RHYSE, Princess Nest Verch - I27848

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Princess Nest Verch RYHSE

Nest Verch Rhyse.png
Princess Nesta was a remarkable woman, she is sometimes referred to as the "mother of the Irish invasion" since her sons and her grandsons were the leaders of the invasion. She had, in the course of her eventful life, two lovers, two husbands, and many sons and daughters. Her father is quoted as saying that she had 10 children as a result of her matrimonial escapades, eight sons and two daughters, among them William FitzGerald de Windsor. Some years before she married Gerald FitzWalter, her father, Prince Rhyse ap Tewdwr Mawr; the fierce old Prince of South Wales, was fighting the English under Henry, (then the Prince and later King). Henry succeeded in taking the lovely Nesta as hostage. Gerald FitzWalter was the son of Walter FitzOtho. It would seem that Gerald, busily engaged in military business, could have had no peace about his wife, since she was clever as well beautiful, and every warrior seems to have fallen in love with her.

In 1095, Gerald led an expedition against the Welsh for his daughter of King Murrough in Marriage. He was the first of the Geraldine's (FitzGerald family) to set foot in Ireland, where they were later to rule like kings. Later, Arnulf joined in a rebellion against the King, was deprived of his estates and exiled in 1102. Then the King granted custody of Pembroke Castle to Gerald. Later, he was appointed president of the County of Pembrokeshire. Nesta Princess of Wales - Some of this information is borrowed from Robert M. Keating's website at: www.robertkeating.com Some of this information was taken from the book, Gerald of Wales 1146-1123 by Robert Barlett, published in 1982 by Clarendon Press, Oxford. Another source was the Glamorgan County History, volume III-The Middle Ages, edited by Glanmor Williams and published in 1971 by the University of Wales Press in Cardiff, Wales. Note: The prefix "ap" means son of and if it precedes a name that begins with a vowel it is written "ab." It appears that "ferch" or "verch" means daughter of. Glanmor Williams says "Morgan ab Athrwys, and eight century king of Glywysing, exercised dominion over Gwent and it is probable that the name Morannwg (or Gwlad Morgan), the land of Morgan, derives from this period." Glanmorgan is a county in Wales.

Caradog ap Gruffudd was killed in battle in the year 1081 and this established Rhys ap Tewdwr as king of Deheubarth. The daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr was Nest or Nesta, princess of Wales. Rhys ap Tewdwr died at the conquest of Glamorgan probably occurred at this same time. Nesta became the mother and grandmother of Norman-Welsh Invaders of Ireland as she was the mother of the FitzGeralds who became known as the Geraldines of Ireland. In her time Nesta was known as the most beautiful woman in Wales. She had many lovers, and children from at least three fathers: Stephen the Castellan, Gerald FitzWalter and Henry I King of England. During Christmas of 1108 Owain ap Cadwgan of Cardigan came to visit Gerald and Nesta. He so lusted after her that he attacked the castle and carried her off and had his way with her. This upset Henry I so much that the incident started a war.

Nesta had been concubine to King Henry I, and was mother by him to Henry, whose two sons, Meiler and Robert Fitz-Henry were adventurers under Strongbow. She had also been married to Stephen, Constable of the Castles of Cardigan and Pembroke, by whom she had Robert Fitz-Stephen, an adventurer likewise under the Earl of Pembroke (to whom and Miles de Cogan, King Henry the II gave the Kingdom of Cork) and by his sons, Ralph and Mereduk, was progenitor of the Fitz-Stephens in Ireland. Gerald married Nest (sometimes spelled Nesta) the daughter of Rhys ap Tewdyr. The marriage may have been arranged by the two rulers, since Gerald was Constable of Pembroke Castle at the time. Gerald had four children by Nest, and she had five more children, out of wedlock, by various fathers, including Henry fitz Roy, by Henry I.

She was called "Helen of Troy of Wales." Nesta's children and their descendants constituted a menace to the English rule of Wales. Royal Welsh blood mingled with the blood of the nobles of Normandy in all the half-brothers, sons of Gerald of Winsor and Stephen of Cardigan. Bastard or legitimate, they were turbulent princes in a troubled land. Now fighting the Welsh natives, now allying themselves with their cousin, Nesta's brother Gruffuyd, the unconquered Prince of Wales, on whose head Henry had set "a mountain of god," they remained a constant source of trouble to the King, an ever-present threat to his security.