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Celtic Kingdoms of the British Isles

Celts of Cymru


Elfael (Ferlix)

Elfael was a minor post-Roman sub-kingdom that was located in Wales. It was principally a cantref of Rhwng Gwy a Hafren ('Between Wye and Severn'), a political entity which is referred to in the poems of Taliesin. Later writers have termed it a kingdom, although it may in fact have enjoyed a less exalted status during its existence.

It owes its beginnings to Caradog Freichfras ('Strongarm') ap Ynyr, king of Gwent in the early sixth century and seemingly a powerful figure. He is credited with founding the principality of Bro Erech towards the end of the main period of migration to Brittany by the natives of southern and western Britain during the chaos of Germanic invasion in the east of the land, One of his sons, Cawrdaf, was granted Elfael, probably upon the king's death around 540 but perhaps earlier given the dating calculations below, while Meurig became king of Gwent itself and therefore Cawrdaf's overlord.

The names of the kings of Erfael all stem from a basic pedigree that is given in Llyfr Baglan (120), and Jones' History of Brecknock (pp 51-56). The former omits the pair 'Hydd Hwgan ap Gwenddy' while the latter omits 'Hwgan ap Gwynngy', both assuming there was a single Hwgan and that Gwenddy was identical to Gwynngy. Marriages are conjectural and all dates are estimates. The family lost Ferlix (Fferlys) when Elystan Glodrydd (born about 985) took it from Dryffin ap Hwgan around 1020.

(Information by Mick Baker, with additional information by Peter Kessler, from Llyfr Baglan (Book of Baglan), John Williams (Compiler) & John Bradney (Ed, a collection of Welsh manuscripts which includes a good deal of genealogical information and which was composed by Williams between 1600-1607 and edited together by Bradney in 1910), from A History of the County of Brecknock, Theophilus Jones (William & George North, Booksellers, 1805), and from External Link: Ancient Wales Studies.)

fl c.540

Cawrdaf ap Caradoc

Son of Caradog Freichfras of Gwent. First king.

fl c.570

Caw ap Cawrdaf


fl c.605

Gloyw ap Caw


fl c.625

Hoyw ap Gloyw


fl c.670

Cynfarch ap Hoyw


fl c.705

Cyndegg ap Cynfarch


fl c.740

Teithwalch ap Cyndegg


fl c.775

Tegid ap Teithwalch


fl c.805

Tangwydd ap Tegid


fl c.840

Anarawd ap Tangwydd


fl c.875

Gewnddy ap Anarawd


fl c.910

Hyth Hwgan ap Gwenddy

Son. Not in Llyfr Baglan list. Killed in 914.

fl c.945

Gwynngy ap Hyth Hwgan


fl c.980

Hwgan ap Gwynngy

Son. Not in History of Brecknock list.

fl c.1010

Dryffin ap Hwgan

Son. Lost Ferlix.


Still king of Erfael at this time, Dryffin loses Ferlix to Elystan Glodrydd.

fl c.1045

Maenyrch ap Dryffin


fl c.1075

Bleddyn ap Maenyrch

Son. Lost the kingdom in 1093.