The Myddelton Wolf

The Myddelton coat of arms on the ceiling of the Long Gallery at Chirk Castle

The ‘Myddelton’ surname comes from the Fourteenth century marriage of Cecily Myddelton to Ririd, the Welsh nobleman who at that point took her English surname, but the Myddeltons of Chirk can trace their ancestry back to Rhirid ‘Flaidd’ (‘the wolf’) the Lord of Penllyn, Pennant and Bryn – all of which were in old Meirioneth.

This great lord was the founder of the fifteen noble families of North Wales, and was a contemporary of both King Henry II and King Richard I.

(They can in fact trace their lineage even further – perhaps even to c 825 AD, to Cunedda Wledig, the progenitor of the Kings of Gwynedd, and a well-known figure in Wales after the Roman occupation. His name was recorded on the ancient monument known locally as ‘Eliseg’s Pillar’ which may be found near to the abbey of Valle Crucis, in Llangollen.)

The appellation ‘Blaidd’ (wolf) was inherited by Rhirid from his maternal grandmother, Haer, herself the granddaughter of ‘Cillyn y Blaidd Rhudd’  - or ‘Cillyn the Bloody Wolf’. She was also related to Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, the King of Powys.

Rhirid married Gwenllian, Ferch Howel, with whom he had one son, and settled in the lands of Mochnant and Penrhyn, Pennant Melangell and Rhinwaedog – as well as taking over his grandmother’s lands.

It is from this ancient lineage that the present day Myddeltons derive their position in Wales.

The head of the wolf, symbolising ‘Rhirid Flaidd’ the root of the ‘fifteen noble families’ of North Wales, stands above the portcullis at Chirk Castle, greeting our visitors and declaring the origins of the family with which the castle was associated, from 1595.