From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
|Prince of Wales|
Lord of Glyndyfrdwy and of Cynllaith Owain
|Predecessor||Gruffydd Fychan II|
|Successor||Maredudd ab Owain Glyndŵr|
|House||House of Mathrafal|
|Father||Gruffydd Fychan II|
|Mother||Elen ferch Tomas ap Llywelyn|
|This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (September 2012)|
|Prince of Wales|
Lord of Glyndyfrdwy and of Cynllaith Owain
|Predecessor||Gruffydd Fychan II|
|Successor||Maredudd ab Owain Glyndŵr|
|House||House of Mathrafal|
|Father||Gruffydd Fychan II|
|Mother||Elen ferch Tomas ap Llywelyn|
Owain Glyndŵr (Welsh pronunciation: [ˈoʊain ɡlɨ̞nˈduːr]), or Owain Glyn Dŵr, (c. 1349 or 1359 – c. 1416) was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales (Tywysog Cymru). He instigated a fierce and long-running but ultimately unsuccessful revolt against the English rule of Wales.
Glyndŵr was a descendant of the Princes of Powys from his father Gruffydd Fychan II, hereditary Tywysog of Powys Fadog and Lord of Glyndyfrdwy, and of those of Deheubarth through his mother Elen ferch Tomas ap Llywelyn. On 16 September 1400, Glyndŵr instigated the Welsh Revolt against the rule of Henry IV of England. Although initially successful and rapidly gaining control of large areas of Wales, the uprising suffered from key weaknesses - particularly a lack of artillery, which made capturing defended fortresses difficult, and ships, which made their coastlands vulnerable - and was eventually overborne by the superior resources of the English. Glyndŵr was driven from his last strongholds in 1408-9 and the last documented sighting of him was in 1412. He refused to accept a pardon and despite large rewards being offered, was never betrayed to the English. As a result, his ultimate fate remains a mystery.
Glyndŵr is a notable figure in the popular culture of both Wales and England, portrayed in William Shakespeare's play Henry IV, Part 1 (anglicised as Owen Glendower) as a wild and exotic man ruled by magic and emotion ("at my nativity, The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes, Of burning cressets, and at my birth The frame and huge foundation of the earth Shaked like a coward." — Henry IV, Part 1, Act 3, scene 1). In the late 19th century the Cymru Fydd movement recreated him as the father of Welsh nationalism, revising the historical image of him and joining him in popular memory as a national hero on par with King Arthur.
In 2000, celebrations were held all over Wales to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the Glyndŵr rising. Owain has since been voted in at 23rd in a poll of 100 Greatest Britons in 2002, and 2nd in the 100 Welsh Heroes poll of 2003-04.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2011)|
Glyndŵr was born circa 1354 (possibly 1359) to a prosperous landed family, part of the Anglo-Welsh gentry of the Welsh Marches (the border between England and Wales) in northeast Wales. This group moved easily between Welsh and English societies and languages, occupying important offices for the Marcher Lords while maintaining their position as uchelwyr — nobles descended from the pre-conquest Welsh royal dynasties — in traditional Welsh society. His father, Gruffydd Fychan II, hereditary Tywysog of Powys Fadog and Lord of Glyndyfrdwy, died some time before 1370 leaving Glyndŵr's mother Elen ferch Tomas ap Llywelyn of Deheubarth a widow and Owain a young man of maybe 16 years at most. Owain probably had an elder brother called Madog, but he may have died young.
The young Owain ap Gruffydd was possibly fostered at the home of David Hanmer, a rising lawyer shortly to be a justice of the Kings Bench, or at the home of Richard FitzAlan, 3rd Earl of Arundel. Owain is then thought to have been sent to London to study law at the Inns of Court. He probably studied as a legal apprentice for seven years. He was possibly in London during the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. By 1383, he had returned to Wales, where he married David Hanmer's daughter, Margaret, started his large family and established himself as the Squire of Sycharth and Glyndyfrdwy, with all the responsibilities that entailed.
Glyndŵr entered the English king's military service in 1384 when he undertook garrison duty under the renowned 'Welshman' Sir Gregory Sais, or Sir Degory Sais, on the English–Scottish border at Berwick-upon-Tweed. In August 1385, served King Richard under the command of John of Gaunt again in Scotland. On 3 September 1386, he was called to give evidence in the Scrope v. Grosvenor trial at Chester. In March 1387, Owain was in southeast England under Richard Fitzalan, 11th Earl of Arundel in the Channel at the defeat of a Franco-Spanish-Flemish fleet off the coast of Kent. Upon the death of his father-in-law, Sir David Hanmer, in late 1387, knighted earlier that very year by Richard II, Glyndŵr returned to Wales as executor of his estate. He possibly served as a squire to Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV of England), son of John of Gaunt, at the short, sharp Battle of Radcot Bridge in December 1387. He had gained three years concentrated military experience in different theatres and seen at first hand some key events and people.
King Richard was distracted in growing conflict with the Lords Appellant from this time on. Glyndŵr's opportunities were further limited by the death of Sir Gregory Sais in 1390 and the sidelining of Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, and he probably returned to his stable Welsh estates, living there quietly for ten years during his forties. The bard Iolo Goch ("Red Iolo"), himself a Welsh lord, visited him in the 1390s and wrote a number of odes to Owain, praising Owain's liberality, and writing of Sycharth, "Rare was it there / to see a latch or a lock."
The names and number of Owain Glyndŵr's siblings cannot be certainly known. The following are given by the Chevalier J Y W Lloyd:
Tudur, Isabel and Lowri are given as his siblings by the more cautious Prof. R R Davies. That Owain Glyndŵr had another brother Gruffudd is likely; that he possibly had a third, Maredudd, is suggested by one reference.
In the late 1390s, a series of events occurred that began to push Owain towards rebellion, in what was later to be called the Welsh Revolt, the Glyndŵr Rising or the Last War of Independence. His neighbour, Baron Grey de Ruthyn, had seized control of some land, for which Glyndŵr appealed to the English Parliament. In 1400, Lord Grey informed Glyndŵr too late of a royal command to levy feudal troops for Scottish border service, thus being able to call the Welshman a traitor in London court circles. Lord Grey was a personal friend of King Henry IV. Glyndŵr lost the legal case, and was under personal threat. The deposed king, Richard II, had support in Wales, and in January 1400, serious civil disorder broke out in the English border city of Chester, after the public execution of an officer of Richard II.
These events led to Owain being proclaimed Prince of Wales on 16 September 1400, by a small band of followers which included his eldest son, his brothers-in-law, and the Dean of St Asaph in the town of Corwen, possibly in the church of SS Mael & Sulien.
After a number of initial confrontations between King Henry IV and Owain's followers in September and October 1400, the revolt began to spread in 1401. Much of northern and central Wales went over to Owain. Henry IV appointed Henry Percy – the famous ‘Hotspur’ – to bring the country to order. Hotspur issued an amnesty in March which applied to all rebels with the exception of Owain and his cousins, Rhys ap Tudur and Gwilym ap Tudur, sons of Tudur ap Gronw (forefather of King Henry VII of England). Both the Tudurs were pardoned after their capture of Edward I’s great castle at Conwy.
In 1402, the English Parliament issued the Penal Laws against Wales, anti-Welsh legislation designed to establish English dominance in Wales, but actually pushing many Welshmen into the rebellion.
In the same year, Owain captured his arch enemy, Baron Grey de Ruthyn. He was to hold him for almost a year until he received a substantial ransom from Henry.
In June 1402, Sir Edmund Mortimer, the uncle of the Earl of March, was captured. Glyndŵr offered to release Mortimer for a large ransom but, in sharp contrast to his attitude to de Grey, Henry IV refused to pay. Mortimer's nephew could be said to have had a greater claim to the English throne than Henry himself, so his speedy release was not an option. In response, Mortimer negotiated an alliance with Owain and married one of Owain's daughters.
It is also in 1402 that mention of the French and Bretons helping Owain was first heard. The French were certainly hoping to use Wales as they had used Scotland as a base to fight the English.
1403 marks the year when the revolt became truly national in Wales. Royal officials continued to report that Welsh students at Oxford University were leaving their studies to join Owain, and Welsh labourers and craftsmen were abandoning their employers in England and returning to Wales. Owain could also draw on Welsh troops seasoned by the English campaigns in France and Scotland. Hundreds of Welsh archers and experienced men-at-arms left English service to join the rebellion.
In 1404, to demonstrate his seriousness as a ruler, Owain held court at Harlech and appointed Gruffydd Young as his Chancellor. Soon afterwards, he called his first Parliament (or more properly Cynulliad or "gathering") of all Wales at Machynlleth where he was crowned Prince of Wales and announced his national programme. He declared his vision of an independent Welsh state with a parliament and separate Welsh church. There would be two national universities (one in the south and one in the north) and return to the traditional law of Hywel Dda. Senior churchmen and important members of society flocked to his banner. English resistance was reduced to a few isolated castles, walled towns and fortified manor houses.
Owain demonstrated his new status by negotiating the "Tripartite Indenture" with Edmund Mortimer and Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland. The Indenture agreed to divide England and Wales among the three of them. Wales would extend as far as the rivers Severn and Mersey including most of Cheshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire. The Mortimer Lords of March would take all of southern and western England and the Percys would take the north of England. Although most historians have dismissed the terms of the Indenture as being highly ambitious and fanciful, R. R. Davies noted that certain internal features underscore the rootedness of Glyndŵr's political philosophy in Welsh mythology: in it, the three men invoke prophecy, and the boundaries of Wales are defined according to Merlinic literature.
Things were improving on the international front too. Although negotiations with the Scots and the lords of Ireland were unsuccessful, Owain had reasons to hope that the French and Bretons might be more welcoming. Quickly Owain dispatched Gruffydd Young and his brother-in-law, John Hanmer, to negotiate with the French. The result was a formal treaty that promised French aid to Owain and the Welsh. The immediate effect seems to have been that joint Welsh and Franco-Breton forces attacked and laid siege to Kidwelly Castle. The Welsh could also count on semi-official fraternal aid from their fellow Celts in the then independent Brittany and Scotland. Scots and French privateers were operating around Wales throughout Owain’s war. Scottish ships had raided English settlements on the Llyn Peninsula in 1400 and 1401. In 1403, a Breton squadron defeated the English in the Channel and devastated Jersey, Guernsey and Plymouth while the French made a landing on the Isle of Wight. By 1404, they were raiding the coast of England, with Welsh troops on board, setting fire to Dartmouth and devastating the coast of Devon.
1405 was the "Year of the French" in Wales. A formal treaty between Wales and France was negotiated. On the continent the French pressed the English as the French army invaded English Plantagenet Aquitaine. Simultaneously, the French landed in force at Milford Haven in west Wales. They marched through Herefordshire and on into Worcestershire. They met the English army just ten miles from Worcester. The armies took up battle positions daily and viewed each other from a mile without any major action for eight days. Then, for reasons that have never become clear, the English retreated, and so did the French shortly afterwards.
By 1406, most French forces had withdrawn after politics shifted in Paris toward the peace party. Owain's "Pennal Letter", in which he promised Charles VI of France and Avignon Pope Benedict XIII to shift the allegiance of the Welsh Church from Rome to Avignon, produced no effect due to the commitment of his senior aides to the conflict.
There were other signs the revolt was encountering problems. Early in the year, the Welsh forces suffered a series of defeats — which was a bad sign as to date, the rebellion had seen many easy defeats of the English forces. King Henry made a pact that allowed his armies to engage in more and more ruthless tactics. English forces landed in Anglesey from Ireland and would over time push the Welsh back, until the resistance in Anglesey formally ended toward the end of 1406.
At the same time, the English were adopting a different strategy. Rather than focusing on punitive expeditions favoured by his father, the young Prince Henry adopted a strategy of economic blockade. Using the castles that remained in English control he gradually began to retake Wales while cutting off trade and the supply of weapons. By 1407 this strategy was beginning to bear fruit, even though by this point Owain's rebel soldiers had concluded successful battles with the King’s men as far as Birmingham, where the English were in retreat. However, with Owain's eye off the real prize — the independence of Wales, one by one the lordships began to surrender. In the autumn, Owain’s Aberystwyth Castle surrendered — whilst he was out fighting for the land it stood on. In 1409, it was the turn of Harlech Castle. Edmund Mortimer died in the final battle and Owain’s wife Margaret along with two of his daughters (including Catrin) and three of Mortimer's grand-daughters were taken prisoner and incarcerated in the Tower of London. They were all to die in the Tower before 1415.
Owain remained free but even though his campaign had been successful, and the English armies feared both him and the French — he had lost his ancestral home and was a hunted prince. Owain continued the rebellion, particularly wanting to avenge his wife. In 1410, after a suicide raid into rebel-controlled Shropshire, which took many English lives, some of the leading rebellion figures were thought to have been captured.
In 1412, Owain led one of the final successful raiding parties with his most faithful soldiers and cut through the King’s men, and consequently captured, and later ransomed, a leading Welsh supporter of King Henry's, Dafydd Gam ("Crooked David"), in an ambush in Brecon. This was the last time that Owain was seen alive by his enemies. As late as 1414, there were rumours that the Herefordshire-based Lollard leader, Sir John Oldcastle, was communicating with Owain and reinforcements were sent to the major castles in the north and south.
But by then things were changing. Henry IV died in 1413 and his son King Henry V began to adopt a more conciliatory attitude to the Welsh. Royal pardons were offered to the major leaders of the revolt and other opponents of his father's regime.
Nothing certain is known of Owain after 1412. Despite enormous rewards being offered, he was never captured nor betrayed. He ignored royal pardons. Tradition has it that he died and was buried possibly in Corwen church of SS Mael & Sulien close to his home, or possibly at his estate in Sycharth or on the estates of his daughters' husbands — Kentchurch in south Herefordshire or Monnington in west Herefordshire. Owain's daughter, Alys, had married, secretly, Sir John Scudamore, the King's appointed Sheriff of Herefordshire. Somehow he had weathered the rebellion and remained in office. It was rumoured that Owain finally retreated to their home at Kentchurch. In his book The Mystery of Jack of Kent and the Fate of Owain Glyndŵr, Alex Gibbon argues that the folk hero Jack of Kent, also known as Siôn Cent – the family chaplain of the Scudamore family – was in fact Owain Glyndŵr himself. Gibbon points out a number of similarities between Siôn Cent and Glyndŵr (including physical appearance, age, education, character) and claims that Owain spent his last years living with Alys passing himself off as an aging Franciscan friar and family tutor. There are many folktales of Glyndŵr donning disguises to gain advantage over opponents during the rebellion.
A grandchild of the Scudamores was Sir John Donne of Kidwelly, a successful Yorkist courtier, diplomat and soldier, who after 1485 made an accommodation with his fellow Welshman, Henry VII. Through the Donne family, many prominent English families are then descended from Owain, including the De Vere family, successive holders of the title Earl of Oxford, and the Cavendish family as Duke of Devonshire.
In 2006, Adrien Jones, the president of the Owain Glyndŵr Society, said, "Four years ago we visited a direct descendant of Glyndŵr (Sir John Scudamore), at Kentchurch Court, near Abergavenny. "He took us to Monnington Straddel, in Herefordshire, where one of Glyndŵr's daughters, Alice (Alys), had lived. (He) told us that he (Glyndŵr) spent his last days there and eventually died there. It was a family secret for 600 years and even (Sir John's) mother, who died shortly before we visited, refused to reveal the secret. There's even a mound where he is believed to be buried at Monnington Straddel."
Adam of Usk, a one-time supporter of Glyndŵr, made the following entry in his Chronicle under the year 1415: After four years in hiding, from the king and the realm, Owain Glyndŵr died, and was buried by his followers in the darkness of night. His grave was discovered by his enemies, however, so he had to be re-buried, though it is impossible to discover where he was laid.
Owain married Margaret Hanmer, also known by her Welsh name Marred ferch Dafydd, daughter of Sir David Hanmer of Hanmer, early in his life. According to Lloyd, Owain and Margaret had five sons and four (p. 211) or five (p. 199) daughters:
|Bleddyn ap Cynfyn|
|Rhys ap Tewdwr|
|Maredudd ap Bleddyn|
|Gruffudd ap Rhys|
|Madog ap Maredudd|
|Rhys ap Gruffudd|
(Yr Arglwydd Rhys)
|Gruffudd Maelor I|
|Madog ap Gruffudd Maelor|
|Gruffudd Maelor II|
|Maredydd ab Owain|
|Gruffudd Fychan I|
c. 1275 - 1304
|Llywelyn ab Owain|
|Gruffudd Fychan II|
m. cyn 1340
|Owain Glyn Dŵr|
c. 1354 - c. 1414
After Owain's death, there was little resistance to English rule until, in the 16th century, the Tudor dynasty, whilst allowing Welshmen to become more prominent in English society, saw Owain's revolt as a catastrophe for Wales. In Henry IV, Part 1, Shakespeare portrays him as wild and exotic; a man who claims to be able to "call spirits from the vasty deep," ruled by magic and tradition in sharp contrast to the more logical but highly emotional Hotspur. It was not until the late 19th century that Owain's reputation was revived. The "Young Wales" movement recreated him as the father of Welsh nationalism. The discovery of Owain's Great Seal and his letters to the French in the Bibliothèque Nationale helped revise historical images of him as a purely local leader. In the First World War, the Welsh Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, unveiled a statue to him in Cardiff City Hall and a postcard showing Owain at the Battle of Mynydd Hyddgen was sold to raise money for wounded Welsh soldiers. Folk memory in Wales had always held him in high regard and almost every parish has some landmark or story about Owain. However, there is no road sign indicating the scene of one of his greatest battles at Bryn Glas in 1415.
In 1808, the Royal Navy launched a 36-gun Fifth Rate frigate, which it named the HMS Owen Glendower. She served in the Baltic during the Gunboat War where she participated in the seizure of Anholt Island, and the Channel. Between 1822 and 1824, she served in the West Africa Squadron (or 'Preventative Squadron') chasing down slave ships, capturing at least two.
He is now remembered as a national hero on a par with King Arthur and numerous small groups have adopted his symbolism to advocate independence or nationalism for Wales. For example, during the 1980s, a group calling themselves "Meibion Glyndŵr" claimed responsibility for the burning of English holiday homes in Wales. Welsh legend states that when Wales is threatened again he will rise from his unknown resting place in order to lead the defence of Wales, quite like the legend of King Arthur. The creation of the National Assembly for Wales brought him back into the spotlight and in 2000 celebrations were held all over Wales to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the rising. Stamps were issued with his likeness and streets, parks, and public squares were named after him throughout Wales. Owain’s personal standard — the quartered arms of Powys and Deheubarth rampant — began to be seen all over Wales, especially at rugby union matches against the English. A campaign exists to make 16 September, the date Owain raised his standard, a public holiday in Wales. An annual award for achievement in the arts and literature, the Glyndŵr Award, is named after him. In 2007, popular Welsh musicians the Manic Street Preachers wrote a song entitled "1404" based on Owain Glyndŵr. The song can be found on the CD single for 'Autumnsong'. A statue of Owain Glyndŵr on horseback was installed in 2007 in The Square in Corwen, Denbighshire to commemorate his life and his lasting influence on Wales. Also located on the Square in Corwen is the Owain Glyndwr Hotel. The waymarked long distance footpath Glyndŵr's Way runs through Mid Wales near to his homelands.
In 2008, Glyndŵr University was established in Wrexham, Wales. Originally established as the Wrexham School of Science and Art in 1887, it was until the name change known as the North East Wales Institute or "NEWI". Glyndŵr was born and lived much of his life around Wrexham and the Welsh Marches.
Glendower Residence, at the University of Cape Town in South Africa was named after Owain Glyndŵr. The residence was opened in 1993 having previously been the Glendower Hotel. It now houses 139 male and female undergraduate students.
As well as in Shakespeare, Glyndŵr, has been featured in a number of works of literature and is the subject of several historical novels, including:
He is also a character in Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 and was the hero of James Hill's UK TV movie Owain, Prince of Wales, broadcast in 1983 in the early days of Channel 4/S4C.
For a study of the various ways Glyndŵr has been portrayed in Welsh-language literature of the modern period, see E. Wyn James, Glyndŵr a Gobaith y Genedl: Agweddau ar y Portread o Owain Glyndŵr yn Llenyddiaeth y Cyfnod Modern (English: Glyndower and the Hope of the Nation: Attitudes to the Portrait of Owen Glyndower in Modern Age Literature) (Aberystwyth: Cymdeithas Llyfrau Ceredigion, 2007).
A chef takes the name of Glyndŵr in "Gorgon's Wood", an episode of Jonathan Creek. His descendants are portrayed as early settlers in the north eastern United States in Madeleine L'Engle's 3rd book in the Time Quartet series A Swiftly Tilting Planet He is the subject of search in 'The Raven Boys' by Maggie Stiefvater.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Owain Glyndŵr|
|Titular Prince of Wales|