Owain Lawgoch

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Owain Lawgoch (English: Owain of the Red Hand, French : Yvain de Galles), full name Owain ap Thomas ap Rhodri (c.1330 – July 1378), was a Welsh soldier who served in Spain, France, Alsace, and Switzerland. He led a Free Company fighting for the French against the English in the Hundred Years' War. As the last politically active descendant of Llywelyn the Great in the male line, he was a claimant to the title of Prince of Gwynedd and of Wales.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Wales Country in northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Contents

The arms of the royal house of Gwynedd Arms of Llywelyn.svg
The arms of the royal house of Gwynedd

Genealogy

Following the death of Llywelyn the Last in 1282 and the execution of his brother and successor Dafydd ap Gruffudd in 1283, Gwynedd paid fealty to and accepted English rule. Llywelyn's daughter Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn was committed to a nunnery at Sempringham, while the sons of Dafydd were kept in Bristol Castle until their deaths. Another of Llywelyn's brothers, Rhodri ap Gruffydd, renounced his rights in Gwynedd and spent much of his life in England as a royal pensioner. [1] His son Thomas inherited lands in England in Surrey, Cheshire and Gloucestershire. [1]

Fealty Pledge of allegiance of one person to another

An oath of fealty, from the Latin fidelitas (faithfulness), is a pledge of allegiance of one person to another.

Sempringham Priory

Sempringham Priory was a priory in Lincolnshire, England, located in the medieval hamlet of Sempringham, to the northwest of Pointon. Today, all that remains of the priory is a marking on the ground where the walls stood and a square, which are identifiable only in aerial photos of the vicinity. However, the parish church of St Andrew's, built around 1100 AD, is witness to the priory standing alone in a field away from the main road.

Bristol Castle

Bristol Castle was a Norman castle built for the defence of Bristol. Remains can be seen today in Castle Park near the Broadmead Shopping Centre, including the sally port.

Rhodri was content to end his life as a country gentleman in England, and though his son Thomas ap Rhodri used the four lions of Gwynedd on his seal he made no attempt to win his inheritance. [1] Owain, his only son, was born in Surrey, where his grandfather had acquired the manor of Tatsfield. Tatsfield, a small village only 17 miles from the centre of London, still has Welsh place names e.g. Maesmawr Road (trans: Great Field Road). Thomas died in 1363 and Owain returned from abroad to claim his patrimony in 1365. Owain Lawgoch was in French service by 1369 and his lands in Wales and England were confiscated. [2]

Surrey County of England

Surrey is a subdivision of the English region of South East England in the United Kingdom. A historic and ceremonial county, Surrey is also one of the home counties. The county borders Kent to the east, East Sussex and West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, Berkshire to the northwest, and Greater London to the northeast.

Manor an estate in land to which is incident the right to hold a manorial court

A manor in English law is an estate in land to which is incident the right to hold a court termed court baron, that is to say a manorial court. The proper unit of tenure under the feudal system is the fee, on which the manor became established through the process of time, akin to the modern establishment of a "business" upon a freehold site. The manor is nevertheless often described as the basic feudal unit of tenure and is historically connected with the territorial divisions of the march, county, hundred, parish and township.

Tatsfield village in Surrey, UK

Tatsfield is a village and civil parish in the Tandridge district of Surrey, England. It occupies the north-eastern corner of Surrey, bordering Greater London and Kent, with almost all of its homes and many outlying farms on the escarpment of the North Downs.

Family tree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Llywelyn the Great
1173–1195–1240
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
1198–1244
 
Dafydd ap Llywelyn
1212–1240–1246
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Owain Goch ap Gruffydd
d. 1282
 
Llywelyn ap Gruffudd
1223–1246–1282
 
 
 
Dafydd ap Gruffydd
1238–1282–1283
 
 
 
Rhodri ap Gruffudd
1230–1315
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gwenllian of Wales
1282–1337
 
Llywelyn ap Dafydd
1267–1283–1287
 
Owain ap Dafydd
1265–1287–1325
 
Tomas ap Rhodri
1300–1325–1363
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Owain Lawgoch
1330–1378

Military career

The year in which Owain entered the service of the king of France is uncertain. Froissart claims that he fought on the French side at the Battle of Poitiers, but there is no other evidence to support this.[ citation needed ] He was however deprived of his English lands in 1369, suggesting he was in the service of the French as leader of a Free Company when the period of truce between France and England following the Treaty of Brétigny ended and hostilities resumed in 1369. [1] [2] His French name was Yvain de Galles (Owen of Wales). [2]

Treaty of Brétigny treaty

The Treaty of Brétigny was a treaty, drafted on 8 May 1360 and ratified on 24 October 1360, between King Edward III of England and King John II of France. In retrospect it is seen as having marked the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453)—as well as the height of English power on the Continent.

Owain's company consisted largely of Welshmen, many of whom remained in French service for many years. [3] The second in command of this company was Ieuan Wyn, known to the French as le Poursuivant d'Amour, a descendant of Ednyfed Fychan, Seneschal of Gwynedd under Owain's ancestors.[ citation needed ] Owain also received financial support while in France from Ieuan Wyn's father, Rhys ap Robert.[ citation needed ] While in French service Owain had good relations with Bertrand du Guesclin [ citation needed ] and others and gained the support of Charles V of France. [3]

Ednyfed Fychan, full name Ednyfed Fychan ap Cynwrig, was a Welsh warrior who became seneschal to the Kingdom of Gwynedd in Northern Wales, serving Llywelyn the Great and his son Dafydd ap Llywelyn. He claimed descent from Marchudd ap Cynan, Lord of Rhos, 'protector' of Rhodri Mawr, King of Gwynedd. He was ancestor of Owen Tudor and thereby of the Tudor dynasty, and all its royal successors down to the present day.

Rhys ap Robert was a Welsh nobleman. A descendant of the progenitor of the Tudor dynasty, Ednyfed Fychan, he attained several positions in the administration of north Wales, including co-Constable of Flint Castle in north Wales by 1349, escheator of Caernarfonshire from 1347 to 1350, and rhaglaw (bailiff) of the commote of Dinmael in 1360-61.

Bertrand du Guesclin Constable of France

Bertrand du Guesclin, nicknamed "The Eagle of Brittany" or "The Black Dog of Brocéliande", was a Breton knight and an important military commander in the French side during the Hundred Years' War. From 1370 to his death, he was Constable of France for King Charles V. Well known for his Fabian strategy, he took part in six pitched battles and won the four in which he held command.

Welsh soldiery and longbowmen who had fought for Edward I in his campaigns in North Wales remained armed and sold their services to Norman kings in their battles in Scotland and at Crecy and Poitiers. Ironically, the Norman attempt to conquer Wales set in train events which reignited Welsh identity and raised up new Welsh military leaders such as Owain claiming descent from the ancient Princes of Wales. [4]

Edward I of England 13th and 14th-century King of England and Duke of Aquitaine

Edward I, also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. Before his accession to the throne, he was commonly referred to as The Lord Edward. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved from an early age in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons. In 1259, he briefly sided with a baronial reform movement, supporting the Provisions of Oxford. After reconciliation with his father, however, he remained loyal throughout the subsequent armed conflict, known as the Second Barons' War. After the Battle of Lewes, Edward was hostage to the rebellious barons, but escaped after a few months and joined the fight against Simon de Montfort. Montfort was defeated at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, and within two years the rebellion was extinguished. With England pacified, Edward joined the Ninth Crusade to the Holy Land. The crusade accomplished little, and Edward was on his way home in 1272 when he was informed that his father had died. Making a slow return, he reached England in 1274 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 19 August.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Battle of Crécy An English victory during the Hundred Years War

The Battle of Crécy, also spelled Cressy, was an English victory during the Edwardian phase part of the Chevauchée of Edward III of 1346 during the Hundred Years' War. It was the first of three famous English successes during the conflict, followed by Poitiers in 1356 and Agincourt in 1415.

A depiction of Owain's death at Mortagne from a medieval manuscript. Owain is pictured as killed by an arrow, rather than by an assassin' knife. Mortagne siege.jpg
A depiction of Owain's death at Mortagne from a medieval manuscript. Owain is pictured as killed by an arrow, rather than by an assassin' knife.

In May 1372 in Paris, Owain announced that he intended to claim the throne of Wales. He set sail from Harfleur with money borrowed from Charles V. [2] Owain first attacked the island of Guernsey, and was still there when a message arrived from Charles ordering him to abandon the expedition in order to go to Castile to seek ships to attack La Rochelle. [1] Owain defeated an English and Gascon force at Soubise later that year, capturing Sir Thomas Percy and Jean de Grailly, the Captal de Buch. Another invasion of Wales was planned in 1373 but had to be abandoned when John of Gaunt launched an offensive.[ citation needed ] In 1374 he fought at Mirebau and at Saintonge. In 1375 Owain was employed by Enguerrand de Coucy to help win Enguerrand's share of the Habsburg lands due to him as nephew of the former Duke of Austria. However, during the Gugler War they were defeated by the forces of Bern and had to abandon the expedition. [1] [2]

In 1377 there were reports that Owain was planning another expedition, this time with help from Castile. The alarmed English government sent a spy, the Scot Jon Lamb, to assassinate Owain, who had been given the task of besieging Mortagne-sur-Gironde in Poitou. [1] Lamb gained Owain's confidence and became his chamberlain,[ citation needed ] which gave him the opportunity to stab Owain to death in July 1378, something Walker described as 'a sad end to a flamboyant career'. [2] The Issue Roll of the Exchequer dated 4 December 1378 records "To John Lamb, an esquire from Scotland, because he lately killed Owynn de Gales, a rebel and enemy of the King in France ... £20".[ citation needed ]

With the assassination of Owain Lawgoch the direct line of the House of Cunedda became extinct. [1] [4] As a result, the claim to the title 'Prince of Wales' fell to the other royal dynasties, of Deheubarth and Powys. The leading heir in this respect was Owain ap Gruffudd of Glyndyfrdwy, who was descended from both dynasties. [2] [4]

Owain in legend

A number of legends grew around Owain, of which one version from Cardiganshire runs as follows. Dafydd Meurig of Betws Bledrws was helping to drive cattle from Cardiganshire to London. On the way he cut himself a hazel stick, and was still carrying it when he encountered a stranger on London Bridge. The stranger asked Dafydd where he had cut the stick, and ended up accompanying him back to Wales to the place where the stick had been cut. The stranger told Dafydd to dig under the bush, and this revealed steps leading down to a large cave illuminated by lamps, where a man seven feet tall with a red right hand was sleeping. The stranger told Dafydd that this was Owain Lawgoch "who sleeps until the appointed time; when he wakes he will be king of the Britons". [1]

The quarry reservoir at Aberllefenni in Gwynedd was once known as Llyn Owain Lawgoch and there is a story linking him with the nearby mansion, Plas Aberllefenni, recorded in "Trem Yn Ol" by J. Arthur Williams.

In Guernsey, Owain is remembered as Yvon de Galles. He and his Aragonese mercenaries have been absorbed into the island's folklore as an invasion of diminutive but handsome fairies from across the sea. The story goes that the shipwrecked king of the fairies was found unconscious on a Guernsey shore by a girl named Lizabeau. When he awoke, he fell in love with her and carried her across the sea to be his queen. However, the other fairies soon decided that they wanted Guernsey brides, and invaded the island. The men of the island fought bravely but were slaughtered wholesale, except for two men who hid in an oven. The fairies then took Guernsey wives, which is said to be the reason for the typical Guernseyman's dark hair and short stature. [5]

Further reading

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Carr, Antony (1995). Medieval Wales. Basingstoke: Macmillan. pp. 103–6.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Walker, David (1990). Medieval Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 165–167.
  3. 1 2 Davies, R R (1997). The Revolt of Owain Glyndwr. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 86–87.
  4. 1 2 3 Davies, R R (2000). The Age of Conquest: Wales 1063–1415 (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 436.
  5. Folklore of Guernsey by Marie de Garis (1986) ASIN: B0000EE6P8