Llywelyn ap Gruffudd

Last updated

Llywelyn ap Gruffudd
Prince of Aberffraw
Lord of Snowdon
Llywelyn le Dernier.jpg
Contemporary depiction
Prince of Wales
Predecessor Dafydd ap Llywelyn
Successor Dafydd ap Gruffydd
Bornc. 1223
Gwynedd, Wales
Died11 December 1282
Aberedw, Powys, Wales
Spouse Eleanor de Montfort
Issue Gwenllian of Wales
Princess Catherine
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd or
Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf
Royal house Aberffraw
Father Gruffydd ap Llywelyn Fawr
Mother Senana ferch Caradog

Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (c. 1223 11 December 1282), sometimes written as Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, also known as Llywelyn the Last (Welsh : Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf, lit. 'Llywelyn, Our Last Leader'), was the native Prince of Wales (Latin: Princeps Walliae; Welsh: Tywysog Cymru) from 1258 until his death at Cilmeri in 1282. Llywelyn was the son of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn Fawr and grandson of Llywelyn the Great, and he was one of the last native and independent princes of Wales before its conquest by Edward I of England and English rule in Wales that followed, until Owain Glyndŵr held the title during the Welsh Revolt of 1400–1415.


Genealogy and early life

Llywelyn was the second of the four sons of Gruffydd, the eldest son of Llywelyn the Great, and Senana ferch Caradog, the daughter of Caradoc ap Thomas ap Rhodri, Lord of Anglesey. [note 1] [1] The eldest was Owain Goch ap Gruffydd and Llywelyn had two younger brothers, Dafydd ap Gruffydd and Rhodri ap Gruffydd. Llywelyn is thought to have been born around 1222 or 1223. He is first heard of holding lands in the Vale of Clwyd around 1244.

Following his grandfather's death in 1240, Llywelyn's uncle, Dafydd ap Llywelyn (who was Llywelyn the Great's eldest legitimate son), succeeded him as ruler of Gwynedd. At this time, Llywelyn went on crusade with Richard of Cornwall, brother of Henry III of England. [2] Llywelyn's father, Gruffydd (who was Llywelyn's eldest son but illegitimate), and his brother, Owain, were initially kept prisoner by Dafydd, then transferred into the custody of King Henry III of England. Gruffydd died in 1244 from a fall while trying to escape from his cell at the top of the Tower of London. [3] The window from which he attempted to escape the Tower was bricked up and can still be seen to this day.

This freed Dafydd ap Llywelyn's hand as King Henry could no longer use Gruffydd against him, and war broke out between him and King Henry in 1245. Llywelyn supported his uncle in the savage fighting that followed. Owain, meanwhile, was freed by Henry after his father's death in the hope that he would start a civil war in Gwynedd, but stayed in Chester, so when Dafydd died in February 1246 without leaving an heir, Llywelyn had the advantage of being on the spot.

Early reign

Arms of Gwynedd Arms of Llywelyn.svg
Arms of Gwynedd

Llywelyn and Owain came to terms with King Henry and in 1247, signed the Treaty of Woodstock at Woodstock Palace. [4] The terms they were forced to accept restricted them to Gwynedd Uwch Conwy, the part of Gwynedd west of the River Conwy, which was divided between them. Gwynedd Is Conwy, east of the river, was taken over by King Henry.

Division of Gwynedd in 1247 following the succession of the brothers Owain (whose lands are shown in dark green) and Llywelyn (light green) ap Gruffydd. The Commote of Cymydmaen (gold) was granted to Dafydd ap Gruffydd by Owain when he reached majority in 1252 (Source: J. Beverley Smith) Gwynedd 1247 Map.jpg
Division of Gwynedd in 1247 following the succession of the brothers Owain (whose lands are shown in dark green) and Llywelyn (light green) ap Gruffydd. The Commote of Cymydmaen (gold) was granted to Dafydd ap Gruffydd by Owain when he reached majority in 1252 (Source: J. Beverley Smith)

When Dafydd ap Gruffydd came of age, King Henry accepted his homage and announced his intention to give him part of the already reduced Gwynedd. Llywelyn refused to accept this, and Owain and Dafydd formed an alliance against him. This led to the Battle of Bryn Derwin in June 1255. Llywelyn defeated Owain and Dafydd and captured them, thereby becoming sole ruler of Gwynedd Uwch Conwy. Llywelyn now looked to expand his area of control. The population of Gwynedd Is Conwy resented English rule. This area, also known as "Perfeddwlad" (meaning 'middle land') had been given by King Henry to his son Edward and during the summer of 1256, he visited the area, but failed to deal with grievances against the rule of his officers. An appeal was made to Llywelyn, who, that November, crossed the River Conwy with an army, accompanied by his brother, Dafydd, whom he had released from prison. By early December, Llywelyn controlled all of Gwynedd Is Conwy apart from the royal castle at Dyserth as a reward for his support and dispossessing his brother-in-law, Rhys Fychan, who supported the king. An English army led by Stephen Bauzan invaded to try to restore Rhys Fychan but was decisively defeated by Welsh forces at the Battle of Cadfan in June 1257, with Rhys having previously slipped away to make his peace with Llywelyn. [5]

Rhys Fychan now accepted Llywelyn as overlord, but this caused problems for Llywelyn, as Rhys's lands had already been given to Maredudd. Llywelyn restored his lands to Rhys, but the king's envoys approached Maredudd and offered him Rhys's lands if he would change sides. Maredudd paid homage to Henry in late 1257. By early 1258, Llywelyn was using the title Prince of Wales, first used in an agreement between Llywelyn and his supporters and the Scottish nobility associated with the Comyn family. The English Crown refused to recognise this title however, [6] and in 1263, Llywelyn's brother, Dafydd, went over to King Henry.

On 12 December 1263 in the commote of Ystumanner, Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn did homage and swore fealty to Llywelyn. In return he was made a vassal lord and the lands taken from him by Llywelyn about six years earlier were restored to him. [7]

In England, Simon de Montfort (the Younger) defeated the king's supporters at the Battle of Lewes in 1264, capturing the king and the Lord Edward. Llywelyn began negotiations with de Montfort, and in 1265, offered him 30,000 marks in exchange for a permanent peace, in which Llywelyn's right to rule Wales would be acknowledged. The Treaty of Pipton, 22 June 1265, established an alliance between Llywelyn and de Montfort, but the very favourable terms given to Llywelyn in this treaty were an indication of de Montfort's weakening position. De Montfort was to die at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, a battle in which Llywelyn took no part.

Supremacy in Wales

Wales after the Treaty of Montgomery in 1267
.mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}
Gwynedd, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd's principality
Territories conquered by Llywelyn
Territories of Llywelyn's vassals
Lordships of the Marcher barons
Lordships of the king of England Wales after the Treaty of Montgomery 1267.svg
Wales after the Treaty of Montgomery in 1267
   Gwynedd, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd's principality
  Territories conquered by Llywelyn
  Territories of Llywelyn's vassals
  Lordships of the Marcher barons
  Lordships of the king of England

After Simon de Montfort's death, Llywelyn launched a campaign in order to rapidly gain a bargaining position before King Henry had fully recovered. In 1265, Llywelyn captured Hawarden Castle and routed the combined armies of Hamo Lestrange and Maurice fitz Gerald in north Wales. Llywelyn then moved on to Brycheiniog, and in 1266, he routed Roger Mortimer's army. With these victories and the backing of the papal legate, Ottobuono, Llywelyn opened negotiations with the king, and was eventually recognised as Prince of Wales by King Henry in the Treaty of Montgomery in 1267. In return for the title, the retention of the lands he had conquered and the homage of almost all the native rulers of Wales, he was to pay a tribute of 25,000 marks in yearly installments of 3,000 marks, and could if he wished, purchase the homage of the one outstanding native prince - Maredudd ap Rhys of Deheubarth - for another 5,000 marks. However, Llywelyn's territorial ambitions gradually made him unpopular with some minor Welsh leaders, particularly the princes of south Wales.

Llywelyn the Last, Prince of Wales and King of Gwynedd at a ceremony where he paid tribute Henry III of England (not shown in this portion of the table) Llywelyn le Dernier.jpg
Llywelyn the Last, Prince of Wales and King of Gwynedd at a ceremony where he paid tribute Henry III of England (not shown in this portion of the table)

The Treaty of Montgomery marked the high point of Llywelyn's power. Problems began arising soon afterwards, initially a dispute with Gilbert de Clare concerning the allegiance of a Welsh nobleman holding lands in Glamorgan. Gilbert built Caerphilly Castle in response to this. King Henry sent a bishop to take possession of the castle while the dispute was resolved but when Gilbert regained the castle by trickery, the king was unable to do anything about it.

Following the death of King Henry in late 1272, with the new King Edward I of England away from the kingdom, the rule fell to three men. One of them, Roger Mortimer was one of Llywelyn's rivals in the marches. When Humphrey de Bohun tried to take back Brycheiniog, which was granted to Llywelyn by the Treaty of Montgomery, Mortimer supported de Bohun. Llywelyn was also finding it difficult to raise the annual sums required under the terms of this treaty, and ceased making payments.

In early 1274, there was a plot by Llywelyn's brother, Dafydd, and Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn of Powys Wenwynwyn and his son, Owain, to kill Llywelyn. Dafydd was with Llywelyn at the time, and it was arranged that Owain would come with armed men on 2 February to carry out the assassination; however, he was prevented by a snowstorm. Llywelyn did not discover the full details of the plot until Owain confessed to the Bishop of Bangor. He said that the intention had been to make Dafydd prince of Gwynedd, and that Dafydd would reward Gruffydd with lands. Dafydd and Gruffydd fled to England where they were maintained by the king and carried out raids on Llywelyn's lands, increasing Llywelyn's resentment. When Edward called Llywelyn to Chester in 1275 to pay homage, Llywelyn refused to attend.

Llywelyn also made an enemy of King Edward by continuing to ally himself with the family of Simon de Montfort, even though their power was now greatly reduced. Llywelyn sought to marry Eleanor de Montfort, born in 1252, Simon de Montfort's daughter. They were married by proxy in 1275, but King Edward took exception to the marriage, in part because Eleanor was his first cousin: her mother was Eleanor of England, daughter of King John and princess of the House of Plantagenet. When Eleanor sailed from France to meet Llywelyn, Edward hired pirates to seize her ship and she was imprisoned at Windsor Castle until Llywelyn made certain concessions.

In 1276, Edward declared Llywelyn a rebel and in 1277, gathered an enormous army to march against him. Edward's intention was to disinherit Llywelyn completely and take over Gwynedd Is Conwy himself. He was considering two options for Gwynedd Uwch Conwy: either to divide it between Llywelyn's brothers, Dafydd and Owain, or to annex Anglesey and divide only the mainland between the two brothers. Edward was supported by Dafydd ap Gruffydd and Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn. Many of the lesser Welsh princes who had supported Llywelyn now hastened to make peace with Edward. By the summer of 1277, Edward's forces had reached the River Conwy and encamped at Deganwy, while another force had captured Anglesey and took possession of the harvest there. This deprived Llywelyn and his men of food, forcing them to seek terms.

Treaty of Aberconwy

The division of Gwynedd following the Treaty of Aberconwy in 1277. Llywelyn continued to rule west of the River Conwy (indicated in green). The Perfeddwlad, east of the Conwy, was divided between Dafydd ap Gruffydd (shown in gold) and areas ceded forever to the English Crown (shown in red). Gwynedd 1277 Map.jpg
The division of Gwynedd following the Treaty of Aberconwy in 1277. Llywelyn continued to rule west of the River Conwy (indicated in green). The Perfeddwlad, east of the Conwy, was divided between Dafydd ap Gruffydd (shown in gold) and areas ceded forever to the English Crown (shown in red).

What resulted was the Treaty of Aberconwy, which guaranteed peace in Gwynedd in return for several difficult concessions from Llywelyn, including confining his authority to Gwynedd Uwch Conwy once again. Part of Gwynedd Is Conwy was given to Dafydd ap Gruffydd, with a promise that if Llywelyn died without an heir, he would be given a share of Gwynedd Uwch Conwy instead.

Llywelyn was forced to acknowledge the English king as his sovereign; initially he had refused, but after the events of 1276, Llywelyn was stripped of all but a small portion of his lands. He went to meet Edward, and found Eleanor lodged with the royal family at Worcester; after Llywelyn agreed to Edward's demands, Edward gave them permission to be married at Worcester Cathedral. A stained glass window exists to this day depicting the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Eleanor. By all accounts, the marriage was a genuine love match; Llywelyn is not known to have fathered any illegitimate children, which is extremely unusual for the Welsh royalty. (In medieval Wales, illegitimate children were as entitled to their father's property as legitimate children.)

Last campaign and death

The death of Llywelyn Death of Llywelyn.jpg
The death of Llywelyn

By early 1282, many of the lesser princes who had supported Edward against Llywelyn in 1277 were becoming disillusioned with the exactions of the royal officers. On Palm Sunday that year, Dafydd ap Gruffydd attacked the English at Hawarden Castle and then laid siege to Rhuddlan. The revolt quickly spread to other parts of Wales, with Aberystwyth castle captured and burnt and rebellion in Ystrad Tywi in south Wales, also inspired by Dafydd according to the annals, where Carreg Cennen castle was captured.

Llywelyn, according to a letter he sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury John Peckham, was not involved in the planning of the revolt. He felt obliged, however, to support his brother and a war began for which the Welsh were ill-prepared. Personal tragedy also struck him at this time when, on or about 19 June 1282, his wife, Eleanor de Montfort, died shortly after giving birth to their daughter, Gwenllian. Their previous daughter, Princess Catherine, had been married to Philip ap Ivor, Lord of Cardigan. [8]

Events followed a similar pattern to 1277, with Edward's forces capturing Gwynedd Is Conwy, Anglesey and taking the harvest. The English force occupying Anglesey tried to cross to the mainland on a bridge of boats, but failed and was defeated in the Battle of Moel-y-don. The Archbishop of Canterbury tried mediating between Llywelyn and Edward, and Llywelyn was offered a large estate in England if he would surrender Wales to Edward, while Dafydd was to go on crusade and not return without the king's permission. [2] In an emotional reply, which has been compared to the Declaration of Arbroath, Llywelyn said he would not abandon the people whom his ancestors had protected since "the days of Kamber son of Brutus" and rejected the offer.

Llywelyn now left Dafydd to lead the defence of Gwynedd and took a force south, trying to rally support in mid and south Wales and open up an important second front. On 11 December at the Battle of Orewin Bridge at Builth Wells, he was killed while separated from his army. The exact circumstances are unclear and there are two conflicting accounts of his death. Both accounts agree that Llywelyn was tricked into leaving the bulk of his army and was then attacked and killed. The first account says that Llywelyn and his chief minister approached the forces of Edmund Mortimer and Hugh Le Strange after crossing a bridge. They then heard the sound of battle as the main body of his army was met in battle by the forces of Roger Despenser and Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn. Llywelyn turned to rejoin his forces and was pursued by a lone lancer who struck him down. It was not until some time later that an English knight recognised the body as that of the prince. This version of events was written in the north of England some fifty years later and has suspicious similarities with details about the Battle of Stirling Bridge in Scotland.

An alternative version of events written in the east of England by monks in contact with Llywelyn's exiled daughter, Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn, and niece, Gwladys ferch Dafydd, states that Llywelyn, at the front of his army, approached the combined forces of Edmund and Roger Mortimer, Hugo Le Strange, and Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn on the promise that he would receive their homage. This was a deception. His army was immediately engaged in fierce battle during which a significant section of it was routed, causing Llywelyn and his eighteen retainers to become separated. At around dusk, Llywelyn and a small group of his retainers (which included clergy) were ambushed and chased into a wood at Aberedw. Llywelyn was surrounded and struck down. As he lay dying, he asked for a priest and gave away his identity. He was then killed and his head hewn from his body. His person was searched and various items recovered, including a list of "conspirators", which may well have been faked, and his privy seal.

The Llywelyn Monument at Cilmeri near Builth Wells Llywelyn5.jpg
The Llywelyn Monument at Cilmeri near Builth Wells

If the king wishes to have the copy [of the list] found in the breeches of Llywelyn, he can have it from Edmund Mortimer, who has custody of it and also of Llywelyn’s privy seal and certain other things found in the same place.

Archbishop Peckham, in his first letter to Robert Bishop of Bath and Wells, 17 December 1282 (Lambeth Palace Archives) [9]

The privy seal of Llywelyn the Last, his wife Eleanor and his brother Dafydd are thought to have been melted down by the English after finding them upon their bodies to make a chalice in 1284. [10]

There are legends surrounding the fate of Llywelyn's severed head. It is known that it was sent to Edward at Rhuddlan and after being shown to the English troops based in Anglesey, Edward sent the head on to London. In London, it was set up in the city pillory for a day, and crowned with ivy (i.e. to show he was a "king" of Outlaws and in mockery of the ancient Welsh prophecy, which said that a Welshman would be crowned in London as king of the whole of Britain). Then it was carried by a horseman on the point of his lance to the Tower of London and set up over the gate. It was still on the Tower of London 15 years later. [9]

The last resting place of Llywelyn's body is not known for certain; however, it has always been tradition that it was interred at the Cistercian Abbey at Abbeycwmhir. On 28 December 1282, Archbishop Peckham wrote a letter to the Archdeacon of Brecon at Brecon Priory, in order to

... inquire and clarify if the body of Llywelyn has been buried in the church of Cwmhir, and he was bound to clarify the latter before the feast of Epiphany, because he had another mandate on this matter, and ought to have certified the lord Archbishop before Christmas, and has not done so. [9]

There is further supporting evidence for this hypothesis in the Chronicle of Florence of Worcester:

Aerial view of the ruined abbey of Cwm Hir Aerial view of Abaty Cwm Hir.jpg
Aerial view of the ruined abbey of Cwm Hir

As for the body of the Prince, his mangled trunk, it was interred in the Abbey of Cwm Hir, belonging to the Cistercian Order. [9]

Another theory is that his body was transferred to Llanrumney Hall in Cardiff. [11]

The poet Gruffudd ab yr Ynad Coch wrote in an elegy on Llywelyn:

Do you not see the path of the wind and the rain?
Do you not see the oak trees in turmoil?

Cold my heart in a fearful breast
For the king, the oaken door of Aberffraw

There is an enigmatic reference in the Welsh annals Brut y Tywysogion, "… and then Llywelyn was betrayed in the belfry at Bangor by his own men". No further explanation is given.


With the loss of Llywelyn, Welsh morale and the will to resist diminished. Dafydd was Llywelyn's named successor. He carried on the struggle for several months, but in June 1283 was captured in the uplands above Abergwyngregyn at Bera Mountain together with his family. He was brought before Edward, then taken to Shrewsbury where a special session of Parliament condemned him to death. He was dragged through the streets, hanged, drawn and quartered.

After the final defeat of 1283, Gwynedd was stripped of all royal insignia, relics, and regalia. Edward took particular delight in appropriating the royal home of the Gwynedd dynasty. In August 1284, he set up his court at Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd. With equal deliberateness, he removed all the insignia of majesty from Gwynedd; a coronet was solemnly presented to the shrine of St. Edward at Westminster; the matrices of the seals of Llywelyn, of his wife, and of his brother Dafydd were melted down to make a chalice which was given by the king to Vale Royal Abbey where it remained until the dissolution of that institution in 1538, after which it came into the possession of the family of the final abbot. [12] The most precious religious relic in Gwynedd, the fragment of the True Cross known as Cross of Neith, was paraded through London in May 1285 in a solemn procession on foot led by the king, the queen, the archbishop of Canterbury and fourteen bishops, and the magnates of the realm. Edward was thereby appropriating the historical and religious regalia of the house of Gwynedd and placarding to the world the extinction of its dynasty and the annexation of the principality to his Crown. Commenting on this a contemporary chronicler is said to have declared "and then all Wales was cast to the ground." [13]

Most of Llywelyn's relatives ended their lives in captivity with the notable exceptions of his younger brother Rhodri ap Gruffydd, who had long since sold his claim to the crown and endeavoured to keep a very low profile, and a distant cousin, Madog ap Llywelyn, who in 1294 led a revolt and briefly claimed the title Prince of Wales. Llywelyn and Eleanor's baby daughter Gwenllian of Wales was captured by Edward's troops in 1283. She was interned at Sempringham Priory in England for the rest of her life, becoming a nun in 1317 and dying without issue in 1337, probably knowing little of her heritage and speaking none of her language.

Dafydd's two surviving sons were captured and incarcerated at Bristol Gaol, where they eventually died many years later. Llywelyn's elder brother Owain Goch disappears from the record in 1282. Llywelyn's surviving brother Rhodri (who had been exiled from Wales since 1272) survived and held manors in Gloucestershire, Cheshire, Surrey, and Powys and died around 1315. His grandson, Owain Lawgoch, later claimed the title Prince of Wales.

Family tree

Llywelyn the Great
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
Dafydd ap Llywelyn
Owain Goch ap Gruffydd
d. 1282
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd
Dafydd ap Gruffydd
Rhodri ap Gruffydd
Gwenllian of Wales
Llywelyn ap Dafydd
Owain ap Dafydd
1275–1287–c. 1325
Tomas ap Rhodri
The Llywelyn mural in Builth Wells The Llywelyn mural in Builth Wells - geograph.org.uk - 2947935.jpg
The Llywelyn mural in Builth Wells
Sculpture of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd by Henry Alfred Pegram, Cardiff City Hall Llywelyn the Last at Cardiff City Hall.jpg
Sculpture of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd by Henry Alfred Pegram, Cardiff City Hall

The life of Llywelyn the Last is the subject of Edith Pargeter's Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet: 'Sunrise in the West' (1974); 'The Dragon at Noonday' (1975); 'The Hounds of Sunset' (1976); and 'Afterglow and Nightfall' (1977).

The 1982 Bardic Chair at the National Eisteddfod of Wales was awarded to Gerallt Lloyd Owen for his awdl Cilmeri, which Hywel Teifi Edwards has called the only 20th-century awdl, that matches T. Gwynn Jones' 1902 masterpiece Ymadawiad Arthur ("The Passing of Arthur"). Owen's Cilmeri reimagines the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in battle near the village of the same name on 11 December 1282, while leading his doomed uprising against the occupation of Wales by King Edward I of England. Owen's poem depicts the Prince as a tragic hero and invests his fall with an anguish unmatched since Gruffudd ab yr Ynad Coch wrote his famous lament for the Prince immediately following his death. Owen also, according to Edwards, encapsulates in the Prince's death the Welsh people's continuing "battle for national survival." [14]

The lives of Llywelyn Fawr, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd and Dafydd ap Gruffydd are the subject of Sharon Kay Penman's "Welsh Trilogy": Here be Dragons (1985); Falls the Shadow (1988); and The Reckoning (1991).

An alternate history/time travel science fiction series, After Cilmeri by Sarah Woodbury, explores what might have happened if Llywelyn had survived the ambush at Cilmeri, and had a son and assistance from people from the future.

Llywelyn the Last is the subject of the New Riders of the Purple Sage song "Llewellyn". The song focuses on the Conquest of Wales by Edward I, but specifically on the Campaign of 1282–83. In the song, the band claims "In September, Edward [ Edward I ] moved up to the baird/ His forces stronger every day/ Llewellyn then turned southward bound/ His forces lay upon the ground." It also claims that the message of Llywelyn's death came "soon thereafter."

Llywelyn is a minor character in Jean Plaidy's novel Edward Longshanks, the seventh novel of the Plantagenet Saga series.

Bertrice Small includes Llywelyn's life in her book, A Memory of Love, which centres on the fictional life of one of his illegitimate children, Rhonwyn.

See also


  1. According to several non-contemporary Welsh genealogical tracts, the mother of Llywelyn was Rhanullt, an otherwise unknown daughter of Rǫgnvaldr Guðrøðarson, King of the Isles. If correct, these sources could indicate that Llywelyn's father married a daughter of Rǫgnvaldr in about 1220. Contemporary sources, however, show that Llywelyn's mother was Senana.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Llywelyn the Great</span> Prince of Gwynedd and de facto Prince of Wales

Llywelyn the Great was a King of Gwynedd in north Wales and eventually "Prince of the Welsh" and "Prince of Wales". By a combination of war and diplomacy he dominated Wales for 45 years.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Owain Gwynedd</span> King of Gwynedd

Owain ap Gruffudd 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 and the first to be styled "Prince of Wales". 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 to distinguish him from the contemporary king of Powys Wenwynwyn, Owain ap Gruffydd ap Maredudd, who became known as Owain Cyfeiliog.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kingdom of Gwynedd</span> Kingdom in northwest Wales, 401–1216

The Kingdom of Gwynedd was a Welsh kingdom and a Roman Empire successor state that emerged in sub-Roman Britain in the 5th century during the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kingdom of Powys</span> 400s–1160 kingdom in east-central Wales

The Kingdom of Powys was a Welsh successor state, petty kingdom and principality that emerged during the Middle Ages following the end of Roman rule in Britain. It very roughly covered the northern two-thirds of the modern county of Powys and part of today's English West Midlands. More precisely, and based on the Romano-British tribal lands of the Ordovices in the west and the Cornovii in the east, its boundaries originally extended from the Cambrian Mountains in the west to include the modern West Midlands region of England in the east. The fertile river valleys of the Severn and Tern are found here, and this region is referred to in later Welsh literature as "the Paradise of Powys".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Principality of Wales</span> A period in the history of Wales from 1267 to 1542

The Principality of Wales was originally the territory of the native Welsh princes of the House of Aberffraw from 1216 to 1283, encompassing two-thirds of modern Wales during its height of 1267–1277. Following the conquest of Wales by Edward I of England of 1277 to 1283, those parts of Wales retained under the direct control of the English crown, principally in the north and west of the country, were re-constituted as a new Principality of Wales and ruled either by the monarch or the monarch's heir though not formally incorporated into the Kingdom of England. This was ultimately accomplished with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 when the Principality ceased to exist as a separate entity.

Owain ap Gruffudd was brother to Llywelyn ap Gruffudd and Dafydd ap Gruffudd and, for a brief period in the late 1240s and early 1250s, ruler of part of the Kingdom of Gwynedd.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Powys Wenwynwyn</span> Welsh kingdom (1160–1283)

Powys Wenwynwyn or Powys Cyfeiliog was a Welsh kingdom which existed during the high Middle Ages. The realm was the southern portion of the former princely state of Powys which split following the death of Madog ap Maredudd of Powys in 1160: the northern portion (Maelor) went to Gruffydd Maelor and eventually became known as Powys Fadog; while the southern portion (Cyfeiliog) going to Owain Cyfeiliog and becoming known, eventually, as Powys Wenwynwyn after Prince Gwenwynwyn ab Owain, its second ruler.

Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn was a Welsh king who was lord of the part of Powys known as Powys Wenwynwyn and sided with Edward I in his conquest of Wales of 1277 to 1283.

Llywelyn ap Dafydd (c.1267–1287), potential claimant to the title Prince of Gwynedd, was the eldest son of Dafydd ap Gruffydd, the last free ruler of Gwynedd, and his wife Elizabeth Ferrers.

Perfeddwlad or Y Berfeddwlad was an historic name for the territories in Wales lying between the River Conwy and the River Dee. comprising the cantrefi of Rhos, Rhufoniog, Dyffryn Clwyd and Tegeingl. Perfeddwlad thus was also known as the Four Cantrefs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wales in the Late Middle Ages</span> Country of Wales between years 1282-1542

Wales in the Late Middle Ages spanned the years 1250-1500, those years covered the period involving the closure of Welsh medieval royal houses during the late 13th century, and Wales' final ruler of the House of Aberffraw, the Welsh Prince Llywelyn II, also the era of the House of Plantagenet from England, specifically the male line descendants of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou as an ancestor of one of the Angevin kings of England who would go on to form the House of Tudor from England and Wales.

This article is about the particular significance of the century 1201–1300 to Wales and its people.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wales in the High Middle Ages</span>

Wales in the High Middle Ages covers the 11th to 13th centuries in Welsh history. Beginning shortly before the Norman invasion of the 1060s and ending with the Conquest of Wales by Edward I between 1278 and 1283, it was a period of significant political, cultural and social change for the country.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wales in the Middle Ages</span> Period of history

Wales in the Middle Ages covers the history of the country that is now called Wales, from the departure of the Romans in the early fifth century, the development of regional Welsh kingdoms and Celtic conflict with the Anglo-Saxons, reducing Celtic territories. Conflict also occurred between the Welsh and the Anglo-Normans from the 11th century until the annexation of Wales into the Kingdom of England in the early sixteenth century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Gwynedd during the High Middle Ages</span>

The history of Gwynedd in the High Middle Ages is a period in the History of Wales spanning the 11th through the 13th centuries. Gwynedd, located in the north of Wales, eventually became the most dominant of Welsh polities during this period. Contact with continental courts allowed for Gwynedd to transition from a petty kingdom into an increasingly sophisticated principality of seasoned courtiers capable of high level deplomacy and representation; not only with the Angevine kings, but also the king of France and the Papal See. Distinctive achievements in Gwynedd include further development of Medieval Welsh literature, particularly poets known as the Beirdd y Tywysogion associated with the court of Gwynedd; the reformation of bardic schools; and the continued development of Cyfraith Hywel. All three of these further contributed to the development of a Welsh national identity in the face of Anglo-Norman encroachment of Wales.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dafydd ap Llywelyn</span> 13th-century Welsh monarch

Dafydd ap Llywelyn was Prince of Gwynedd from 1240 to 1246. He was the first ruler in Wales to claim the title Prince of Wales.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dafydd ap Gruffydd</span> Prince of Wales and last independent ruler of Wales

Dafydd ap Gruffydd was Prince of Wales from 11 December 1282 until his execution on 3 October 1283 on the orders of King Edward I of England. He was the last native Prince of Wales before the conquest of Wales by Edward I in 1283 and English rule in Wales that followed, until Owain Glyndŵr held the title during the Welsh Revolt of 1400-1415.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Conquest of Wales by Edward I</span> English annexation of Wales, 1277 to 1283

The conquest of Wales by Edward I took place between 1277 and 1283. It is sometimes referred to as the Edwardian Conquest of Wales, to distinguish it from the earlier Norman conquest of Wales. In two campaigns, in 1277 and 1282–83, respectively, Edward I of England first greatly reduced the territory of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, and then completely overran it, as well as the other remaining Welsh principalities.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Welsh crown jewels</span>

The Welsh crown jewels refers to the royal relics of the Kingdom of Gwynedd that were stolen by Edward I of England following the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, in Cilmeri.


  1. Colin A. Gresham (1973). Eifionydd: a Study in Landownership from the Medieval Period to the Present Day. University of Wales Press. p. 345. ISBN   978-0-7083-0435-8.
  2. 1 2 Hurlock, Kathryn (2011). Wales and the Crusades, c. 1095-1291. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. pp. 111–112, 193–199. ISBN   978-0708324271.
  3. Wynford Vaughan-Thomas (1985). Wales, a History. M. Joseph. p. 10. ISBN   978-0-7181-2468-7.
  4. Davies, John History of Wales p.140
  5. Lloyd, J.E. A history of Wales p.720-1
  6. Moore, D. 'The Welsh Wars of Independence', Stroud 2005, p.135
  7. Smith, J Beverley (2014). Llywelyn ap Gruffydd: Prince of Wales. University of Wales Press.
  8. "The Royal Families of England, Scotland, and Wales, with Pedigrees of Royal Descents in Illustration" (PDF). Sir Bernard Burke, C.B., LL.D., Ulster King of Arms. 1876. p. 51. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  9. 1 2 3 4 "Death of Llywelyn". Cilmeri. 10 December 2006. Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  10. Schofield, Phillipp R.; McEwan, John; New, Elizabeth; Johns, Sue (15 June 2016). Seals and Society: Medieval Wales, the Welsh Marches and their English Border Region. University of Wales Press. p. 39. ISBN   978-1-78316-872-9.
  11. Williams, Tryst (8 August 2005). "Last true Welsh prince buried under pub?". Western Mail . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  12. "Houses of Cistercian monks: The abbey of Vale Royal". A History of the County of Chester. Vol. 3. London: Victoria County History. 1980. pp. 156–165.
  13. Davies, Rees (1 May 2001). "Wales: A Culture Preserved". bbc.co.uk/history. p. 3. Retrieved 6 May 2008.
  14. Edwards (2016), The Eisteddfod, pages 51-53.

Further reading

Llywelyn ap Gruffudd
Born: 1223 Died: 11 December 1282
Regnal titles
Preceded by Prince of Wales
Title next held by
Edward Plantagenet
Prince of Gwynedd
Principality abolished
Prince of Gwynedd
Succeeded by