Click above 2 images to enlarge.

Gregynog Blayney Room Heraldry

Arms over the fireplace
by Lauren [781]

Arms over the fireplace
by Kiraranote [940]

Arms on wall pannells
by Kiraranote [940]
Here are photos and drawings of the Blayney Coats of Arms carved in black oak over the fireplace and along the walls of the dining room at Gregygnog (now a residential educational centre of the University of Wales (Prifysgol Cymru), and the Institute of Rural Health).

E. Rowley-Morris [35], W Scott Owen [288] and M Siddon [335] all give the description of the main Blayney "quarted coat" as:

  • 1 and 4. Three horse's heads erased [Argent],
    for BLAYNEY (Brochwel Ysgithrog)
  • 2. [Argent] three cocks [Gules], for EINION SAIS
  • 3. Ermine, a lion rampant [Sable], for CYNRIC (Cynwrig) Ap RHIWALLON.

On a scroll beneath is the motto, "VIRTUTIS COMES INVIDIA"
"Envy (or jealousy) is the companion of virtue"

Owen also describes other shields carved on the walls representing the great Welsh houses connected with the Blayney family - see Comment 2.


Comment 1

E Rowley-Morris further states that:
"This shield was no doubt placed there by John Blayney in 1636, as that date appears on the oak panelling, some of the most elaborately carved of that period in Great Britain...

John actually used Dutch or Flemish craftsmen brought into the country specifically to carve the armorial panelling. [208], [226], [335].

Rowley-Morris goes on to say "The marriage of his grandfather with Elizabeth, the daughter of Lewis Gwyn is all there is in the whole Blayney genealogies to account for his thus prominently quartering the three cocks of Einion Sais -see [Elizabeth GWYN]; why he should similarly display the black lion of Cynric ap Rhiwallon is by no means obvious. If introduced according to the strict rules of heraldry, it must have been through Lewis Gwyn...."

There is another explanation which I have come up with, having a more liberal 21st Century view of things. The Blayneys were well know for their innovative, liberal and forward-thinking approach, and I suspect John was no different. I theorise that one or perhaps two of the quarters represent the heraldry of his wife, Elizabeth LLOYD, who can also trace her ancestry to Einion Sais -see Elizabeth LLOYD. Perhaps he wanted to symbolise their marriage in the coat of arms! This theory, I subsequently find, was already but independently proposed by M Siddons in 2000 in his paper on the Gregynog Heraldry [335]. Oh well, can't claim to be the first to answer the question set by Rowley-Morris.

The link to Cynric ap Rhiwallon also evaded Rowley-Morris. However Elizabeth's father, Jenkin LLOYD, can be traced back 14 generations to a Rhywallon ap Madock (see Rhywallon, a possible heraldic source), although I suspect it is more likely that the ancestry is also via Einion Sais -see Elizabeth LLOYD. M Siddons also thinks that it represents an ancestor of Elizabeth [335].


  • Elizabeth ferch Lewis Gwyn ap Jenkin ap Llewelyn ap Gwylim ap Rees Lloyd ab Adam o Brecknock ap Howell ab Einion Sais.
    See Herbert & Einion
  • Elizabeth Lloyd dau of Joyce HERBERT verch Sir Edward ap Sir Richard ap Sir Richard ap Sir William ap Thomas HERBERT, son of Gwladus ferch Davydd GAM ap Morgan ap dau of Sir Dafydd GAM ap Llewellyn Ap HYWEL Fychan ap Howel (Hywel) ap Einon Sais
    See Herbert & Einion.
  • Elizabeth Lloyd dau of Jenkin Lloyd ap Jenkin David Lloyd and Lowry Gwynn. Lowry was the dau of Owen Gwynn ap Llewelyn Lloyd ap Evan ap Rees ap Adda ap Howell ap Adda Ddu ap Griffith ap Meredith ap Einion ap Cynvelyn ap Dolphyn ap Rhywallon. [217] Alternatively, it is possible to follow the Einion line back eight generations to Rhiwallon ap CYNFYN of Powys. Further back, we even have a Rhiwallon ap Dingad ancestor.
  • Genealogy of John Blayney


Comment 2

Now to the other shields carved in the pannelling (associated great Welsh houses)....W Scott Owen [226] drew and described each of the arms and Michael Siddons photographed and also described them [335]. I have modified his photos a little for ease of viewing. So we have:

To the left is the main Blayney Coat of Arms found above the fireplace.

Below we have Coats of arms representing:
[2]   Loftus ([Sable] A chevron engrailed, ermine between three trefoils slipped [Argent])
[3]   Caradoc Freich-fras, Earl of Hereford, a Knight of Arthur's Round Table
        ([Sable] A chevron between three spear-heads [Argent, usually embrued Gules])
[4]   Bleddyn ap Maenarch ([Vert] A wolf passant, the mouth pierced with an arrow [Argent])
[5]   Collwyn ap Tango, Lord of Evionedd [1055], founder of a Royal Tribe
        ([Sable] A chevron between three fleur-de-lis [Argent])
[6]   Cynfyn ap Gwerstan 11thC Powys ruler or Coel, King of Britons
        (A lion rampant [Argent], crowned [Or]))
[7]   Owain (Owen) Gwenedd, Prince of North Wales ([Vert] 3 eagles displayed in fess [Or])
[8]   Herbert (Per pale [Azure and Gules], 3 lions rampant [Argent])
[9]   Thomas VAUGHAN of Tyle Glas {Herle} ( [Argent] On a garb a bird {crow})
[10] Rhys Goch of Ystradyw [or Tegau Eurfron or Phylip Hir
        ( [Argent] A wyvern's head erased [Vert], holding in its mouth a bloody hand couped at the wrist)

The trefoils of:
Adam Loftus (~1533-1605), Archbishop of Dublin, father of Ann, wife of Sir Edward Blayney (John's uncle). [Siddon's shield 4]

The spearheads of:
Bleddyn ap Maenarch (d.1093), ruler of Brycheiniog (Breconshire) (North Wales version). Descent through Einion Sais to Lewis Gwyn, father-in-law of David Lloyd Blayney, also to Elizabeth, John's wife. Scott claims this shield was of Caradoc Freichfras. [Siddon's shield 3]

The wolf, with mouth pierced by an arrow of:
Bleddyn ap Maenarch (d.1093), ruler of Brycheiniog. The South Wales version includes claim further back to Caradog Freichfras (Strong Arm) aka Earl of Hereford, a Welsh King around 420AD and claimed Knight of the Round Table. [Siddon's shield 5]

The fleur-de-lys of:
Collwyn ap Tango (1055) Lord of Evionedd (Eifionydd), founder of a Royal Tribe and ancestor of Rhys ap Jenkin, father of Joan Ddu, the grandmother of Lewis Gwyn, father of Elisabeth, wife of David Lloyd Blayney. [Siddon's shield 8]

A lion rampant crowned of:
Coel Hen Godebog, King of Northern Britain (~360), father of both Gwawl (b~384), ancestor of John's via his mother Elizabeth Gwyn and St Ceneu, King of Northern Britain b~382 ancestor of Arddyn, wife of Brochfael Yagythrog. [Siddon's shield 9]

The three eagles of:
Owain (Owen) Gwenedd, Prince of North Wales (d.1170), grandfather of LLlywelyn the Great. Blayneys trace descent through the wife of Meilir Gryg, Dyddgu, the grandaughter of Owen Gwynedd, Prince of Gwynedd.
[Siddon's shield 10]

The three lioncels of:
Sir Richard Herbert of Montgomery (1468/70-1539) was the father of Margeret (aka Dorothy Herbert), the second wife of Thomas Blayney, the gr-grandfather of John Blayney. [Siddon's shield 3]

The bird on a wheat-sheaf of:
Thomas Vaughan of Tyle Glas, married Margaret, dau & coheir of Sir John Herle. Thomas & Margaret's gr-gr-grandaughter Gwenllian married Thomas, the gr-grandfather of John Blayney (see Gwenthlean Herle). [Siddon's shield 2]

The red hand in a dragon's mouth of:
Rhys Goch of Ystradyw [no previous known connection to the Blayneys but I have found one! See comment 1] or of Tegau Eurfron, wife of above mentioned Caradog Freichfras. Tegau was the heroine of the "chasity test" at King Arthur's court [335] or of Phylip Hir. [Siddon's shield 7]

Comment 1: Goch descent to Blayneys

The following descent is to Dafydd `Gam' ap LLEWELYN, a known ancestor of the Blayneys - [650]

1 Rhys GOCH ap MAENARCH [Lord (Arglwydd) of YSTRADYW (YSTRADWY)]
  (the red haired)
 + Joan ferch CADWGAN  
  2 Gwladus (Gladice) ferch RHYS GOCH
   + Ynyr Vychan ap MEURIG 
    3 Jonet ferch YNYR
     + Madog ap IESTYN 
      4 Hywel ap MADOG
       + Mawd ferch GRUFFUDD (ap IFOR BACH) 
        5 Cynwrig ap HYWEL
         + Angharad ferch LEWYS 
          6 Hywel GOCH ap CYNWRIG
           + ___
            7 Meurig (of RADUR) ap HYWELL
             + Crisli ferch ADAM FYCHAN 
              8 Dafydd (of RADUR) ap MEURIG
               + Efa (Ela) ferch HOPKIN 
                9 Gwladys ferch DAFYDD
                 + Ieuan ap RHYS 
                  10 Mawd ferch IEUAN
                   + Llewelyn ap HYWEL Fychan
                    11 Dafydd `Gam' ap LLEWELYN

Back to other versions of the Blayney Coat of Arms.