest (revised ed., 1937), the classic survey of the period; R. R. Davies, Conquest, Coexistence and Change: Wales 1063-1415 (Oxford University Press, 1991), probably the most comprehensive and authoritative single volume survey of the period; Wendy Davies, Wales in the Early Middle Ages (University of Leicester Press, 1982), (refers once to Cynllibiwg as a named early region, based on Nennius); J. Beverley Smith, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Tywysog Cymru (University of Wales Press, 1986), the most detailed history of the reign of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, a period which saw him leading several campaigns in the area claimed as a kingdom of Cynllibiwg. The word is not mentioned in contemporary or near-contemporary sources such as the Brut y Tywysogion or the works of Gerald of Wales.