Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd, King of Gwynedd

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Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd, King of Gwynedd

Also Known As: "Owen I ap Gruffudd ap Cynan", "King of Gwynedd"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Caernarvonshire, Wales, (Present UK)
Death: Died in Caernarvonshire, Wales, (Present UK)
Place of Burial: Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Gruffydd ap Cynan and Angharad verch Owain
Husband of Margaret Ferch Madog; Angharad ferch Peredur; Unknown Mistresses; Gwenllian verch Ednywain; Morfydd verch Elfan and 2 others
Partner of Ffynnod (Pyfog) Wyddeles
Father of Cynan ap Owain Gwynedd, Brenin of Gwynedd; Rotpert ap Owain Gwynedd; Ffylip ab Owain Gwynedd; Iago ab Owain Gwynedd; Cadell ap Owain Gwynedd and 14 others
Brother of Idwal ap Gruffudd; Rhanullt verch Gruffudd; Gwenllian verch Gruffydd; Gwenllian II verch Gruffydd; Duling ap Gruffydd and 12 others

Occupation: Prince of Gwynedd, King, King of Wales 1137-1169
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd, King of Gwynedd

Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffudd (c. 1100 – 23 or 28 November 1170) was King of Gwynedd, north Wales, from 1137 until his death in 1170, succeeding his father Gruffudd ap Cynan. He was called "Owain the Great" (Welsh: Owain Fawr) [1] and the first to be styled "Prince of Wales".[2] He is considered to be the most successful of all the North Welsh princes prior to his grandson, Llywelyn the Great. He became known as Owain Gwynedd (Middle Welsh: Owain Gwyned, "Owain of Gwynedd") to distinguish him from the contemporary king of southern Powys Owain ap Gruffydd ap Maredudd, who became known as "Owain Cyfeiliog"

Gwynedd was a member of the House of Aberffraw, the senior branch of the dynasty of Rhodri the Great. His father, Gruffudd ap Cynan, was a strong and long-lived ruler who had made the principality of Gwynedd the most influential in Wales during the sixty-two years of his reign, using the island of Anglesey as his power base. His mother, Angharad ferch Owain, was the daughter of Owain ab Edwin of Tegeingl. Gwynedd was the first son of Gruffydd and Angharad.

Owain is thought to have been born on Anglesey about the year 1100. By about 1120 Gruffydd had grown too old to lead his forces in battle and Owain and his brothers Cadwallon and later Cadwaladr led the forces of Gwynedd against the Normans and against other Welsh princes with great success. His elder brother Cadwallon was killed in a battle against the forces of Powys in 1132, leaving Owain as his father's heir. Owain and Cadwaladr, in alliance with Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth, won a major victory over the Normans at Crug Mawr near Cardigan in 1136 and annexed Ceredigion to their father's realm.

On Gruffydd's death in 1137, therefore, Owain inherited a portion of a well-established kingdom, but had to share it with Cadwaladr. In 1143 Cadwaladr was implicated in the murder of Anarawd ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth, and Owain responded by sending his son Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd to strip him of his lands in the north of Ceredigion. Though Owain was later reconciled with Cadwaladr, from 1143, Owain ruled alone over most of north Wales. In 1155 Cadwaladr was driven into exile.

Owain took advantage of the civil war in England between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda to push Gwynedd's boundaries further east than ever before.[4] In 1146 he captured the castle of Mold and about 1150 captured Rhuddlan and encroached on the borders of Powys. The prince of Powys, Madog ap Maredudd, with assistance from Earl Ranulf of Chester, gave battle at Coleshill, but Owain was victorious.

All went well until the accession of King Henry II of England in 1154. Henry invaded Gwynedd in 1157 with the support of Madog ap Maredudd of Powys and Owain's brother Cadwaladr. The invasion met with mixed fortunes. Henry's forces ravaged eastern Gwynedd and destroyed many churches thus enraging the local population. The two armies met at Ewloe. Owain's men ambushed the royal army in a narrow, wooded valley, routing it completely with King Henry himself narrowly avoiding capture.[5] The fleet accompanying the invasion made a landing on Anglesey where it was defeated. Ultimately, at the end of the campaign, Owain was forced to come to terms with Henry, being obliged to surrender Rhuddlan and other conquests in the east.

Forty years after these events, the scholar, Gerald of Wales, in a rare quote from these times, wrote what Owain Gwynedd said to his troops on the eve of battle:

   "My opinion, indeed, by no means agrees with yours, for we ought to rejoice at this conduct of our adversary; for, unless supported by divine assistance, we are far inferior to the English; and they, by their behaviour, have made God their enemy, who is able most powerfully to avenge both himself and us. We therefore most devoutly promise God that we will henceforth pay greater reverence than ever to churches and holy places."[5]

Madog ap Maredudd died in 1160, enabling Owain to regain territory in the east. In 1163 he formed an alliance with Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth to challenge English rule. King Henry again invaded Gwynedd in 1165, but instead of taking the usual route along the northern coastal plain, the king's army invaded from Oswestry and took a route over the Berwyn hills. The invasion was met by an alliance of all the Welsh princes, with Owain as the undisputed leader. However, apart from a small melee at the Battle of Crogen there was little fighting, for the Welsh weather came to Owain's assistance as torrential rain forced Henry to retreat in disorder. The infuriated Henry mutilated a number of Welsh hostages, including two of Owain's sons.

Henry did not invade Gwynedd again and Owain was able to regain his eastern conquests, recapturing Rhuddlan castle in 1167 after a siege of three months.

The last years of Owain's life were spent in disputes with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, over the appointment of a new Bishop of Bangor. When the see became vacant Owain had his nominee, Arthur of Bardsey, elected. The archbishop refused to accept this, so Owain had Arthur consecrated in Ireland. The dispute continued, and the see remained officially vacant until well after Owain's death. He was also put under pressure by the Archbishop and the Pope to put aside his second wife, Cristin, who was his first cousin, this relationship making the marriage invalid under church law. Despite being excommunicated for his defiance, Owain steadfastly refused to put Cristin aside. Owain died in 1169, and despite having been excommunicated was buried in Bangor Cathedral by the local clergy. The annalist writing Brut y Tywysogion recorded his death "after innumerable victories, and unconquered from his youth".

He is believed to have commissioned the propaganda text, The Life of Gruffydd ap Cynan, an account of his father's life. Following his death, civil war broke out between his sons. Owain was married twice, first to Gwladus ferch Llywarch ap Trahaearn, by whom he had two sons, Maelgwn ab Owain Gwynedd and Iorwerth Drwyndwn, the father of Llywelyn the Great, then to Cristin, by whom he had three sons including Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd and Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd. He also had a number of illegitimate sons, who by Welsh law had an equal claim on the inheritance if acknowledged by their father.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owain_Gwynedd

  • *******************
  • Owain "Fawr" ap Gruffydd Prince of Gwynedd

born about 1087 Caernarvonshire, Wales

died December 1169 Caernarvonshire, Wales

buried Bangor Cathedral, Is Gwyrfai, Caernarvonshire, Wales

father:

  • Gruffydd ap Cynan Prince of Gwynedd

born 1055 Dublin, Ireland

died 1137 Caernarvonshire, Wales

buried Bangor Cathedral, Is Gwyrfai, Caernarvonshire, Wales

mother:

  • Angharad verch Owain of Tegaingl

born about 1065 Tegaingl, Flintshire, Wales

died 1162

married about 1082

siblings:

  • Rhanullt verch Gruffydd born about 1083 Caernarvonshire, Wales
  • Susanna verch Gruffydd born about 1095 Caernarvonshire, Wales
  • Gwenllian verch Gruffydd born about 1085 Aberffraw Castle, Caernarvonshire, Wales

died 1136 Battle of Maes

  • Yslani verch Gruffudd born about 1104 Caernarvonshire, Wales

Membyr "Ddu" ap Gruffydd born about 1114 Caernarvonshire, Wales

Rhael verch Gruffydd born about 1116 Caernarvonshire, Wales

Annes verch Gruffydd born about 1118 Caernarvonshire, Wales

  • Margred verch Gruffydd born about 1120 Caernarvonshire, Wales

Tudwal ap Gruffydd born about 1122 Caernarvonshire, Wales

Elen verch Gruffydd born about 1089 Aberffraw Castle, Anglesey, Wales

Merinedd verch Gruffydd born about 1091 Aberffraw Castle, Anglesey, Wales

  • Cadwaladr ap Gruffydd born about 1096 Caernarvonshire, Wales

died March 1172 buried Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales

Cadwallon ap Gruffydd born about 1097 Caernarvonshire, Walesey, Wales died 1132

spouse (1st):

  • Gwladus verch Llywarch

born about 1098 Arwystli, Montgomeryshire, Wales

married about 1126

children (from 1st marriage):

  • Iorwerth "Drwyndwn" ap Owain born 1145? Aberffraw Castle, Aberffraw, Anglsy, Wales

died about 1184

  • Gwenllian I verch Owain born about 1124 Caernarvonshire, Wales
  • Cynan ap Owain born about 1140? Caernarvonshire, Wales died 1173

Rhirid ap Owain born about 1132 Caernarvonshire, Wales

Einion ap Owain born about 1144 Caernarvonshire, Wales

Madog ap Owain born about 1142 Caernarvonshire, Wales

Cynwrig I ap Owain born about 1145 Caernarvonshire, Wales died after 1165

Cadell ap Owain born about 1143 Caernarvonshire, Wales

Maelgwn ap Owain born about 1126 Caernarvonshire, Wales died afert 1174

spouse (2nd):

  • Cristin verch Gronwy

born about 1105 Tegaingl, Flintshire, Wales

children (from 2nd marriage):

  • Angharad verch Owain of Gwynedd

Marared verch Owain of Gwynedd

Ievan ap Owain of Gwynedd

Gwenllian II verch Owain born about 1130 Caernarvonshire, Wales

  • Rhodri ap Owain born about 1136 Caernarvonshire, Wales

died 1195 buried Holyhead, Talybolion, Anglesey, Wales

Dafydd ap Owain Prince of Gwynedd

Cynwrig II ap Owain born about 1147 Caernarvonshire, Wales

biographical and/or anecdotal:

notes or source:

LDS


  1. ID: I4377
  2. Name: Owain Gwynedd Ap Gruffudd
  3. Given Name: Owain Gwynedd Ap
  4. Surname: Gruffudd
  5. Suffix: King Of Gwynedd 1 2
  6. Sex: M
  7. Birth: Abt 1100 in The Forgotten Monarchy of Scotland" 3
  8. Death: 28 Nov 1170 in Bangor Cathedral, Is Gwyrfai, Caernarvonshire, Wales 1 1 2 2
  9. Burial: Bangor Cathedral
  10. Change Date: 21 Sep 2005 at 15:22

Father: Gruffudd ap Cyan b: 1055 in Dublin, Ireland

Mother: Angharat verch Owain b: Abt 1065 in Tegeingl, Flintshire, Wales

Marriage 1 Gwladus Verch Llywarch b: Abt 1100 in Arwystli, Montgomeryshire, Wales

   * Married: Bef 1125 in <, , Caernarvonshire, Wales>
   * Change Date: 21 Sep 2005

Children

  1. Has Children Gwenllian verch Owain b: Abt 1125 in Caernarvonshire, Wales
  2. Has Children LOWERTH "Drwyndwn" Ap Owain b: 1145 in Aberfraw Castle, Aberfraw, Anglsy, Wales

Sources:

  1. Abbrev: Encyclopedia Britannica, Treatise on
     Title: Encyclopedia Britannica, Treatise on
     Date: 13 Nov 2000
     Page: UK-Wales Macropaedia p 124
     Quality: 3
  2. Abbrev: Ancestral Roots Of Sixty Colonists Who Came To New Englan d Between 1623 And 1650
     Title: Ancestral Roots Of Sixty Colonists Who Came To New England Between 1623And 1650
     Author: Weis, Frederick Lewis
     Publication: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 1992
     Date: 7 Jun 2004
     Repository:
     Page: 176-5
     Quality: 3
  3. Abbrev: Ancestral Roots Of Sixty Colonists Who Came To New Englan d Between 1623 And 1650
     Title: Ancestral Roots Of Sixty Colonists Who Came To New England Between 1623And 1650
     Author: Weis, Frederick Lewis
     Publication: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 1992
     Date: 7 Jun 2004
     Repository:
     Page: 239-6
     

Owain Gwynedd

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition | 2008 | The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2008 Columbia University Press. (Hide copyright information) Copyright

Owain Gwynedd , d. 1170, prince of North Wales (1137-70). During the troubled reign of King Stephen of England, Owain and other Welsh princes were able to reoccupy much territory earlier wrested from them by the Anglo-Normans. Henry II of England invaded North Wales in 1157 and, though his expedition was a military failure, compelled Owain to do homage. In 1165, however, Owain inspired a general Welsh revolt, and the English army that attempted to quell it was forced to turn back because of bad weather and short supplies. Owain continued to expand his possessions and enjoyed independence until his death.

...

Read entire entry

Owain Gwynedd , d. 1170, prince of North Wales (1137-70). During the troubled reign of King Stephen of England, Owain and other Welsh princes were able to reoccupy much territory earlier wrested from them by the Anglo-Normans. Henry II of England invaded North Wales in 1157 and, though his expedition was a military failure, compelled Owain to do homage. In 1165, however, Owain inspired a general Welsh revolt, and the English army that attempted to quell it was forced to turn back because of bad weather and short supplies. Owain continued to expand his possessions and enjoyed independence until his death.


Owain Gwynedd

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Owain Gwynedd (in English, "Owen") (c. 1100–November 28, 1170), alternatively known by the patronymic "Owain ap Gruffydd". He is occasionally referred to as Owain I of Gwynedd, or Owain I of Wales on account of his claim to be King of Wales. He is considered to be the most successful of all the north Welsh princes prior to his grandson, Llywelyn the Great. He was known as Owain Gwynedd to distinguish him from another contemporary Owain ap Gruffydd, ruler of part of Powys who was known as Owain Cyfeiliog. Owain Gwynedd was a member of the House of Aberffraw, a descendant of the senior branch from Rhodri Mawr.

Early life

Owain's father, Gruffydd ap Cynan, was a strong and long-lived ruler who had made the principality of Gwynedd the most influential in Wales during the sixty-two years of his reign, using the island of Anglesey as his power base. His mother, Angharad ferch Owain, was the daughter of Owain ab Edwin. Owain was the second of three sons of Gruffydd and Angharad.

Owain is thought to have been born on Anglesey about the year 1100. By about 1120 Gruffydd had grown too old to lead his forces in battle and Owain and his brothers Cadwallon and later Cadwaladr led the forces of Gwynedd against the Normans and against other Welsh princes with great success. His elder brother Cadwallon was killed in a battle against the forces of Powys in 1132, leaving Owain as his father's heir. Owain and Cadwaladr, in alliance with Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth, won a major victory over the Normans at Crug Mawr near Cardigan in 1136 and annexed Ceredigion to their father's realm.

[edit]Accession to the throne and early campaigns

On Gruffydd's death in 1137, therefore, Owain inherited a portion of a well-established kingdom, but had to share it with Cadwaladr. In 1143 Cadwaladr was implicated in the murder of Anarawd ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth, and Owain responded by sending his son Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd to strip him of his lands in the north of Ceredigion. Though Owain was later reconciled with Cadwaladr, from 1143, Owain ruled alone over most of north Wales. In 1155 Cadwaladr was driven into exile.

Owain took advantage of the civil war in England between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda to push Gwynedd's boundaries further east than ever before. In 1146 he captured the castle of Mold and about 1150 captured Rhuddlan and encroached on the borders of Powys. The prince of Powys, Madog ap Maredudd, with assistance from Earl Ranulf of Chester, gave battle at Coleshill, but Owain was victorious.

[edit]War with King Henry II

All went well until the accession of King Henry II of England in 1154. Henry invaded Gwynedd in 1157 with the support of Madog ap Maredudd of Powys and Owain's brother Cadwaladr. The invasion met with mixed fortunes. King Henry was nearly killed at the Battle of Ewloe near Basingwerk and the fleet accompanying the invasion made a landing on Anglesey where it was defeated. Owain was however forced to come to terms with Henry, being obliged to surrender Rhuddlan and other conquests in the east.

Madog ap Maredudd died in 1160, enabling Owain to regain territory in the east. In 1163 he formed an alliance with Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth to challenge English rule. King Henry again invaded Gwynedd in 1165, but instead of taking the usual route along the northern coastal plain, the king's army invaded from Oswestry and took a route over the Berwyn hills. The invasion was met by an alliance of all the Welsh princes, with Owain as the undisputed leader. However, appart from a small melee at the Battle of Crogen there was little fighting, for the Welsh weather came to Owain's assistance as torrential rain forced Henry to retreat in disorder. The infuriated Henry mutilated a number of Welsh hostages, including two of Owain's sons.

Henry did not invade Gwynedd again and Owain was able to regain his eastern conquests, recapturing Rhuddlan castle in 1167 after a siege of three months.

[edit]Disputes with the church and succession

The last years of Owain's life were spent in disputes with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, over the appointment of a new Bishop of Bangor. When the see became vacant Owain had his nominee, Arthur of Bardsey, elected. The archbishop refused to accept this, so Owain had Arthur consecrated in Ireland. The dispute continued, and the see remained officially vacant until well after Owain's death. He was also put under pressure by the Archbishop and the Pope to put aside his second wife, Cristin, who was his first cousin, this relationship making the marriage invalid under church law. Despite being excommunicated for his defiance, Owain steadfastly refused to put Cristin aside. Owain died in 1170, and despite having been excommunicated was buried in Bangor Cathedral by the local clergy. The annalist writing Brut y Tywysogion recorded his death "after innumerable victories, and unconquered from his youth".

He is believed to have commissioned the propaganda text, The Life of Gruffydd ap Cynan, an account of his father's life. Following his death, civil war broke out between his sons. Owain was married twice, first to Gwladus ferch Llywarch ap Trahaearn, by whom he had two sons, Maelgwn ab Owain Gwynedd and Iorwerth Drwyndwn, the father of Llywelyn the Great, then to Cristin, by whom he had three sons including Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd and Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd. He also had a number of illegitimate sons, who by Welsh law had an equal claim on the inheritance if acknowledged by their father.

[edit]Heirs and Successors

Owain had originally designated Rhun ab Owain Gwynedd as his successor. Rhun was Owain's favourite son, and his premature death in 1147 plunged his father into a deep melancholy, from which he was only roused by the news that his forces had captured Mold castle. Owain then designated Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd as his successor, but after his death Hywel was first driven to seek refuge in Ireland by Cristin's sons, Dafydd and Rhodri, then killed at the battle of Pentraeth when he returned with an Irish army. Dafydd and Rhodri split Gwynedd between them, but a generation passed before Gwynedd was restored to its former glory under Owain's grandson Llywelyn the Great.

According to legend, one of Owain's sons was Prince Madoc, who is popularly supposed to have fled across the Atlantic and colonised America.

Altogether, the prolific Owain Gwynedd is said to have had the following children from two wives and at least four mistresses:

Rhun ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Iorwerth ab Owain Gwynedd (from first wife Gwladys (Gladys) ferch Llywarch)

Maelgwn ab Owain Gwynedd, Lord of Ynys Môn

Gwenllian ferch Owain Gwynedd

Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd (from second wife Cristina (Christina) ferch Gronw)

Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd

Angharad ferch Owain Gwynedd

Margaret ferch Owain Gwynedd

Iefan ab Owain Gwynedd

Cynan ab Owain Gwynedd, Lord of Meirionnydd (illegitimate)

Rhirid ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Madoc ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Cynwrig ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Gwenllian II ferch Owain Gwynedd (also shared the same name with a sister)

Einion ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Iago ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Ffilip ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Cadell ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Rotpert ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Idwal ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Other daughters

[edit]Fiction

Owain is a recurring character in the Brother Cadfael series of novels by Ellis Peters, often referred to, and appearing in the novels Dead Man's Ransom and The Summer of the Danes. He acts shrewdly to keep Wales's borders secure, and sometimes to expand them, during the civil war between King Stephen and Maud, and sometimes acts as an ally to Cadfael and his friend, Sheriff Hugh Beringar. Cadwaladr also appears in both these novels as a source of grief for his brother.

[edit]References

John Edward Lloyd (1911) A history of Wales from the earliest times to the Edwardian conquest (Longmans, Green & Co.)

K.L. Maund (ed) (1996). Gruffudd ap Cynan : a collaborative biography. Boydell Press. ISBN 0-85115-389-5.

Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 by Frederick Lewis Weis, Lines: 176B-25, 239-6

Owain ap Gruffyd, King of Gwynedd was born circa 1100.1 He was the son of Gruffydd  ap Cynan, King of Gwynedd and Angharad  ferch Owain.1  He married, firstly, Gwladus ferch Llywarch, daughter of Llywarch  ap Trahaearn.  He married, secondly, Cristin  ferch Goronwy, daughter of Goronwy ap Owain.1  He died on 28 November 1170.
    Owain ap Gruffyd, King of Gwynedd was also known as Owain Gwynedd. He succeeded to the title of King of Gwynedd in 1137.

http://thepeerage.com/p10260.htm#i102594


Owain Gwynedd

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Owain Gwynedd (in English, "Owen") (c. 1100–November 28, 1170), alternatively known by the patronymic "Owain ap Gruffydd". He is occasionally referred to as Owain I of Gwynedd, or Owain I of Wales on account of his claim to be King of Wales. He is considered to be the most successful of all the north Welsh princes prior to his grandson, Llywelyn the Great. He was known as Owain Gwynedd to distinguish him from another contemporary Owain ap Gruffydd, ruler of part of Powys who was known as Owain Cyfeiliog. Owain Gwynedd was a member of the House of Aberffraw, a descendant of the senior branch from Rhodri Mawr.

Early life

Owain's father, Gruffydd ap Cynan, was a strong and long-lived ruler who had made the principality of Gwynedd the most influential in Wales during the sixty-two years of his reign, using the island of Anglesey as his power base. His mother, Angharad ferch Owain, was the daughter of Owain ab Edwin. Owain was the second of three sons of Gruffydd and Angharad.

Owain is thought to have been born on Anglesey about the year 1100. By about 1120 Gruffydd had grown too old to lead his forces in battle and Owain and his brothers Cadwallon and later Cadwaladr led the forces of Gwynedd against the Normans and against other Welsh princes with great success. His elder brother Cadwallon was killed in a battle against the forces of Powys in 1132, leaving Owain as his father's heir. Owain and Cadwaladr, in alliance with Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth, won a major victory over the Normans at Crug Mawr near Cardigan in 1136 and annexed Ceredigion to their father's realm.

Accession to the throne and early campaigns

On Gruffydd's death in 1137, therefore, Owain inherited a portion of a well-established kingdom, but had to share it with Cadwaladr. In 1143 Cadwaladr was implicated in the murder of Anarawd ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth, and Owain responded by sending his son Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd to strip him of his lands in the north of Ceredigion. Though Owain was later reconciled with Cadwaladr, from 1143, Owain ruled alone over most of north Wales. In 1155 Cadwaladr was driven into exile.

Owain took advantage of the civil war in England between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda to push Gwynedd's boundaries further east than ever before. In 1146 he captured the castle of Mold and about 1150 captured Rhuddlan and encroached on the borders of Powys. The prince of Powys, Madog ap Maredudd, with assistance from Earl Ranulf of Chester, gave battle at Coleshill, but Owain was victorious.

War with King Henry II

All went well until the accession of King Henry II of England in 1154. Henry invaded Gwynedd in 1157 with the support of Madog ap Maredudd of Powys and Owain's brother Cadwaladr. The invasion met with mixed fortunes. King Henry was nearly killed in a skirmish near Basingwerk and the fleet accompanying the invasion made a landing on Anglesey where it was defeated. Owain was however forced to come to terms with Henry, being obliged to surrender Rhuddlan and other conquests in the east.

Madog ap Maredudd died in 1160, enabling Owain to regain territory in the east. In 1163 he formed an alliance with Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth to challenge English rule. King Henry again invaded Gwynedd in 1165, but instead of taking the usual route along the northern coastal plain, the king's army invaded from Oswestry and took a route over the Berwyn hills. The invasion was met by an alliance of all the Welsh princes, with Owain as the undisputed leader. However there was little fighting, for the Welsh weather came to Owain's assistance as torrential rain forced Henry to retreat in disorder. The infuriated Henry mutilated a number of Welsh hostages, including two of Owain's sons.

Henry did not invade Gwynedd again and Owain was able to regain his eastern conquests, recapturing Rhuddlan castle in 1167 after a siege of three months.

Disputes with the church and succession

The last years of Owain's life were spent in disputes with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, over the appointment of a new Bishop of Bangor. When the see became vacant Owain had his nominee, Arthur of Bardsey, elected. The archbishop refused to accept this, so Owain had Arthur consecrated in Ireland. The dispute continued, and the see remained officially vacant until well after Owain's death. He was also put under pressure by the Archbishop and the Pope to put aside his second wife, Cristin, who was his first cousin, this relationship making the marriage invalid under church law. Despite being excommunicated for his defiance, Owain steadfastly refused to put Cristin aside. Owain died in 1170, and despite having been excommunicated was buried in Bangor Cathedral by the local clergy. The annalist writing Brut y Tywysogion recorded his death "after innumerable victories, and unconquered from his youth".

He is believed to have commissioned the propaganda text, The Life of Gruffydd ap Cynan, an account of his father's life. Following his death, civil war broke out between his sons. Owain was married twice, first to Gwladus ferch Llywarch ap Trahaearn, by whom he had two sons, Maelgwn ab Owain Gwynedd and Iorwerth Drwyndwn, the father of Llywelyn the Great, then to Cristin, by whom he had three sons including Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd and Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd. He also had a number of illegitimate sons, who by Welsh law had an equal claim on the inheritance if acknowledged by their father.

Heirs and Successors

Owain had originally designated Rhun ab Owain Gwynedd as his successor. Rhun was Owain's favourite son, and his premature death in 1147 plunged his father into a deep melancholy, from which he was only roused by the news that his forces had captured Mold castle. Owain then designated Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd as his successor, but after his death Hywel was first driven to seek refuge in Ireland by Cristin's sons, Dafydd and Rhodri, then killed at the battle of Pentraeth when he returned with an Irish army. Dafydd and Rhodri split Gwynedd between them, but a generation passed before Gwynedd was restored to its former glory under Owain's grandson Llywelyn the Great.

According to legend, one of Owain's sons was Prince Madoc, who is popularly supposed to have fled across the Atlantic and colonised America. Altogether the prodigous Owain Gwynedd is said to have had the following children from two wives and at least four mistresses:

Rhun ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Iorwerth ab Owain Gwynedd (from first wife Gwladys (Gladys) ferch Llywarch)

Maelgwn ab Owain Gwynedd, Lord of Ynys Môn

Gwenllian ferch Owain Gwynedd

Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd (from second wife Cristina (Christina) ferch Gronw)

Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd

Angharad ferch Owain Gwynedd

Margaret ferch Owain Gwynedd

Iefan ab Owain Gwynedd

Cynan ab Owain Gwynedd, Lord of Meirionnydd (illegitimate)

Rhirid ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Madoc ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Cynwrig ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Gwenllian II ferch Owain Gwynedd (also shared the same name with a sister!)

Einion ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Iago ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Ffilip ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Cadell ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Rotpert ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Idwal ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Other daughters

Fiction

Owain is a recurring character in the Brother Cadfael series of novels by Ellis Peters, often referred to, and appearing in the novels Dead Man's Ransom and The Summer of the Danes. He acts shrewdly to keep Wales's borders secure, and sometimes to expand them, during the civil war between King Stephen and Maud, and sometimes acts as an ally to Cadfael and his friend, Sheriff Hugh Beringar. Cadwaladr also appears in both these novels as a source of grief for his brother.

References

John Edward Lloyd (1911) A history of Wales from the earliest times to the Edwardian conquest (Longmans, Green & Co.)

K.L. Maund (ed) (1996). Gruffudd ap Cynan : a collaborative biography. Boydell Press. ISBN 0-85115-389-5.

Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 by Frederick Lewis Weis, Lines: 176B-25, 239-6


Owain Gwynedd (in English, "Owen") (c. 1100–November 28, 1170), alternatively known by the patronymic "Owain ap Gruffydd". He is occasionally referred to as Owain I of Gwynedd, or Owain I of Wales on account of his claim to be King of Wales. He is considered to be the most successful of all the north Welsh princes prior to his grandson, Llywelyn the Great. He was known as Owain Gwynedd to distinguish him from another contemporary Owain ap Gruffydd, ruler of part of Powys who was known as Owain Cyfeiliog. Owain Gwynedd was a member of the House of Aberffraw, a descendant of the senior branch from Rhodri Mawr.

Owain's father, Gruffydd ap Cynan, was a strong and long-lived ruler who had made the principality of Gwynedd the most influential in Wales during the sixty-two years of his reign, using the island of Anglesey as his power base. His mother, Angharad ferch Owain, was the daughter of Owain ab Edwin. Owain was the second of three sons of Gruffydd and Angharad.

Owain is thought to have been born on Anglesey about the year 1100. By about 1120 Gruffydd had grown too old to lead his forces in battle and Owain and his brothers Cadwallon and later Cadwaladr led the forces of Gwynedd against the Normans and against other Welsh princes with great success. His elder brother Cadwallon was killed in a battle against the forces of Powys in 1132, leaving Owain as his father's heir. Owain and Cadwaladr, in alliance with Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth, won a major victory over the Normans at Crug Mawr near Cardigan in 1136 and annexed Ceredigion to their father's realm.

Owain had originally designated Rhun ab Owain Gwynedd as his successor. Rhun was Owain's favourite son, and his premature death in 1147 plunged his father into a deep melancholy, from which he was only roused by the news that his forces had captured Mold castle. Owain then designated Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd as his successor, but after his death Hywel was first driven to seek refuge in Ireland by Cristin's sons, Dafydd and Rhodri, then killed at the battle of Pentraeth when he returned with an Irish army. Dafydd and Rhodri split Gwynedd between them, but a generation passed before Gwynedd was restored to its former glory under Owain's grandson Llywelyn the Great.

According to legend, one of Owain's sons was Prince Madoc, who is popularly supposed to have fled across the Atlantic and colonised America.

Altogether, the prolific Owain Gwynedd is said to have had the following children from two wives and at least four mistresses:

Rhun ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Iorwerth ab Owain Gwynedd (from first wife Gwladys (Gladys) ferch Llywarch)

Maelgwn ab Owain Gwynedd, Lord of Ynys Môn

Gwenllian ferch Owain Gwynedd

Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd (from second wife Cristina (Christina) ferch Gronw)

Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd

Angharad ferch Owain Gwynedd

Margaret ferch Owain Gwynedd

Iefan ab Owain Gwynedd

Cynan ab Owain Gwynedd, Lord of Meirionnydd (illegitimate)

Rhirid ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Madoc ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Cynwrig ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Gwenllian II ferch Owain Gwynedd (also shared the same name with a sister!)

Einion ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Iago ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Ffilip ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Cadell ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Rotpert ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Idwal ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Other daughters


Owain Gwynedd (in English, "Owen") (c. 1100–November 28, 1170), alternatively known by the patronymic "Owain ap Gruffydd". He is occasionally referred to as Owain I of Gwynedd, or Owain I of Wales on account of his claim to be King of Wales. He is considered to be the most successful of all the north Welsh princes prior to his grandson, Llywelyn the Great. He was known as Owain Gwynedd to distinguish him from another contemporary Owain ap Gruffydd, ruler of part of Powys who was known as Owain Cyfeiliog. Owain Gwynedd was a member of the House of Aberffraw, a descendant of the senior branch from Rhodri Mawr.

Owain's father, Gruffydd ap Cynan, was a strong and long-lived ruler who had made the principality of Gwynedd the most influential in Wales during the sixty-two years of his reign, using the island of Anglesey as his power base. His mother, Angharad ferch Owain, was the daughter of Owain ab Edwin. Owain was the second of three sons of Gruffydd and Angharad.

Owain is thought to have been born on Anglesey about the year 1100. By about 1120 Gruffydd had grown too old to lead his forces in battle and Owain and his brothers Cadwallon and later Cadwaladr led the forces of Gwynedd against the Normans and against other Welsh princes with great success. His elder brother Cadwallon was killed in a battle against the forces of Powys in 1132, leaving Owain as his father's heir. Owain and Cadwaladr, in alliance with Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth, won a major victory over the Normans at Crug Mawr near Cardigan in 1136 and annexed Ceredigion to their father's realm.

Owain had originally designated Rhun ab Owain Gwynedd as his successor. Rhun was Owain's favourite son, and his premature death in 1147 plunged his father into a deep melancholy, from which he was only roused by the news that his forces had captured Mold castle. Owain then designated Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd as his successor, but after his death Hywel was first driven to seek refuge in Ireland by Cristin's sons, Dafydd and Rhodri, then killed at the battle of Pentraeth when he returned with an Irish army. Dafydd and Rhodri split Gwynedd between them, but a generation passed before Gwynedd was restored to its former glory under Owain's grandson Llywelyn the Great.

According to legend, one of Owain's sons was Prince Madoc, who is popularly supposed to have fled across the Atlantic and colonised America.

Altogether, the prolific Owain Gwynedd is said to have had the following children from two wives and at least four mistresses:

Rhun ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Iorwerth ab Owain Gwynedd (from first wife Gwladys (Gladys) ferch Llywarch)

Maelgwn ab Owain Gwynedd, Lord of Ynys Môn

Gwenllian ferch Owain Gwynedd

Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd (from second wife Cristina (Christina) ferch Gronw)

Rhodri ab Owain Gwynedd

Angharad ferch Owain Gwynedd

Margaret ferch Owain Gwynedd

Iefan ab Owain Gwynedd

Cynan ab Owain Gwynedd, Lord of Meirionnydd (illegitimate)

Rhirid ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Madoc ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Cynwrig ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Gwenllian II ferch Owain Gwynedd (also shared the same name with a sister!)

Einion ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Iago ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Ffilip ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Cadell ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Rotpert ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Idwal ab Owain Gwynedd (illegitimate)

Other daughters


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owain_Gwynedd
Owain Gwynedd (in English, "Owen"), alternatively known by the patronymic "Owain ap Gruffydd," is occasionally referred to as Owain I of Gwynedd, or Owain I of Wales on account of his claim to be King of Wales. He is considered to be the most successful of all the north Welsh princes prior to his grandson, Llywelyn the Great. He was known as Owain Gwynedd to distinguish him from another contemporary Owain ap Gruffydd, ruler of part of Powys who was known as Owain Cyfeiliog.

In 1137 Owain inherited a portion of a well-established kingdom of Gwynedd, but he had to share it with his brother Cadwaladr. In 1143 Cadwaladr was implicated in the murder of Anarawd ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth, and Owain responded by sending his son Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd to strip him of his lands in the north of Ceredigion. Though Owain was later reconciled with Cadwaladr, from 1143, Owain ruled alone over most of north Wales. In 1155 Cadwaladr was driven into exile.

Owain took advantage of the civil war in England between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda to push Gwynedd's boundaries further east than ever before. In 1146 he captured the castle of Mold and about 1150 captured Rhuddlan and encroached on the borders of Powys. The prince of Powys, Madog ap Maredudd, with assistance from Earl Ranulf of Chester, gave battle at Coleshill, but Owain was victorious.

All went well until the accession of King Henry II of England in 1154. Henry invaded Gwynedd in 1157 with the support of Madog ap Maredudd of Powys and Owain's brother Cadwaladr. The invasion met with mixed fortunes. King Henry was nearly killed in a skirmish near Basingwerk and the fleet accompanying the invasion made a landing on Anglesey where it was defeated. Owain was however forced to come to terms with Henry, being obliged to surrender Rhuddlan and other conquests in the east.

Madog ap Maredudd died in 1160, enabling Owain to regain territory in the east. In 1163 he formed an alliance with Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth to challenge English rule. King Henry again invaded Gwynedd in 1165, but instead of taking the usual route along the northern coastal plain, the King's army invaded from Oswestry and took a route over the Berwyn hills. The invasion was met by an alliance of all the Welsh princes, with Owain as the undisputed leader. However there was little fighting, for the Welsh weather came to Owain's assistance as torrential rain forced Henry to retreat in disorder. The infuriated Henry mutilated a number of Welsh hostages, including two of Owain's sons.

Henry did not invade Gwynedd again and Owain was able to regain his eastern conquests, recapturing Rhuddlan castle in 1167 after a siege of three months.

The last years of Owain's life were spent in disputes with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, over the appointment of a new Bishop of Bangor. When the see became vacant Owain had his nominee, Arthur of Bardsey, elected. The archbishop refused to accept this, so Owain had Arthur consecrated in Ireland. The dispute continued, and the see remained officially vacant until well after Owain's death. He was also put under pressure by the Archbishop and the Pope to put aside his second wife, Cristin, who was his first cousin, this relationship making the marriage invalid under church law. Despite being excommunicated for his defiance, Owain steadfastly refused to put Cristin aside. Owain died in 1170, and despite having been excommunicated was buried in Bangor Cathedral by the local clergy. The annalist writing Brut y Tywysogion recorded his death "after innumerable victories, and unconquered from his youth."

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owain_Gwynedd for considerably more information.


Also called OWAIN AP GRUFFYDD, GRUFFYDD also spelled GRUFFUDD (d. 1170), last great king of North Wales (Gwynedd) who helped advance Welsh independence against Norman and English dominance.

Together with his brother Cadwaladr, Owain led three expeditions (1136-37) against the English stronghold of Ceredigion to the south. The brothers ravaged the region and established themselves there. Upon his father's death in 1137, Owain took the throne of North Wales. During the reign of the English king Stephen, Owain extended the boundaries of northern Wales almost to the city of Chester. Henry II, who succeeded to the English throne in 1154, challenged Owain in 1157. Both sides fared badly, and an agreement was reached whereby Owain withdrew to Rhuddlan and the River Clwyd and rendered homage. He kept the terms of the agreement until 1165, when he combined forces with Rhys ap Gruffydd, his nephew and the prince of South Wales, and with Owain Cyfeiliog (of the Powys region) against Henry. Thwarted by bad weather and unequal knowledge of the region, Henry was forced to turn back and yield the region to the Welsh. Owain once more regained the castles of Basingwerk and Rhuddlan and pushed the borders of Gwynedd to the estuary of the River Dee. He maintained northern Welsh independence throughout his lifetime, but succeeding generations were unequal to the task, and Gwynedd officially fell to the English in 1283.

See "The History of Gruffydd ap Cynan," Arthur Jones (Manchester, 1910).

Spouses

1Gwladus (or Gladys) verch Llywarch

FatherLlywarch ap Trahearn Prince of South Wales (~1070-1129)

MotherDyddgy of Builth

ChildrenIorworth (-1174)

Gwenllian I

2Cristin verch Gronwy

FatherGronwy ap Owain (~1073-1124)

MotherGenilles verch Hoedlyn

ChildrenAngharad


From:

Owain ap Gruffudd (c. 1080 – 28 November 1170) was King of Gwynedd, north Wales, from 1137 until his death in 1170, succeeding his father Gruffudd ap Cynan. He was the first to be styled "Prince of Wales".[1] He is considered to be the most successful of all the North Welsh princes prior to his grandson, Llywelyn the Great. He became known as Owain Gwynedd (Middle Welsh: Owain Gwyned, "Owain of Gwynedd") to distinguish him from the contemporary king of southern Powys Owain ap Gruffydd ap Maredudd, who became known as "Owain Cyfeiliog". Owain Gwynedd was a member of the House of Aberffraw, the senior branch of the dynasty of Rhodri the Great.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owain_Gwynedd
OWAIN GWYNEDD (c. 1100-70), king of Gwynedd; second son of Gruffudd ap Gynan (q.v.) and Angharad (q.v.), daughter of Owain ab Edwin (q.v. . The existence of another Owain ap Gruffydd. known as Owain Cyfeiliog (q.v.), explains the use of the distinctive style of 'Owain Gwynedd.' He m. (1) Gwladus. daughter of Llywarch ap Trahaearn (q.v.), (2) Christina, his cousin, daughter of Gronw ap Owen ap Edwin, to whom he remained constant despite the active disapproval of the Church. By the former he had two sons, lorwerth Drwyndwn a.v. and Maelgwn (q.v.); and also two sons by Christina-Dafydd (q.v.) and Rhodri (q.v.1. He had at least six other sons, of whom two Hywel (q.v.) and Cynan (q.v.), survived him, and two daughters, Angharad, wife of Gruffydd Maelor I (q.v.), and Gwenllian, wife of Owain Cyfeiliog.

As a young man during the decade 1120-30 he was associated with an elder brother, Cadwallon .q.v. . in restoring the prosperity of G\vynedd on behalf of an ageing father, and in directing the military operations which added the cantreds of Meirionydd, Rhos, Rhufoniog, and Dyffryn Clwyd to Gwynedd proper. Thus on his accession to full kingship on Gruffudd's death in 1137 (Cadwallon d. in 1132) the groundwork of a great career had been firmly laid. Already political anarchy in England had provided the opportunity to combine with Gruffydd ap Rhys (q.v.) and others in a victory over the Normans at Crug Mawr (1136), and in the temporary occupation of Ceredigion. Owain's operations in South Cymru, however, were in the main intended as diversionary measures to cover his main objective of territorial consolidation in North Cymru. Eventually, despite the opposition of Ranulf of Chester and Madog ap Maredudd of Powys (q.v.), Mold and its hinterland submitted to him, in 1146, and in 1149 Tegeingl and lal were annexed to Gwynedd. In 1157, with changed conditions in England, Owain suffered his only decisive reverse at the hands of Henry II. The expedi­tion into North Cymru undertaken by Henry II in that year, though indecisive in its military results, marks a positive stage in the relations of England and Wales. Deprived of Tegeingl and lal, and forced to re-admit his younger brother, Cadwaladr (q.v.), exiled in 1152, to a share of power in Gwynedd, Owain, with characteristic prudence and insight, realised the great potentialities of the Angevin monarchy, did homage to Henry, and apparently agreed to change his official style from 'king' to 'prince.' He made no attempt, moreover, to break the feudal link with England, when at the climax of his career, after the general Welsh uprising of 1165. He destroyed the royal strongholds of Tegeingl and once more established the power of Aberffraw along the estuary of the Dee. He d. on 28 Nov. 1170, and was buried in the cathedral church of Bangor.

Though it was Owain who finally accepted the principle of Angevin overlordship over Gwynedd, he regarded himself as no ordinary vassal (his attitude to episcopal elections in the see of Bangor should be noted) and it is clear that it was he who gave initial direction to the policies of his successors. It was largely due to his example, moreover, that the native rulers of Cymru ceased to be mere tribal chieftains and took their place alongside the great feudal magnates of the time. The praises so repeatedly accorded to his many personal qualities by contemporary poets, and indeed by several public figures who could not have been pre­disposed in his favour, have so genuine a tone about them that the progressive trends in all the arts of peace and war discerned in 12th cent. Cymru, it must be concluded, were in large measure due to the fostering genius of 'Owain the Great.'

Hist. W.;DNB., Hendreg MS.; Haddan and Stubbs; Gir Cambs.; Barbier, Age of OwainGwynedd; Brut y Tywisogion; Hist. Bases of Welsh Nationalism (1950) t.j.p.


Acceded: 1137. Interred: Bangor. Reigned 1137-1170 Target of Henry II's campaign(s) in Cymru. Threatened Madoc ap Maredudd Prince of Powys. Excommunicated by Thomas a' Becket when he didn't abjure his 2nd wife Cristin. Sharon Kay Penman "Here be Dragons", p. 248 AKA Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd, Prince of Gwynedd. Expanded borders & took back districts lost to the English & other Welsh Princes Able to do so because of King Stephen's pre-occupation with English civil war. Prince of North Cymru.

REF: "Yale Genealogy and History of Cymru", 1908, Rodney Horace Yale p.40: During King Stephen's reign of 17 years in England, he left Cymru much to itself and Owain materially added to the resources of his country & re-occupied several districts, which the Welsh had lost in former years.In the meantime however, he and Cadwaladr quarreld and the latter fled to England. Also during these years (C25) Rhys ap Gruffydd, a son of Gruffydd ap Rhun, who was son of Rhys ap Tewdwr, had won several comparatively important engagements and successes in the south.

OWAIN GWYNEDD it may be argued that Owain is the greatest of the four great men who stand supreme in the history of our nation for the next hundred and forty years. If there is reason for arguing otherwise - and there is - and giving pride of place to the Lord Pvhys or Llywelyn Fawr or Llywelyn II, this only shows how surprisingly fortunate Cymru was in its leaders during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. When Owain succeeded his father, Gruffudd ap Cynan, as king of Gwynedd in 1137, he had already demonstrated over the years his efficiency, energy, courage and wisdom. He continued to reveal the same virtues for thirty-three more years. If this was a period of balanced development in all areas of Welsh life, the thanks must go to him. J. E. Lloyd says:

'it was in fact, under him that the Welsh nation attained the full measure of national consciousness which enabled it for a century and a half successfully to resist absorption in the English realm."

Notice that it is about Cymru's awareness of its nationhood rather than the fact of nationality that J. E. Lloyd writes; Cymru was a national community seven centuries before this. As a son of Gruffudd ap Cynan he would have been called Owain ap Gruffudd were it not for the existence of another prince of that name in Powys, Owain Cyfeiliog, who married Gwenllian, one of the daughters of Owain Gwynedd. Owain Cyfeiliog too was a brilliantly talented soldier, statesman and poet. It was he who founded the Cistercian monastery of Ystrad Marchell, to which he retired at the end of his life and where he died in 1197. Giraldus Cambrensis pays high tribute to his sense of justice, wisdom and modera­tion; he also mentions his eloquence and his good sense. His poem, Hirlas Owain, composed in the mode of the Gododdin is, according to Myrddin Lloyd

'the best picture we have of the life of a Welsh prince, the close relationship between him and his retinue, and all die zest of their adventurous life.'

His retinue, or 'family', was the chief tool of every prince's authority. The retinue was a small personal army of a hundred or more horsemen, pledged to defend their prince, always at his side and dependent on his generosity. The Welsh word for prince is tywysog; the literal meaning of the word is one who leads.

The brilliance of Owain Gwynedd's character is best seen when he is compared with his brother Cadwaladr, who inherited a large part of Ceredigion as a kingdom; the one con­stant, the other fickle; the one consistently building a strong and independent Welsh cause, and the other going over to the Norman enemy and scheming with them against his brother.

After the attack on Aberteifi in 1138, Cadwaladr is next heard of in Lincoln supporting one of the English parties in the Civil War in England. This was in 1141; about two years later he is back in Cymru again, attacking and killing Anarawd, the eldest son of Gruffydd ap Rhys of Deheubarth. Anarawd was a young man who had an alliance with him and who was related to him by marriage. For this crime Cadwaladr was ejected from Ceredigion by Owain Gwynedd. He quarrelled with his brother again in 1152, fled to England, and when Henry II made his great attack on Cymru in 1157 Cadwaladr was in the king's army. In 1159 he is found siding with the Norman earls in their big attack against the Lord Rhys. An example of Owain's magnanimity is that he accepted Cadwaladr back later and co-operated with him during their later years in the interests of the national cause.

After his successes in Ceredigion, Owain turned his attention to the north-east. There in 1146 Maelor Seisnig (English Maelor) was plundered by the men of Powys under the effective leadership of Madog ap Maredudd. Further north in Tegeingl the men of Gwynedd occupied Mold castle. In 1149 they took over Ia"l (Yale) and Owain built a castle in Buddugre to guard the gap from the vale of Clwyd. This brought Owain perilously close to Madog ap Maredudd who had been reigning over Powys since 1132 and did not want to see Gwynedd reducing his power. While Owain was in the process of mastering III, Madog took Oswestry and used the castle there as a fort. For years the Welsh for the first time since the early seventh century were to rule this neighbourhood again; the situation is reflected mBreuddwyd Rhonabwy. Madog was the patron of Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr, the greatest of the court poets of the country. Up until then William FitzAlan had been the Norman lord of Oswestry. He was the son of a Breton favoured by Henry I and brother of Walter FitzAlan, the founder of the royal family of the Stewarts in Scotland who succeeded the Tudors to the English throne - a family of Breton and Scottish origins following a family of Welsh lineage.

A new situation was created in England in 1154 when Henry II ascended the throne. An arrogant man, but powerful and able, this Norman imperialist checked the glorious surge of the Welsh. He was the worst enemy that the Celtic nations had encountered up to that time, not only in Cymru but in Scptland, Ireland and Britanny too. As previous Norman kings had done he gathered together in 1157 a great army in order to attack Gwynedd, with the help of a navy which sailed from Dyfed. Owain placed his own men near Dinas Basing, across the only road to Rhuddlan that evaded the wide estuary, and he put his sons and their soldiers in the forest which stretched for fifteen miles along the ridge of Tegeingl from Eulo to Prestatyn. Henry's main army travelled along the sea road, but he himself went with his retinue through the forest intending to spring a sudden attack on Owain. He only just succeeded in escaping with his life from the Welsh onslaught. Many prominent leaders were killed and the others were scattered in confusion, although the king himself succeeded in rejoining his main army by the sea. This army pushed the Welsh back to St. Asaph. In the mean­time the navy had sailed as far as Anglesey, where it came under heavy attack from the Welsh, who killed, amongst others, the son of Henry I by Nest of Pembroke.

From the military point of view Owain had the edge in this encounter but realising how powerful the Normans were under the new order, he had to make an agreement with Henry that cost him dear. He had to yield Tegeingl; give hostages to the king; re-instate his brother Cadwaladr in his old position; and give up the title of king. This title, since the eleventh century had been confined to three courts: Aberffraw in Gwynedd, Mathrafal in Powys and Dinefwr in Deheubarth. It is not found at all after the mid-twelfth century in the Welsh Laws. Only in London will we find kings after this. In Deheubarth, Rhys was known as 'Lord', but despite this lesser title he had all the powers of past kings. From now on all the old royalty were Lords except for the Gwynedd family who used the title of Prince from the days of Owain Gwynedd on. This gave precedence to Gwynedd, which was recognised more or less as the chief royal family in the whole of Cymru.

It was a matter of political policy rather than family pride. The princes of Gwynedd would pay homage to the king of England, while Gwynedd itself inclined more and more to receive the homage of all the lords of Cymru. This led to the sort of situation which was starting to develop in the days of Hywel Dda before the conquest of England by the Danes. This is what Jones-Pierce says:

'Without doubt the main intention of the policy of Gwynedd from the days of Owain until the dashing of Llywelyn II's hopes was to secure for Cymru, except for the Norman lordships of the south and the borders, a position as an equal member in a federation of feudal states recognising the overlordship of the English crown. Llywelyn Fawr claimed that his freedom and privilege in relation to the king of England was equal to those of the king of Scotland. Later Llywelyn II said in a letter to Edward, King of England, something like this: "Each province represented in the empire of the king has its own rules and laws according to its usages and local traditions, such as the Gascons have in Gascony, the Scots in Scotland, the Irish in Ireland, and the English in England. I therefore hold that I too, and I a prince, have right to my Welsh law, and a right to act according to that law. According to every just principle we should enjoy our law and customs as other nations of the King's empire, and in our own language".

The political autonomy envisaged by the princes is remarkably like that of the Welsh nationalists today. They do not demand complete independence, but ask for Commonwealth status; they recognise the crown; and they do not want a military border, nor tolls between Cymru and England. The conse­quence of operating this policy would be to create a close partnership of free and equal nations.

  • * *

While Owain was holding out against the power of Henry II in Gwynedd, the sons of Gruffydd ap Rhys were busy in Deheubarth. When the Earl Gilbert came in 1145 to take possession of Carmarthen castle and rebuild it, and to build a castle near Pencader in order to restore the situation in Ceredigion, the sons of Gruffydd ap Rhys attacked Pencader and destroyed the castle. With the help of Hywel ap Owain of Ceredigion they captured Carmarthen and then Llansteffan which the Normans and the Flemings of Pembroke tried in vain to recover. The whole of the east of Dyfed was in the hands of the Welsh with Carmarthen as a centre. In 1151 however, Cadell, the eldest of Gruffydd's three sons, was incapacitated by a severe injury which he received while on a pilgrimage to Rome. Only Maredudd and Rhys remained now, but they did not falter. They captured Cydweli, and conquered the Gower; Tenby fell into their hands; they attacked Aberafan, seventy miles to the east, destroying its castle. They turned their attention too to their old heritage in Ceredigion. Hywel was driven out of the lower part in 1150 and 1151, and in a short time the whole of Ceredigion was occupied by them. Owain Gwynedd wondered whether to attack there in 1156, but the castle that Rhys built by Glandyfi helped to dissuade him. Maredudd died in 1155, a young man of only twenty-five, leaving Rhys, the youngest brother, Lord of all Deheubarth.

Rhys kept his lordship unimpaired for only three years. In 1158 he bent under the heavy pressure of Henry II and had to yield the whole lot to him, apart from Cantref Mawr and some other scattered lands. Cere­digion and Dyfed, Cantref Bach and Carmarthen, Cydweli and Gower were recovered by the king. Undaunted, Rhys again challenged the royal order in arms, but when Henry and his army came to the west he was forced to yield a second time. Like Owain Gwynedd he had to acknowledge that the strength of England was now far greater than his own, and that he would have to choose either to be satisfied with a little, or to be destroyed completely.

The Welsh lords accepted the situation unwillingly, of course, and a flash of their spirit is seen to gleam out every now and again. For example, in 1158, the year of Henry's march to the west of Cymru, the powerful castle of Cardiff was attacked by Ifor Bach, lord of Scnghennydd in the Caerffili area. His wife Nest was a grand-daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr and a sister of the Lord Rhys. In this daring attack Earl William and his wife and eldest son were taken prisoner, giving the Norman party a scare which they were not to forget. In spite of the strength of the Normans in the Vale of Glamorgan they had not succeeded in subduing the spirit of the Welsh.

Rhys ap Gruffydd too could not be subdued for long. In the following year he is found attacking Carmarthen and the castles of Dyfed, and when an army came against him from England, under Earl Reginald of Cornwall, he retreated to the inaccessible valleys of Cantref Mawr. The attempts to supplant him were a complete failure although five great earls joined by Cadwaladr marched against him. Rhys kept his position. In 1162 he attacked Llandovery castle and it fell to him. Once again Henry was forced to lead an army through the south. Because his strength was so great he was allowed to march unopposed to the borders of Ceredigion, where Rhys placed himself in his hands. He later paid allegiance to him in Wood-stock in the company of Owain Gwynedd and Malcolm of Scotland and then returned to Dinefwr (Dynevor). No sooner was he home than he attacked Ceredigion again, and with so much success that only Cardigan castle remained in the hands of the Normans. All Ceredigion was now his; and 'after that,' says the Brut, 'all the Welsh united to resist the French'.

Owain Gwynedd now decided to join Rhys. He timed his intervention cleverly. It was Henry's quarrel with Thomas a Becket that persuaded him that it was time to challenge the king. His son attacked Tegeingl. An alliance of the princes of free Cymru was formed: Gwynedd, Powys and Deheubarth. The king accepted the challenge. He gathered an army such as had never before been seen on the borders of Cymru: they came from Normandy and Scotland, from Aquitaine and Anjou, from Flanders and Poitou. They came from every region of England; the city of London gave a substantial contribution towards the cost; the Danish navy was hired from Ireland. The Norman Empire, which stretched from the borders of Scotland down to Spain, now decided to get rid of the Welsh problem once and for all. And by the end of July 1165 it was ready to strike.

Men from all parts of free Cymru gathered together to face these armies. They came from Gwynedd and Deheubarth, from Powys and from the land between the Wye and the Severn, and the fickle Cadwaladr joined them too. They joined forces in Ceredigion. Rhys ap Gruffydd had come there from his battles in the province; Owain Cyfeiliog was there beside his fellow poet and prince, Hywel ap Owain Gwynedd; the sons of Madog ap Maredudd of Powys were there, and Cadwallon and Einion Clud from the Wye and the Severn. And there to lead them was Owain Gwynedd. In her hour of crisis Cymru was united.

The armies of England travelled from Oswestry through the Ceiriog valley where they were resisted by chosen Welshmen - 'and many of the strongest fell on both sides' - up over the slopes of the Berwyns, and along the road which is still called 'Ffordd y Saeson' (the Englishmen's Road). And there the rain fell; it poured down incessantly; and the wind coursed like a wild thing. The floor of every camp was turned into a lake and every path flowed like a river. The soldiers were soaked to the skin by the rain, and their tents ripped by the wind. The water increased and the food decreased. Cymru has often suffered from the rain; this time it profited from it. As moving forward became more and more difficult, the Welsh awaited their opportunity to pounce. In the end the imperial forces concluded that retreat was best, and that is what they did. Full of anger Henry II avenged himself on his hostages, blinding and injuring twenty-two of them, including two of Owain Gwynedd's own sons, and Cynfrig and Maredudd, the sons of Rhys ap GrufFydd. In their fury, the king's soldiers even burnt churches. Once again, after this tremendous victory, we see the quality of Owain Gwynedd, and particularly his capacity for restraint. Giraldus Cambrensis tells the story in his Journey Through Cymru:

"The previous day the heads of the English army had burnt a number of Welsh churches, as well as villages and churchyards. So, with a host of young, lightly-armed soldiers, the sons of Owain Fawr spoke severely with their father and the other princes about this act, saying that they could never again show the same respect for English churches. And when nearly everyone was in agreement with this Owain alone, as was suitable for a man of great retraint and wisdom, amongst his people, having quietened the crowd, broke across them in the end with these words: 'I do not agree with this opinion: rather we should be grateful and joyful because of this. For we are very unequal against the English^ unless we are upheld by divine aid; but they, through what they have done, have made an enemy of God himself, who can avenge this injury to himself and to us at the same time. And so let us all piously make a vow to the Lord and show from now on more respect and honour than before for churches and holy places."

After this, Rhys ap GrufFydd succeeded in taking the key castles of Cilgerran and Cardigan. He got rid completely of the great families of Clare and Clifford who had been occupying Ceredigion and half of the Tywi valley; he restored the state of affairs that had prevailed before Henry attacked in 1162; once again he was lord of Ceredigion, Ystrad Tywi and a great deal of Dyfed.

In Tegeingl, also, Owain Fawr moved forward, destroying Dinas Basing, and, with Rhys's help, he captured Rhuddlan too after laying siege to it for three months. Gwynedd now extended from Dyfi (Dovey) to Dyfrdwy (Dee). There was political activity too. Owain carried on the fight for independence through the Church, and in defiance of the power of Thomas a Becket, insisted on the right to elect bishops. In 1162 he appointed Arthur of Enlli Bishop of Bangor. (Arthur was consecrated in Ireland - an interesting example of a continuing relationship). In this way he made it clear that he did not consider himself a vassal of the king of England. One of his last acts of importance was to send an ambassador to the court of Louis VII in 1168 offering him aid in his fight against Henry II. When he died in 1170, after sixty years of public service on an heroic scale, his country could thank him before everyone else for the degree of political and social success which it enjoyed.

Owain had a great capacity for love. He deeply loved his wife Cristin; he suffered excommunication rather than put her aside at the request of the Church. He loved his children; he almost broke his heart when his son Rhun died. He loved his country, and some of this love is also evident in the work of his son Hywel who wrote in a fine panegyric:

Caraf ei morfa a'i mynyddoedd, A'i chaer ger ei choed a'i chain diredd A'i dolydd a'i dwfr a'i dyffrynnedd A'i gwylain gwynion a'i gwymp wragedd, Caraf ei milwyr a'i meirch hywedd A'i choed a'i chedyrn a'i chyfannedd.

I love its coastland and its mountains, its castle near the woods and its fine lands, its water meadows and its valleys, its white gulls and its lovely women; I love its warriors, its trained stallions, its woods, its brave men and its homes.

Land of my fathers, 2000 years of Welsh History, by Gwynfor Evans (1st Plaid Cymru M.P. Carmarthen 1966) Published and printed by John Penry Press, Swansea


Owain Gwynedd or Owain ap Gruffydd (d 1169), king of Gwynedd, or North Cymru, was the eldest son of Gruffydd ap Cynan, king of Gwynedd, and his wife Angharad (d 1162), daughter of Owain ap Edwin. In 1121 he was sent by his father with a large array against Meiricnydd. HIs brother Cadwaladr accompanied him on this expedition. They succeeded in tranplanting many of the men of Meirionydd with their property in Lleyn. In 1136 a similar predatory expedition against Ceredigion was also conducted by the two brothers, in the course of which Aberystwith Castle was burnt. At the end of the year the brothers led a second invasion of Ceredigion, and won a victory over 'the French and Flemings' at Aberteivi (Cardigan), whereupon they returned with great spoil and many prisoners to Gwynedd. In 1137 the death of Gruffydd ap Cynan gave Owain the succession to the throne of North Cymru. He immediately led a third expedition to Ceredigion and, marching through the land until he reached the shors of the Bristol Channel, burnt Ystradmeurig, Llanstephen, and even Carmarthen itself. But he soon sought to make peace with his South Welsh rivals, and promised to give his daughter in marriage to his nephew Anarawd, son of Gruffyd ap Rhys (d 1127), the late prince of South Cymru. But Cadwaladr, who had for his portion the former conquests made by him and Owain in Ceredigion, resented this alliance, kiled Anarawd in 1148, and carried off his niece. Owain now sent his son Howel to take possession of Cadwaladr's lands. In 1114 Caswaladr, who had fled to Ireland, appeared off the Menai Straits with a fleet of Irish Danes. But Owain prudently reconeiled himself with Cadwaladr, whereupoon the pirates blinded their treacherous ally. Owain fell upon the Danes, and drove them back to Dublin. But in 1145 Owain's sons were again attacking Cadwaladr, until he was forced to take refuge with the English.

The confusion which prevailed in England under the reign of Stephen gave Owain Gwynedd an unequalled opportunity for the extension and consolidation of his power. Despite his constant struggles with his kinsmen, Owain seldom lost sight of this object and teh prowess of his sons, Howel and Cynan ably seconded his efforts. In 1147 Owain lost his favourite son Rhun; but the 'insufferable sorrow' into which this calamity threw him was soon 'turned to sudden joy' by the news of the capture of Gwyddgrug (Mold). 'And when Owain our prince heard of this, he became relieved of all pain and from every sorrowing thought, and recovered his accustomed energy.' In 1148 Owain built a castle in Yale, very near the English border. Bouth Fandulf, earl of Chester, and Madog ap Maredudd, prince of Powys, resented this, and in 1149 Madog joined with the earl to attack Owain, but was signally defeated at Counsillt. But Owain's power was still diminished by family feuds. In 1149 he was forced to imprison his son Cynan. In 1151 he drove his brother Cadwaladr from his refuge in Anglesea, and blinded and mutilated his brother Cadwallon, and his nephew, Cadwallon's son, Cunedda. Such vigorous and bloodthirsty measures secured his nold more firmly over Gwynedd. In 1155 he was able to lead an expedition against Ceredigion.

Henry II had now succeeded to the English throne, and put down the anarchy of the last reign. Cadwaladr and Madog urged him on to resist the successful aggressions of Owain Gwynedd, and in July 1157 there took place Henry's first expedition against North Cymru. While the English army encamped on the frontier of Cheshire, Owain and his sons took pu their positon at Basingwerk, which they fortified with entrenchments. The darkwood of Cennadlog separated the two armies. Henry sent part of his army by the coast, while the rest threaded the dense forest. But the sons of Owain attacked the English amidst the wood with such success that Henry of Essex, the constable, dropped the king's standard and fled in despair. The king, however, rallied his troops, and successfully pushed through the wood; whereupoon Owain fled from Basingwerk to a place called Cil Owain, while Henry II occpied Rhuddlan, and sent the fleet to land the second army in Anglesea. The English suffered severely, but Owain was in great danger of being crushed between the fleet and the army. Neither party was in a condition to push matters to extemities, so that peace was easily patched up. Owain performed homage to Henry as his liege lord, surrendered hostages as a pledge of his future loyalty, and restored Cadwaladr, Henry's ally, to his former territory. The English boasted that the Welsh were subdued to the English king's will, bur Henry's expedition was no very brilliant success, and Owain's power was as strong as ever, as soon as the English host had recrossed the Dee.

In 1159 Owain's son Morgan was slain by craft; but the next few years were a period of comparative peace, as his nephew Rhys ab Gruffydd, commonly called the Lord Rhys, prince of South Cymru, now attracted most of the English atention through his vigorous resistance to the marchers in South Cymru. Owain himself seems to have been on the side of the French against his South Welsh rival, and his brother Cadwaladr and his sons Howel and Cynan actually fought with the Earls of Chester and Clare against the Lord Rhys, while Owain haded over a Welsh prisoner to the marchers. In 1162 Owain was engaged in war with Howel ap Iemacv, lord of Arwystili, who got possession of the castle of Talawern in Cyveiliog through treachery. But Owain invaded Arwystli, and his 'insupportable sorrow' for the loss of the castle was changed to 'sudden joy' when his army almost annihilated the forces of his rival and went home with a vast booty. In 1163 he had the satisfaction of seeing Henry direct his second Welsh expedition against Rhys and the South Welsh; but the complete triumph of the invading army seems to have thightened the bonds that bound Owain to his overlord. It was through Owain's intervention that his nephew Rhys was induced to make his submission to Henry II at Pencader. In the summer of 1164 Owain appeared at the council of Woodstock along with his nephew Rhys and some of his chief nobles, where, on 1 July, they all renewed their homage to Henry.

The restless chieftain did not, however, long keep the peace. In 1165 Both Owain and his nephew Rhys of South Cymru had renewed their plundering inroads. In this year Owain's on Davydd devasted Englefield, the district between the Clwyd and Chester, and removed the inhabitants into the vale of Clwyd. This action seems to have brought Henry II again to Cymru, but he advanced no further than Rhuddlan, where he remained three days (probably in May 1165). In July, hover, the king led a more formidable expedition against South Cymru, where Rhys, like Owain, had been devastating the English border. For the first time the rival Welsh chieftains joined together in resisting the English invaders. Owain marched with Cadwaladr at the head of the men of Gwynedd to join Rhys. Even the men of Powys, now led by Owain Cyveiliog, joined in the national resistance. The united host of the three Welsh districts encamped at Corwen to oppose Henry. The king marched through the vale of Ceiriog, where he lost many men in the woods, and at last got entangled amidst the Berwyn mountains. Rain and tempest completed the discomfiture of the English, and, provisions falling short, Henry was forced to return without having encounted the enemy. In his rage Henry ordered the hostages that were still in his hands to be blinded. Among them were Cadwallon and Cynvrig, two of Owain's sons. Another son, named Llywelyn, died during the same year.

The English king's decided repulse gave Owain a stronger position than ever, especially as Henry II now absented himself from England for the next six years, and nothing was done by the central power to check the aggressions of the Welsh chieftains, or their constan wars with the marchers. Owain had waged war against Welsh prince and Norman marcher alike. His destruction of Basingwerk in 1166 was a menace to the Earl of Chester. In alliance with Owain Cyveiliog he drove out Iorwert Goch from Mochnant, upon which the two Owains divided the land between them. But in 1167 the allies quarrelled, and Owain Gwynedd formed a fresh combination with Rhys of South Cymru against the lord of Powys. Some sharp fighting ensued. Caereineon was wrested from Owain Cyveiliog and handed over to a vassal prince Owain Vychan. Talawern was conquered and appropriated by the lord Rhys. But Owain Cyveiliog called in the help of the Norman marchers, destroyed Castell Caereineon, which the two Owains had previously erected, and killed all the garrison. The two Owains and Rhys, however, still kept their forces together, and atoned for their check in Caereineon by a destructive inroad against the English castles of Englefield. They burnt the strongholds of Rhuddlan and Prestatyn, and then 'every one returned happy and victorious to his own country. This was almost the last of Owain's warlike exploits.

Owain's declining years were embittered by a long and complicated struggle with the church. He naturally wished to keep his own bishopric of Bangor free from the intrusion of the Norman nominees of the English king, but the struggle for ecclesiastical independence was complicated by the irregular and uncanonical life of the native champion. Owain was, however, a pious man after his fashion; and Giraldus Cambrensis quotes some of his quaint sayings in the matter. Early in his reign Owain had a sharp contest with Maurice or Merig, who was consecrated bishop of Bangor in 1139 in succession to David (d 1139?). Though Maurice had some hesitation in professing canonical obedience to canterbury, and though he was duly elected by 'clergy and people' of Gwynedd, Owain wrote indignantly to Bishop Bernard, the Norman bishop of St David's complaining that Maurice had 'entered the church of St Daniel not at the door, but like a thief,' and proposed a meeting with Bernard and the South Welsh prince Anarawd at Aberdovey, to combine against the intruder. After Maurice's death, however, in 1161, Owain obstinately kept the see of Bangor vacant, despite the vigorous protests of Archbishop Thomas of Canterbury and of Pope Alexander III. After 1164 Thomas' exile complicated the sitmaction, and gave Owain the opportunity of prolonging his resistance to attempts which probably would have resulted in the intrusion of a Norman nominee, as in South Cymru. About 1165 he wrote to Thomas, proposing that the archbishop should allow the consecration of a bishop of Bangor elsewhere that at Canterbury, on condition that he professed canonical obedience to Canterbury. Owain added, moreover, that Thomas ought to grant the request, as no law compelled the king of Gwynedd to subjection to Canterbury, but simply his good will. Thomas naturally refused this requst, whereupoon Owain seems to have provided a nominee for the see, who sought for consecration in Ireland from the Archbishop of Dublin. This naturally made matters worse; and the dispute was further aggravated by the pope nominating another candidate. But the old prince now married his cousin Crisiant, and alliance that drew upon him the fresh wrath of the chruch. He was ultimately excommunicated by Thomas, and died in November, without being free from the ban. But the Welsh ecclesiastics cared little for the sentences of Canterbury. Owain duly received the last sacraments of the chruch and was buried in consecrated ground. His tomb was placed beside that of his brother Cadwaladr, in the presbytery of Bangor Cathedral, before the high altar; but on Archbishop Baldwin's visit to Bangor during his crusading tour in 1188, the Bishop of Bangor was directed by the primate to remove the body of the excommunicated king from the sacred precincts of the chruch.

Giraldus Cambrensis describes Owain as a man of great moderation and wisdom, and combines him with his nephew Maredudd ap Gruffydd and Owain Cyveiliog as the only three men celebrated in the Cymru of his time for justice, prudence, and moderation in their rule. The 'Brut y Tywysogion' speaks of him as 'a man of the most extraodinary sagacity, nobleness, fortitude, and bravery, invincible from his youth, who never denied any one the request he made.' The bard Gwalchmai, in an ode commemorating one of Owain's victories, also extols his generosity, describing him as a prince who will 'neither cringe nor hoard up wealth.' Owain was much celebrated by the bards. Five of Gwalchmai's poems are addressed to him, Cynddelw also wrote his praises and those of his family, while Daniel ab Llosgwrn Mew and Seisyll wrote elegies upon him. Owain's merit was that he continued the successful resistance to marcher encroachment which his father had begun in the reign of Stephen. It required no small pertinacity on Owain's part to make so great a king as Henry II give up in dispair his efforts to reduce Gwynedd to satisfaction. Owain seems, however, to have been more bloodthirsty than most men of his time and nation; and the chroniclers record many instances of murders and mutilations, especially of kinsfolk, effected at his command. Yet his career made it possible to preserve a strong Welsh state against the Normans; and but for his strenuous acts the successes of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth in the next generation would hardly have been possible.

Owain's matrimonial relations were of the irregular type common to his age and country, and few of his numerous children were regarded by the stricter churchmen as legitimate. Before the old king died the fierce strife between his sons fro his succession had already broke out. He is said to have had seventeen sons; and the following children of Owain are mentioned in the Welsh chronicles. The name of the mother is also given when known: (1) Howel (s 1171) whose mother, Pyvog, was an Irish lady, and who was very famous both as a bard and as a warrior; (2) Davydd, Owain's ultimate successor, who was his son by his cousin Crisiant, and therefore looked upon with special disfavour by the stricter churchmen as the son of an incestuous union.; (3) Rhodri (d after 1192) also a son of Crisiant; (4) Iorwerth the father of Llywlyn ap Iorwerth, the only one of Owain's surving sons regarded by the church as legitimate; (5) Llywelyn (d 1165), much eulogised by the chroniclers; (6) Cynan (d 1174), Howel's companion in his earlier exploits; (7) Maelgwn (d after 1174); (8) Cynvrig (d 1139); (9) Rhun (d 1147), 'the most praiseworthy young man of the British nation. He was presumabley a son of Pyvog; (10) Morgan, killed in 1158; (11) another Cynvrig, who, with (12) Cadwallon, was blinded by Henry II in 1165; (13) one daughter, Angharad, in mentioned, who was a ful sister of Iorwerth, and therefore legitimate, and who married Morgan ab Seisyll; (14) another dauther, whose name is not given, was betrothed early in Owain's reign to her cousin Anarawd ap Rhys ap Gruffydd of South Cymru. [Dictionary of National Biography XIV:1285-1288]


From www.castlewales.com/owain_g.html

The death of Henry I in 1135 was the signal for more vigorous and more hostile policies by the Welsh, though firm action by Stephen (the king who succeeded Henry) and the marcher lords held the promise of successful defence. Henry II succeeded Stephen in December 1154, determined to restore authority to the kingdom and to repair the damage caused by civil strife and the lack of a strong central administration. By 1157 he was ready to turn his attention to Cymru.

Two princes carried Cymru through these difficult years, Owain Gwynedd in the north and Rhys ap Gruffydd in south Cymru. Both were aware of the complex problems to be faced: to deal with rival Welsh dynasties, to deal with marcher lords, and to live in the shadow of a rich and powerful neighbor. Owain gauged the political realities of the day quickly and, however often he had to yield, he did not lose the initiative.

Owain Gwynedd, Prince of Gwynedd 1137-70, was born circa 1109. In 1137 he succeeded his father Gruffydd ap Cynan (1081-1137) to the kingdom of Gwynedd, which covered most of north Cymru. While England was engaged in civil war, Owain used his skill as statesman and soldier to extend his frontiers. In 1157 Henry II led his first campaign against Owain, but it ended in a truce. He was required to do homage to Henry but it was not long before Owain was acting with complete independence. When Madog ap Maredudd died in 1160, he attacked Powys and extended his influence to the east. Six years later, the Council of Woodstock attempted to reduce the Welsh princes from client status to that of dependent vassalage, and the subsequent uprising was led by Owain and Rhys ap Gruffydd of south Cymru. Henry's second attempt at subduing Cymru failed ignominiously and left Owain free to capture Basingwerk and Rhuddlan castles (1166-67). In 1168 he set foot on negotiations with Louis VII of France to build an alliance between Gwynedd and France against their common enemy. It was a course which required great finesse and firm judgement. In one direction it pointed to a policy which would be used to good effect by later rulers of Gwynedd, the search for recognition and an alliance in Europe. Having openly defied Henry in 1168 by offering to help Louis, Owain maintained his independent position until his death. He left behind him a reputation of wisdom and magnanimity.

The reign of Owain Gwynedd marks the most peaceful period of Welsh independence, when the native princes absorbed many of the current European reforming ideas and adapted the more effective structures of both church and state to their own society. Monastic foundations were encouraged, diocesan boundaries defined, and many stone churches built. Motte-and-bailey earthwork castles identical to those built earlier by the Norman invaders were now erected by the princes as the centers of many of their personal estates. Two of Owain's sons are credited with building the first stone castles in Gwynedd towards the end of the 12th century. The tragedy, recurrent in Welsh history, was that Owain was not followed immediately by a strong ruler. Upon his death in 1170, open warfare broke out between his sons: Dafydd and Rhodri killed their elder half-brother, Hywel, and for the next 20 years Gwynedd was divided between them and their kinsmen. Gwynedd and Cymru would not see another strong leader until Llywelyn the Great extended his control over most of Cymru in the later part of the century. ....................................

Court Bard

GWALCHMAI ap MEILYR (fl. 1130-80), bardd o Fôn, un o'r cynharaf o'r Gogynfeirdd. Canodd i Owain Gwynedd (bu. f. 1170) a'i frodyr, ac i Ddafydd a Rhodri ei feibion, a hefyd i Fadog ap Maredudd o Bowys (bu f. 1160). Ei weithiau eraill sydd ar gael yw ei Orhoffedd, ei ?Freuddwyd,? ei ganu i Efa ei wraig, ac, yn ôl Hendreg. MS. a ?Llyfr Coch Hergest,? y canu i Dduw a briodolir yn y Myv. Arch. i'w fab Meilyr ap Gwalchmai. Yn un o'r awdlau i Owain Gwynedd ceir tystiolaeth mai mab oedd Gwalchmai i Feilyr, pencerdd Gruffudd ap Cynan (Myv. Arch. 144B16-17 ? ?Arddwyrews fy nhad [e]i fraisg frenhindad?). Profir i Walchmai ddechrau canu cyn 1132 gan y ddau gyfeiriad ganddo at ei foliant i Gadwallawn fab Gruffudd ap Cynan a fu farw'r flwyddyn honno. Yn un o'r awdlau i Owain Gwynedd ceir cyfeiriadau at ymgyrchfeydd y tywysog hwnnw yn 1136-8 yng Ngheredigion a Phenfro, ac mewn awdl arall ceir disgrifiad nodedig o frwydr Tal Moelfre (1157). Y mae sôn am anghydfod rhwng Gwalchmai ag Owain Gwynedd mewn awdl arall, ac nid oes ar gael farwnad o'i waith i'r tywysog hwn y canodd gymaint iddo. Mewn awdl i Ddafydd ab Owain Gwynedd cyfeirir at symud y tywysog hwnnw yn 1175 i'r dwyrain o Gonwy, ac er ei fod yn cwyno nad oedd Rhodri ddim yn ei hoffi, ceir awdl iddo a ganwyd wedi hynny. Canwyd y Gorhoffedd ym mywyd Owain Gwynedd. Y mae cyfeiriadau sicr ynddo at ymgyrchfeydd 1136-8 yn y De, ac yn Rhuddlan (1150?). Y mae'r gerdd hon, sy'n gyfuniad o ganu natur, serch, ac ymffrost, yn un o uchelgampau barddoniaeth Gymraeg ei chanrif. Yr oedd gan Walchmai feibion ac y mae peth o farddoniaeth dau (neu dri) ohonynt ar gael, sef EINON a MEILYR AP GWALCHMAI, ac, o bosibl, Elidir Sais [q.v.]. Dengys y Record of Caernarvon gyswllt Gwalchmai a'i feibion â Threwalchmai ym Môn, a bod ganddo feibion o'r enw Meilyr, Dafydd, ac Elidir. Yn ei ?Freuddwyd? y mae Gwalchmai'n cwyno ei golled ar ôl Goronwy, ac fe sonnir mewn englynion marwnad teulu Owain Gwynedd (Myv. Arch. 1638) am Oronwy fab Gwalchmai. Llyfryddiaeth: M.A. (Myv. Arch.) 142B-149B; H.G. (Hendreg. MS.) 4a-14b; R.B.H. Poetry, 1184-6; J. Lloyd-Jones, Court Poets of the Welsh Princes. Awdur: David Myrddin Lloyd, M.A., (1909-81), Aberystwyth / Yr Alban Atodiadau a chywiriadau: GWALCHMAI ap MEILYR (Bywg., 304) Yn y ll. olaf cywirer 1638 i 163b.

.................................... GWALCHMAI ap MEILYR (fl. 1130-1180),an Anglesey court poet, one of the earlier Gogynfeirdd. He sang to Owain Gwynedd (d. 1170) (q.v.) to his brothers, to Dafydd (q.v.) and Rhodri (q.v.) his sons, and also to Madog ap Maredudd of Powys (d. 1160) (q.v.). Other extant poems of his are his ?Gorhoffedd? (vaunting poem), his ?Dream,? and his verses to Eve, his wife. The Hendreg. MS. and the ?Red Book of Hergest? also attribute to him an ode to God which according to the Myv. Arch. is the work of his son, Meilyr. In one of the poems to Owain Gwynedd there is internal evidence that Gwalchmai was the son of Meilyr (q.v.), court poet to Gruffudd ap Cynan (Myv. Arch. 144b, 16-17 ? ?My father sang the praises of his powerful royal father?). The two references in Gwalchmai's poems to the fact that he sang to Cadwallawn, son of Gruffudd ap Cynan, prove that he was composing poetry before the latter's death in 1132. In one of the poems to Owain Gwynedd there are references to that prince's campaigns in South-west Wales in 1136-8, and in another there is a remarkable description of the battle of Tal Moelfre (1157). There is mention of a misunderstanding between Gwalchmai and Owain Gwynedd in one of these poems, and there is no extant elegy by him to this great prince to whom he had sung so much. In an ode to Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd there is a reference to Dafydd's removal in 1175 to the east of the river Conway, and although the poet complains that he is not loved by Rhodri, he lived to sing his praises at a later date. The ?Gorhoffedd? was sung during the lifetime of Owain Gwynedd. It contains references to Owain's campaigns in South Wales in 1136-8, and around Rhuddlan (1150?). This poem, which combines nature, love, and ?vaunting? themes, is one of the finest achievements of the Welsh muse in the 12th cent. Gwalchmai had several sons. Poetry composed by two (or three) of them is extant, viz. Einion (q.v.) and Meilyr ap Gwalchmai and, possibly, Elidir Sais (q.v.). The Record of Caernarvon reveals the connection of Gwalchmai and his sons with Trewalchmai in Anglesey, and also that three of his sons were named Meilyr, Dafydd and Elidir. In his ?Dream,? Gwalchmai laments the loss of Goronwy, and in a series of elegiac englynion to the retinue of Owain Gwynedd (Myv. Arch., 163b) mention is made of a Goronwy, son of Gwalchmai. Bibliography: M.A. (Myv. Arch.), 142b-149b; H.G. (Hendreg. MS.), 4a-14b; R.B.H. Poetry, 1184-6; J. Lloyd-Jones, Court Poets of the Welsh Princes Author: David Myrddin Lloyd, M.A., (1909-81), Aberystwyth / Scotland


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Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd, King of Gwynedd's Timeline

1100
1100
Caernarvonshire, Wales, (Present UK)
1100
United Kingdom
1120
1120
Age 20
Wales
1124
1124
Age 24
1124
Age 24
Caernarvonshire, Wales
1124
Age 24
1124
Age 24
Of, , Caernarvonshire, Wales
1129
1129
Age 29
Aberffraw Castle, Aberffraw, Anglesey, Wales
1130
1130
Age 30