Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cadwgan Tumulus

Offa's Dyke is believed to have been constructed by King Offa of Mercia (757-796 AD). It is near Wrexham that it lies a few miles west of Wat's Dyke. Just passing west of Bersham, this western most dyke, winds its way through a Bronze Age burial mound called "Cadwgan Tumulus". It is here that the area must have been first settled following the neolithic period.

In Wales, the Bronze Age is thought to have began between 2500 BC and 2000 BC. (Dyer, p.28) It was the general practice of these folks to bury their dead in mounds of dirt called a "tumulus". Other terms are "round barrow" or "cairns". Between 30,000 and 40,000 such graves are estimated to dot the landscape of England and Wales. (Dyer, p. 36) I suspect that it was these folks who first provided the Y-chromosome to my JONES family!

The name "Cadwgan" is first used around 700 AD, when a chieftain from Dyfed takes this name. (Ashley, p.137) [The kingdom of Dyfed was originally known as the tribal territory of the Demetae.] The name appears again just to the east, in the kingdom of Glywysing, when Cadwgan ap Owain (930 - 950 AD) appears in Southern Wales. (Ashley, p.130) It was his older brother [Gruffydd ap Owain] who was in constant conflict with Hywel Dda, the father-in-law to Tudor Trevor! I suspect that it was through this route that the name was given to the area around "Plas Cadwgan". It was Cadwgan ap Bleddyn in 1088 AD who laid claim to territory in Powys! (Ashley, p 368) "Plas Cadwgan" [Cadwgan Hall], was to become the largest estate in the manor of Esclusham. The clan who claimed to be the owners were of the descent of Cynwig ap Rhiwallon, the great grandson of Tudor Trevor! What a deal!

The references are:

Dyer, J, The Penguin Guide to Prehistoric England and Wales, Penguin Books, 1981.

Ashley, M, British Kings & Queens, Barnes & Noble Books, NY, 1998.

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