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Who is Sir David Mathew and What is His Importance to Lord of Columbia?

Sir David Mathew

Todd Matthews, Sir David Mathew. A family line that extends over six centuries. Yes, the man known more as David ap Mathew is said to have become the founder of the modern-day Matthews line, and all variations of such a line. Such a real-life cavalier inspired perhaps the most mysterious and exciting character in both Lord of Columbia and Neo Skyehawk.

In fact, David ap Mathew was my primary influence for the character David ap Santos, who is mentioned in every single Lord of Columbia and Neo Skyehawk story, despite the fact he had never appeared as a character in either series.

While David ap Santos is merely mentioned, he plays perhaps one of the most important roles in both series, which will become apparent soon, as the mentioned character comes into his own. The reader will get to know David ap Santos, but to get an idea on David, let’s have a look at the man who inspired the character.

David ap Mathew’s Biography

Born in 1400 as Daffydd ap Mathew, was a Welsh Knight. His titles included Lord of Llandaff, and Seneschal of Llandaff Cathedral. He was also one of the ten great barons of Glamorgan as well as a Marcher Lord.

In the New World, he was the three-times removed great uncle of Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Mathews, one of the first Commonwealth Governors of Virginia.

The son of Mathew ap Leuan, Sir David was given a grant of 2,232 acres of land from King Henry VI near St. Fagans and at Pentyrch, both locations residing just outside Cardiff, Wales.

A physically imposing man, he was said to have stood at six feet, eight inches, a very unusual height for the age. He displayed extraordinary prowess and daring on the battlefield, including saving the life of King Edward IV at the Battle of Towton on Palm Sunday, 1461.

In 1480, he restored the shrine of Saint Teilo and was presented with St. Teilo’s skull to become a family heirloom, which was preserved until 1658.

It is believed that David ap Mathew was murdered in an altercation in 1484. He was 84 at the time of his death, an age as unusual as his height in the fifteenth century.

David’s story can be read in further detail in Dr. Garner Scott Odell’s book ‘Sir David, the Life and Loves of a Welsh Knight, which was published back in 2003.


David ap Mathew’s Influence Behind David ap Santos

Yes, the two are the same men, just in two different worlds. Of course, David ap Santos plays a role in both Lord of Columbia and Neo Skyehawk, with the roles increasing with each work.

As mentioned earlier, David ap Santos is simply mentioned in the first few books of each series. In Lord of Columbia, he is remembered for holding the same types of roles as his real-life counterpart. In Neo Skyehawk, David is the infant son of Santo ap Leuan and his wife, Llewellyn, the former being a distinguished Knight himself and staunch defender of Ddraigoch national sovereignty.


What I Will Tell You About David ap Santos

David ap Santos Story
Coming Soon, Fighting the Great Plan, Part II: The David ap Santos Story

So, I’ve handed out several clues both in this article as well as in the books as to who David ap Santos is and will become. This is far less climactic in the Neo Skyehawk Series, which will give the reader a far greater understanding and background unlike those who skip directly to reading Northern Knights.

We know that David ap Santos’ descendants settled in the New World, much like David ap Mathew’s descendants.

We also know Santos Complex was named after David by his descendant, George Santos, one of the first people to have landed in the New World. Santos christened the nickname of the Complex as the Knights, a nod to his ancestor’s occupation after briefly considering the names Lords, Cavaliers, and Red Dragons.

Why is David ap Santos’ Story So Unique?

I decided to tell a story within the Neo Skyehawk Series where David ap Santos is the lead character simply because he had been mentioned so many times without a speaking role that I felt it appropriate to tell his story rather than simply bits and pieces, which will be available in the coming months along with the fourth episode in the Neo Skyehawk Series, Fighting the High Seas.

David ap Santos is mentioned in Northern Knights, Swords of Destiny, Missing in Columbia, Fighting Tyranny, Fighting Treason, Fighting the Great Plan Part I, and Fighting the High Seas.

For those who’ve read both series, it’s about time Sir David ap Santos has his story released to the world, where the reader will find, upon reading both his story and each book in Lord of Columbia and Neo Skyehawk.


Real Life Inspiration

My Neo Skyehawk Series page tells readers that I love drawing influence from real-life inspiration. Some have misinterpreted this as placing fictional characters and places into real-life world history, which would technically qualify as historical fiction.

Instead, I use real-life places, people, and events as inspiration for my own series. For instance, I’ve always stated the Nation of Ddraigoch is a fictionalized version of Wales in the fictional world of Gaia. The same goes for David ap Santos plus an array of characters in both Lord of Columbia and Neo Skyehawk.

They all have direct real-life correlations, but the stories, world, and characters are entirely fictional, simply based on real people, places, and events.

I will attest to you all that this story is arguably the toughest one I’ve worked on, just getting the plot elements correct in an effort to make the work believable to my readers. It’s certainly taken a few drafts to see where I really wanted to go with David ap Santos’ story.

Not only do I need to make the events leading up to his own biography believable, but it was also necessary to ensure the plot fit smoothly with the Lord of Columbia Series. David’s story is the bridge between the two series, and its uniqueness links Lord of Columbia with Neo Skyehawk.

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  1. Another well written and informative article and your style leaves me wanting more I believe I shall give your stories a good read. Basing stories on real life people yet turning them out as fiction takes a lot of skill. Well done

    • Thanks, Geeard! I hope you like my works and yes, I had to do some research on Sir David to make sure he and David ap Santos matched in many ways, but still held unique to their own person/character.

  2. LerakinzLerakinz

    This is amazing. Quite informative and having a good historical background story for the series. So I was wondering, is it a series movie or a book? I love reading books but i am more than a fan of tv. Is the series already out in the market I will love to enjoy it.
    The truth is I love series of this nature. I usually go for series that have historical fiction or real life with the kind of setting of game of thrones, atlantis, the 300 (movie). I sure will love to try this out too even in the new world setting.

    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      Hi, Lera! It’s a book, but who knows what can happen years down the road! I’m the same way. There has to be some sort of real life inspiration behind each work I follow, whether it’s people, places, politics, etc. 

  3. SaraSara

    Wow what creativity. Your really bring your characters to life and absorb yourself into them making it very easy for the reader to feel a part of the story. It appears you really put your readers in the time periods the stories take place and make it very real. I love how you take real life to paint the pictures of your books. It should leave one just wanting more and not getting much sleep staying awake reading them. Thank you for sharing your great talent, it is truly an art form.

    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      Thank you, Sara! My goal here is to always make my work easy and exciting for the readers and make them a partner when reading my work rather than just one reading the work from a distance. These days, readers crave this method and I’m glad to be on board. 

  4. I was drawn in by your title, then the image of the historical man. Is this Daffydd?
    How do you write your craft? I’m mesmerized.
    I like that your inspiration comes from real life historical figures and David ap Mathews biography. Then I find that your have a series, not just of Lord of Colombia but also of Neo Skyehawk.
    Pleasingly Davids story is the bridge between the two series.
    Next week when the public holiday is over I’m going to find out if my library holds you books & if not, make a request for them to purchase them.

    • Hi, Honor. Yes, this is Daffydd, but translated it simply comes out to David. I tend to draw inspiration from real-life and transfer it into the text. It provides a true meaning behind my works rather than just creating just for the sake of creation. It’s all in personal preference, though. David is the bridge and within a few months’ time, the reader will find out and understand the bridge here. As they go through the whole series or even both series, they’ll find huge significance behind the character known as David ap Santos.

  5. JukkaJukka

    I love the fact that you have thought out the characters and their stories before hand and show bits and pieces here and there. I like the idea of using the same character in two different worlds, this implies the character has a significant symbolic value to the writer and the worlds he’s created. The real question is, does Sir David Mathew have a real historical counterpart in your own bloodline Todd? Does he symbolize you, the creator, in the books?

    • Sir David Mathew is the real one, but I can’t prove whether he’s in my own bloodline or not. I do know that my Matthews line migrated from Normandy to the British Isles in 1066 with William the Conquerer. They spread throughout Wales, England and into Scotland over the next seven centuries, and from there they emigrated to Colonial America sometime before 1764, as my ancestor George Matthews was born in the Maryland colony in that year, before ultimately migrating to the Virginia colony near the Ohio River which became West Virginia. If my lineage that migrated in this direction is related to Sir David, he’s indeed an ancestor. Kind of a brief family history dating back to the 11th century!

  6. JosieJosie

    You’ve got me completely intrigued as to how you wrote the previous books, having David ap Santos only mentioned a number of times without actually having a role, but being a primary influence to the story line! I think that shows a lot of talent as a writer, and I’m excited by the passion you hold towards your story lines. I’d better start reading fast, so I can be ready for the new book when it comes out!

    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      Hi, Josie! It kind of gives the character a sense of mystery. Especially if the reader reads both Lord of Columbia and Neo Skyehawk, the sense of mystery grows each time the character is mentioned. Readers will be able to pick up bits and pieces of David ap Santos as they make their way through both series, but his own story will allow the works to come together as one. 

  7. Bold site nice colors and good reading.

    Bit-able reading paragraphs, goo subheadings to draws the reader’s attention
    content is very informative and follows well.

    I would make the Photos, in particular, heading less in your face, and text size maybe 12 Ariel.

    I like the site it’s very refreshing, and attractive to the eyes.

  8. MarkMark

    This sounds like a very interesting story and right up my alley. I enjoy reading history, historical fiction and science fiction. What’s unique about this is that when you mention that you take historical characters and place characters just like them into fictional settings. This kind of makes me think of parallel universes, alternate dimensions and such. Sounds like something I’d like to read and definitely something different from the usual fare.

    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      I wouldn’t necessarily state historical characters, but definitely characters who are inspired by historical characters, as is the case of David ap Santos, being almost a carbon copy of his real-life counterpart. 

  9. GomerGomer

    I honestly admit that I am new to reading fictions and classics like this so I wanna ask what does the word written in lower-case mean, the “ap” word? 

    I got plenty of free time now to spend reading on works like this. What I used to read in the past are books dealing with financials, and you can easily guess how boring those books are compared to these. I will check back here from time to time for more exciting stuffs. Keep us constantly excited!

    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      Hi, Gomer, the lowercase ‘ap’ means ‘son of’ in Welsh. In these works, you’ll see the word ‘ach’ which basically means ‘daughter of.’ And yes, I’ve been there before, way back when I was in school! Not fun, not fun. 

  10. Since stumbling across this page I want to read more about David ap Mathew’s inspirational character. The real character sounds quite interesting too – 6’8″ tall and lived to be 84 years old and combat too! This series of books would make a very nice gift for someone I know that loves fictional books based in this time period and setting. Interesting how you come up with your characters.

    • Thanks, Suzanne! Yes, I’ve drawn my inspiration from many, including historical figures, people from my own life, and still other characters are amalgams of several individuals. For plots, I draw most inspiration from other books, but also TV and movies as well, taking some elements that I loved while reading or watching.

  11. MatteoMatteo

    Hi Todd!

    This is a really interesting read. Do you know the tv-show Vikings? It reminds me of how meaningful a story can become when you take real historical figures and set them into an epic story. 

    Now I actually want to find out more about David ap Mathews… And Santos of course! Is there any specific reason you chose to form story around Mathews? (Apart that he was a beast of a warrior of course :D)

    Keep up the good work! This is definitely a nice outlet to nerd out. 

    All the best,


    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      Hi, Matteo. I have heard of the show Vikings but never got around to watching it just yet, but it’s up my alley for sure as I’m obsessed with the old Viking culture. David ap Mathew is a potential ancestor of mine, hence my last name. But there’s more evidence in the fact that I’m of Welsh descent and his descendants migrated to the United States during the colonial era. If only I can prove this beyond simple speculation, it’d be a big win. 

  12. Babsie WagnerBabsie Wagner

    Wow, it’s so interesting that you have laid out the entire lineage and history of Sir David Mathew, in this post!  I didn’t realize that David Mathew was the primary influence for the character David Santos, and I didn’t know that he is mentioned in every single Lord of Columbia and Neo Skyehawk story.  He is an extremely important character, for sure.  Thanks for spelling it all out.

    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      Yep, definitely mentioned in passing in each, but he’s easy to miss as well. He’s mentioned more in-depth when one reads over Neo Skyehawk since he lives in that time period and as stated in the article, will play a vital role in the work. 

      • BabsBabs

        It’s so awesome to get the “inside” story from you on this series! I love it!

        • More to come, Babsie, just wait! I’m just getting the ball rolling.

  13. MariahMariah

    I have always enjoyed historical fiction. As you said in your article it is putting made-up people into real-world historical events. I think that what you have done here is almost exactly the opposite of that. Taking a real-world person and placing him in a fictional world with fictional events. It is an intriguing concept and one that your article has made me desire to explore further. 

    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      Good catch, Mariah, that’s a definite truth. I like to think of my work as being inspired by real-life history, so there’s definitely a correlation when it comes to me sneaking in real-life characters under different names into a historical world much like our own! 

  14. ShannonShannon

    Very interesting stuff! I have to admit, I have never read any of the series you mention here but this article has intrigued me and my curiosity has been poked. Thank you for opening my eyes to the world of Sir David Mathew – I now have an appreciation for both his real life and fictional background. I will check out the series, thanks so much!

    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      Thanks, Shannon! Yes, he’s quite the prototypical hero, even in the real world. To stand at 6’8 in the Middle Ages is just unheard of, but it really correlates to how heroes are portrayed today. 

  15. For anybody to live past 80 is a real feat even today but over 500 years ago is amazing. I really like this intro to the character and the comparison to his real-life inspiration. It is well written and makes a good read on its own. But now I want to know more.

    • I agree. To live beyond 80 is amazing. To do so these days while maintaining a quality life is unheard of. I wouldn’t mind living past eighty, but I definitely want to keep my quality of life high.

  16. Nate MCNate MC

    This was a cool read, and I think it would be a bit of a rush to know that Sir David Mathew shares your bloodline lol.

    The way you create your own series kind of reminds me of what they did with the ‘Vikings’ TV series lol. They drew inspiration from real events, characters and what not.

    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      It would be a definite rush, that’s for sure. I did hear that about Vikings even if I didn’t get a chance to view the show yet, just with everything else going on I’ve had little time. But the fact they’ve drawn inspiration from actual historical events is intriguing, to say the least. 

  17. AlblueAlblue

    I can see that you’ve thought a lot when creating Sir David Matthew character. I’m also a writer, so I’ve been a bit curious about your process of creating character and placing their role to fit in the story. Do you mind to tell a bit how can you come up to create and determine the importance of non-main cast? Really appreciate for your answer here.

    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      Hi, Al, I put a lot of thought into this character than perhaps all others that are of minor status in the work. I usually have characters in the non-main cast act as important role players in the plot. For instance, I have a minor character in Neo Skyehawk named Meera, who is best friends with Seneca and serves as the Regent whenever Neo and Seneca are carrying out a mission. They’re usually either a) serving as a placeholder or b) providing background assistance to my main characters. The same can be said for Tai and Pooka, who always accompany Neo and Seneca but are rarely in the spotlight. 

  18. HenryHenry

    Hi! This is interesting. I have been acquainted with Wales history. And I find the inspiration for your character worthy of taking a closer look.

    David ap Mathew is an interesting character. And one of his impressive features is his height. I’ll bear that in mind when I come across the fictional character he inspired.

    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      When I saw he was 6’8 I was more than surprised since I admit I didn’t see that coming by a longshot. I really want to read his bio in detail when I get the chance and maybe even create an actual project on the character itself, or utilize another David ap Santos type of character based on Sir David Mathew. 

  19. PatPat


    This is a great post. How are you able to put all this information together? Sir David Mathew was a strong warrior and a defender as your post made me understand. How he saved the life of King Edward 1V at Towton on Palm Sunday was amazing. I really enjoy your post. Keep on the good work.

    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      Honestly, I start my search at Wikipedia for ideas then go from there. I’ll look for legitimate sources, verify them, and if I can make a story out of it, I’ll insert the character into my plot. 

  20. ClarissaClarissa

    Hi, once again awesome introduction to the character and how you based this fictional character with someone that once lived😊 Cant wait to start reading this series👌 It is like telling a real story in this series. Can you get this series on kindle books. Can not wait to post my review on the series. Cheers!


    • Todd MatthewsTodd Matthews

      Hi, Clarissa! As much as I’d love to get this on Kindle it’s going to be a process, since I have to fight Amazon to get them to release the work for free. So far, my consolation has been Prolific Works, which allows users to download works for free. I believe the mobi format that these books are available in can transfer to Kindle. If not, I’d recommend the PDF versions. 

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