Guto’s poem for Rhobert ab Ieuan Fychan is the only surviving poem for him. It was composed to request a pair of greyhounds on behalf of Sieffrai Cyffin of Oswestry, and may have been sung c.1475 (poem 100). Siôn ap Hywel composed an elegy for his daughter, Sioned, and for her husband, Siôn ap Dafydd, before 1525 (GSH 4 and poems 9 and 10). Another daughter, Gwerful, married one of Guto’s patrons, Wiliam ap Gruffudd of Cochwillan. Poems were composed for Rhobert’s other descendants during the sixteenth century by Wiliam Cynwal, Huw Machno, Watcyn Clywedog and Siôn Morgan (Williams 1986: 252–8).
The genealogical table below is based on WG1 ‘Bleddyn ap Cynfyn’ 13, ‘Gollwyn’ 4, 6, ‘Gruffudd ap Cynan’ 4, 5, 6, ‘Hwfa’ 5, 6, ‘Iarddur’ 1, 2, 3, 5; WG2 ‘Iarddur’ 3C. Those named in Guto’s poem for Rhobert are shown in bold print, and the names of his patrons are underlined.
Rhobert was descended from the princes of Gwynedd through his maternal grandmother, and from some of the patrons of Gruffudd Gryg, Iolo Goch and Owain Waed Da through his paternal grandmother (see 100.11n Eifionydd). His mother, Gwladus daughter of Ieuan Llwyd, was a cousin of the poet Ieuan ap Gruffudd Leiaf, and Rhobert himself was a second cousin of Ieuan’s son, the poet Sir Siôn Leiaf (116.11–12n). Rhobert was married three times: first to Gwerful daughter of Ednyfed Fychan; secondly to Marsli daughter of Edmund Stanley; and thirdly to Nest daughter of Ieuan (no issue is mentioned from the last). It is unclear who was the mother of two of his daughters, Gwerful and Catrin (possibly Nest). Through Gwerful’s marriage Rhobert was the father-in-law of one of Guto’s patrons, Wiliam ap Gruffudd of Cochwillan.
Williams (1986: 247) names Rhobert’s great-grandfather, Hywel ap Gruffudd, as Hywel Coetmor and notes that he was named on a jury that collected rents in the commote of Llechwedd Uchaf in 1352 and that he died in Flanders in 1388. No source is mentioned. However, Coetmor may have been posthumously attached to Hywel’s name by partial assimilation with Hywel Coetmor ap Gruffudd Fychan of Dyffryn Conwy (IGE2 poem XXXVI; Davies 1995: 205), for, as Williams acknowledges, it seems that Rhobert is the first member of the family who can be closely associated with Coetmor in the parish of Llanllechid.
Williams (1986: 249) gives information about Rhys, Rhobert’s heir. He was an esquire of Richard III’s household and therefore received lands in Arfon, Anglesey and Flintshire. He apparently assisted Richard in the battle of Bosworth and when lord Stanley and his men abandoned the king to join Henry Tudor’s army, Richard called for wine and for his esquire, Rhys, whom he greeted thus: ‘Here, Vaughan, I drink to you, the best Welshman whom I ever knew in Wales’ (translated from ‘Yma, Fychan, yr yfaf i ti, y Cymro cywiraf a gefais erioed yng Nghymru’). Richard apparently then drank the wine and charged his enemies for the last time. Although Rhys received a pardon from Henry VII following the battle, he lost most of his lands and his influence dwindled. Again, unfortunately, no source is mentioned.
Davies, R.R. (1995), The Revolt of Owain Glyndŵr (Oxford)
Williams, I.Ll. (1986), ‘Noddwyr y Beirdd yn Sir Gaernarfon’ (M.A. Cymru [Aberystwyth])