son of the ‘lord’ Rhys by Gwenllian, daughter of Madog ap Maredudd. He first appears at the siege of Tenby in 1187, and took the cross when Gerald toured Wales in 1188. Of short stature, turbulent and aggressive, his conduct greatly embittered his father's later years. A prisoner from 1189 to 1194, and living in exile when Rhys died in 1197, he returned bent on gaining a large share of the ancestral lands, to the embarrassment of his brother Gruffydd, his bitterest foe, and after 1201, when Gruffydd died, of his nephews Rhys and Owain. By allying with Gwenwynwyn and king John he secured, in 1199, the lordship of Ceredigion, only to be deprived of the northern commotes by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth in 1207. It was his failure to recover this lost territory after helping John to win a victory over Llywelyn in 1211 which no doubt induced him to pass over to Llywelyn's side. The latter's continued distrust, nevertheless, is seen in the partition of the ‘lord’ Rhys's dominions made under Llywelyn's supervision in 1216, when Maelgwn was excluded from all territory lying north of the Aeron. He died at Llannerch-aeron late in the year 1230, and was buried at Strata Florida, being succeeded by his son, Maelgwn Fychan.
Published date: 1959
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