|Deheubarth 1190 (Wikimedia)|
Rhys ap Tewdwr, king of Deheubarth, was killed in 1093 and following his death, most of Deheubarth was taken over by the Normans. His son, Gruffydd ap Rhys, eventually was able to become ruler of a small portion. When he died, his four sons ruled in turn and were able to win back more territory. Gruffydd's youngest son Rhys became ruler of Deheubarth in 1155.
|Henry II (Wikimedia)|
Deheubarth flourished over a period of relative peace and general harmony, with Welsh culture and religious life, as well as legal and administrative affairs, all benefiting from Rhys’s patronage and self-assured governance. In 1176 he held a festival of poetry and music at Christmas, now considered the first Eisteddfodd.
His remarkable achievement in reversing the fortune of his kingship cannot be underestimated. By 1180 Deheubarth had been reconstituted and was the premier Welsh kingdom, albeit under the overlordship of the English king. Unfortunately the rule of inheritance in Wales was to share out land between the heirs, and after his death his sons fought over it.
|Llywelyn the Great |
In 1216 he persuaded the claimants to accept a tripartite division of Deheubarth. They were all now rulers by the grace of Llywelyn, diminished in stature and relegated to a lesser role in history. Deheubarth was never to recover the status it had enjoyed under the Lord Rhys.