The Kings and Princes.
(Names of Ancestors of the Yales are in Capitals. Note the pedigree numbers.)
Wales of to-day represents and for many centuries past has rep-resented, in its people, language and customs, what remains of ancient Britain and the Brittones or Britons (British). The British Isles (Great Britain and Ireland) were first peopled by an Aboriginal race, perhaps the Picts, then came the Goidels in the sixth century before the Christian era, or before; a branch of the Celts of the Aryan race, who spread over perhaps most of what is now England, and Scotland, before they were pressed and attacked by the Brythons or Britons, who came in about the a second century before Christ. The Brythons were another branch of the Celts, speaking a different yet related language and having customs and usages not known to the Goidels. The language of the Goidelic, is represented at this time by the Gaelic of Ireland, of the Isle of Man and of Scotland, while the Brythonic is now represented by the Welsh. The British tribes called Silures, Dimette and Ordovices were of Goidelic or Brythonic Stock.
These early Celtic tribes had a long line of British Kings who were very important in their day, both before and after the coming of the Romans to Britain. Julius Cesar led the Romans in their first invasions in the years 55 and 54 B. C. and in the year 43 A. D., they began an aggressive campaign which resulted finally about the year 78 A. D. in Roman supremacy throughout the greater part of Britain. The Romans governed the country and protected the inhabitants from other invaders in their accustomed aggressive way. They built, about the
year 120 A. D., a wall from the Solway to the Tyne, called "Hadrian's Wall," after Emperor Hadrian; and about the year 143 his successor built a turf wall from the Clyde to the Forth, which was rebuilt in masonry in 208 by the Emperor Severus. These walls were constructed for protection against the warlike tribes in the North. The civil administration of Roman Britain was practically subordinate to the military system. The head of the civil organization was called, Vicar of the Britannias (Vicarius Britanniarum). The military command was distributed as follows: the Count of Britain, who had command of a body of troops not fixed to any particular locality; The General or Duke of Britain (Dux Britanniarum) or (Dux Britannia) who had command of the troops on the Wall and in the country south of it to the Humber; and the Count of the Saxon Shore, who had charge of the south east part of the island. Britain was treated as a single Roman province until the year 210. when Severus divided it into two, called Lower and Upper Britain. In 297,Diocletian divided it into four provinces and in 369 a fifth was made, called Valentia.
The affairs of the Roman Empire required, finally, early in the fifth century, the support of all her legions at home, and in the year 410, the Roman troops and Roman authority were withdrawn from Britain and the Emperor of Rome concerned himself no more with the affairs of the island.
After the departure of the Romans the inhabitants seem to have maintained a more or less successful resistance against the ravages of the Picts and Scots of the North, but according to the Saxon narrative, they were finally induced to seek the aid of the Saxons, to repel these ferocious Northern neighbors, and three ships with 1600 men were sent to them under the command of the Saxon brothers Hengest and Horsa, about the year 449. A complete victory was soon obtained against the foe and then the Saxons turned their arms against the Britons; thus commencing the Saxon conquest of Britain, which was bitterly contested for more than 150 years. The Saxons were aided by other Teutonic (German) tribes, the Angles (English) and lutes, and finally in this period named, gained supremacy over all of Britain except Strathclyde, (a medieval British Kingdom comprising parts of Southwestern Scotland and Northwestern England), Wales and West Wales, (Cornwall). The resistance of the Britons was determined, tenacious and heroic, bitterly contesting every foot and every inch to the last extremity, with a ferocious and aggressive foe, undoubtedly greatly superior in numbers as well as in equipment. The Saxon conquest of Britain was different, or had different results, than that of any other conquest known to history. In other conquests a considerable portion of the conquered people have remained with the land and become assimilated by the conquerors, but with these Britons it was not so; when finally compelled to yield to the force of arms, practically the entire population left their homes and the land and retreated with their fighting men, leaving to the conquerors uninhabited and also, no doubt, devastated territory. These results of the struggle account for the fact that the population of England offers no evidence, generally speaking, of the assimilation of Celtic blood, while the population of Wales, to which the Britons were mainly finally driven, is predominately British (Celtic). The term "Brittones" yields in Welsh the name "Brython," a "Briton or Welshman."
As before indicated, the portions of Britain as yet unconquered by the end of the sixth century, or about the year 600, comprised the entire western part of the island, from the river Clyde in Scotland, to the English Channel; this territory being represented by Strathclyde, afterwards called Cumbria, a Cymric (British) Kingdom, the Kingdom or Principality of Wales and West Wales (now Cornwall); and as will be seen by reference to current maps, it comprised, in addition to all of Wales of the present day, and all of England on the Western and Southwestern coasts, a large part of Southwestern Scotland as well.
This large remaining British territory was not however intact as late as the year 600, as the Britons of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Gloucester, had been permanently severed from the Britons of what is now Wales, by the Saxon victory at the battle of Deorham in the year 577.
The desperate struggle continued, the Saxons, Engles (Angles, or Englishmen) and Jutes were met by courage and valor equal to their own, no territory was given up by the Briton or gained by the conqueror, until the price had been paid in the blood of the contestants. As each bit of ground was torn away by the stranger, the Briton sullenly withdrew from it, only to turn and fight doggedly for another.
The next event of great historical importance was the battle of Chester in 616, (the date given by Saxon writers is 607, but 616 seems more likely correct, according to Celtic authority.) At this battle 2000 British monks,
from Bangor Icoed Monastry, who stood apart from their army, with arms outstretched in prayer, were ruthlessly slaughtered by the English or Saxons, under .thelfrith. This victory of the English was complete, and by the fall of Chester, which stood at the juncture of the British Kingdoms of Wales and Cumbria, the Welsh were permanently cut off from their northern allies, and Britain as a single political body practically ceased to exist; the British territories of Wales, Cumbria and Cornwall, having been permanently segregated from each other by conquest.
Before proceeding further with the narrative it is best to deal briefly with the political organization of the Britons after the departure of the i
Romans. It seems likely that they must have for a time endeavored to maintain the offices of authority to which they had been accustomed for several centuries under Roman domination; however, it is probable that the actual government was administered mainly by a number of sub-kings or princes, over their respective tribes. It is definitely known, however, that sometime after the Romans left, the Britons in the western portions of the island, comprising Cumbria, Wales and perhaps Cornwall and other sections, from the Clyde in the North to the English Channel on the South. organized themselves into some sort of a confederation known as the "Cymry." It is impossible to state when the national life of the Cymry began, but its inception was no doubt partly due to the assumption of the authority of the Brythons over the Goidels and partly to the necessity of organization of these two branches of Celts to withstand the encroachments of the Saxons, Angles and Jutes. At any rate they considered themselves collectively as one nation, from the time they recognized the term Cymry and acknowledged the over-lordship of a king or ruler who was called the "Gwledig-, " and whose office, or dignity, was sooner or later known as the "Crown of Britain." The authority of the gwledig appears to have been partly based upon his claim to be the successor of the Roman officer called the Dux Britanniarum, and partly on earlier tribal notions of political and military organization. In time the territory over which the confederation spread came to be called "Cymru" and the predominant language, "Cymraeg." However the national terms were "Britain" and "Britons," until the territory was finally reduced to the confines of Wales, and even much later; in fact until about 1135.
The word Cymro means "compatriot" and also "Welshman;" the plural being "Cymry."
As regards the rulers or kings in Britain subsequent to Roman occupation, the names of Vortigern and King Arthur are prominent in the English histories; the former in connection with the Hengest and Horsa narrative and the latter in connection with heroic exploits pertaining to the struggles of his countrymen with the Teutonic tribes. The Celtic authorities do not seem to disclose anything especially definite as to the careers of either of these characters, as regards the parts they took in actual events, or the territory over which they ruled.
In any event the earliest ruler of this British organization, or of the Cymry and of "Cymru" (the land of the Cymry) of which there is distinct evidence from Cymric sources, was (A 1) CUNEDA, whose name is well known to Welsh literature. In fact, the beginning of the history of the Cymric nation, as an independent political body, must be associated with the migration into North Wales of a Brythonic tribe, whose chief was this CUNEDA WLEDIG, (the ruler) and who established his rule over Wales, and united the Celtic tribes of the west of Britain into a kind of confederation under his leadership. This was soon after the Romans left Britain, perhaps about the year 415 A. D., and before the beginning of the Saxon or Teutonic conquest of Britain.
CUNEDA was the son of iEtern (lEternus), who was son of Patern Pesrut (Paternus of the Red Tunic). "The Red Tunic" probably had reference to the purple of office. Patern Pesrut was son of Tacit (Tacitus). CUNEDA'S ensign was a "Red Dragon," which came with the title of Dux Britannia , from the Romans, and it was the standard of the rulers of Britain and Wales for many centuries after him. The title Dux Brittonum afterwards became Rex Brittonum, or king. His wife was daughter of Coel Hen (Coel Godebog), who was of the line of ancient British Kings who ruled in Britain before the Romans came to the island. It seems certain that CUNEDA'S family were Christians and perhaps partly of Roman descent.
CUNEDA and his sons were no doubt the founders of the British or Cymric Nation, which arose after the Romans left Britain, and the inception of this national confederation of the British tribes under one ruler, was no doubt partly due to the necessity of such an organization to combat the encroachments of the Teutonic tribes which began, as before stated, about 449.
CUNEDA had held after the departure of the Romans, the title and authority of the Dux Britanniae, and this office seems to have represented the predominant military authority in the island. He was in immediate command of the troops on the Roman wall after the Romans went away, but later, in response to appeals from North Wales, he marched there with his troops and expelled the Goidels and Scots from that territory, and organized a government, which sooner or later spread its authority over all of Wales and other portions of Western Britain, comprising most if not all, of the western territory, from the English channel on the South to the River Clyde in the North.
The authority of CUNEDA as ruler (the "Crown of Britain") descended to his sons, and thus was founded a dynasty, which retained its sovereignty until the death of Llewelyn in 1282, a period of nearly 900 years; becoming one of the very oldest Royal families of western Europe. The rule of the family of CUNEDA no doubt continued over western Britain in the larger sense for a very long time, as his great great grandson (AS) MAELGWN, exercised sway over the whole of the country from the Firth of Forth to the Severn Sea, about the years 535 to 570, and the sovereignty of the family was not likely materially lessened until the battles of Doerham in 577 and of Chester in 616, and not finally reduced to the confines of Wales until the defeat and death of (A 10) King CAD-WALLON in 635 and in the defeat of his son (A 11) King CADWALADR THE BLESSED in the year 664. Anyway, Maelgwn's son (A6) RHUN, seems to have maintained the family prestige over the larger territory during his reign. CADWALADR is said to have been the last Cymric King (King of the Britons) to wear the "Crown of Britain," and this is no doubt true as regards sovereignty over the Cymry of Britain outside of Wales, for it is certain that after his defeat the authority of the descendants of CUNEDA, as rulers, did not extend beyond the borders of Wales, for any settled period of time. King CADWALLON, the father of CADWALADR, was great great great grandson of King Maelgwn cun), and the latter was, as before stated, great great grandson of CIINEDA.
From the death of CADWALADR in 664 to the death of Gruffvd ab Llewelyn in 1063, a period of about 400 years, the authentic history of Wales affords but few details pertaining to national events; the records seem to have preserved the names of a line of kings or princes, with only brief accounts of their deeds, consisting principally of battles and skirmishes with their English and Danish foes, and between their own tribes.
The Cymric nation in passing to the sons of CIINEDA, of which-There were nine, (some authorities say twelve) was divided into a number of Kingdoms or principalities and the Kingdom of North Wales (Gwyned), seemed from the earliest organization to have had a sort of over-lordship over the others. The King of Gwyned was also the King of the Cymric nation, when the Cymry first emerged into history, and also when Cymru territory covered practically all of Western Britain, from the Clyde in present day Scotland in the North, to the English Channel on the South; as well as afterwards, when the land of Cymru had been reduced to the boundaries of Wales. Therefore it will doubtless be understood that Wales consisted of a number of small kingdoms or principalities, each of which had its King or Prince, subject in a way, to the over-lordship of the King of Gwyned, who was by inheritance, the King of the Cymry and therefore of Wales. All of these Welsh Kings and princes, from the greatest to the smallest, owed their authority to their descent from CIINEDA, or by virtue of marriage to his descendants.
The quarrels of the Welsh rulers were numerous and frequent, also oftentimes sanguinary and certainly continued; as there were doubtless but few years free from civil strife, during the long period from CADWAL¬ADR'S death in the year 664, to the final extinction of Welsh independence in 1282, a stretch of 618 years. Who would say that there is not a probability that Welsh independence might have continued to the present day, had it not been for this weakening civil strife.
The ancient principal divisions of Wales were Gwyned, (North Wales) Powys (Mid-Wales), and South Wales (sometimes called Deheubarth). These three principal divisions were also sub-divided into small principalities or kingdoms, such as Mon, Powys Fadog, Dyfed, Gwent and others, each having its own king or prince. All of the rulers of these principal divisions and sub-divisions being, as before stated, according to the ancient theory of the government of the Cymric nation, subject to the over-lordship of the King of Gwyned. This authority was sometimes almost absolute, or at least quite definite, and at other times quite nominal, being in fact known almost only in theory, for sundry periods.
The Rulers of Gwyned immediately succeeding CADWALADR were, according to the most trustworthy evidence, successively, (A 12) IIITGUAL (also called Idwal Ywrch) who reigned until 720; (A 13) RHODRI MOL¬WYNOG (called King of the Britons), who died in 754; (A 14) KYNAN or CYNON (called also Conan Tindaethwy) who died in 817; (A 15) ESYLLHT (or Etthil) a daughter of Cynon, who married Merfyn Frych and reigned until the year 841; and their son (A 16) MERFYN FRITH (or Mermin), who died in battle with the English in 844. Then came Rotri, or (A 17) RHODRI MAWR, (RODERICK the Great). "Mawr" means in English "the Great." RuopRi was one of the greater rulers of Wales. He was the hereditary King of Gwyned, and in addition to whatever ancient authority this position held, he also became through his wife, daughter of Meurig ab Dyfnwal, King of Ceredigion, lord over part of South Wales, and through his grandmother Nest, ruler over Powys. He fought many battles with the Mercians and Danes, and in 877 he was slain in battle with the Saxons. He is said to have been absolute ruler over all of Wales and while he was descended from CIINEDA, it is also stated in Burke's Landed Gentry, page 1328, of 1906, that he was descended from Coel Godebog, 75th British King, and Beli Bawr, sovereign of Britain, and this is confirmed by the ancient pedigree herein, as well as by other authorities. After his death, three of his sons assumed authority over his possessions. His son (D 18) ANARAWD had North Wales, another son (A 18) CADELL, had South Wales and the third son Merfyn, had Powys. They were called "the three diademed princes."
Before continuing with the succession of events, it is best to state that Offa of Mercia, (King of one of the Saxon or English Kingdoms), in 757 to 776 and later, engaged in fierce contests with the Welsh, and about 776 built the famous Offa's dyke, a wall of earth, from about the estuary of the Dee to the mauth of the Wye; which was recognized for a time as the boundary line of Cymru. Also it is well to state at this time, that about the years 809-817, Ecgbryht the Saxon King, subdued the Cymric Kingdom of Cornwall, which had been separated from the Cymry of Wales in 577, by the battle of Doerham.
Returning to RHODRI'S successors: ANARAWD ruled in Gwyned for 38 years. His palace was at Aberfraw, Anglesey. He died in 915 and was succeeded by his son (D 19) IDWAL VOEL, whose wife was his cousin Avandreg, daughter of Merfyn, King of Powys. ANARAWD defeated the Saxons in a great battle near the Conway in 880.
CADELL, King of South Wales, or Deheubarth, whose palace was Castle Dinefwr or Dynevor, in Carmarthenshire, South Wales, died some years before his brother ANARAWD, about 907, and was succeeded by his son (A 19) BOWEL, afterwards called (A 19) BOWEL DA, (Howel "the Good.") There is no record of Merfyn's descendants retaining any claim to Powys. During the reigns of IDWAL and HOWEL almost universal peace prevailed in Wales. IDWAL was however killed in battle with the English in 943 and his cousin HOWEL DA, became his successor, as King of Gwyned; thus becoming the ruler over both North and South Wales and the "King of the Britons"; or putting it in another way, King of Cymru.
HOWEL DA was the law maker of Wales. The ancient Welsh laws were compiled by him and under his direction, about the years 942-950, He died in 950 after a long, peaceful and prosperous reign. He was a great and good king. His wife was Elen, daughter of Ioumare ab Hymeid, King of Dyfed.
Peace disappeared from Wales with the death of HOWEL DA, and for the next 113 years, until the death of Gruffyd ab Llewelyn in 1063, sanguinary strife with the English and Danes and between the Welsh princely families, was almost incessant. There was war at once between (A 20) OWAIN, Dyfnwal, Rhodri and Edwyn, the sons of HOWEL, on one side, and Ieuaf and lago the sons of Idwal Voel, on the other, for the possession of North Wales. HOWEL'S sons were defeated at a battle at Carno in 950 and Ieuaf and Iago assumed joint authority over Gwyned, setting aside the rights of an elder brother, (D 20), MEURIG ab IDWAL VoEL, whom they blinded and imprisoned. The sons of Howel however again invaded Gwyned in 954, but were a second time defeated in a battle at Llanrwst by the sons of Idwal, who in return then invaded South Wales, but were driven back with great slaughter.
BOWEL'S four sons, as will be understood, succeeded to the Kingdom of Deheubarth (South Wales), but lost whatever rights they had in North Wales, by defeat in the battles mentioned. Dyfnwal, Rhodri and Edwyn soon died (about the years 951-953) and (A 20) OWAIN ab HOWEL reigned alone until his death in 987 or 989. OWAIN'S long reign of about 37 years was not especially eventful; there were the usual raids of the Danes to contend against and some conflicts with the English; also some raids conducted by his sons (A 21) MAREDYD and (C 21) EINEON, for the extension of territory. He was succeeded in Deheubarth by his son (A 21) MAREDYD ab Owain.
In Gwyned the brothers Ieuaf and Iago had quarreled and Iago seized Ieuaf and caused him to be blinded and then hanged; but Ieuaf had a son Howel, who soon avenged his father's death by expelling Iago and taking possession of Gwyned himself in the year 972. Iago was captured by the Danes in 978 and nothing more is heard of him. This Howel ab Ieuaf, also called Howel Drwg, (meaning Howel the Bad) soon had to contest for his kingdom with Kystenin or Cystenin, a son of Iago, who was aided by Godfrey, son of Harold of England; but Howel defeated them at Hirbarth, and Kystenin was slain. In 984 Howel was killed by the "Saxons through treachery," He left two sons, Maig, who was killed in 985, and Cadwallon, who took possession of Gwyned, but he also was almost immediately defeated and killed in battle by MAREDYD ab OwAIN, King of Deheubarth. Thus again the Kingdoms of Deheubarth (South Wales) and Gwyned (North Wales) were united under one head; however MAREDYD'S rule over Gwyned seems to have been only nominal. It is stated that he also ruled in Powys by right of his mother, and he is placed by Caradog, an eminent Welsh authority, in the line of the kings or princes who ruled over all Wales. He was chiefly occupied in engagements with the Danes and in attacks on Gwyned and Morgannwg, and he fairly maintained in very disturbed times, the prestige of the house of HOWEL DA. He died a natural death in 998 or 999, leaving only one child, a daughter, (A 22) ANGHARAD, who married Llewelyn ab Seisyllt, and also later on, Cynfyn. The former by right of his wife, assumed the government of Deheubarth.
Returning to the affairs of Gwyned we find that (D 21) IDIVAL a son of Meurig, who was a son of IDWAL VOEL and brother of Ieuaf and Iago, had returned in 992 and claimed the Kingdom from MAREDYD ab OWATN, and was successful in a battle with Maredyd's sons in 993, whereby he wrested MAREDYD'S authority in North Wales from him and became king of that domain. He did not enjoy his success long, however, for he was killed, supposedly by the Danes, in 995. He left a young son (D 22) IAGO who was put aside for a time, but many years later finally became ruler over Gwyned.
Following the death of (D 21) IDwAL ab MEURXG, Cynan ab Howel and Aedan ab Blegored, also others, aspired to the rule of Gwyned.
Cynan was killed in battle in 1003 and Aedan and his four sons were killed in 1016 in a fight with Llewelyn ab Seisyllt, who as we have seen, was King of Deheubarth; and thus again these two kingdoms were brought under one ruler. With the reign of Llewelyn began a fresh growth of Cymric power, which attained its greatest development in the reign of his son Gruffyd ab Llewelyn. The English and Danes, who had harassed the Welsh for so many of the preceding years, were very busy with their own affairs in England at this time and the Cymry were therefore afforded some relief from their attacks, for a considerable period.
Furthermore, during this period, in 1016, Cnut the Dane, became King of England and he wisely exerted himself to promote trade and manufacturing, rather than war, and the incursions of the Danish marauders from the sea ceased entirely.
It is stated that Llewelyn also ruled over Powys, but it is not positively certain that he did, at any rate he was the ruler of both Gwyned and Deheubarth for a number of years, with great credit to himself, and during a period of prosperity among his people. There were two rebellions in South Wales during his reign, in 1019 and 1020, both of which were promptly subdued. Llewelyn died in 1023 at the height of his power. He left a son, Gruffyd, who took an important part in affairs later, but during the earlier years after Llewelyn's death, IAGO the son of IDWAL AB MEURIG, mentioned in a preceding paragraph, became ruler over Gwyned, and Deheubarth was seized by Rhyderch ab Iestyn. The latter was slain by Irish-Scots in 1031 or 1033 and Howel and Maredyd, sons of Edwin, who was son of Eineon, a grandson of HOWEL DA, took his place, and although the sons of Rhyderch revolted and a battle was fought a year later at Hiraethwy, they retained the kingdom. Meredyd however was soon afterwards killed in an obscure conflict, and Howel was left in sole possession of Deheubarth.
Some six years after these events, in the year 1037, Gruffyd ab Llewelyn, the young son of Llewelyn ab Seisyllt, who had however reached manhood, asserted his rights and attacked IAGO, King of Gwyned, and slew him and seized his kingdom; this attack, however, seems to have been incited by Iago having given protection to one Iestyn ab Gwrgant, who had ravished Arden, Gruffyd's cousin, a daughter of Robert ab Seisyllt, and then fled to him. Gruffyd immediately supplemented his assumption of rule over Gwyned with other aggressive campaigns and the Cymry suddenly developed, under his leadership, a military capacity and power which had not been displayed for centuries; and during his reign reached greater strength than had before been attained since Cad waladr. He united the forces of Wales under his leadership, after having brought the other Welsh Kingdoms under his rule, and became a factor of considerable importance in the affairs of the whole island, and a dangerous and powerful foe to the King of England. He led several campaigns into England; the first was into Mercia in 1039, where he defeated the English in a battle at Rhyd-y-Groes on the Severn, in which Edwine, brother of Earl Leofric of Mercia, was slain. Afterwards he formed an alliance with Earl Leofric and married his granddaughter, Ealdgyth, daughter of his son YElfgar, who in later years became the wife of Harold II. of England.
Gruffyd was on friendly terms with Edward the Confessor, King of England, and secured from him a grant of all the lands west of the Dee, that had formerly been possessed by the English.
In 1052 he again invaded England and fought a battle with "the landsmen as well as the Frenchmen of the Castle" in Hereford near Leominster, inflicting considerable loss on his enemies.
In 1055 his father-in-law, Yelfgar, Earl of Mercia, was outlawed and fled to Ireland, returning to Gruffyd in Wales with a fleet of eighteen ships, they invaded England at the head of a great force, defeated the English under Ralph the Earl, near Hereford, with great slaughter. Then took and burned Hereford and slew the priests who were in the church, retiring with much booty. Harold's son Godwine, was then made Earl in Ralph's place and a great English army was gathered; but Gruffyd evaded a conflict. Negotiations were then taken up between Harold and 2Elfgar and Gruffyd. 2Elfg-ar was in-lawed as Earl and Gruffyd gave up the lands West of the Dee, previously granted to him.
There was again some fighting between Gruffyd and the English in 1058, but in the main he remained quiet until after the death of 2Elfgar about 1062. It seems he must have given the English some trouble in the latter part of 1062, for Harold, (who in 1066 became the King of England), decided it seems, to attempt to crush this dangerous and formidable enemy. He attacked the chief palace of Gruffyd at Rhuddlan, near the end 1062; Gruffyd escaped by sea and Harold burned the place, with the remaining ships.
This event had an unfavorable effect upon Gruffyd's power and prestige, especially in South Wales; and it is evident that he had many enemies among the Welsh, who regarded him as an oppressor and tyrant.
Harold followed up his first success and in conjunction with his brother Tostig planned a campaign by both land and sea, Harold taking command of the fleet and Tostig of the land forces, They began this vigorous campaign early in the summer of 1063. The fleet left Bristol and sailed along the coast, landing at points where damage could be inflicted. The English land forces gave up their armor and fought much after the same fashion as the Welsh. No quarter was given and the fighting, while of the guerilla kind, was desperate and furious. The Welsh finally made a truce with Harold, and Gruffyd, it is stated by the chronicler, was slain in August 1063 by Welshmen, because "of the war he waged with Harold the Earl." It is also stated that the Welsh sentenced him to deposition.
Harold had been ruthless in his campaign against Gruffyd, but as soon as he had been disposed of he proceeded to dispose of the kingdom, by dividing it between two native Princes of Wales, who were half-brothers of Gruffyd: (A 23) BLEDYN AB CYNFYN and (B 23) RHIWALLON AB CYNFYN; however considerable portions, in the Vale of Clwyd, a part of Radnorshire, and a portion of Gwent, became from this time English possessions.
As stated, Gruffyd ab Llewelyn ab Seisyllt, who was defeated and slain in Harold's campaign, was a half-brother of BLEDYN and RHI¬WALLON, who succeeded to his kingdom. Their mother was ANGHARAD, daughter of MAREDYD AB OwAIN, (King of Wales) who first married Llewelyn ab Seisyllt and later also married Cynfyn.
The Battle of Senlac, or Hastings, in England, on Oct. 14, 1066, was an event of far reaching and widespread importance to England, and through the great changes which were wrought in the political and military affairs of England, by this decisive victory of the Normans under William the Conqueror, over the English, its results finally had great effect on the affairs of Wales. However, the Welsh and those who trace their ancestry to Welsh families, have good reason to note with pride, that while the Normans conquered England at almost a single stroke and practically by a single battle, it took them two hundred and sixteen years to conquer Wales; and it seems very likely they would not have succeeded even at the end of that long stretch of years, covering as it did, nearly two and one-fourth centuries, had they relied solely on military operations. The process finally adopted by the Normans for the subjugation of Wales was, both military and economic. It consisted of military campaigns of conquest, the building of strong castles for the quartering of garrisons within the territory, and the permanent settlement of their people on the lands adjacent to and protected by the castles ; also the inter-marriages of some of the Norman leaders, with members of the princely families of Wales, doubtless had some effect on the progress of events. There were so many castles built by the Normans and their followers that Wales finally became known as "the land of castles."
Harold, the English king who fell at the battle of Hastings, was the same Harold who bad defeated Gruffyd ab Llewelyn, as we have seen, in 1063, and the Welsh were probably, in general, pleased over his fall; however, they found later that the Normans were no better friends than he. Prior to the "Norman conquest" Wales had remained as a whole almost intact, and subject only, to the authority of the native kings and princes. It is true some fragments of Mid-Wales (Powys), had been wrested away by the English or Saxons, but in 1066 it was practically the same Wales, territorially and politically, that RODERICK THE GREAT (Rhodri Mawr) ruled over in 844. During this long interval there were several Welsh kings and princes who paid personal homage to the Saxon or English Kings and acknowledged their political superiority, for defensive purposes during the Danish incursions, and doubtless for other reasons, growing out of the wars between the rulers of England and the rulers of Wales; but at no time did these foreign kings have anything whatever to do with the government of Wales, or with its affairs as a separate and independent nation. Its independence as a nation had in no way been abridged, prior to 1066; except possibly by the victory of Harold over Gruffyd in 1063, and almost immediately after that event Harold handed the territory and government over to the native Welsh princes BLEDYN and RHIWALLON AB CYNFYN, with its independence practically unimpaired. It is well to state here that perhaps, the methods of the Normans were as a whole, no greater factor in the final overthrow of Welsh independence in 1282-1283, than the internal strife between the princely families of Wales and their following.
Returning to the internal affairs of Wales we find that BLEDYN and RHDVALLON, to whom Harold had delivered the possessions of Gruffyd ab Llewelyn in 1063, combined with Eadric the Wild, who possessed lands in Herefordshire and Shropshire, England, and refused to submit to the new Norman King of England, "William the Conqueror." The allies laid waste the English lands of Eadric in 1067, although they did not capture the town of Hereford and its fortress, which was garrisoned by Normans. Immediately following there was internal war in Wales. Maredyd and Idwal (or Ithel), sons of Gruffyd ab Llewelyn, assailed BLEDYN and RHIWAILON. They met at Mechain and Idwal and RatWALLON fell in the battle and Meredyd fled and died of cold. BLEDYN survived and reigned over Powys and probably the most of Gwyned; but in some way he seems to have lost Deheubarth, as Maredyd ab Owain ab Edwin was the ruler there at this time. This Maredyd was attacked in 1070 by Caradog ab Gruffyd ab Rhyderch, who was aided by the Normans, and was defeated and slain on the banks of the Rymney.
In 1071 and 1072 the Normans raided Dyfed and Keredigion; probably in conjunction with Caradog ab Owain, who also fought a battle with Rhys ab Owain, who was likely his brother, in 1073; and this Rhys ab Owain and Rhyderch ab Caradog maintained themselves in Deheubarth.
In the meantime BLEDYN AB CYNFYN had remained in possession of Powys, and probably of a considerable part of Gwyned, and he is regarded by the chronicler as the man who, after Gruffyd his half-brother, "nobly supported the whole kingdom of the Britons"; "the gentlest and most merciful of kings," "a defense to every one." His reign was terminated in 1073, as he was killed in that year by Rhys ab Owain, "through the deceit of evil minded chieftains and the noblemen of Ystrad Tywi." He was succeeded in Gwyned by a cousin, Trahaiarn ab Caradog and Powys evidently fell to his sons.
Rhys ab Owain and Rhyderch ab Caradog, of Deheubarth, put down a rising under Goronwy and Llewelyn ab Cadwgn, in a battle at Karndwr, in 1073; and Rhys, after the murder of Rhyderch in 1074, defeated them again in 1075. But in 1076 Trahaiarn ab Caradog attacked Rhys ab Owain and decisively defeated him in the battle of Pwll Gwdyc, thus avenging the blood of BLEDYN ab CYNFYN. All of Rhy's family fell in this battle, but he escaped; however, before the end of the year he was killed by Gruffyd ab Caradog.
After the fall of Rhys ab Owain in 1076 his kinsman, (C 23) RHYS ab TEWDWR (Tudor), a lineal descendent of RHODRI MAWR, succeeded to the rule of Deheubarth, and for about fourteen years, was the leading chieftain in South Wales, and was the last one who can really be regarded as the sovereign king or prince, of the ancient kingdom of Deheubarth, (South Wales).
Returning again to Gwyned, where Trahaiarn ab Caradog was ruler for the time, we find that his authority was disputed. Many years before. (D 23) CYNAN, the son of IAGO and grandson or IDWAL, who came of the direct line of RHODRI MAWR, had taken refuge in Ireland and married RAGUELL, daughter of AULEOD, an Irish king. They had a son (A 24) GRUFFYD AB CYNAN, born about 1055. This son GRITFFYD,011 the death of BLEDYN AB CYNFYN, made a descent on Mon, in 1073, and with the aid of his Irish kinsmen effected a settlement there. Later on RHYS AB TEWDWR, of Deheubarth, joined him, and with reinforcements from Ireland, they attacked Trahaiarn ab Caradog and in battle at Mynyd Carn, in 1079, Trahaiarn the King- of Gwyned, was defeated and slain. Thus once more we have two princes, lineally descended from RHODRI MAWR ruling over Gwyned and Deheubarth, and the sons of BLEDYN AB CYNFYN ruled in Powys.
For a number of years following these events nothing of importance happened in Wales, William the Conqueror made an expedition into Welsh territory with an army in 1080 or 1081; and it is stated by some that he subdued the country, but as no apparent change occurred in the rule of RHYS AD TEWDWR, or of GRUFFYD AB CYNAN, the campaign certainly had no practical results; however, he and his army penetrated as far as St. Davids. William the Conqueror died in 1087 and during his reign of twenty-one years, no encroachment had been permanently made on Welsh territory, but he made some dispositions which later had much effect on Welsh affairs. He founded the palatine earldoms of Chester and Shrewsbury and made Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester, important military stations. A castle had been built at Rhuddlan by the Normans, where the Welsh had formerly had a seat of government, and also another was built at Montgomery, by (E2) ROGER DE MONTGOMERY, for whom it was named. ROGER DE MONTGOMERY also built the castle at Shrewsbury and was the first Earl of that name. The Castle at Cardiff was either completed, or in course of erection, when William died.
As will be seen by reference to current maps, the Welsh were practically hemmed in by these several Norman strongholds, just named.
William Rufus succeeded William the Conqueror on the throne of En-gland, and in 1088 there was a rebellion among the Normans by which the Welsh rulers profited to some extent. Robert of Rhuddlan and Hugh of Chester were opposed to each other in this contest, and GRUFFYD AB CYNAN, ruler in Gwyned seized the opportunity to invade Robert's territory. He advanced to Rhuddlan with his Irish allies, and slew many men and carried off many captives. Robert however attempted to retaliate and went to a castle at the mouth of the Conway, which had been erected by the Normans on the site of an old British stronghold, supposed to have been the seat of MAELGWN. GRUFFYD entered the Conway with three ships and raided the adjacent territory, carrying prisoners and cattle to his vessels. Robert sallied forth with his men and finally attended by only one knight, rushed to the shore, where he was surrounded and shot down by arrows and darts. His head was cut off and placed on the mast of one of the ships, but GRUFFYD ordered it down and thrown into the sea, and then sailed away with his booty.
About the time the above events were taking place, three sons of BLEDYN AB CYNFYN, from Powys: Madog, Cadwgan and Rhirid, expelled RITYS AB TEWDWR from Deheubarth. Rhys escaped to Ireland, but almost immediately returned with a fleet "of the Gwydyl" and gave battle to the sons of Bledyn at Lych Crei, in the same year (1088); Madog and Rhirid were killed, but Cadwgan escaped. Rhys was evidently wealthy, as the gifts to his Irish mercenaries were so large as to attract special attention. Although his defeat of the sons of Bledyn was decisive, he was soon engaged in other conflicts. It seems he attacked and defeated Llewelyn and Eineon, princes of Dyfed, at Landydoch; and then Eineon formed an alliance with Iestyn, Lord of Morgannwg and they, together with an army of Normans, whose aid they had enlisted, attacked RHYS AB TEWDWR and in a terrible battle, somewhere near the borders of Brecknockshire, in 1093, he was defeated and slain and as stated by the chronicler thus, "decaied the Kingdom of South Wales." The Brut also says, with his death the Kingdom of the Britons fell. He was certainly the last Welsh prince to rule over South Wales as a whole.
The conquest by the Normans in South Wales and also in other Welsh territory continued, Cardiff Castle was completed and served as a stronghold for them. Brecheiniog was invaded by Bernard de Neufmarch, who built a castle at Aberhondu (Brecon), in 1093. Robert Fitz-Hamon conquered Glamorgan, and a force of Normans in 1093-1094, under (E 3 ) ARNITLE DE MONTGOMERY, son of ROGER DE MONTGOMERY, invaded Dyfed and Keredigion and built a castle at Pembroke and confided the defense of it to (3) GERALD DE WINDSOR. During these years just noted, Earl Hugh of Chester had retained the Norman hold on Rhuddlan and Deganwy, and the Earl of Shrewsbury, ROGER DE MONTGOMERY, was busily engaged in extending Norman power over Powys.
In Gwyned, GREIFFYD AB CYNAN was during these times the recognized ruler, although nothing is heard of his deeds for several years after 1088, when, as will be recalled, he slew Robert of Rhuddlan on the Conway; however he was doubtless allied with Cadwgan ab Bledyn, in the years 1094-1099, in the efforts made to throw off the Norman yoke, although he is not specifically mentioned for some time after the beginning of the campaign.
The year 1094 saw the beginning of a general uprising of the Welsh, in an attempt to push the Normans back, and Cadwgan ab Bledyn, who as will be remembered, escaped, while his brothers were defeated and killed in a battle with, RUYS AB TEWDWR in 1088, was chosen as chief leader by the elders; as he was son of BLEDYN AB CYNFYN and nephew of Gruffyd ab Llewelyn ab Seisyllt.
The Welsh allies began the movement by an attack on the newly-made castles of the Normans in Gwyned and Mon, which resulted in their destruction or capture. The Normans made a counter expedition into Gwyned, but were defeated in the woods of Yspwys; and Cadwgan and his troops took the offensive and ravaged Chester, Shropshire and Herefordshire, burning towns, slaying many men and tarring off much booty. Having by these events freed Gwyned, the Welsh chieftains marched south into Keredigion and Dyfed. They demolished all the Norman fortresses except two. Pembroke held out under GERALD DE WINDSOR and William, son of Baldwin succeeded in retaining Rhyd y Gors.
It is said that Cadwgan brought all the people and all the cattle out of Dyfed, leaving Dyfed and Keredigion a desert.
For the present the work of the Normans seemed to have been undone; they had practically been cleared out of Wales. However in 1095 the Normans of Morgannwg made a fresh advance to the West and overran Gower, Kidweli and Ystrad Towi, and built several strong castles at Swansea, Kidwell, Longhor and Llanrhidian.
While the Normans were making the advances just named in the South, the Cymry of Powys, with probably the men of Gwyned, were fighting in the valley of the Severn, in England; where they took the important Norman castle of Tre Faldwin and killed the garrison. This latter event aroused King William Rufus, and he personally commanded an expedition into Wales, about the end of the year 1095; but the Welsh avoided a pitched battle with this large force and the Normans returned to England without having accomplished anything.
The Cymry were encouraged by the failure of the Norman King and in 1096 "threw off the Norman yoke" in Brecheiniog, Gwent, and Gwenllwg. They also took possession of the castle of Rhyd y Gors, which the garrison had deserted and which formerly had successfully resisted their efforts, and following this success, Uchtrud ab Edwin and Howel ab Goronwy, with many chieftains of the cenedl of Cadwgan, marched against Pembroke, the only great castle in the south which had withstood their previous attacks, and which as before, was in command of GERALD DE WINDSOR. They failed again to take this castle, but despoiled and ravaged the territory, taking away its cattle and immense booty.
While these events were taking place in the South there was also fighting in the North, and in the meantime the Normans sent an army into Gwent; but like the forces of William Rufus, it returned empty-handed, and was also cut off and defeated at Kelli Carnant. Soon afterwards a larger force was raised by the Normans, with the view of crushing the whole of the Welsh territory; but it met defeat also at Aberllech, by the sons of Idnerth ab Cadwgan.
So far the success of the Cymry, in pushing the Normans back and in regaining their territory, had been singularly great; they had almost entirely retrieved and annulled the Norman conquests begun by William the Conqueror, and had assumed control of about all the land which had been theirs before the Norman invasion. However, great reverses were soon to come, and the first Norman blow given to the new Cymric power which had been raised over Wales under the leadership of Cadwgan ab Bledyn, was by GERALD DE WINDSOR, who took the offensive early in 1097 and ravaged the land of Dyfed, up to the boundaries of the church of St David.
Following this event, King William Rufus determined to go to the aid of his lords in the west, and gathering an army soon after Easter, 1097, he entered Wales. Led by native guides, he penetrated far into the country, but with no practical results. He returned to England; but before mid-summer of the same year he again set forth with an army of cavalry and foot soldiers and for the third time, proceeded far into Wales, where he remained for some weeks, returning, however, to England sometime in August without accomplishing anything; losing, nevertheless, in the meantime many men and horses, also equipment, His three campaigns into Wales had been failures; he had not yet learned what experience had taught Harold in 1063: that cavalry, especially knights in armor, could do nothing against an enemy, lightly armed and on foot and who knew every inch of the country. The Normans, however, learned by these events, the lesson, which more than all others, had definite results in the final undoing of Welsh independence; and this was that castle-building could subdue territory, which to their armies had seemed impregnable.
Returning to the immediate events of the times, it seems that while King William Rufus himself had been unsuccessful with his armies, some of his earls and lords, following the success of GERALD DE WINDSOR, in the early part of 1097, which has been noted, made campaigns into Wales, which had far reaching and definite effects; and it seems too, that in the meantime, the internal strife and jealousies between the princely families, which had so many times before worked havoc with Welsh affairs, had been revived, and this combination brought a quick downfall of the results attained by the recent Welsh achievements.
The great border earls, Hugh the Fat, of Chester, and Hugh the Proud of Shrewsbury, (the eldest son and successor of ROGER DE MONTGOMERY), in 1098, made an expedition into Mon; Cadwgan ab Bledyn and GRUFFYD AB CYNAN, retreated into the strongest places and enlisted a fleet of Vikings in their service; but their defense was of no avail, and finally, for fear of their own men, they fled to Ireland. The earls and their followers treated the inhabitants of Mon with extreme cruelty; but Hugh the Proud was killed during this conquest by Magnus, a Prince or King of Norway.
In South Wales the Normans were equally successful, and with the slaying of Llewelyn, one of the sons of Cadwgan, in 1099, they achieved complete victory.
In 1099 Cadwgan and GRUFFYD returned from Ireland. The former made peace with the Normans and received Keredigion and part of
Powys. Gruffyd obtained possession of Mon, but whether by force or not is uncertain; at any rate he did not receive it by grant from the Norman King. Affairs remained in this position through the year 1100, during which time William Rufus was killed and Henry I. became King of England.
In 1101 the revolt of Robert de Belleme and his brother ARNULF DE MONTGOMERY (sons of ROGER DE MONTGOMERY) against King Henry I of England, had an important effect on the affairs of Wales. Robert de Belleme had become Earl of Shrewsbury, after his brother Hugh was killed by Magnus and he and Arnulf, espoused the cause of Robert, Duke of Normandy, who sought to oust Henry I. from the English throne.
Robert and ARNULF asked for the assistance of Cadwgan ab Bledyn and his brothers Iorwerth and (A 24) MAREDYD, whom they regarded as their vassals; and it seems in fact they then were, as Cadwgan was at this time, and since his return from Ireland, a feudal tenant of the Earl of Shrewsbury.
The Welsh princes repaired to Shrewsbury, where they were received "magnificently and honorably," and the earls made great promises of Welsh liberty. Cadwgan then called together, the host of the territories of the house of Bledyn, and together with the earls, achieved temporary successes. Henry I. however speedily laid siege to Bridgenarth, the principal castle of Robert, and at the same time, opened negotiations with Iorwerth, with the view of detaching the Welsh allies from the Norman Earls. He promised Iorwerth, during his own life (Henry's) Powys, Ceredigion, half of Dyfed, Ystrad Towi, Cidweli and Gower; if he would turn the Welsh against the earls. Iorwerth consented, without the know ledge of his brothers, and sent orders to the Welsh forces to turn against Robert, which they did, and thoroughly despoiled the territory of the earls, collecting immense booty. It seems that in the meantime ARNULF had gone to Ireland for aid; but before the end of the year, Robert was forced to submit, and he was allowed to cross over to Normandy. ARNULF remained in Ireland, where he had been negotiating with King Muircertach for reinforcements.
The Welsh princes quarreled after these events and Iorwerth seized and imprisoned MAREDYD, but agreed to give Cadwgan part of the lands promised to him by Henry I. The latter, however, refused to keep his bargain and imprisoned Iorwerth on a charge of treason, where he remained until 1109. Pembroke was given to one Saer, from whom it passed in 1104, to GERALD DE WINDSOR, who had held it for some years before for the king.
The Norman lords, in fact, retook or retained the fortresses which they had built, and Deheubarth and Powys not actually in Norman hands, was divided by Henry, between Howel ab Goronwy, (a grandson of Rays AB TEWDIVR), and the descendants of Bledyn. The former received Ystrad Towi, Cidweli and Gower, as fiefs from the king, and Cadwgan and other members of the cenedl of Bledyn, were confirmed in the possession of Ceredigion and parts of Powys, on terms of vassalage. In the North, GRUFFVD AB CYNAN still held Mon and parts of Gwyned on the mainland, independently of Henry.
As will be noted the Welsh princely families were at this time, with the exception of GRUFFYD AB CYNAN, in the position of tenants (in capiti) of Henry I.
Howel ab Goronwy did not long enjoy his possessions; he was at feud with the house of Bledyn, and was soon in trouble with Richard 'son of Baldwin, over Rhyd y Gors castle, which Howel claimed. He was expelled from his lands, but soon returned and slew many of the Normans; however through conspiracy in 1105, he was surrounded while asleep in the house of a supposed friend; his sword and spear were taken away before he awoke and his men at arms deserted. He was captured and beheaded and his possessions were divided among several Normans and Welshmen.
Cadwgan in 1108 was still in undisturbed possession of Ceredigion and parts of Powys, which he had received from Henry I., but his declining years were clouded in misfortune by the lawless acts of his son, Owain ab Cadwgan; whose first recorded feat was the slaying of the sons of Trahaiarn ab Caradog. His next adventure was an attack on Pembroke castle and the abduction of NEST (or Nesta) the wife of GER¬ALD DE WINDSOR. NEST Was daughter of RHYS AB TEWDWR, Prince of South Wales, and before her marriage to GERALD, had been mistress of Henry I., King of England. She was said to be the most beautiful woman of her time, and was called the, "Helen of Wales." The narrative of the event states that GERALD DE WINDSOR was still holding Pembroke in 1107, and he had deposited there, "all his riches, with his wife and heirs and all dear to him, and he fortified it with a ditch and a wall and a gateway with a lock to it." The next Christmas time Cadwgan made a feast in honor of God, at which Owain was present. The conversation turned upon the charms of NEST, and Owain, fired by the accounts of her beauty, paid a visit to Pembroke, and being received as her kinsman as in fact he was made the acquaintance of the lady. Soon afterwards, with a small band, he made a raid on the castle, set fire to the houses near it and forced an entrance. GERALD escaped, through the connivance of his wife, but Owain carried away NEST, as well as the children, and returned with them to his own land, taking also booty of the more usual kind.
Cadwgan, Owain's father, was greatly disturbed at such an outrage, against a man so high in the king's favor, and tried to induce his son to return to the great steward, his wife and the spoils, but in vain. The children were however sent back, but NEST herself was for the time detained.
GERALD DE WINDSOR had his revenge sometime later; however in the meantime, Richard, the King's steward at Shrewsbury, persuaded Ithel and Madog-, sons of Rhirid ab Bledyn. to capture Owain, or expel both him and Cadwgan. Owain fled to Ireland, and Cadwgan secretly went to a retreat in Powys, owned by his wife; while Ithel and Madog seized that part of Powys which Cadwgan had received from the king. Cadwgan soon made peace with the king and was allowed to return to Ceredigion, by promising to have nothing to do with Owain.
Owain returned to Powys and was joined by Madog ab Rhirid, who had quarreled with the Normans and together, with armed forces, they roamed the country, burning and robbing wherever they could.
Iorwerth ab Bledyn who had been imprisoned by the king in 1102, was now (1109) released, and he returned to his lands in Powys, where in the meantime Owain and Madog had made their headquarters.
Iorwerth tried to have them desist from their lawless course, but they scorned his request. They continued their depredations until the king took Cadwgan's lands and gave them to Gilbert, founder of the house of Clare, who built two castles in the region, and the king pensioned Cadwgan.
Dwain again retreated to Ireland, where Madog already was. Madog soon returned to Wales and to Iorwerth's lands. The latter treated him with scorn and he with Llewelyn ab Trahaiarn plotted to kill Iorwerth, which they did in 1110, with the aid of. Llewelyn's men, slaying him with their spears after a brave defense.
After Iorwerth's death the king gave Powys to Cadwgan; but he was also killed by Madog and his men.
MAREDYD AB BLEDYN, Cadwgan's brother, held his land until 0wain, Cadwgan's son, should return from Ireland.
Owain returned in 1110, and both he and Madog interviewed Henry, the King, and received grants of land, on giving pledges and promising "much money"; but the friendship between these princes had ceased, owing to the murder of Cadwgan by Madog. In 1112 Madog was taken prisoner by MAREDVD AB BLEDYN, who turned him over to Owain and he put out his eyes, but spared his life, and MAREDYD and Owain divided his lands between themselves.
GRUFFYD AB CYNAN was, during these events ruling in Gwyned and in 1114, he was accused by the Normans of various misdeeds, and about the same time Owain ab Cadwgan, was also accused of robberies. The King of England made an expedition into Wales. MAREDYD AB BLEDYN submitted at once, and GRUFFYD AB CYNAN made peace by paying a large tribute; Dwain ab Cadwgan also made terms with the king, and accompanied him in an honorable capacity on an expedition into Normandy.
The principality of Powys was now practically at an end, and about all of Cymru, except Gwyned, was divided between the Norman and Welsh lords, who came to be called "Lords-Marchers."
And now comes the end of Owain ab Cadwgan's stormy career. It seems that Rill's AB TEWDIVR, the last great Prince of South Wales, who fell in 1093, had left a young son, (C 24) GRUFFYD AB RHYS, who had been taken for safety to Ireland. He returned to Wales in 1112. He remained quiet until 1114, when, having learned that the English King Henry had designs on his life, he took refuge with GRUFFYD AB CYNAN in Gwyned. It is evident that the latent hopes of the Welsh people were now centered in this young prince, and for this reason, Henry desired to capture him. He is described in the "Brut" as "the light and strength and gentleness of the men of South Wales." GRUFFYD AB CYNAN promised, on the king's demand, to deliver him up; but GRUFFYD AB RHYS, hearing of this, fled south and collected a force in Ystrad Towi, and in 1116 was raiding in various directions in South Wales.
Owain ab Cadwgan, who was with the king, was commissioned, together with Lywarch ab Trahaiarn, to capture young Gruffyd ab Rhys. They promptly collected an army and proceeded to Ystrad Towi, harrying the country; the people fleeing before them, to Carmarthen. At this time also GERALD DE WINDSOR was marching with a force of Flemings, from Rhos, in Dyfed, towards Carmarthen ostensibly, also, with the intention of putting down GRUFFYD for the king, inasmuch as he was a Norman lord in the service of the king.
The people complained to GERALD about Owain, and when the two forces met, GERALD set his Flemings upon Owain's force. Owain met the assault bravely, but fell at the first discharge of arrows and was promptly dispatched.
While GERALD and Owain were both in the service of the king, it will be recalled that Owain, years before, had abducted GERALD'S wife, NEST, and perhaps this outrage was the incentive for Gerald's attack. Furthermore GRUFFYD AB RHYS, whom they were supposed to be trying to capture, was NEST'S brother and GERALD'S brother-in-law; so it seems to me very likely, that while not openly acting in defiance of the king's orders, GERALD was really marching to intercept Owain, in aid of GRUFFYD, and to avenge his own wrongs at the same time.
For some years longer MAREDYD AB BLEDYN and the remaining sons of Cadwgan ab Bledyn, upheld the claims of their cenedl, to the sovereignty of so much of Powys as was not in the hands of the Norman—English lords, and in 1121 they rose again against the foreigners, MAREDYD and his friends, appealed to GRUFEYD AB CYNAN, Prince of Gwyned, for help; but he prudently refused to join them against King Henry, who entered Wales with an "immense and cruel" army. There was at least one engagement, during which King Henry was struck on the breast-plate with an arrow, which glanced off and did not wound him; but he became greatly disconcerted and behaved with cowardice and entered into negotiations, which led to peace, and which, it seems, involved the submission to Henry's sovereignty, as before.
MAREDYD AB BLEDYN died in 1129 or 1130 and the "Brut" describes him as the "ornament, and safety, and defense of all Powys." The ruin of the house of BLEDYN was now complete, so far as sovereignty was concerned, and the possessions of the princely families in Powys and South Wales had dwindled to small areas. In Gwyned (North Wales) however, GRUFFYD AB CYNAN was in authority, as an independent sovereign, with the sole exception of acknowledging, personally, the superiority of the King of England; which did not carry with it any jurisdiction of the English royal court over his territory.
GRUFFYD AB CYNAN, Prince or King of North Wales died, in 1137 at the age of 82, and was interred on the South side of the altar. in Bangor Cathedral, having survived Henry I. of England by two years. GRUFFYD had assumed the monastic habit before his death. His long, prudent and wise reign, had built up the strength and importance of his kingdom during a very difficult period, and made North Wales the center of Welsh national life, and the eagerly sought refuge, of many Welshmen dispossessed elsewhere by the Normans. North Wales continued as an independent nation for 145 years after the death of GRUFFYD AB CYNAN. His ensign was, "gu, three lions, passant. in pale, arg., armed az."
GRUFFYD left several sons. His son OWAFX (usually called (D 25) OWAIN GWYNED) succeeded to the principality, and his brothers doubtless received shares under his sovereignty. OWAIN and his brother Cadwaladr, had, before their father's death, made some expeditions into the territories of the lords-marchers, and had captured and retained for a time, some of the fortresses built by the invaders; and in the year of OWAIN'S succession, they again marched to the south and destroyed several castles.
During King Stephen's reign of 17 years in England, he left Wales much to itself and OWAIN materially added to the resources of his country and re-occupied several districts, which the Welsh had lost in former years. In the meantime however, he and Cadwaladr quarreled and the latter fled to England. Also during these years (C 25) RHYS AB GRUFFYD, a son of GRUFFYD AB RHYS, who was son of RHYS AB TEWDWR, had won several comparatively important engagements and successes in the south.
Henry II. succeeded Stephen on the English throne, and in 1157 he invaded North Wales; but was met and defeated by OWAIN. One of the king's two forces, personally commanded by the king, was defeated in the woods by OWAIN'S two sons, Davyd and Cynan, and escaped with difficulty, The king then gathered his forces together and went to Rhuddlan; but was harassed day and night by OWAIN, with the assistance of (A 25) MADOG AB MAREDYD, the chief Welsh baron of Powys; their forces being encamped at Lwyn Pina.
Henry's army was supported by a fleet, which sailed along the coast and effected a landing in Mon; but after pillaging some churches, this force was defeated with heavy slaughter by the men of the island.
Henry's attempt was a failure, but nevertheless peace was made, and OWAIN restored his brother Cadwaladr to his lands and did homage to Henry.
About this time, peace was made also, between RHYS AB GRUFFYD and Henry. RHYS had been waging a sporadic warfare against the Norman lords, from the recesses of Ystrad Towi; Henry asked him to come to court. He went, and Henry made peace, by agreeing to give him Cantref Mawr and other lands adjoining.
Peace continued until in 1164, and then RHYS began to raid the lands of the Normans again, because Henry had not fully kept his promise. He dismantled and burnt the castle at Aber Rheidol and overran Keredigion a second time. Now OWAIN GWYNED joined him at the head of the other Welsh barons, and Henry II. with a large force, marched to 0westry; while the Welsh hosts under OWAIN GWYNED, his brother Cadwaladr and Owain Cyfeiliog, and other lords of Powys, encamped at Corwen. The king hesitated to attack, and finally moved into the wood of Ceiriog and thence penetrated to near the Berwyn range; but his supplies failing and the weather being bad, he was compelled to retreat to Chester and abandon the expedition. He however cruelly blinded some Welsh hostages whom he held.
Later in the year Henry left England and was absent about six years, during which time there were the usual disputes and quarrels among the Welsh, but no warfare of consequence. The most serious quarrel was in 1167, between OwAIN GWYNED and RHYS AB GRUFFYD on one side and 0wain Cyfeiliog on the other, in which after some fighting. the latter, with Norman aid, came off the better. However during the year OWAIN and Rays took and destroyed the castles at Rhuddlan and Prestatyn.
Nothing retarded the growing power of Gwyned, until the death of OWAIN GWYNED in 1169; after which his sons quarreled. OwAnst's later years were clouded by religious disputes, caused partly by a disputed election to the see of Bangor, and partly by his marriage to his cousin Crisiant, who was his second wife. In the end he was excommunicated by Thomas a Becket, but notwithstanding this, he received the last sacrament and a Christian burial at Bangor. The Welsh chronicler praises him as a man of "the most extraordinary sagacity, nobleness, fortitude, and bravery."
On OWAIN'S death his succession was disputed among the sons. His brother Cadwaladr advanced no claims, although he survived OWAIN several years, dying in 1172. Bowel ab Owain, the late prince's eldest son, and Davyd, one of his sons by Crisiant, were both declared illegitimate by the clergy; while (D 26) IORWERTH, the eldest legitimate son of Owain, by Gladys, daughter of the Lord of Pembroke, was for some reason passed over altogether; although his son (D 27) LLEWELYN AB IORWERTH (Llewelyn the Great), later on obtained Gwyned, and raised the principality to its highest point of power and renown. His mother was the Princess Margaret, daughter of Madoc, Prince of Powys. Anyway, Howel gained the throne in some way, directly after his father's death, but did not hold it long. Davyd attacked and slew him in 1170; but his brother Maelgwn seized Mon, while other members of the family refused to submit; however he succeeded in driving Maelgwn from Mon in 1173, and by 1174, had driven all his brothers or near relatives, who refused to recognize him as ruler, into exile.
When the barons revolted against Henry II. Davyd sided with the king, and in 1175 married Henry's bastard sister Emma, the daughter of Geoffrey Plantagenet by a lady of Maine. This did not please his Welsh subjects, and before the end of 1175, his brother Rhodri seized Mon and part of the mainland, while his nephews, the sons of Cynan ab Owain, seized Meirionyd. Davyd was driven over the Conway. He was now granted Ellesmere, but his power over Gwyned had about lapsed, and his real sway was limited to Rhuddlan and the Vale of Clwyd, with his newly acquired estate. He died unnoticed in 1203.
During the years when Davyd was trying to secure his sway over Gwyned, RHYS AB GRUFFYD, the grandson of RHYS AB TEwnwx, the last actual Prince of South Wales, lived at Cantref Mawr and was engaged in almost continual warfare with the lords-marchers within his reach, and sometimes with his Welsh neighbors. However after defeating Owain Cyfeiliog, in a campaign in 1171, he became reconciled to King Henry II. of England and joined him in an expedition to Ireland. The king granted him Keredigion and other lands, and returned his son Howel, who had been held as a hostage. Henry also made him Justiciar of South Wales. He rebuilt the castle of Aberteifi (Cardigan), whence for many years, he ruled over a large part of South Wales in comparative peace and was greatly revered by the Welsh, and in his later years was called "the lord Rhys," and he was emphatically "the lord" in his domain. He died at an advanced age in 1197.
Returning to the affairs of Gwyned, we find that LLEWELYN AB IORWERTH, grandson of OWAIN GWVNED, who was born about 1176, had obtained possession of the greater part of Gwyned before his uncle Davyd died. He made peace with King John of England, on terms which gave him good title to the principality of North Wales, and in 1206 he married Joan, the daughter of King John. In 1207 John and LLEWELYN fought Gwenwynwyn, (son of Owain Cyfeiliog) a lord in Powys, and Llewelyn seized his lands. In the same campaign LLEWELYN conquered all of Keredigion north of the Aeron, which Maelgwn ab Rhys then possessed. Most of the Welsh barons now acknowledged him as their superior. In 1208 there was a quarrel between John and Llewelyn. John helped Gwenwynwyn regain his lands in Powys in 1209, and LLEWELYN ravaged the land of Chester and made successful attacks on the English within his reach, in the same year.
John decided to depose LLEWELYN, and in 1210, took the field with a large army and with the aid of Welsh allies, drove LLEWELYN into the mountains. John captured Bangor and rebuilt many castles. Later LLEWELYN sued for peace, and owing to Joan's intercession, retained the most of Gwyned, but ceded Perfedwlad and made large gifts in cattle and delivered hostages.
King John was now having trouble with his English barons, and LLEWELYN took the field against him, and with the help of Gwenwynwyn and Maelgwn and others, took in 1211, all the castles which John had built in Gwyned, and achieved some successes in Powys. He continued the hostilities into 1212, and John retaliated by hanging 28 of the Welsh hostages at Nottingham and made hasty preparations for another expedition into Wales; but troubles in England compelled him to abandon his designs and LLEWELYN soon regained Perfedwlad.
John asked LLEWELYN'S aid against his English barons, but the latter refused and acted with the barons instead, and succeeded in having clauses inserted in the great charter, ("Magna Charta") which the barons compelled John to sign, intended to remedy the grievances of the Welsh. John died in October, 1216.
The Welsh lords of the South had revolted. LLEWELYN came to their aid, and in 1215 took Carmarthen, demolished the castle of Llanstephan and many others, marched through Keredigion and captured the castles of Aberystwyth and Cilgerran. He was equally successful the next two years and as a result became the feudal chief of all Wales, not in the actual possession of the lord-marchers.
King John was succeeded on the English throne by his infant son Henry III., and William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, was made "governor of King and Kingdom." LLEWELYN pursuing his usual policy, did homage to the boy-king at Winchester in 1218. William Marshal died in 1219, and his son William succeeded to his great possessions and later became involved in a private war with LLEWELYN of six years duration. In 1221 Henry III. entered Wales with an army in the earl's interest, with, however, little result; but the earl about this time defeated the Welsh in a battle, with great slaughter.
The Archbishop of Canterbury now excommunicated LLEWELYN, but his power remained unshaken, and again the King of England led another army into Wales, and while no decisive operations took place, peace was made; however the Earl and LLEWELYN were at feud until the king and prince LLEWELYN met at Shrewsbury in 1226, when some sort of reconciliation was effected.
For some time there was peace, but in 1228, Henry III. and LLEWELYN were again at war, and the king marched into Montgomery. There was at least one battle, and while no important results were achieved by the king, peace was made and LLEWELYN agreed to pay 3000 marks, as compensation. About this time however, LLEWELYN captured William de Braose, the heir to the powerful marcher house of de Braose, and he was compelled to purchase his release in 1229, by paying 3000 marks and by consenting to the marriage of his daughter Isabella to Davyd, LLEWELYN'S son by Joan; and further by agreeing to not take up arms against the prince again. It so happened, however, that William had an intrigue with Joan during his captivity and afterwards, which LLEWELYN discovered, and publicly hanged him in the year 1230; but Davyd married Isabella nevertheless.
In 1231 LLEWELYN invaded the marches, burnt Montgomery castle, marched to 13recon and Gwent, destroying castles and cruelly devastating the districts. He advanced to Neath and Kidweli and then with the help of some South Welsh lords, took Cardigan. This brilliant campaign alarmed the English government; the spiritual weapons of excommunication and interdict, were again employed against the prince, and once more Henry III. marched into Wales; but effected nothing decisive. A truce for three years however was soon arranged, on the terms of the suspension of the excommunication and interdict; but before the truce expired, he joined the earl of Pembroke against the king and raided Gwent and Morgannwg and besieged Carmarthen, yet even after a prolonged attempt, they failed to take the castle, and peace was renewed the next year, on terms favorable to the Welsh.
In 1238, he convened his Welsh vassal lords at Strata Florida, where they swore fealty to his son Davyd, who was to be his successor.
He had in the meantime released his son (D 28) GRUFFYD, whom he had imprisoned in 1228, for insubordination, and had given him lands in Leyn. Now having arranged his succession and his other affairs, he retired from the world and assumed the monastic habit. He died April 11, 1240, in the Cistercian monastery at Aberconway.
The Welsh accorded to LLEWELYN, and with justice, the title of Mawr (the Great) and he is known as "LLEWELYN the Great." His full name, as we have noted, was LLEWELYN AB IORWERTH, and he was no doubt the most capable ruler the Cymry produced, after HOWEL DA, or Gruffyd ab Llewelyn.
LLEWELYN'S son Davyd II. succeeded to the principality and in 1239, seized and imprisoned his half-brother, GRUFFYD, with whom he had long been at feud. Senena, the wife of GRUFFYD, interceded with King Henry at Shrewsbury, in her husband's behalf, and Henry made an expedition into Wales and Davyd submitted ; but by the agreement of peace GRUFFYD was transferred to the king, who exacted from him a relinquishment of much of his lands, and kept him imprisoned in the Tower of London. GRIIFFYD, despairing of release, attempted to escape in 1244, by means of a rope, but fell in the attempt and his neck was broken.
Davyd II. again engaged in war with the English, with varying success and finally his career was cut short, by his death in 1246. He left no issue, but GRUFF-VD had left three sons, namely: Owain Goch, (D 29) LLEWELYN and Davyd.
Owain and LLEWEI,YN assumed the sovereignty of Wales and divided the possessions of their house, making provision also for their younger brother Davyd; but the King of England at once regarded them as rebels, for it seems the king had in earlier years forced agreements, whereby the principality was to pass to the English crown, in case Davyd II. died without issue. A treaty was made however, in 1247, by which Henry pardoned the rebellion, retained all Welsh lands east of the Conway and a part of the southern districts, but conferred upon Owain and LLEWELYN the residue of the principality.
Peace was maintained until 1254, when Owain and Davyd took up arms against LLEWELYN, who had been strengthening his power and popularity among the Welsh.
LLEWELYN defeated his brothers at Bryn Derwin; Owain was captured and imprisoned, while Davyd escaped to England and LLEWELYN seized their lands, and on the death of Maredyd ab Llewelyn, one of his vassal barons, seized Meirionyd (Merioneth).
About this time, Edward, the eldest son of Henry III. and heir to the English throne, was married, and the king conferred on him the Earldom of Chester and all his lands in Wales. The king's lands in Wales consisted principally, of Perfedwlad and three lordships in the south. Edward at this time was only sixteen years of age, and his ministers, possibly under the direction of the king, attempted to bring the Welsh lands named under English laws and regulations. The Welsh laws, established several centuries before by the great Welsh King, HOWEL DA, had been up to this time in vogue in these portions, as well as the other sections of Wales, and the people were bitterly opposed to giving them up; furthermore, Edward's ministers were cruel and oppressive in their management of affairs. In their distress they appealed to LLEWELYN. He took the field in 1256, with the determination to regain the territory which he had lost by the settlement of 1247, and to relieve the distress of his countrymen. For eleven years there was almost continual warfare, which was finally ended however by the peace of 1267.
Once determined on war, LLEWELYN acted with vigor and promptitude. In the autumn of 1256 he invaded Perfedwlad. His forces were hailed with delight by the inhabitants and he subdued it within a week, except the castles of Diserth and Deganwy. He then marched south, overran parts of Keredigion and took the cantref of Buallt in Powys, which belonged to the Mortimers. He did not retain these southern conquests in his own possession, but granted them to Maredyd ab Owain, who . as a descendent of Rhys ab Tewdwr, and who therefore represented the ancient princely line of South Wales. He also restored to Maredyd ab Rhys Gryg, lands which had been taken from him.
In his next campaign, (1257) LLEWELYN expelled Roger Mortimer, from the cymwd of Gwrthryn, in Powys, and Gruffyd ab Gwenwynwyn from Cyfeiliog; he also ravaged a large part of South Wales, taking and burning many castles that were in English hands. Henry III. in the summer of 1257, came to his son's assistance with a considerable force and reached Deganwy, but he did not cross the Conway. He soon retired without accomplishing anything.
In 1258 a truce for one year was concluded between Henry III. and LLEWELYN.
LLEWELYN'S fame was now spreading, for he was able to enter into an alliance with Scotch nobles, against the king, and to enter into friendly relations with the English barons, who were discontented with Henry's weak, yet tyrannical government. His domestic rule and military career had been so successful, that now, nearly all the Welsh barons, openly took their stand on his side, and at a formal assembly, a large number of the nobles of Wales, took oaths of fealty to him.
The year 1262 brought the opening of hostilities, after the peace of 1258. LLEWELYN began by attacking Roger Mortimer, one of the principal lord-marchers in the cantref of Maelienyd, and he also seized several castles in that region. He then compelled the submission of Brecheiniog, and returned to Gwyned. The English were alarmed and in 1263, Edward marched into Wales, but without results.
Civil war now broke out in England, between the barons headed by Simon de Montfort, and the king. LLEWELYN formed an alliance with Simon, who promised him his daughter Eleanor in marriage.
Success in battle made Simon de Montfort, finally, the real ruler of England and Edward was taken prisoner. The Parliament of 1265, assigned the earldom of Chester to Simon.
In the meantime, while giving powerful support to Simon and his party, LLEWELYN had put down all opposition to his rule in Wales and had taken the castles of Diserth and Deganwy, which had previously successfully resisted his efforts. Simon rewarded LLEWELYN for his aid, by forcing the king to grant him large additional territories, including Mauds castle, Hawarden, Ellesmere and Montgomery, and to formally acknowledge his sovereignty in the principality of Wales.
Fortune however soon deserted the great earl. On August 4th 1265, he was defeated and slain, by prince Edward, at the battle of Evesham. The loss was very great to LLEWELVN, but he continued the war, and in September 1265, made an inroad into Chester, which had been restored to Edward. The cause of the barons was however now lost, and they made peace with the king. Also peace was soon made between LLEWEYN and Edward, through the intervention of the Pope, and a treaty was signed at Montgomery by King Henry III. and Llewelyn; which was so favorable to the Welsh, as to amount to a real triumph for the Welsh nation. The king agreed that LLEWELYN and his heirs should have the principality of Wales, on the terms of doing homage, and LLEWELYN was to receive the homage of the Welsh barons, except that of Maredyd ab Rhys, the representative of the old South Wales line of princes, which the king reserved for himself. The limits of the principality were defined in a liberal manner towards LLEWELVN, and Perfedwlad was granted to him also. Davyd, LLENVELYN'S brother, was restored to his private possessions, and LLEWELYN was to pay an indemnity of 24000 marks. This treaty practically left to Edward, no part of his former Welsh estates, except Carmarthen and its appurtenant lands.
It is impossible to conjecture what might have been the result, had LLEWELVN steadfastly adhered to the terms of this treaty, but it is not unreasonable to presume. in view of the uncertain and devious devolution of the English kingship, in the succeeding years, that if he and his heirs had faithfully adhered to the treaty and kept out of English civil entanglements, the "crown of Britain" might have been finally regained for some descendent of his house. Events however brought far different results.
LLEWELVN kept peace until the death of Henry III. in 1272. On November 29th 1272, he was summoned by a commission appointed by the regents, to do homage to the new King Edward, who himself was then absent from England with the crusaders in the East. The prince took no notice of the summons, and was in the meantime, likely negotiating with the sons of Simon de Montfort. Anyway in 1273, he was betrothed to Eleanor de Montfort, in accordance with the previous promise of the late earl, and about this time, he obtained a decree from Pope Gregory X., absolving him from obedience to citations to places outside of Wales.
Furthermore, his brother Davyd and other barons, revolted about this time, and he defeated them and seized their lands; and Davyd fled to England and was well received by the king, which likely offended LLEWELYN.
Edward I. was crowned on August 18th 1274, and while Alexander III. of Scotland, attended the ceremony and paid homage, LLEWELYN, was conspicuous by his absence. King Edward determined to compel him to pay homage, and went to Chester and summoned him there, but LLEWELYN refused to attend, and Edward returned to England in anger It was about this time that Eleanor de Montfort, under the escort of her brother Amaury, sailed for Gwyned to marry LLEWELYN; but the vessels of her party were captured by Bristol sailors. Amaury was imprisoned and King Edward meanly and unchivalrously, caused Eleanor to be detained in captivity, as one of the queen's household. LLEWELYN sent many messages to the king, with the view of obtaining the release of his bride and forming a durable peace, but they were fruitless.
Border hostilities opened in 1276, and in November of that year, Ed-ward formally declared war against LLEWELYN and invaded Wales with three armies; one of which the king personally commanded. LLEW¬ELYN was finally surrounded in the mountains of Snowdon and compelled to submit. The Treaty of Conway was signed, which completely undid the work of 1267 and reduced LLEWELYN almost to the position of a baron. He agreed to pay 50000 marks indemnity and the larger portion of the principality passed from his sway. His brothers Davyd and Owain were granted lands by the king, in this settlement.
Later the king remitted the fine and about Christmas time 1278, the king allowed the marriage of LLEWELYN and Eleanor to take place. Eleanor died in childbirth in 1280, leaving a daughter named Gwenllian, and the loss of his wife tended to estrange LLEWELYN from the English court, while the complaints of oppression from the Welsh people also embittered him; however no formal rupture of peace occurred, until in 1282.
LLEWELYN and Davyd, his brother, had become reconciled to each other and a general uprising seems to have been agreed upon, throughout North and South Wales; mainly to contend against the substitution of Norman-English laws for the Welsh laws of HOWEL DA. The campaign was commenced by Davyd, who suddenly attacked and took Hawarden castle and captured Roger Clifford, the Justiciar. LLEWELVN at once crossed the Conway and ravaged the country up to Chester itself, and besieged Rhuddlan and Flint. Also, almost simultaneously, the chiefs among the southern barons, Gruffyd ab Maredyd and Rhys ab Maelgwn, took Aberystwyth, burned the castle and destroyed the ramparts around the town. The Archbishop of Canterbury attempted to intercede, but LLEWELVN and the king could not agree on the terms, and King Edward marched into Gwyned at the head of his army and LLEWELVN and his allies were finally defeated, and LLEWELYN was killed on December 10th 1282, near Buallt Castle, by a force commanded by Sir Edmund Mortimer. His head was sent to Edward and it was afterwards exhibited in London. He is usually regarded as the last Cymric Prince of Wales, and this view is literally true, for he was the last lineal descendent of RHODRI MAWR, who ruled over the whole, or nearly the whole of the ancient kingdom of Gwyned and Wales. However to his brother Davyd III., must be technically accorded the melancholy honor, of being the last ruling Welsh prince, if we except the temporary success of Owen Glyndwr many years later.
Davyd was in command in Snowdon, when LLEWELVN was killed, and he was at once acknowledged as their prince, by the Welsh barons. For a time he held out, but was finally betrayed into the king's hands and was imprisoned at Rhuddlan castle. The Welsh barons now surrendered and Wales was finally completely and firmly in English hands and has so remained to this day, with the exception of the several years when Owen Glyndwr was in power in the principality.
Davyd was tried as a baron of England, by a Parliament held at Shrewsbury; was convicted, and on October 3d 1283, was hanged, drawn and quartered. Edward’s brutal treatment of the remains of Llewelyn and his harsh dealing with Davyd, was long remembered by the Welsh, in hatred and abhorrence.
Thus on the death of Llewelyn III. (L LEWELYN AB GRUFFYD) and Davyd III. (Davyd ab Gruffyd), we have seen the end of Welsh independence, the final closing of the affairs of Wales as a separate nation; and more than this:—it brought to a finale, the rule of one of the very oldest of the reigning families of western Europe—a family that could trace its origin to the time when Britain still formed a part of the Roman Empire, and which had, with some brief intervals, ruled in Gwyned, and in other sections of Wales; also at times over the whole of it, as well as over the ancient British nation, which comprised about all of western England and Scotland and included Wales, for nearly nine hundred years. The Britons were singularly devoted and loyal to this long line of kings and princes and their memory is greatly revered and cherished to this day. During this long period these Cymric kings or princes of the line of CUNEDA, at various times, beginning with the reign of Alfred the Great in England, paid personal homage to the Saxon, Norman and English kings; but this did not involve any authority of these foreign kings in the administration of the national affairs, or laws, of the Cymric nation, It was personal only, and the custom was doubtless begun in Alfred's time, for purposes of alliance against the Danes. The formality was not always practiced however, as some of these Cymric rulers neglected to perform the honor.
There is not in all history, another such example of prolonged, persistent and tenacious resistance of a nation or people, against a vastly more numerous and powerful foe, as this desperate struggle of these Britons for nearly nine hundred years, for the maintenance of their independence, and it is interesting to surmise what might have been the reward of such a people, had they refrained from their almost continual fighting among themselves and conserved their strength for their foreign enemies.
Edward I. did not add to England the Welsh possessions which he had now gained by conquest; the principality was still maintained, but annexed to the English Crown; and in 1301 his son Edward, who was born in Wales, and who became his successor, as Edward II., was created "Prince of Wales," and it became the custom,(which has been maintained to this day), for the King of England to grant the principality to the heir to the English Crown, and therefore the Prince of Wales, is always, the heir presumptive to the Throne of England.
Edward resolved to make his hold on Wales secure and immediately built several great castles, of which Carnar von is the best known example; and he also encouraged the settlement of English traders and artisans in the principality.
While the English authority in Wales was now supreme, they could not change the customs and language of these obstinate and persevering Britons, and even to this day, the predominant spoken language in Wales is Brythonic, (Welsh).
As we have stated, the independence of Wales ended with the successes of Edward I. and it has remained under the government of England to the present time, except for a period of about seven years in the early part of the fifteenth century, during which Owen Glyndwr (Owen Glendower) was the real ruler over the principality. There is however much satisfaction, from a Welsh view-point, in the fact, that a descendant of CUNEDA, a prince of Welsh blood, who came of the line of the South Wales princes, finally became king of England and Wales, in the person of Henry Tudor (The Earl of Richmond). who became Henry VII. and king of England, after his victory over Richard III. on Bosworth Field, August 22d, 1485. Henry was the first of the Tudor dynasty of England and was son of Edmund Tudor and grandson of Owen Tudor, a Welsh knight, who was a great-grandson of (C 32) THOMAS AP LLEWELYN AP RHYS, a decedent of the Princes of South Wales. Henry VII. was succeeded by his son Henry VIII. April 21, 1509. Then came the son of the latter, Edward VI., who was king in 1547-1553, and following him was Mary I., (Bloody Mary), who was a daughter of Henry VIII. She was queen, July 13, 1553 to 1558, and was succeeded by Elizabeth, another daughter of Henry VIII, the last and most prominent of the Tudor dynasty and one of the most illustrious and very greatest, of the rulers of Great Britain; who was queen, 1558-1603. Elizabeth was as stated, the last of the so-called Tudor dynasty; however all the long line of kings and queens of England after Elizabeth were decedents of the first Tudor king, Henry VII., and so also is the present king, Edward VII.
Returning to the narrative of historical affairs in Wales, it can properly be stated, that there is nothing more of great importance to record , in a brief history of Wales, except the stirring events of Owen Glyndwr's memorable rebellion.