Cynfarch the Cold is universally father to King Urien Rheged in medieval Welsh tradition.


According to the Descent of the Men of the North, Cynfarch (Kynuarch) is son of Meirchiawn (Meirchiaỽn), son of Gorust Leidlwm (Gorust Ledlỽm), son of Ceneu (Keneu), son of Coel. According to De Situ Brecheniauc Cynfarch’s wife is Nyvein daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog.

Little informationEdit

Rachel Bromwich points out (p. 324, Kynvarch) that, other than genealogies, there is no surviving traditions about any of the “Men of the North” before the age of Urien who is named as Cynfarch’s son. She points out two mentions of Aron/Arawn as brother to Urien, that may predate Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae.

Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Welsh BrutsEdit

Geoffrey of Monmouth makes out the north of Britain to be ruled by the three brothers Loth, Urien, and Angusel who rule over Lothian, Murief, and the Scots, respectively. Geoffrey does not name their father. The Welsh Bruts insert Cynfarch as father whenever any of these are mentioned, but change the names to Llew, Urien, and Aron/Arawn. This may represent native tradition or may be an equation of Angusel with a previously known brother of Urien whose name at least begins with the proper letter, equivalent to other later equations of Gereint son of Erbin to Erec son of Lac, Peredur Longspear to Perceval, and Cynon son of Clydno to Colgrevant. In the Welsh Bruts, Llew is not King of Lothian as Geoffrey has it, but ruler of Lindsey.

Sir Thomas Gray's ScalacronicaEdit

The Scalacronica of Sir Thomas Gray, written about 1355, names the father of Loth, Urien, and Angusel as Kahu, which at least begins with the same letter as Kynvarch/Cynfarch. See Fletcher (p. 224).

Late Romance InformationEdit

The Arthurian romances mostly do not mention the brotherhood of Loth, Urien, and Angusel. The Prose Lancelot is somewhat exceptional in making Loth and Urien brothers, although their father is not named. But in this romance, Angusel, unlike Loth and Urien, is a kinsman (‘cousin’) to Arthur. In the Vulgate Merlin, Loth and Urien are not said to be brothers and Angusel has become a nephew of Arthur, son of an otherwise unmentioned Karadan by an unnamed half-sister of Arthur.

In the Estoire del Saint Graal, Loth is son of a certain Hedor whose ancestry is traced up to Petrus, a companion of Joseph of Arimathea. Loth’s mother is the daughter of a King of North Wales. Urien is descended from Galahad son of Joseph of Arimathea. According to Guiron the Courteous, Loth was illegitimate and his legitimate sister, the Lady of Nohaut, ought to have succeeded to the throne, but Loth was chosen because he was older and was a man.


Some Name VariationsEdit

WELSH: Cynvarch, Kynvarch, Kynuarch, Cinmarc, Kinmarc, Kenvarch, Cynfarch, Kynfarch; LATIN:Kahu.

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