LLYS COEDYMYNYDD THE ACTIVITIES OF YOUNGER SONS AND MINOR GENTRY By ENID PIERCE ROBERTS Today, with so much unemployment and redundancy, and when what used to be regarded as 'jobs for life' no longer carry reasonable security, parents must often worry how best to equip their children for earning a comfortable living. In pre- industrial times, when the choice of occupation was so very much more limited, families so very much larger, and hard cash in so very short supply, a similar problem must have faced the landed gentry. Wealth meant land and land meant livelihood and security. By the sixteenth century most gentry families had accepted primogeniture so that the eldest son would inherit the bulk of the estate. Great landed magnates, like the Mostyns of Mostyn who within five generations by marrying the heir to an heiress had acquired five mansions with their accompanying estates, could afford to bequeath portions or allocate rentals to younger sons; the lesser gentry were not so fortunate. Among those would be the family of Llys Coedymynydd, Ysgeifiog.1 When studying the works of Beirdd yr Uchelwyr, the Poets of the Gentry, c. 1 350-c. 1650, it is surprising how often one comes across members of this family from north-east Wales. Although historians of Welsh literature would probably not include them among the foremost patrons, yet they are active throughout the period, promoting, preserving, and occasionally composing. The tribal ancestor was Ednowain Bendew, who, according to Gruffudd Hiraethog, one of the most dependable sources, lived at Llys Coedymynydd in the parish of Ysgeifiog in the time of Cynan ab Iago (d.1060?, father of Gruffudd ap NOTES: Manuscript abbreviations: Ba Bangor, at the University of Wales, Bangor; Brog Brogyntyn, at the National Library of Wales. Aberystwyth: Cardiff at The Central Library, Cardiff; Harleian the Harley Collection at The British Library, London: Havod the Havod Collection at The Central Library, Cardiff: N Additional Manuscripts at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth: P the Peniarth Collection, at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. 1. This article does not aim to be a full comprehensive account of the activities of the prolific family, tribe or clan; only representatives will be mentioned in every connection.