Nest ferch Rhys, Princess of South Wales.

This week a true-tale (no doubt with a few embellishments) rather than a myth to give you an idea of the times. Oh dear, life was never boring was it?

Nest ferch Rhys born about 1086 (died after 1136) was a Welsh princess of Deheubarth who was renowned for her beauty. Nest was the daughter of Prince Rhys ap Tewdwr Mawr by his wife, Gwladys ferch Rhiwallon. She was descended from King Hywel Dda of Wales the famous lawmaker. After her father’s death in 1093, Deheubarth was conquered by the Normans and King Henry I of England appointed himself her protector. Nest is thought to have borne him a son, Henry FitzRoy (1103-1158).

Around 1095 King Henry decided to marry Nest to one of his followers, Gerald de Windsor, whom he appointed Constable of Pembroke. Nest and Gerald had five children:

1. William FitzGerald (died 1173)
2. Maurice FitzGerald, Lord of Llansteffan (died 1 September 1177)
3. David FitzGerald, Archdeacon of Cardigan and Bishop of St David's
4. Angharad de Windsor, who married William de Barry
5. A daughter (possibly Gwladys), the mother of Milo de Cogan

During Christmas 1109, Nest and her husband were visited by her cousin, Owain ap Cadwgan, son of Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, Prince of Powys. The story goes that Owain was so taken with Nest’s beauty that he and fifteen companions attacked the castle of Cenarth Bychan (possibly Cilgerran Castle or Carew Castle, both in Pembrokeshire), seized Nest, and carried her and her children off.

Tradition also states that Gerald escaped by jumping down the garderobe (i.e. the lavatory chute) to get away. The children were later returned to Gerald. Nest is said to have borne Owain two sons, Llywelyn and Einion, before finally being returned to her husband. (This is disputed).

This abduction earned Nest the nickname “Helen of Wales” because it led to civil war on a small scale. Owain ap Cadwgan left the country to avoid retribution, whilst Owain’s father, Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, lost his own lands. Gerald waited for Owain to return to Wales, then ambushed and killed him. After Gerald’s death, Nest became the lover of Stephen, Constable of Cardigan, by whom she had another son, Robert Fitz-Stephen who died in 1182.

Nest’s daughter, Angharad, married William de Barry and had by him four sons: Robert; Philip, the founder of Ballybeg Abbey at Buttevant in Ireland; Walter; the historian Gerald of Wales. Her sons Philip and Robert campaigned in Ireland with Strongbow; Robert died there in 1182.

Robert and Philip were the founders of the family Walsh/Welsh of Kilkenny where they built a Castle known as Castle hale of Kilkenny, Ireland Castle Hale of the Walsh Mountains Kilkenny They conquered Kilkenny. They had become known as the “Welshies” rather than “Hywel” and thus named,they remain to this day; the name Hale being derived from Howell.

Therefore the Welsh and Walsh family of Kilkenny Ireland are also descended from Hywel Dda.

The daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, a Welsh prince and Gwladys ferch Rhiwallon in sometime between 1095 and 1100

Gave the site of Carew Castle as a dowry

Had at least 5 children with Gerald de Windsor

Owain ap Cadwgan, Nest’s cousin and son of another Welsh Prince, started a fire at Carew Castle in 1109

de Windsor escaped but Owain captured Nest

Had two children by Owain

After Gerald de Windsor died, she married Stephen of Cardigan Castle

It is said that Nest’s ghost haunts Carew Castle in the form of a gentle white lady.

fairy queen

Queen of the Fairies.

I think this is a line dance

Yay, I think this is a Line Dance.


Poorly, high temp, tonsilitis.

Music for my muchachos.

There was a time not too long ago that Turkey wanted to join the European Union and would probably have been able to do so fairly quickly had it not been for an abysmal human rights record. People have gone on treating Turkey as a holiday capital with many buying homes and retiring out there. Now however things have changed. Human rights have been disregarded in full, especially for reporters . President Erdogan has passed many new laws making Turkey virtually a dictatorship while the wings of the news reporters via TV and Newspapers have been clipped. Some have disappeared. Erdogan has allied himself with Russia and hence with Libya making it even less likely to find an easy way to solve that crisis.

It’s not getting any easier to promote peace while even America now isolates itself inside it’s borders. Not wanting anything to do with Mexico, seemingly indifferent to Canada and easing it’s way out of old friendships and new agreements in Europe. Enemies with Russia, Libya and North Korea and with half it’s own people thanks to the inept President now in power. Lets make sure we reach out in friendship to everyone to show we still want just One World of humanity out there.

Remember to share smiles with those not bearing one, we can afford it, and hugs where we can but with permission. The world can be a better place.

Wishing everyone a Brilliant New Week.



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69 responses to “Nest ferch Rhys, Princess of South Wales.

  1. Big hugs, David. Let’s hope. Your grandchildren are getting more gorgeous by the minute. 😉
    What a complex story/history! Poor Nest. Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman!

    • Thanks so much Olga. Yes, the kiddies are getting more gorgeous and certainly funnier by the minute. It was complex back then. Some would say Nest had too much freedom but I think she had no freedom at all. She always had to belong to a man and could only have her own money and property while not married. Very hard I think.
      xxx Gigantic Hugs as always xxx

  2. As a Howell, I enjoyed the discussion of the Hywel’s and the Hales. Lovely pictures, David and great thoughts about peace and a smile.

  3. What a lovely mixed bag of treats and horrors! Ginormous hugs. xx

  4. Beautiful and inspiring post, David. I enjoyed the story you started off with and the information at the end. Love the pictures too. ❤️Hugs&kisses❤️

  5. That storyline of Nest sounds like something Barbara Erskine or Julliet Mariliier could have a field day with. Imagine the drama you could weave if you were to chronicle that life! Thank you for sharing Nest’s tale and of course your own little fairies – terribly cute! Big hugs to you.

    • Many thanks Jessica. You could weave many dream into that life but I’m sure poor Nest had enough. Single she was a woman of property but married everything was his. I’m glad my little fairies appealed to you, they are cute.
      xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  6. Hmm…Nest was quite ‘popular,’ wasn’t she? 😄

    “Lets make sure we reach out in friendship to everyone to show we still want just One World of humanity out there.”

    Very well said, David! Enjoy your week. 💜

    • Far too popular I think Felicia. I’m sure she’d have been happier single.
      Thanks for liking my words, lets hope the world adopts them soon.
      Have a lovely week,
      xxx Massive Hugs xxx

  7. One smile can make a world of difference.

  8. What a pretty face had to endure in those days….a lovely tale though and beautiful grandchildren you have, such a pretty princess 🙂

  9. Beauty has and had advantages and disadvantages throughout history but Nest’s story and her kidnapping and her childbearing does bring to mind that we in the Western free world are so fortunate to know that our beautiful daughters are not in jeopardy from kidnappers…can’t say the same for other countries of Islam persuasion…. and as to Turkey – what a shame for humanity. Multitude of hugs David and have a swell week 😀

    • It’s an awful shame for beauty to be a disadvantage.Awful that a woman could not only lose her freedom at marriage but all her property also.Things have improved a lot in the West but a long way to go for full equality.
      It is a shame for humanity that Turkey changes so much, especially bad for the Turks who have been friendly with the West and who practised religious freedom.
      xxx Hugs Galore Ina xxx

  10. Just last night I was thinking (yes, sometimes I do) that you had not written a post in a while and I would need to be nudging you. But here you have outdone yourself! First … I loved the history of Nest ferch Rhys! It was all the more fascinating for knowing that at least some parts were fact-based … but DAVID … my tongue is tied in knots from trying to pronounce the names!!! I am so inept that at one point I found myself trying to figure out how to pronounce even the name ‘Gerald’! Alas … I think I shall have to simply visit you and Roger in Wales and let you guys show me how to pronounce these things with 40 consonants strung together! 🙂 You know I am joking, right? I really did enjoy this.

    Now, with that said, the Queen of the Fairies is beautiful and looks as if she is just about ready to say “off with their heads!” And in the first pic of the li’l guy, I say he has the moves down pat … but so sorry to hear he wasn’t feeling well! I never would have guessed it from the dancing picture! Hope he is feeling better now? You have beautiful grandchildren, but then … you already know that! 🙂

    As to the rest … I have written often of Erdogan and his abuses of power. I will always believe that he staged the “coup” last year in order to justify taking more power, shutting down the free press in Turkey, and making a mockery of the word “democracy”. And today, I cannot help but wonder if my own country is following suit. So thank you, dear David, for your compassion, for remembering that there are still some of us in the U.S. who do NOT support the current regime and its policies. Our nations may part ways, but I trust that our hearts never will.

    xxx Cwtch Mawr xxxx

    • Time sometimes twists things but in Nest’s case I don’t know by how much. All I can say is that as always then she suffered for being a woman. Marriage made her someone’s property
      I agree Amelie looked like the Queen of the Grumps just at that moment but a light still shines from her for me. Reuben is feeling much better now after antibiotics.
      Erdogen has chased democracy from Turkey in the name of making it safe.The Turks will suffer badly under his regime and I don”t know whether they’ll ever get rid of him without a military coup, who knows what they get after that.
      No, if our nations part there will always be those who long for the old freedoms and for justice. Our hearts won’t ever part. And, I’ll always be here for pronunciation of the Welsh names for you.
      xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

  11. Thank you for sharing the story of Nest – I shall think of her next time I visit Cilgerran Castle.
    I am saddened by what’s going on in the world; I’m trying to share some love by making blankets for refugees… if I can’t give a real hug, one in the form of a blanket is the next best thing I think.
    xxx e-hugs to you, though xxx

    • I’m glad you enjoyed Nest’s tale Jan. A hard life for a woman back then.
      You’re doing a great job for refugees, I wish there was some sign that there was no more need. Your Hugs will be felt all over and by many.
      I enjoy my virtual e.hugs thanks so much. One day in reality though.
      xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

  12. Yes to all that, David. Hugs indeed.

  13. -sigh- The Story of Nest highlights the fact that here and now is still a much better time to be alive…if you’re a woman. 😦
    I sincerely hope your little Princess grows up into a world where the female half of humanity is treated with respect instead of as a chattel.

  14. History is always fascinating!

  15. smiles from soggy sarf lindin, hugs too!!

  16. Thank you for the history lesson, current events, and photo updates of the grandkids (so adorable).
    Yes, I agree with your comments above about poor Nest. Married Women’s Property acts were not passed in the US or UK (I believe) until the 19th century. She must have been quite beautiful though–and fortunate to live through all that childbearing.
    I’m more aware of Turkey now because my co-editor for the other book I’m working on is from there. She moved to Sweden last year, but she still has family and friends there.

    Yes, the world can definitely be a better place. Hugs, David!

    • Thanks Merril, yes I think poor Nest had it hard. Much easier now though still not quite there on the equality front. She did have a reputation as a beauty but all that childbearing must have taken it’s toll.
      I’m glad your friend moved to Sweden but I pity those left behind in Turkey.
      The world SHOULD be a better place Merril. It’s in our hands.
      xxx Hugs Galore xxx

  17. Jane Sturgeon

    Sending healing thoughts for your little one and his poorly tonsils. Love going out as we are all connected. Massive hugs for you all. ❤ Xxxxxxxx

  18. Writing from America Under Siege here. Thanks for another piece of Welsh history! I find these fascinating.

    • I’m sorry you feel that way though I can understand why. I worry more at the moment about you becoming isolationist. No friendship with Mexico, Canada or with your old European friends and allies. Of course you could find yourself stepping out with new friends soon if some people have a choice.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the piece of Welsh history, poor old Nest, who’d be a woman back then.
      xxx Humongous Hugs xxx

  19. Fascinating history, David. It’s right out of the fairy books…And speaking of fairies, it seems that you have one in your family. I hope Reuben is feeling a little better. Massive hugs from America, my friend. ❤

  20. Nest was a busy lady and a geneologists`s dream!
    No reason why a fairy queen should not have the grumps from time to time…it is a heavy responsibility, after all. Glad to hear that Reuben is better, poor chap.
    I am so sad for Turkey and those who live there. Turkish friends working in France had planned to go home to retire…but not now. Theirs was the Turkey of Ataturk…this is a tyranny.

    • Yes, a lot of families who wouldn’t be but for Nest.
      I have rethought my remark on the Queen of Grumps.Perhaps they were worthy grumps if her brother had just delighted in waking her up.
      I’m sad for Turkey too as I doubt there will be any elections from now on. Erdogan is there to say unless a coup ousts him, and no guarantee they’ll return to democratic elections then. I’m sorry for your friends.
      xxx Stupendous Hugs xxx

  21. A most interesting share David! History is a constant revelation. is!! Family hugs for a wonderful weekend!!!

  22. besonian

    Excellent post David. Really got a lot from it. And thank you for visiting my own blog.

  23. I don’t know whether poor Nest had it hard, but it seems she had it quite frequently. Henry 1 definitely had his own thoughts on ‘protection’, didn’t he? I must relay her story to Sylvia ap Bocianowski, who is downstairs preparing dinner.
    Erdogan? I’d rather not comment on him. Hugs, David. May each day of your week…

    • Nest seems to have spent much of her life lying down at some stage of the childbirth cycle. Never one holiday to the Algarve in the Summer. Henry l certainly did have an odd idea of protection and of being a father I think.
      Erdogan, I’d rather not comment on him too Frederick but I think he’s going to feature in our thoughts more and more.
      Hugs, may each day of your month……..

  24. Nest sure had a beguiling effect on men. Tis a pity she had such an unsettled life. Hoping for a bit more sensibility in the world of politics and human kindness.

    • Nest did have an effect on men. It’s a shame she didn’t have more say in making choices though. I think it’s a shame that politics seems to change people so that they no longer say what they mean or mean what they say. We need more honesty on that front. As for kindness, there can never be too much of that and it’s good when people make the effort.
      Thanks for visiting.
      xxx Hugs Galore xxx

  25. Ali Isaac

    Very interesting post, David. That poor woman! Her beauty got her into so much trouble. Women were so vulnerable in those days, weren’t they? Treated like scraps of meat to be fought over. Agree totally with your sentiments at the end of the post. We could do with someone like you in power, the world would be a happier more caring place. Xxx Huge Hugs!

  26. Great story based on historical fact, David. Poor Nest spent her life being handed from one protector to another. If royal women were treated that way I can only imagine what commoners went through. Lovely pictures of the children. What a shame Reuben became ill. xxxHuge Hugsxxx 🙂 —- Suzanne

    • Women seem to be the property of a man throughout her life back then Suzanne. Needless to say they weren’t always treated gently no matter which end of the social scale. I’m glad things are better now for most women. Thank you for liking the pictures. Reuben was pretty much better in a week with antibiotics.
      xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

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