in about 1100, Owain ap Gruffudd of Gwynedd - Owain
Gwynedd - is considered as one of the foremost monarchs of
Gwynedd as, by the end of his reign he ruled most of Wales. A
typical prince prince of his day, he was both warlike and
Upon the death of their father Gruffudd ap Cynan in 1137, his
three sons, Cadwallon, Owain and Cadwaladr shared his kingdom –
as was the Welsh custom.
Cadwallon was to
die later in battle leaving the kingdom between Owain and
Cadwaladr. However. In 1143 - a dark chapter in the family
history - Cadwaladr was involved in the murder of a Prince of
Deheubarth resulting in him being driven into exile. This left
Owain as sole monarch in the kingdom whereupon he proved himself
to be a worthy successor to his father by adding lands and power
to the kingdom of Gwynedd.
Owain used the
chaos of the civil war in England between Stephen and Matilda to
stretch his kingdom into Powys and also taking Marcher lands.
foremost princes of the day, Owain Gwynedd in the north and
in the south carried Wales through these difficult
days. Both were acutely minded of the problems they faced –
rival Welsh kingdoms fighting each other, Marcher lords forever
seeking new lands in Wales and extending their power and, of
course, the ever intrusive, richer and more powerful neighbour,
lead an invasion of Gwynedd supported by Owain's exiled brother,
Cadwaladr. Owain fought back, with his forces ambushing the
English army at Ewloe; the English were thoroughly routed with
the King of England only just evading capture. However, Owain
was eventually forced to come to terms with Henry, and was
required to render homage to Henry. In the politics of the day
Owain often had to yield - but he never lost the initiative and
was soon acting with complete independence.
again in 1164(65) but was met by an alliance of all the Welsh
princes, led by Owain and including Rhys ap Gruffudd - yr
Arglwydd Rhys - which led to the successful capture of
Basingwerk and Rhuddlan castles by the Welsh alliance. Little
other fighting took place as torrential rain forced the English
army into retreat. Infuriated by his failure, Henry mutilated
many of his Welsh hostages including two of Owain's sons and
blinding Maredudd, son of yr Arglwydd Rhys..
invaded Wales, or challenged Owain again.
Gwynedd died a powerful, successful ruler whose later years were
marked by peace and the building of structures to enforce
both state and church in his own lands. Sadly after his death in
1170, his sons of which he had 5 by two marriages, also a number
of illegitimate sons, fought amongst each other for supremacy in
the kingdom leading to chaos in the realm. One of his sons,
Iorwerth Drwyndwn was the
father of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth - better known as Llywelyn Fawr
(Llywelyn the Great) - who was to put an end to the feuding.
Princes of Gwynedd / Wales
1055 - 1137
Llywelyn Fawr (the Great) - Llywelyn ap Iorwerth
Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf (the Last) - Llywelyn
1400 - 1404