Cunedda Wledig

King of North Wales


The ninth century Historia Brittonum (The History of Britain, attributed to a certain Nennius) is the earliest source for Welsh history outside the Lives of the Saints, and it records that a certain Cunedag (Welsh Cunedda), together with eight of his sons and one grandson, came from Manau Goutodin (near the Firth of Forth) a hundred and forty-six years before the reign of Maelgwyn, king of Gwynedd, and that they had expelled the Irish forever from those lands.

This was the primary reason behind the decision to invite Cunedda to become “King of North Wales” as he was styled (although this appellation probably came much later, after his lifetime – he was never referred to as rex, “king”, in the Historia). Maelgwyn’s reign began in 517, so this places Cunedda’s migration at 371, which seems a little early. Magnus Maximus is usually credited with reorganising the country’s defences leading up to his departure in 383, and it is this date that is more traditionally linked with Cunedda, so something between 380 – 383 seems more acceptable for the move.

Cunedda and his people quickly settled in Gwynedd, carrying out their task of expelling the Irish invaders who had begun to settle there. The process of “freeing” North Wales seems to have lasted a few years, until the only Irish stronghold remained on Ynys Mon (the Isle of Anglesey). Signs of Irish settlement in the area can still be found opposite Irish Leinster, in the probable origin of the Lleyn peninsula – the long “pig’s ear” – as its name may contain Irish Laigin, “Leinstermen”.

from Kessler, P. L. (2007, September 8). Post-Roman Britain: Early Independent Britain AD 400-425. Retrieved from

Cunedda Wledig

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