He was the son of Anlach, son of Coronac, an Irish prince, and Marchell, daughter of Tewdrig, king of Garthmadryn. At her father's bidding, Marchell had crossed to Ireland, where Anlach wedded her, and where too Brychan was born. Anlach then returned with his wife and son to Wales, and set up their home at Benni (probably the ancient ‘Bannium’ near Brecon). The education of their son was entrusted to one Drichan. Some years later, Brychan was given by his father as a hostage to Benadel, king of Powys, whose daughter Banadlinet was violated by Brychan and gave birth to a son named Cynog. Brychan eventually succeeded to the kingdom of Garthmadryn, which was then renamed Brycheiniog.
The most notable feature of the Brychan tradition is the large progeny attributed to Brychan and Prawst, his wife. The ‘De Situ Brecheniauc’ (Wade-Evans, Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae et Genealogiae, 313-15), which, together with the ‘Cognacio Brychan’ (Wade-Evans, op. cit., 315-18), forms the main authority for his legend, attributes to Brychan eleven sons and twenty-five daughters, and his family forms one of the three saintly tribes of Wales.
6 April is generally quoted as his feast day.
Published date: 1959
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