Family Group Sheet
Family Group Sheet
NameUrien Rheged ap Kynric ap Cynfarch OER (King) of North RHEGED
SpouseMorganna or Morgan Le Fay
Children
Notes for Urien Rheged ap Kynric ap Cynfarch OER (King) of North RHEGED
Father of Owain mab Urien (later known as Ywain), was an historical king of Rheged in northern England and southern Scotland during the 6th century. He became the 'King Urien of Gore' of Arthurian legend.

Little of Urien’s history is known for sure. He was the son of a certain Cynfarch Oer and seems to have fought against the rulers of the Angle kingdom Bernicia. Early on the relationship between Rheged and its neighboring British kingdoms was erratic, but Urien joined with other northern princes and defeated the rising Angles in several battles. His victories and his power are celebrated in the Book of Taliesin, the supposed author of which served as his bard. According to the Historia Brittonum, he was assassinated at the command of his ally Morcant Bulc who was jealous of his success. The Welsh Triads called him a battle leader of Britain. He had four sons, named Owain, Riwallawn, Run and Pascen, the eldest of which succeeded him.

Urien remained a popular figure in Wales over the centuries, and he and his son Owain were incorporated into Arthurian legend as it spread from Britain to continental Europe. His kingdom was eventually transferred to the mythical land of Gore, and Kings Lot of Lothian and Auguselus of Scotland are sometimes said to be his brothers. During the reign of Uther Pendragon he marries Arthur’s sister (often Morgan le Fay, but sometimes another sister is named). He, like the kings of several other lands, initially opposes Arthur’s ascendance to the throne after Uther’s death. Urien and the others rebel against the young monarch, but upon their defeat, the rebels become Arthur’s allies and vassals.

In the legends his marriage to Morgan is not portrayed as a happy one, however, as in one story Morgan plots to take Excalibur, kill Urien and Arthur, and place herself and her lover Accolon on the throne. He is always said to be the father of Ywain (Owain), and many texts give him a second son, Ywain the Bastard, fathered on his seneschal's wife. The Welsh attribute to him a daughter named Morvydd.

Thomas Malory sometimes spells his name "Urience", which has led some (e.g. Alfred Tennyson) to identify him with King Rience.
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urien";

The most famous of the Kings of the North, and possibly one of the earliest Christian Kings. One of the sons of Cynfarch Oer (the Dismal), Urien appears to have united a Kingdom that was originally either divided between, or shared with his brothers, Llew and Arawn. These latter appear to have held sway north of the Solway Firth, possibly moving into King Gwendoleu's old Kingdom and also conquering King Senyllt's Galloway, where still stands Din-Rheged (Dunragit). Urien's power-base was at Caer-Ligualid (Carlisle), though he also had a palace at Llwyfenydd on the River Lyvennet, and probably at Caer-Brogwm (Brougham) and Pen Rhionydd (possibly near Stranraer) too. The heart of his kingdom was modern Cumbria, which even today is named after the British Cymri, though his Kingdom, at one time, appears to have stretched as far north as Murief (Moray). Tradition asserts that his court played host to the High-King Arthur whenever he was travelling through the North, and Urien is thought to have married Arthur's half-sister, the enigmatic Morgan Le Fay. The King of Rheged, however, must have been something of a toy-boy, even if Morgan was the High-King's neice as some sources insist. A geneaological based birth date of AD 490 for the king is historically unacceptable. It is possible, even probable, that Urien's wife was a different lady, Modron ferch Afallach, though this name has unfortunate immortal overtones.

There is some controversy as to whether or not Urien Rheged should be identified with King Urien of Gore. Goodrich thinks that Gore was an area of Ynys Manaw (Isle of Man) that the King of North Rheged conquered though her reasoning is flawed. Bruce makes a good case for it being the whole island of Man based on Chretien's geography and description. The name may derive from the French or Welsh words for Glass, indicating an underworld connection. The identification with Gwyr (Gower) in South Wales is probably derived from the fact that Urien's son, Pasgen, later settled there. Urien was a great patron of the arts, particularly the works of his personal bard, the famous Taliesin.

Throughout his time as King, Urien's relations with his fellow British monarchs were erratic. He made many raids on rival kingdoms as far north as Manau Gododdin and once captured King Selyf Sarffgadau (Battle-Serpent) of Powys in battle. However, towards the end of a long reign, Urien led a coalition of British Kings against the expanding Saxons. His allies included Kings Riderch Hael (the Generous) of Strathclyde, Gwallawc Marchawc Trin (the Battle Horseman) of Elmet and, probably, Morcant Bulc of Bryneich. Many battles were fought including Gwen Ystrad and the Cells of Berwyn. This latter, probably fought at the Roman Fort of Brememium (High Rochester) may have later been turned into High-King Arthur's supposed 11th Battle, of Breguoin. After the defeat of the Yorkist Kings, Peredyr Arueu Dur (Steel Arms) and Gwrgi, by the Bernicians in 580, Urien was quick to claim the strategic region around Catraeth, before the Saxons of Bernicia and Deira were able to secure the area and unite their two peoples. This struggle may have culminated in the Battle of Argoed Llwyfein (Leeming Lane, Yorks). It was at this battle that King Theodoric Flamddwyn (the Firebrand) of Bernicia was killed by Urien's son. The British probably held both the old Roman fort of Catraeth itself and the hillfort site at Richmond.

By around 590, the Bernicians under Hussa were almost totally defeated. Pushed back to the sea's edge, the British besieged them on Ynys Metcaut (Lindisfarne) for three days, while Irish allies, under King Fiachna of Ulster, ousted the Saxons from Din-Guardi (Bamburgh). However, before Urien could seize victory and finally rid Britain of the Saxon scourge, he himself was treacherously assassinated at Aber Lleu (Ross Low). His assassin, a nocturnal foreigner by the name of Llofan Llaf Difo (Severing-Hand), cut-off Urien's head at the instigation of the King's own ally, Morcant. The latter was, apparently, jealous of Urien's victories, and thought that he should lead the push to rid his own kingdom of the Saxon menace. His plan, of course, completely backfired and the Saxons soon re-asserted their stranglehold on the North.
Notes for Morganna or Morgan Le Fay
Sister of King Arthur
Last Modified 9 Jan 2009Created 28 Jan 2018 using Reunion for Macintosh