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Flintshire Historical Society publications


Vol. 17 1957

Einion ap Ynyr ( Anian II.) Bishop of St. Asaph

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Professor T. JONES-PIERCE, M.A.
The hero of this tale, though a Merionethshire man by birth and early
upbringing, lived for so long among your forbears here in Flinthire that he
may well be regarded as one of the county's adopted sons. Einion ap Ynyr first
came to these parts about seven centuries ago (to be exact in or about the year
1258), residing for a time at Rhuddlan, and moving later to St. Asaph, a place
which you, if not he, would certainly regard as part of Flintshire. But in 1258
there was no county of Flint. The nucleus of the later county between the Dee
and the Clwyd was then known as the cantred of Tegeingl. With three other
ancient cantreds lying east of the Conway, Tegeingl formed part of the Perfedd-
wlad or Middle Country, a region which had for centuries been a field of contest
between Welsh and English rulers and which, in 1258, had only recently come
under the control of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the ruling prince of Gwynedd. Indeed,
it was in this year 1258 that Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, after four years of unbroken
military triumph, assumed the title Prince of Wales, a proud and unique style now
adopted for the first time in the history of our people, and eventually officially
recognized, in 1267, by the English government of the day. There followed,
between 1267 and 1277, a momentous and crucial decade in the history of Wales-
a decade in which the major events in the career of Einion ap Ynyr are laid-
when Llywelyn as feudal overlord of territories extending from Snowdonia to the
Brecon Beacons, and from the outskirts of Carmarthen to the hinterlandof Chester,
set in train with resolute determination the first experiment in Welsh statehood.
There were naturally some Welshmen who supported the Prince in his objective
of bringing together the semi-independent lordships of Welsh Wales into the unity
of a single principality. There were a number of leading clansmen, such as those
who belonged to the tribe of Ednyfed Fychan, who could command a fairly consider-
able following drawn from the ranks of their own kinsmen. Powerful support also
came from a select circle of bards and churchmen, like the court poets of Gwyn-
edd, and notably among the churchmen, certain Cistercian communities, who were
bound by peculiar ties of sentiment and obligation to the royal house of Aberffraw.
1 This paper is a slightly expanded version of a lecture delivered before the Society on Saturday,
23rd April, 1955. The late Mr. Evan H. Parry had promised to act as Chairman, but died before
the meeting took place. The writer would like this paper to be regarded as a small tribute to the
memory of a dear and loyal friend.
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