Cynan "Meiriadog" AP GEREINT Dumnonii Chieftan
(-Abt 395)


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Cynan "Meiriadog" AP GEREINT Dumnonii Chieftan

  • Married:
  • Died: Abt 395

   Cynan is also referred to as Conan Meriadoc.

  General Notes:

Compiler's 48 x great-grandfather

  Research Notes:

A number of sources show Cynan Meiriadog as the son of Gereint's brother, Eudef Hen, based on the tradition that Cynan was the brother of Elen FERCH EUDAF, wife of Macsen Wledig. However, there are a number articles citing traditions in which Cynan is referred to as the nephew of Eudef Hen, making Cynan and Elen first cousins. Summaries of both traditions are shown below.


With Cynan Meiriadog and Macsen Wledig, who flourished about A.D. 380, the history of Britain according to the Triads may be said to recommence. Macsen Wledig, or Maximus, is reported to have married Elen Luyddog, the sister of Cynan, who was the chieftan of Meiriadog in North Wales; and in this story may be recognised the prototype of the fable of that Helen, the daughter of Coel, was married to Constantius. It is further said that Cynan led over an army of 60,000 men into Gaul to support the claims of Maximus, and that this army afterwards settled in Armorica. Though some modern French writers find reasons for discrediting the whole of the story, it should not, upon that account, be dismissed without examination; but as its truth or falsehood forms no part of the present enquiry, it is only necessary in this place to establish the date of the expedition, A.D. 383, so far as it may affect subsequent events.

The monkish chronologists thought that these 60,000 men would, of course, be in want of wives; and therefore they appended the tale of St. Ursula and the eleven thousand, nay, seventy thousand virgins, who, on their voyage from Britain to Armorica, were captured by pagan pirates, and all suffered for their faith. But this grave narration is so improbable throughout, that the whole may, without scruple, be pronounced a fiction. 1


CYNAN MEIRIADOG, a prince who ruled in North Wales about the close of the fourth century. He is celebrated in the Triads as the leader of one of the three emigrating hosts, the others were Urp and Caswallon. This army was raised by him and his sister Elen, to support the cause of Maxen, and went into Armorica, of which country Cynan was made king by Maxen, about the year 390...... 2


MAXEN (WLEDIG,) is the Welsh title of Clemens Maximus, who commanded the Roman forces in Britain, and revolted against the emperor Gratian in A.D. 383. According to the Welsh accounts, he married Elen, the daughter of Eudav, or Octavius, a powerful nobleman, who is called in the Bruts, earl of Ergyng and Euas, districts now comprised in Monmouthshire and Herefordshire. Eudav's nephew was Cynan Meiriadog, who followed Maximus to Gaul with a large army of Britons, and enabled him to defeat Gratian, and soon after put him to death. 3


[Eudaf] had no sons and was succeeded by his son-in-law, the Emperor Magnus Maximus. Conan, his nephew, had to be content as King of both Brittany and Dumnonia... 4

Conan was the son of Octavius the Old's brother, Gerontius, (or Octavius himself according to the Dream of Macsen Wledig). He had expected to inherit his uncle's position of influence in what is now Wales, until his cousin, Helena, married the Roman citizen, Magnus Maximus. Originally, Conan was considerably put out by this man's rise to power and he organised a rebellion against him, aided by Picts & Scots. However, being defeated, Conan became great friends with his rival and travelled with Maximus to the continent to help him become Emperor of the West. He was given control over Armorica (modern Brittany) as a reward for killing the previous holder of the title. His new province, was well settled by his men-at-arms, however they lacked wives. Therefore, in order to populate the area, he sent to his uncle's old ally, Donaut of Dumnonia for numerous Cornish ladies. Conan proposed to cement the alliance of their two peoples by marrying Donaut's daughter, Ursula. Though Donaut was delighted at the match, Ursula had her heart set on a life devoted only to God. She agreed to the marriage, on the condition that she first be allowed to go on a pilgrimage throughout Europe. Conan appears to have joined her in Rome, where the two must have been married, probably by Pope Cyriacus himself. He apparently did not travel to Cologne where Ursula died. In later years, he gained considerable influence in Dumnonia after the death of his father-in-law. The Governorship of Armorica & Dumnonia was united for only a short time. As his second wife, Conan married Dareca of Ireland, a supposed, though unlikely, sister of St. Patrick. Upon Conan's death, around AD 395, control of each region fell to the sons of his two marriages, Gadeon and Gradlon. 5

  Marriage Information:

Cynan is said to have married St. Ursula FERCH DYNOD, daughter of Dynod AP CARADOC and Unknown

  Marriage Information:

Cynan also said to have married St. Darerca FERCH CALPURNIUS.


1 An Essay on the Welsh Saints, Or the Primitive Christians, Usually Considered to Have Been the Founders of the Churches in Wales, Rice Rees, 1836, pp. 104-105

2 The Cambrian Biography: Or, Historical Notices of Celebrated Men Among the Ancient Britons, William Owen Pughe, 1803, p. 63.

3 Enwogion Cymru. A biographical dictionary of eminent Welshmen, from the earliest times to the present, and including every name connected with the ancient history of Wales, Rev. Robert Williams, M.A., MDCCCLII, p. 318.

4 Early British Kingdoms, David Nash Ford, Eudaf Hen's Ancestry.

5 Early British Kingdoms, David Nash Ford, Conan Meriadoc, 'King' of Dumnonia & Brittany.

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