Nest ferch Rhys

To understand contemporary Welsh and Irish politics it is important to understand context and to start in the abstract. In that spirit let’s go back to 1093.
After defeating England in a day in 1066 William the Conqueror spared little time in trying to take on the rest of us. The Welsh kingdom of Deheubarth was ruled, after the battle of Mynydd Carn in 1081 by Rhys ap Tewdwr whose alliance with Gwynedd’s Irish born glorious Gruffydd ap Cynan had produced some political stability at a time of extreme peril for Welsh civilisation.
Through a combination of servility, posturing and bribery (Rhys paid William forty quid a year homage) Rhys managed to outlive the Conqeuror but met his maker at the battle of Brecon in 1093. Bernard_de_Neufmarche killed him as Rhys was attempting to chuck the Normans out of Brycheiniog. Deheubarth fell to William’s successor Henry I.
Which left the little matter of Nest, Rhys’s daughter by his wife Gwladys. All contemporary observers agree on Nest’s beauty. Infatuated Henry appointed himself her protector – Nest bore him an illegitimate child. Henry FitzRoy.
Henry then married Nest off to Gerald de Windsor, with whom she had 5 kids, of which more later.
Nest’s cousin Owain ap Cadwgan, of the Powys royal line, came to Cilgerran to stay in 1109, was so strucken by Nest’s beauty that he kidnapped her and the kids. According to the legend Gerald escaped by jumping down the lavatory chute.
Some brouhaha follwed – Henry confiscated Owain’s father Cadwgan’s Powys kingdom. Owain and Nest fled to Ireland and had 2 children, Llywelyn and Ynyr. Gerald had the last laugh. Whilst he and Owain were fighting on the same side for Henry against the rebellion of Nest’s brother Gruffydd ap Rhys (..try and keep up) Gerald caught Owain unprotected and killed him. Ho hum so Nest returns to Gerald. Gerald dies (in his sleep !!!) and Nest
becomes the lover of Stephen, constable of Cardigan – they have a child, Robert FitzStephen.
Meanwhile….. Nest’s daughter Angharad de Windsor married William de Barry. Their progeny included Giraldus Cambrensis, a pretty famous Welsh historian and 2 soldier sons, Philip and Robert. These two fought in Ireland with Strongbow, and founded the family “Walsh” /”Welsh” of Kilkenny – The name “Walsh” is now the fourth most common name in Ireland. Small world.

  • Mick Fealty

    Isn’t Brecon still a significant, and precise, demarcation for the border between Welsh and English speakers?

  • GGN

    Dewi,

    Fáilte.

    Interested in the history of the Welsh language on the English side of the border in relatively modern times if you ever get the chance to look into it.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dewi, prynhawn da

    Good to see you Slugger-O-Tooling.

    Are you (on behalf of the Welsh Nation) trying to accept some of the blame/credit/responsiblity for some of the difficulties/benefits/issues that have marked the relationship between Britain and Ireland?

  • Dewi

    “Isn’t Brecon still a significant, and precise, demarcation for the border between Welsh and English speakers?”

    After the miltary took over the Epynt Mountain (in the war?) the boundary moved a little further West.

    GGN – I will I promise – fascinating (still Welsh chapels in Oswestry).

    Sammy – if I do a couple of these Mick won’t notice when I get onto the Rugby

  • Greenflag

    dewi,

    Rhys ap Tewdwr which family name later became anglicised to Tudor who engaged in off and on warfare with the Yorkists i.e Plantagenets for about a hundred years or so before the Yorkists lost out in the War of the Roses. The same Tudors gave the world such jolly megalomaniacs and serial wife killers as Henry VIII and his only ‘man’child Queen Bess 1 who raised England from being a minor off shore island to being a serious contender on the world (european ) scene .

    The lady Nest referred to above is I think in the Irish annals named Nessa and her brood provided a significant number of the ‘landless’third generation of Normans who made their way to Baginbun in 1169 a mere 860 years ago to assist Dermot Mc Murrough the cuckolded King of Leinster regain his honour and presumably his wife from the thug O’Rourke of Breffni (modern day Cavan of the mane bastards 😉

  • Dewi

    “Rhys ap Tewdwr which family name later became anglicised to Tudor who engaged in off and on warfare with the Yorkists i.e Plantagenets for about a hundred years or so before the Yorkists lost out in the War of the Roses”

    I was going to come onto the Welsh conquest of England…..

  • GGN

    Dewi,

    I would be interested to know if there are any ‘dissendent’ groups in Wales?

    Is there a Welsh ‘Éirígí’?

    Great to see you here by the way, some of the crap that Irish nationalists have convinced themselves about Scottish and Welsh Nationalists is shocking.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    GGN,

    “Great to see you here by the way, some of the crap that Irish nationalists have convinced themselves about Scottish and Welsh Nationalists is shocking.”

    ?? Do you mean the religion thing or something else?

  • Greenflag

    DEWI,

    ‘I was going to come onto the Welsh conquest of England…’

    That would have been after the welsh conquest of Ireland right which as we all know was a belated retaliation for the Leinster Irish conquest of most of North Wales circa 400 AD or thereabouts .

    Better be careful Dewi 🙂 You just might get the English off the hook re Ireland only to be replaced by the Welsh and we can’t have that then eh 🙂

    I trust you will remain ‘neutral’as always on the rugby 😉

  • GGN

    Sammy,

    I mean across the board.

  • Sarah Lavender

    >After defeating England in a day in 1066 William the Conqueror

    I’m sorry but I can’t let this one go. It took some 20 years for William the Bastard to finally quell the English Resistance and in order to do so he committed genocide in the North of England, completely depopulating an area larger than NI.

    But since the descendants of those Normans still own around 23% of English land I guess its not surprising that in the past the Norman conquest has been cleaned up a bit before it was taught to kids.

  • Dewi

    Yeah Sarah – I was being a little bit trite. Some good work by Edgar in Northumbria. We resited for 217 years mind you….

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    GGN,

    I will not have such slanderous accusations bandied about without some evidence – so leaving aside the religiosity angle (ie the failure to realise that Scots and Welsh Nats are mainly Prods) please supply some examples/evidence of the ‘shocking’ misconceptions of Irish Nats.

  • Fergananim

    Dewi,

    The surnames of the descendants of Nesta are FitzHenry, FitzGerald, FitzStephen, de Barry, FitzMeiler, and a number of other related families.

    However, Walsh (aka Welsh, Brannach, etc) is not one of them. It is a generic name for the large number of Welsh soliders who served the Anglo-Normans in their semi-conquest of Ireland.

    It would be the same case if all Irish emigrants to Britain all took the surname Irish. Thus while all bearers of the Walsh surname are descended from Welsh people, they are not all the same families, no more that people named Smith or Jones.

    Actually, a case can be made for absolving the English of blame in the semi-conquest of Ireland (round one) because all the leaders were either Welsh, Norman-Welsh, Flemings and Irish. Plus, the king of England from Anjou in France.

    The poor auld sassanachs were a conquored people with their country occupied by forigners; so as such, they were mere footsoliders, and almost non-existant among the inital invaders.

    Greenflag,

    Actually the Irish of Leinster and Munster conquored all of north, west and southern Wales. They were expelled from the north and the west, but survived in the south, being founders of the kingdoms of Brecon and …. Dehurbarth, from whence came Nesta. Who’s grandchilden invaded Ireland in 1169.

    So in a way, it was just another case of the Irish fighting among ourselves.

    Don’t ya just love how perplexing history can be?

  • Dewi

    “Don’t ya just love how perplexing history can be?”

    Not the way I tell it. The key thing to remember is that the Welsh were always in the right. Everything else then falls into place. when did you re-name “Nest” “Nesta” by the way?

  • OC

    And let’s not forget how the Irish invaded North Britain, wiping out the culture and language of both Welsh speaking and Pictish speaking inhabitants.

  • Katinka

    Nest or Nesta must be one of the sexiest women in medieval history…..but then Welsh women are possibly the most passionate in GB or Ireland, I am told…..

    She is referred to as ‘Nesta’ by Orpen in ‘The song of Dermot and the earl’ where there is also a genealogical table of her descendants. She is also referred to as ‘Nesta’ in ‘Expugnatio Hibernica’ by Giraldus Cambrensis, edited by AB Scott and FX Martin. There is also a genealogical table of her descendants in this work, it does not seem to have been influenced by Orpen.

    ‘Nesta’ is still used as a girl’s forename.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dewi,

    re. “Not the way I tell it. The key thing to remember is that the Welsh were always in the right.”

    You are ideally suited to Slugger debate where an ability NOT to see the other side of the debate is de rigeur – to coin a pretentious anglo-norman term.

  • PaddyReilly

    National Pride:-

    National Disgrace:-

  • sunny south east

    i am from the south east you still can see the castles towers and various landmarks the names like power walsh fleming cheevers prendergast sinnot fitzgerald butler ormond etc are still as common as ever gives it the regional difference that is as interesting as anywhere in ireland. If you have a chance to see baginbun beach on the hook head co.wexford you should on a sunny day it must be the worlds most beautiful sites of invasion my norman forefathers must had taste. On a side note waterford and wexford were founded by viking by 1189 they were hiberno norse the normans settled in northern france hence the name normandy maybe it is not a case of irish vs irish more viking vs viking.

  • borderline

    Dewi,

    Sarah challenged the 1st sentence.

    Sentence #3 is what bothers me.

    After defeating England in a day in 1066 William the Conqueror spared little time in trying to take on the rest of us.

    “The rest of us”? What is this? A Lions teamtalk.

  • Greenflag

    Dewi,

    ‘We resisted for 217 years mind you… ”

    Not bad Dewi not bad the 217 years not a patch on our 800 years though 😉

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Meanwhile . . . if the Welsh start listing Slabberin’ Sam’s misconceptions, lies, inventions, fantasies, denials and downright A-grade spacerism, this is going to be one long thread.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Nesta’ is still used as a girl’s forename. ?

    Where ? In Wales ?. Haven’t come across it here .In Ireland Nessa is becoming popular . Our European MEP for Leinster is one Nessa Childers of the Labour Party who’s grandfather was Erskine Childers (Irish President FF) and whose great grandfather was the Riddle of the Sands author Englishman Erskine Childers , who flew with the RAF in WWI and who was executed as an Irish Republican by the Free State Government during the Irish Civil War.

    The original Irish Nessa was of course Conor Mac Neasa , King of Ulster back when the Irish believed in several nature gods instead of the Judeo Christian ‘brand” foisted on us by the Romanised Briton Patricius -i.e the three leafed shamrock snakeless oil salesman whom we celebrate every year.

  • Fergananim

    Dewi,

    Her Intelligence=Sexyisness, Katinka, answered that for me. Thank you, a gra.

    Anyway I should know. Nesta is one of my ancestors.

  • Dewi

    “17.Nest or Nesta must be one of the sexiest women in medieval history”

    I’ve done some digging and at the first Eisteddfod (1176 in Cardigan Castle) Nest was awarded the posthumous prize of “The best Shag of the Middle Ages” – Cool or what?

  • Fergananim

    Dewi and Sarah,

    After defeating England in a day in 1066 William the Conqueror spared
    little time in trying to take on the rest of us.

    “The rest of us”? What is this? A Lions teamtalk.”

    Yeah! What do you mean ‘we’, Paleface.

  • Dewi

    Fergananim – I wish you would not question my academic qualifications – I did history till form 3 mun! – I know everything about Alfred and his cakes, Canute and his waves, Nelson and his spare arm….but seriously Monmouthshire Education Authority cared nothing about my own country.

  • Fergananim

    NELSON HAD A SPARE ARM???

  • Dewi

    I dunno – English people and arms – I was never sure if they had enough or too many – a bit like Drake and his bowls….

  • PaddyReilly

    Surely in those days Monmouthshire thought it was in England, so it did care about your own country?

  • Dewi

    Yep – Paddy – A Welsh medium primary school in Monmouthshire – I swear to God I read books about playing cricket at Eton and Harrow…no wonder I’m a bit messed up…but no need to take the mick out of of me nephew!!!

  • PaddyReilly

    Sorry 1:14 -1:20 is particularly painful on the ears.

    The Harrow School Song Book contains that fine Irish air, “St Patrick was a Gentleman”, very improving.