Tydfil’s Siblings – part 2

We continue our look at St Tydfil’s family with a list of her sisters, again kindly provided by Carl Llewellyn.

GWLADYS. The wife of Gwynllyw Uilwy ab Glywys of Glywyseg in Monmouthshire, and the mother of Cattwg.

St Gwladys. Courtesy of David Nash Ford. http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/gwladys.html

ARIANWEN. The wife of Iorwerth Hirflawdd of Powys, and the mother of Caenawg Mawr.

TANGLWST. The wife of Cyngen, and mother of Brochwael Ysgythrog, Maig and Ieuau. She was believed to have lived at Ynysygored where the nearby name of Hafod Tanglwst still survives.

MECHELL. The wife of Gynyr of Gaer Gawch.

NEFYN. The wife of Cynfarch Oer and mother of Urien Rheged. She was the founder of the church of Nefyn in Lleyn, Caernarfonshire.

GWAWR. The wife of Elidr Lydanwyn and mother of Llywarch Hen.

GWRGON. The wife of Cadrod Calchfynydd.

ELERI. The wife of Ceredig ab Cunedda and mother of Sandde, the father of St David.

LLEIAN. The wife of Gafran ab Dyfnal Hen, and mother of Aeddan Fradawg. She fled with her son after his defeat at the Battle of Arderydd to the Isle of Man. She is believed to have founded Capel Llanlleian in Carmarthen.

NEFYDD. The wife of Tudwal Berr. She is said to have been a saint at Llech Gelyddon.

RHEINGAR. Said to have been a saint at Llech, Maelienydd (Radnorshire).

GOLEUDDYDD. Founded a church in the lost community of Llanysgin in Gwent.

GWENDDYDD. The wife of Cadell Deyrnllwg and mother of St Cyngen. She was buried at Towyn, Merionethshire.

TYDIAN. A saint who lived at Capel Ogwr (Ogmore Chapel) which formerly existed in the Parish of St Bride’s Major.

ELUNED. Also known as Elevetha, Almedha or Aled. She was dedicated to religion, and refused the hand of a young prince who wished to marry her. She was murdered near Brecon on a hill called Penginger, where a church was later built and dedicated to her.

St Eluned

CEINDRYCH. Lived at Llandewyn, Merionethshire.

GWEN. The wife of Llyr Merini and mother of Caradawg Freigfras. She founded the church at Talgarth, where she was murdered by the Saxons.

St Gwen. Courtesy of David Nash Ford. http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/wennabg.html

CENEDLON. Also known as Cenai the Virgin. She lived at Emlyn in Cardiganshire.

CYMORTH. The wife of Brynach Wyddel.

CLYDAI. Lived with her sister Cymorth. She founded the church of Clydai in Pembrokeshire.

DWYNWEN. She founded the church of Llanddwynwen in Anglesey, and is considered by Welsh bards as the patron saint of lovers.

St Dwynwen

CEINWEN. She founded the churches of Llangeinwen and Cerfig Ceinwen in Anglesey.

ENFAIL. She was murdered at a place called Merthyr Enfail in Carmarthenshire.


HAWYSTYL. She founded the church of Llanhawystyl in Gloucester.

TYBIAN. She was murdered by the Saxons at Llandybie in Carmarthenshire. There is now a church dedicated to her there.

Tydfil’s Siblings – part 1

One of the earliest posts on this blog was about St Tydfil. In that post it was stated that Brychan Brycheiniog, Tydfil’s father, had 24 sons and 25 daughters. As is usual with of this period of history, accounts vary, but  local historian Carl Llewellyn has provided a list of Brychan’s children based on the best sources available. We start with Brychan’s sons:

CYNOG. A saint of the Fifth Century, he was the reputed son of Brychan by Banadlwedd, the daughter of Banadle of Banadla Powis. Soon after his birth he was put in the care of a holy man named Gastayn. He was murdered by pagans on a mountain called the Van in Breconshire, where a church in memory of his martyrdom was erected over his grave and called Merthyr Cynog.

St Cynog. Courtesy of David Nash Ford. http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/cynog.html

CLEDWYN. He embraced a military life and distinguished himself by expelling the Scottish Picts who had taken possession of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. Cledwyn succeeded his father governing Breconshire.

DINGAD. He founded the churches of Llandingad in Carmerthenshire and Monmouthshire (where he is buried).

ARTHEN. There was once a church dedicated to him in Gwaenllwg, Monmouthshire which was demolished by the Saxons. The hill near Llandovery called Cefnarthen is named after him. He is buried in the Isle of Man.

CYFLEFYR. He is recognised as a son of Brychan, but some sources say he is actually the son of Dingad, and therefore Brychan’s grandson. He was murdered by the Saxons at a place called Merthyr Cyfefyr.

RHAIN. He became a soldier and took over the eastern part of his father’s lands. He was murdered by the Saxons and was buried at Llanfaelog Fach near Brecon.

DYFNAN. He founded the church at Llanddyfnan in Anglesey and was buried there.

GERWYN. He settled in Cornwall and was killed in the Isle of Gerwyn.

CADOG. Some sources say he was actually the grandson of Brychan. He was the founder of several churches and died in 490AD in France.

MATHAIRN. He was buried in Ceredigion.

PASGEN. Son of Brychan by Peresgri of Spain. Lived and died in Spain.

NEFAI. As above

PABIALI. As above

LLECHAU. He founded the church of Llanlechau in Ewyas in Herefordshire.

CYNBRYD. He founded the church of Llandulas near Abergele. He was murdered by the Saxons at Blwch Cynbryd.

CYNFRAN. He was the founder of the church of Llysfraen in Caernarfonshire.

HYCHAN. He founded the church of Llancychan in Clwyd.

DYFRIG. (Also known as Dubricious) He founded a college at Henllan on the River Wye. He was consecrated in 470AD, and became Archbishop of Caerleon in 490. He founded a college at Caerleon, and in 519 he crowned King Arthur. Upon retirement he moved to a monastery in Bardsey where he died in 522. In 1120, his body was moved from Bardsey and re-buried at Llandaff Cathedral.

St Dyfrig. Courtesy of David Nash Ford. http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/dyfrig.html

CYNIN. He founded the church of Llangynin near St Clears, Carmarthenshire.

DOGFAN. He was murdered by the Saxons at Merthyr Dogfan in Pembrokeshire, and achurch was erected in his memory. He is also the patron saint of Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant in Denbighshire.

RHAWIN. He settled in the Isle of Man where there was a church dedicated to him. He later returned to Wales and was murdered with his brother Rhun at Pontyrhun, Troedyrhiw by the group of Saxons who went on to murder Brychan and Tydfil.

RHUN. See above

St Rhun. Courtesy of David Nash Ford. http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/rheindbg.html

CLEDOG. He founded the church of Clodock in Herefordshire where he was buried.

CAIAN. He was the founder of the church of Tregaian in Anglesey.

To be continued…..

Merthyr’s Boxers: Billy Eynon

The next boxer we are going to look at is Billy Eynon. Many thanks to Gareth Jones for his assistance and advice in writing this article.

Billy Eynon was born on 26 December 1893 in Treharris. As a teenager he was lured into fighting at the infamous fairground boxing booths at Georgetown. In his excellent book ‘The Boxers of Wales: Volume 2 – Merthyr, Aberdare and Pontypridd’, Gareth Jones relates the story of how he was tempted to fight at Jack Scarrott’s booth on the promise of winning five shillings. When he went to collect his winnings however, he was told by Scarrott that his cornermen (both of course employed by Scarrott) were both entitled to two shillings each, leaving the young Billy with just a shilling!

Eynon made such an impression however, that Scarrott offered him a week’s work at Brecon Fair. This was eventually extended to six-months, and provided Billy with invaluable experience.

Eynon’s first ‘legitimate’ fight took place on 31 January 1914 at the Drill Hall in Merthyr. The headline fight that night was between Eddie Morgan (see previous entry – http://www.merthyr-history.com/?p=592) and Tommy Phillips, which Morgan lost on points. The local crowd were appeased somewhat when Billy Eynon defeated Dick Jenkins in his debut match.

He was beginning to consolidate his reputation when the First World War broke out. Eynon joined the Royal Artillery, and despite being wounded in France, carried on boxing. He won the Army featherweight title in 1918 and met the Navy champion in Salonika before a crowd estimated at 200,000 people.

Western Mail – 19 May 1916

Following the war, Eynon, now boxing as a flyweight, appeared in his first fight against Kid Doyle at the Olympia Rink in Merthyr, a match which he won. The victory earned Eynon a rematch at the National Sporting Club in a fight which would be an elimination fight for the British title. Eynon lost the fight on points.

Soon after this, Billy Eynon changed weight-divisions to become a bantam-weight, and in 1920 challenged again for the British title. On 18 October he beat George Clark on points to earn a fight against the reigning British bantam-weight title holder Jim Higgins.

On 29 November 1920, Eynon faced Jim Higgins at the National Sporting Club. The fight would prove to be a controversial one. Eynon, hampered by weight difficulties was forced, on the day of the fight, to undertake vigorous exercises and have a Turkish bath to try to reduce his weight, whilst his opponent rested and prepared for the match. An exhausted Eynon took to the ring and although he acquitted himself well, the match went to Higgins on points. Many in the crowd, including the Prince of Wales, disagreed with the decision and vented their frustration by throwing gold sovereigns into the ring for Eynon. Although he lost the fight, Eynon himself said he made far more money that night than his opponent!

Billy Eynon carried on boxing for several years, but in 1927, he was forced to give up the sport due to a detached retina and the risk of blindness. In 1928 a boxing tournament was held in Merthyr to raise money to help for him.

Billy Eynon lived out the rest of his days in Merthyr and died in 1980.