Pleasure! It is called “Y Gaer”, a short distance west of Brecon, and is on wikipedia. It is kept by CADW and was built in 75 A. D. as a day fort. The Romans had a system of forts within a day’s march of each other along Roman roads. This one was a cavalry fort. Our ancestors Princes Bleddyn ap Maenarch of Brycheiniog and Rhys ap Tewdwr of Deheubarth fortified it in about 1092 to 1093 against our other ancestor, Reginald Aubrey, a knight of Bernard de Neufmarche. My other ancestors Walter Havard and Peter Gunter were also knights present in the Battle. An account of the Battle of Brecon is in the Battle Abbey rolls and I describe it on this blog. This is not a contemporary account but seems genuine because it describes how the British attacked the Norman French out of a forest, and initially surprised them, driving them back. However the Norman French had superior numbers, discipline, weapons and armour. They came up the Roman road, along the Llynfi, the course of the modern road. This catalyzed four hundred years of warfare until our Tudor ancestral cousins took the English Crown in 1485 at Bosworth. Henry VII Tudor became the king. There was about a thousand years of warfare along this border. The battle now is for the Welsh language. Norman French became extinct several hundred years ago, but the Normans entirely changed the structure of society until absorbed. So they became Welsh speaking Cambrian Normans of the Gentry.
In a message dated 30/03/2017 11:40:19 GMT Daylight Time, writes:
Thank you for the great suggestions. I am having trouble locating the roman fort you mention on a map. does it have a name? thanks,
On Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 10:24 AM, <EMyrone> wrote:
I would recommend Brecon Castle and Cathedral, especially the Havard Chapel, the ancient Roman Fort that was fortified by Prince Bleddyn ap Maenarch and Prince Rhys ap Tewdwr in 1093. The Aubrey site is Abercynrig, which can be found by Google. There is also Slwch and other sites. There is a very nice road over to Pont Seni and Crai and down to Craig y Nos Castle, which was owned by Morgan Morgan of Aubrey Morgan descent, Dynevor Castle in Llandeilo, (my ancestor Prince Rhys ap Gruffudd), and Carreg Cennen Castle (constantly changing hands until reduced by Glyndw^r). The road from Brecon to Llandeilo is a coach road engineered for a coach and six horses, so it has no steep gradients but many bends. The same road (Irish Mail) goes on to Ty Ddewi (St David’s Cathedral). The whole of Wales is crammed with history. Our ancestor Richard Duke of Normandy was of Norse Descent as you know.
In a message dated 19/03/2017 14:05:03 GMT Standard Time, writes:
That is really fascinating. As an additional inquiry, can you recommend any particular sites in the Brecon area (besides the aforementioned cathedral) relevent to this family history (Awbrey that is)? I will have about three days there, but on foot. I will be in Wales for about 9 days but will be spending several hiking and camping along the Pembrokeshire coast path. Traveling from and back to Heathrow takes pretty much full days as well.
Thank you again for this wealth of information.
On Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 9:57 AM, <EMyrone> wrote:
Pleasure. Some of the various sources for Prince Bleddyn ap Maenarch of Brycheiniog are listed in the scholarly www.ancientwalesstudies.org/id161 and id183. This is based in Texas. My account of the Battle of Brecon in 1093 is posted on this blog in the entry for July 26, 2010. Sir Reginald Aubrey is mentioned there (Penn 132, p. 128, Mostyn 212b p. 129m, Llyfr Baglan pp. 120-1, 237, 268). “Ar bedwaredd flwyddyn o wladychrwydd William Goch Frenin Lloegr y lladded y Bleddyn hwn a Rhys ap Tewdwr ymrw-wydyr (sic) y Battail gerllaw glan Wysg trwy rhyfel Barned Nywark (Bernard de Neufmarche) a Syr Reinallt Awbre a marchogion Ffrengig eraill.” This means that “In the fourth year of of the reign of William II Rufus, King of England, this Bleddyn was killed with Rhys ap Tewdwr in Battail (Battle) near the Usk through warfare with Bernard de Neufmarche and Sir Reginald Aubrey and other French knights”. So my ancestors were fighting each other. In my attached ancestry of Bleddyn ap Maenarch I have used the definitive line from Ancient Wales Studies. My Norman ancestors include three of these knights: Aubrey, Havard and Gunter. My British ancestors include Prince Bleddyn ap Maenarch and Prince Rhys ap Tewdwr. Henry VII Tudor was descended from Rhys ap Tewdwr, whose ancestry goes back to 150 BC through the ancient British Kings and semi mythologically to 1100 BC. Many of your ancestors would also claim descent from the Princes and Normans.
In a message dated 19/03/2017 13:24:38 GMT Standard Time, writes:
Additionally, the notion of the Norman connection being a fabrication came from a booklet on Abercynrig written some time ago by a Rev. J. Jones-Davies. He seems to hold no love for the family. Regards,
On Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 9:22 AM, Melanie Beus <mel> wrote:
Thank you so much for this information. It has added several generations to our family line. We only had it back to a Hopkin Awbrey in the 1400s. I am looking forward to spending a few day in Brecon to see the area from where my family came.
On Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 9:05 AM, <EMyrone> wrote:
PS Wikitree traces back further than Thomas Aubrey (born about 1299) as follows: Thomas Aubrey Abercynrig born 1285; Thomas Aubrey Abercynrig born 1255 married Joan (Sia^n) ferch Trahaearn; Thomas Aubrey Abercynrig born 1220 married Joan de Carew; Thomas Aubrey Abercynrig born 1190; William Aubrey born 1160 married Joan Gunter (my other ancestor); William Aubrey born 1125 in Wales; Rheinallt or Reginald Aubrey b. 1095; Reginald Aubrey b. 1060 married Isabella de Clare daughter of Richard Fitz Gilbert de Clare (Strongbow) descended from Richard Duke of Normandy. There do not appear to be generation gaps, and there is no evidence of any fabrication. This line appears to be based on Bartrum’s Gelli Aur (Golden Grove) genealogies. Walter Aubrey and his wife Christina are interred in Brecon Cathedral (dating from 1312). My other Havard ancestors established Havard Chapel of Brecon Cathedral. Thomas Aubrey born about 1299 married Nest ferch Owain Gethin, whose grandfather Caradog ap Gwilym, Lord of Glyn Tawe, was awarded arms according to Theopilus Jones: “Azure, a buck tripping, argent, unguled and attired between horns, imperial crown, Or.”
In a message dated 17/03/2017 12:50:05 GMT Standard Time, writes:
Greetings. I am an Awbrey in the U.S., with our line being from the “Tredomen” Awbreys. I am planning a trip to Wales in June and the planning has generated a renewed interest in my family’s history here.
Family lore has always been strong on the Norman connection, but a few sources I have found have debunked this connection as having been fabricated. Your name has come up as someone who has done deep research into the Awbrey line.
Looking through your blog, I can glean tidbits of information (admittedly I get tripped up on the Welsh names), but I would like to know if you have a nice tidy “tree” online somewhere I could see. Also, if the Norman connection is indeed a fabrication, what information might you have on where they came from? Were they always in the Brecon area or did they arrive there from elsewhere? If this is even knowable that is.
Thank you in advance for an information you can share.