The son of Gruffydd ap Rhys (d. 1137). He is first heard of in 1138, when, with his brother Anarawd and Owain and Cadwaladr of Gwynedd, he brought a Viking fleet of fifteen ships, no doubt from Dublin, to the mouth of the Teify, in a vain endeavour to capture Cardigan, the last foothold left to the Normans in Ceredigion.
During the next few years he was overshadowed by his elder brother, but the treacherous murder of Anarawd in 1143 by Cadwaladr's men gave him a leadership in Deheubarth which he exercised with vigour. In 1146 he won the castle of ‘Dinwileir,’ probably situated in the commote of Mabudrud, which earl Gilbert of Pembroke (see under Clare family, section B) had fortified in the previous year. A more resounding success in the same year was the capture of Carmarthen and Llanstephan. The year 1147 saw an unusual combination of forces.
Cadell and his young brothers joined the Fitzgeralds of Pembroke in an attack upon Wiston, the castle of Walter Fitzwiz, in which success was achieved with the help of Hywel ab Owain. Having in 1150 put Carmarthen in a state of defence and protected it by a raid upon the region of Kidwelly, he was emboldened to attack the northern hold upon Ceredigion, and it was not long ere Cadell and his brothers had driven Hywel beyond the Ayron. Further gains were in prospect, when in 1151 the victorious leader's career was cut short; while hunting (very probably in the forest of Coed Rhath) he was set upon by knights and archers from Tenby and left for dead. He survived for many years, but his days as a warrior were ended.
In 1153 he went on pilgrimage to Rome, leaving his conquests to the care of his brothers; after this, he is not heard of until 1175, when he is recorded to have entered, after a long illness, the abbey of Strata Florida, there to find burial.
Published date: 1959
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