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Kingdom of Glywysing

Teyrnas Glywysing
5th century–942
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
• After Roman withdrawal from Britain
5th century
• First union with Gwent
• Second union with Gwent
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Roman Britain
Kingdom of Morgannwg

Teyrnas Morgannwg
Common languagesWelsh
• 942–974
Morgan Hen ab Owain
• 1063–1074
Cadwgan ap Meurig
• 1081–1091
Iestyn ap Gwrgan
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• First union of Gwent and Glywysing
• Union disestablished
• Kingdoms reunited
• Conquered
(by the Norman lord, Robert Fitzhamon)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Gwent
Kingdom of Glywysing
Kingdom of Gwent
Kingdom of Glywysing
Lord of Glamorgan

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.


Glywysing is said to be named after Glywys, a real or legendary early monarch, whose name may continue that of the Romano-British *Glevenses, the territory and citizens of Glevum (modern Gloucester).[2] According to 12th-century sources, after the death of Glywys, the kingdom was divided into seven cantrefs named for his sons:[3] Cydweli, Gwyr, Margam, Penychen, Gwynllwg, Gorfynydd, and another. 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 the River Towy. At times they expanded eastwards to encompass both Gwent and Ergyng, but some time before the early 8th century, Cydweli and Gwyr (Gower) were lost to Dyfed. Today the area of Glywysing is known as Glamorgan.


In the mid 10th century, the kingdom merged with Gwent and changed its name to Morgannwg or Gwlad Morgan in honour of King Morgan the Old (r. 942–74)[citation needed] or his ancestor King Morgan the Generous (fl. c. 730).[4] Glywysing seems to have been a sub-kingdom or principality of the Kingdom of Morgannwg, along with Gwent. 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, but on his death in 1063, 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. The last native ruler of these areas was Iestyn ap Gwrgan, King of Morgannwg (1081-1090), who was deposed by Robert Fitzhamon.

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The three cantrefs composing Glywysing were based at Allt Wynllyw on Stow Hill (modern Newport); Nant Pawl; and Llaniltud Fawr. These were sometimes independent and sometimes controlled one another. Cf. The History Files: "Celtic Kingdoms of the British Isles: Cernyw / Glywyssing" (Accessed 14 Feb 2013).
  2. ^ Koch, John T. Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia ABC-CLIO Ltd (15 Mar 2006) ISBN 978-1-85109-440-0 p.1312
  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. ^ 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.