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King of Brycheiniog

A kingdom corresponding to the later

county of Brecon which existed up to 1974.

Brychan was born in Ireland Circa 419 CE and

abdicated in old age to become a hermit.

Later made a saint by the Celtic Christian Church.



The bag of children refers to his three marriages

which are said to have produced about 50 children


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Brychan King of Brycheiniog was the son of King Anlach of Garthmadrun by Marchel, heiress of that kingdom. Brychan was born in Ireland but, soon afterward, his parents moved Wales, to Y Fenni-Fach, then Marchel's homeland of Garthmadrun. Brychanís father Anlach is believed to have beem born in Ireland and was certainly a member of an Irish Royal House.

At the age of four, Brychan was sent to be tutored by a holy-man named Drichan beside the River Ysgir. For seven years Brychan was given a religious and political education. At the end of this time, Drichan now blind finally called Brychan to bring him his trusty spear for the last time. With it, he pointed to a nearby boar and a stag who came from the forest to stand with a fish in the river, by a beech-tree dripping with honey; and Drichan predicted a happy and abundant future for the young Brychan.

A few years later, war broke out between Anlach and Banadl, the usurping Irish King of Powys. The fight did not go well for Anlach, and he was forced to send Brychan to Powys as a hostage in order to protect his lands. Brychan was treated well at the Irishman's court, but he fell madly in love with his host's daughter, Banhadlwedd. The match was frowned upon and, overcome with lust, Brychan took the poor girl by force. Before Brychan was sent back to Gathmadrun at the end of the War, the Irish Princess bore him a son named Cynog. Brychan gave his child a golden armilla as a sign of his paternal recognition but there is not record of Cynog subsequesntly claiming right to the Royal line.


Back in Garthmadrun, Anlach eventually died and Brychan became King. He held court in Talgarth. His reign was triumphant, as Drichan had predicted, and the people decided to rename the Kingdom Brycheiniog in his honour.


He was a reliously pious King dedicated to the Celtic Christian Church and its teachings. He married three times it is not known how many children he actually had. The most popular figure is twenty-four sons and twenty-four daughters. Together they are known as one of the "Holy Families of Britain".

Depsite his piety, Brychan was a warrior king not above defending his lands or his family when the need arose. One of his eldest daughters, Gwladys, was once abducted by King Gwynllyw of Gwynllwg.


Brychan and his armies pursued them for many days and many nights before a horrendous battle was fought at which many men fell. The Legendary King Arthur is credited with brokering a truce between the two Welsh Monarchs and the were soon reconciled.


On another occasion, the King of Dyfed led a military expedition to raid Brycheiniog in order to dispel a boast by one of his countrymen, that no spoil could ever be taken from Brychan's land. Brychan responded by massacringthe enemy army, after which the dismembered limbs of the enemy were collected as trophies


In old age he is believed to have abdicated the throne of Brycheniog in order to become a hermit. He was succeeded in Brycheiniog by his eldest son, Rhain Dremudd. He died in the mid-5th century and was made a saint by the Celtic Christian Church. According to records he was buried onYnys Brychan / Island of Brychan which may have been Lundy Island which is in the Bristol Channel off the Devon coast. There is a claim that Lundy Island is the Isle of Avalon.


Brycheiniog was absorbed into the kingdom of Gwynedd in the 10th century but the name continued as Brecknock and later Brecon which was one 13 traditional Welsh counties abolished in 1974. The name still exists in the town of Brecon and as a local authority within the modern county of Powys.



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