Nicholas ap Gwrgant (DNB00)

NICHOLAS ap GWRGANT (d. 1183), bishop of Llandaff, succeeded Uchtryd in that see in 1148 (Brut y Tywysogion, Oxford edit. p. 315; Liber Landavensis, ed. Evans, p. 314). Some lists, indeed, interpose a Godfrey; but this is due to some confusion with Geoffrey of Monmouth, bishop of St. Asaph, who is erroneously mentioned in the ‘Brut’ as ‘Geffrei escob Llan Daf’ (p. 318). Nothing is known of the parentage of Nicholas, though Dr. Owen Pughe (Cambrian Biography) and others assume him to have been a brother of the chieftain Iestyn ap Gwrgant, who flourished about 1080; and Haddan and Stubbs (Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents, i. 387, 303) conjecture that he was the son of his predecessor, Urban (bishop of Llandaff 1107–34), a conjecture which rests upon the reading ‘Nicol uab Gwrgant escob’ in one manuscript of ‘Brut y Tywysogion’ (ed. Williams, p. 176), and upon the forms ‘Worgan’ and ‘Gwrfau’ assumed by Urban's name in various editions of the same chronicle (‘Brut y Saeson’ in Myvyrian Archaiology, 2nd edit. p. 669; ‘Gwentian Brut’ in Archæologia Cambrensis, 3rd ser. x. 88). Nicholas appears to have owed his promotion to Archbishop Theobald (Letters of Gilbert Foliot, xci.: ‘opus enim manuum vestrarum ipse est et plantatio vestra’). This did not prevent him, however, from showing much independence, and, according to the Gwentian ‘Brut,’ he had much influence both with the Norman conquerors of Glamorgan and their Welsh subjects. He carried on the old boundary dispute with the Bishops of Hereford and St. David's, but with no particular success. Politically he was a supporter of Henry II against Archbishop Thomas Becket, assenting to (though not actually present at) the coronation of Prince Henry in 1170, and incurring suspension in consequence. In 1177 he was again suspended by Archbishop Richard (d. 1184) [q. v.] for abetting the monks of Malmesbury in a contest with their diocesan, the Bishop of Salisbury. He died on 4 June 1183 (Annals of Margam, Rolls edit.)

[Brut y Tywysogion; Brut y Saeson; Gwentian Brut; Liber Landavensis, ed. Evans; Haddan and Stubbs's Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents, i. 351–87.]

J. E. L.