Cadwaladr the Blessed was the son of King Cadwallon of Gwynedd and his wife, Alcfritha, sister of King Penda of Mercia. He was probably very young when his father died in AD 634. Civil war ensued and the young lad's followers were forced to flee the kingdom with him, as the Throne was seized by one Cadfael ap Cynfeddw, of unknown origin. Tradition says he was ill for much of his de jure reign, during which time the civil war in Gwynedd continued on and off. This was not helped by a widespread famine, followed by a plague, that swept through the country at the same time. Cadwaladr is sometimes said to have died in AD 664, although this was probably his nemesis, King Cadfael.
Geoffrey of Monmouth, recorded some traditions of this man's reign but he largely confuses him with the Anglo-Saxon King Caedwalla of Wessex. Geoffrey claimed that Cadwaladr had fled to Brittany, where he accepted hospitality at the royal court, probably of Cornouaille. Later - presumably after Cadfael's death - he sent his son, 'Ifwr' (probably meaning Idwal), back to Gwynedd to secure the Throne. We might assume that the King followed him soon afterward for he is said to have been the last monarch to have any semblance of authority over the other Celtic kings in Britain.
Cadwaladr was certainly a great patron of the Gwynedd Church, particularly of Clynnog Fawr Abbey. In old age, he may have even become a monk at the royal monastery at Eglwys Ael (Llangadwaladr ) on Ynys Mon (Anglesey). Cadwaladr died during a widespread plague on 12th November AD 682. His body was buried in his church at Eglwys Ael which became named after him, as Llangadwaladr. He was succeeded in the Throne of Gwynedd by his son, Idwal Iwrch, but he may have had two other children, Gwrgan and Hywel. Ifwr is erroneous.
Records of King Cadwaladr date back to the 9th century. He is generally considered historic.
|© Nash Ford Publishing 2003. All Rights Reserved.