Cynfarch's unflattering epithet means 'the Dismal'. He was the son of Meirchion Gul, the King of Greater Rheged and, upon his father's death, inherited the northern portion of his Kingdom. Perhaps because of the loss of South Rheged to his brother, Elidyr Llydanwyn, Cynfarch seems to have felt the need to expand his borders elsewhere. About AD 550, King Senyllt of Galwyddel seems to have been expelled from Galloway and was forced to seek refuge on his island stronghold of Ynys Manaw (Isle of Man). King Cynfarch is the most likely aggressor, especially as a number of places in the region are associated with him. The 'Mote of Mark,' near Palnackie, has revealed much evidence of Dark Age occupation. Some associate it with the legendary King Mark of Cornwall, but the home of King Cyn-Mark of North Rheged is much more likely. Also, near Stranraer is Dunragit, a fortified hillfort location named as the 'Fort of Rheged'. Cynfarch was eventually succeeded by his son, Urien.
Records of King Cynfarch date back to the 11th century. He could well be historic.
|© Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.