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Coordinates: 53°14′N 4°1′W / 53.233°N 4.017°W / 53.233; -4.017
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Kingdom of Glywysing
Teyrnas Glywysing (Old Welsh)
5th century–c. 1055
(intermittently in union with Gwent/in Morgannwg)
Medieval kingdoms of Wales, showing Glywysing in the south
Medieval kingdoms of Wales, showing Glywysing in the south
Common languagesOld Welsh
Celtic Christianity
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• Formed after Roman withdrawal from Britain
Late 5th century
• Various unions with Gwent
6th century–c. 745
• Union in Morgannwg
(under Morgan Hen ab Owain)
• Union as part of Wales
(under Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, King of Wales)
• Union in Morgannwg
• Becomes Morgannwg
(under Caradog ap Gruffydd)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Roman Britain
Kingdom of Morgannwg
Kingdom of Morgannwg

Glywysing was, from the sub-Roman period to the Early Middle Ages, a petty kingdom in south-east Wales. Its people were descended from the Iron Age tribe of the Silures, and frequently in union with Gwent, merging to form Morgannwg.

Name and early history[edit]

Glywysing is said in medieval Welsh tradition to be named after Glywys, supposedly an early king of the region. In reality, the name probably comes from Glevum, the Roman name for what is now Gloucester, via a Latin name *Glevenses ('people of Glevum') or *Glevensis ('person from Glevum'). Thus the name suggests that the kingdom was named after invaders or migrants, or a particular ruler, from Glevum.[1][2]

According to 12th-century sources, after the death of Glywys, the kingdom was divided into three cantrefs named for his sons:[3] Penychen, Gwynllwg, and Gorfynydd. These were typically ruled together by the head of the family and sometimes treated as appenage subkingdoms.


The borders changed over time, but it is generally thought that its lands originally lay between the Afon Llwyd and either the River Loughor, or the River Neath. At times they expanded eastwards in union with both Gwent and Ergyng. The Gower had either returned or was inherited from Dyfed to Glywysing by 928 prior to the reign of King Morgan the Old.[4] Today the area of Glywysing is known as Glamorgan.


First under King Morgan the Generous (fl. c. 630-730) until the end of the reign of his descendant Ithel (d. c. 745), and later again under King Morgan the Old (r. 942-74), the kingdom merged with Gwent and changed its name to Morgannwg or Gwlad Morgan in honour of the Morgan Kings.[4][5] During such unions Glywysing and Gwent seem to have been together or occasional sub-kingdoms or principalities of the Kingdom of Morgannwg.[4]

After the death of Morgan the Old, Gwent and Glywysing were separated again from 974 to 1055, but Glywysing alone was often referred to as Morgannwg. Both areas were conquered by Gruffydd ap Llywelyn in about 1055, subsequently King of Wales, but on Gruffydd's death in 1063, Glywysing was regained by the native lineage under Caradog ap Gruffudd.[4] Morgannwg, the union between Gwent and Glywysing, was reconstituted. How this occurred is unclear; possibly the Kings of Glywysing were also Kings of Morgannwg and the Kings of Gwent were semi-independent under-Kings, or vice versa.[4]

Norman conquest[edit]

With Gwent increasingly overrun by the Norman conquest of Wales, the last native King of Morgannwyg and Glywysing was Iestyn ap Gwrgan (1081–1090), who was subsequently deposed by Robert Fitzhamon. Iestyn's sons became Lords of Afan, while Owain ap Caradog ap Gruffudd contented himself with Gwynllwg and founded the line of the Lords of Caerleon.[4]

The name Morgannwg is still used in Wales for the former Marcher Lordship and county of Glamorgan (itself a corruption of the term Gwlad Morgan) and its successor counties

List of rulers[edit]


  • Eugenius, son of Magnus Maximus (c.383 - c.440)[6]
  • Marius, son of Eugenius (c.440 - c.450s)[6]
  • Congar, son of Marius (c. 450s)[6]
  • Solar, son of Marius (fl c.470)[6]
  • Glywys, son of Solar (c. 470–c. 480), who gave his name to the kingdom[6]
    • Gwynllyw, son of Glywys, ruler of Gwynllwg (c. 480–523), cantref of Glywysing[6]
    • Pawl, son of Glywys, ruler of Penychen (c. 480–540), cantref of Glywysing[6]
    • Mechwyn, son of Glywys, ruler of Gorfynydd (c. 480–c.500), cantref of Glywysing[6]
    • Edelig, son of Glywys, King of Edeligion, (fl c.480 - 500?)[6]
  • Cadoc, son of Gwynllyw, ruler of Gwynllwg (523–580) and Penychen (540–580), died without heirs

Glywysing is ruled by the Kings of Gwent until Rhys ap Ithel

Iestyn was the last ruler of an independent Morgannwg, which was thereafter in the possession of the Normans and became the lordship of Glamorgan


  1. ^ Koch, John T. Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia ABC-CLIO Ltd (15 March 2006) ISBN 978-1-85109-440-0 p. 1312.
  2. ^ Patrick Sims-Williams, Religion and Literature in Western England 600-800, Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England, 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 24.
  3. ^ Carver, Martin The cross goes north: processes of conversion in northern Europe, AD 300–1300 Boydell Press; New edition (26 Jan 2006) ISBN 978-1-84383-125-9 p. 125
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ashley, Mike (1998) The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens (Carol & Graf)
  5. ^ Lloyd, John E. A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest, Vol. 1, p. 274. Longmans, Green, & Co. (London), 1911. Accessed 22 Feb 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kessler, P. L. "Kingdoms of Cymru Celts - Cernyw / Glywyssing". The History Files. Retrieved 3 October 2022.

53°14′N 4°1′W / 53.233°N 4.017°W / 53.233; -4.017