George Thomas Orlando Bridgeman.

History of the princes of South Wales online

. (page 13 of 31)
Online LibraryGeorge Thomas Orlando BridgemanHistory of the princes of South Wales → online text (page 13 of 31)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

peaceably and desired that the King should take them
into his own hands.

Afterwards the King appeared and said that when he
gave the aforesaid Earl the said castle, &c., he was him-
self in seizin of the homage of the said Meylgon for the
other lands in which he had been previously enfeoif ed by
King John his father, and he sought judgment in his
favour because the Earl had acknowledged that he had
taken the homage of Meylgon for the same lands. More-
over he said that by the forcible occupation which the
Earl had made of the said lands against Meylgon he
had been injured in a manner that he would not have
taken ten thousand marks for the injury and disgrace,
for which he also sought judgment.


The Earl denied that the force, &c., which he had used
or whatever he had done against the King's peace and
fealty had been done by him as against his lord ; and said
that it did not appear to him that he ought to make any
further answer inasmuch as he had already answered as
well the King as the aforesaid Meylgon in all things &c.,
and nothing now remained but to pronounce judgment
fet nichil remansit ulterius faciendum nisi solummodojudiciumj.

Judgment was accordingly pronounced, as follows,
by the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Hereford,
and other of the lords spiritual and temporal. It
seemed to them that if those lands for which the Earl had
taken Meylgon's homage were appurtenances to the castle
of Kardigan and the commot, the Earl had then committed
trespass against the King because he had taken it without
the King's license, and because the King had not given him
the said castle with the appurtenances except for a term
which might come to an end, namely until he should res-
tore to him or his heirs his lands in Normandy, where-
fore, through such a donation, he could not take the per-
petual homage of the said Meylgon for the aforesaid lands.
Moreover if the said lands were not appurtenances to the
said castle and commot the Earl had nevertheless com-
mitted trespass against the King in taking the homage of
the said Meylgon, the King's Baron, for the lands which he
ought to hold of the King in capite. And so it was adjudged
that the King should receive the homage of Meylgon, his
Baron, and the Earl for his trespass was in misericordid.

Again, since the Earl had been summoned to appear
before the King at Wodestock at the instance and com-
plaint of Meylgon and the Earl had sufficiently defended
himself against the said Meylgon, it was adjudged that the
Earl might retire sine die and that the said Meylgon was
in misericordid. Touching the other matter of which the
King had accused the Earl, as to the damage he had
received often thousand marks (although the King had not
stated how or in what way), the Earl had sufficiently
defended himself against the King, and it was adjudged
that he should be acquitted thereof "juxta illud mamelcs.
fremeles." It was moreover to be understood that both he
and Meylgon renounced the compact into which they
had entered, and conceded that if any instrument for the


same consideration should thereafter be made it should
be altogether null and void.

Not long after this, namely, on the 27th of June, 1241,
Gilbert, Earl of Pembroke, came to an untimely end.
He had advertised a tournament to take place " a cross-
bow shot" from Hertford, before taking his departure for
the Holy Land. The tournament he called "a fortune"
in order to evade the Royal Proclamation. 1 While
spurring and checking his powerful unbroken Italian
war horse, the bridle snapped at the bit, and the animal
raised his head and struck his rider sharply on the breast.
The Earl was heavily armed, and much fatigued; he fell
senseless, and was dragged with one foot in the stirrup
and severely injured. He died that same evening in the
priory at Hertford, where his bowels were buried before
the high altar ; and, on the day following his death, his
body was conveyed to the Temple in London, his brother
Walter leading the procession. 2

Upon the death of Earl Gilbert, John de Monmouth
was made chief Bailiff of the counties or honours of Car-
digan and Carmarthen ; and the Earldoms descended to
Walter brother of Gilbert, to whom the custody of these
castles was afterwards restored. 3

In the meantime David ap Llewelyn had taken up
arms in the spring of the year 1241, and invaded the
territories of Ralph de Mortimer; but before the year
ended he was constrained to accept of more stringent and
humiliating terms, whereby he consented to give up his
brother Griffith to the King, to restore to the Barons all
such lands, lordships, and castles, as had been taken from
them since the commencement of the war between King
John and Llewelyn, to make satisfaction for all injuries;
and to defray all the charges of King Henry in the late
expedition, to restore to him all the homages which King
John had received or ought to have received, especially
from the noblemen of Wales, and lastly to pledge him-
self under the penalty of forfeiture, that he would never
again recede from the King's service or disobey his com-
mands, for which he gives hostages. 4

1 The classical usage of the Latin word !' discrimen " exactly illustrates the Earl's
idea. 2 & 3 Clark's Earls of Pembroke. 4 Warrington, and Appendix to Powel's


On May 15, 1242, the King embarked at Portsmouth 1
on his unfortunate expedition to Gascony, from whence
he returned in September 1243, reaching Portsmouth
about the 27th of that month. 2

In the year 1244 Res Mechyll (otherwise called Res
Vychan), son of Res Grig died. 3 And in that same year,
before the end of April, 4 Griffith ap Llewelyn broke his
neck in attempting to escape from the King's prison in
London. 5 Whereupon the King gave to his eldest son
Edward the title of Prince of Wales ; a measure which
so exasperated Prince David that he took up arms again
at once. He was joined by all the Welsh Princes except
Griffith ap Madoc, Griffith ap Wenwynwyn, and Morgan
ap Howel, who were afterwards compelled to join the

The Welshmen were supported by Pope Innocent IV,
who released them from their oath of allegiance to the
King. And David, encouraged by so powerful an
alliance, invaded the Marches and ravaged the estates of
the English Lords. Henry was in the North when the
war broke out, and though he returned from the Scottish
border with a powerful army, he did not then think it
expedient to keep together his army or to visit the Welsh
border in person. The Earl of Hereford and the most
powerful of the Lords Marchers were commissioned to
check the depredations of the Welsh, but they were
unable to make head against them, and after one or two
ineffectual attempts to negotiate a peace, the King caused
David and his adherents to be excommunicated by the
English Bishops, and prepared to invade Wales in person
in the following year.

On January 6, 1245, the King expedites his letters to
John de Monrnouth, commanding him to summon the
following Barons of South Wales to appear before him
at his court at Westminster on the morrow of Ash Wed-
nesday, to answer, and to receive judgment, concerning

1 Introduction to Record Edition of Excerpta e Rot. Fin., by C. Roberts. 2 MS. Itin.
Hen. III. It is stated in the Brut that in 1242 Maelgon Vychan strengthened his
castle of Garthgrugyn. I have not been able to identify this castle, nor do I know
to whom the statement refers. There was another Maelgon Vychan or Maelgon
ap Maelgon living at this date, who was one of the Lords of Melenith or Keri, and
since it is recorded at the same time that the castle of Buellt was strengthened by John
de Mynou, and that of Melenith by Roger Mortimer. I think it probable that this
notice may refer to Maelgon Vychan of Melenith. 3 Brut-y-Tywysogion. * Rymer's
Fnedera. 5 Brnt-y-Tywysogion, W.irrmgton. &r.



the homicides, burnings, depredations, and other trans-
gressions and injuries which they have perpetrated
against the King's peace, namely Maelgun fil. Maelgun ;
Mereduk fil. Oweyn ; Mereduk fil. Res Screk ; Filii Res
Wachan ; Res fil. Griffin fil. Morgan Gam ; and Howeil
Amereduk (i.e. Howel ap Meredith). 1

This will give us an approximate representation of the
chief lords of South Wales at this period, Maelgon and
Meredith ap Owen being the lords of Cardigan, Meredith
ap Res, and his nephews the sons of Res Mechyll ap Res
Grig, being the lords of Carmarthen, and Res ap Griffith
ap Morgan Gam and Howel ap Meredith being the con-
temporary lords of Gwent.

Similar instructions were at the same time issued to
John le Strange, Justice of Chester, with respect to the
Barons of North Wales.

On January 10 the King sent orders to Maurice fitz
Gerald, the Justiciary of Ireland, to invade the Welsh
coasts and to give the King's army of Wales such assistance
as he could. During the ensuing month, constant hostilities
were carried on between the English and Welsh, and
repeated engagements took place, in one of which the
brave Herbert fitz Matthew was slain by the Welshmen
near Montgomery.

It was not till after Midsummer, however, that the
King reached Wales in person. He summoned all his
nobles and military chiefs to assemble on the Border
about the beginning of July, and arrived at Gloucester
himself on July 20. On the 1st of August he was at
Worcester, on the 5th at Bridgenorth, on the 6th at
Wenlock, on the 8th at Shrewsbury, and on the llth at
Chester, where he remained till the 21st, after which he
joined the camp at Gannok 2 (the name given by the
English to Diganwy in Caernarvonshire). Here he
remained for more than two months fortifying the castle
and strengthening his position in those parts. During
this time his soldiers had constant engagements with the
Welsh, who had the advantage of being in their own
country, but the King's army does not appear to have
been able to penetrate the interior of Wales.

The situation of the English at this time must have

1 Rymer's Frcdera. 2 MS. Itin. Hen. III.


been a very trying one. Matthew Paris has preserved
an interesting letter written by a nobleman in the English
army, which is dated on Sept. 24, from the King's
camp at Gannok, describing the want of necessaries which
prevailed there. It gives an account of an engage-
ment between a detachment of Welsh, on the one side,
and 300 Welshmen, Marchers of Cestreshire and Salopes-
buryrsbire, on the other, the object of which was to gain
possession of an Irish vessel laden with provisions which
had been stranded. "We lie here," says the writer,
" watching, praying, fasting, and freezing. We ivatch in
defense against the Welsh, who beat up our quarters
every night ; we pray for a safe passage home ; we fast
because we have no food left, the half-penny loaf being
raised to five pence ; and we freeze because we have no
warm clothing and only linen tents to keep out the cold."

The King remained in camp at Gannok from August
25 to October 28. On that or the following day he moved
to Chester where he stayed till November 3. It is difficult
to estimate the exact results of this campaign. The
English, less accustomed to cold and privation than the
hardy Welshmen, suffered severely from these causes, and
large numbers of them perished besides those who were
slain by the Welshmen. On the other hand the Welsh-
men were hardly pressed by the English and Irish and
lost numbers by starvation besides those who fell by the
sword. The war must have been very disastrous to
them, and unquestionably left them in a crippled and
impoverished state.

We hear but little of how this war was conducted in
South Wales, but the siege of the castle of Deresloyn
(Drosslwyn) by Nicholas de Moels, the Seneschal of Car-
marthen, is mentioned by one of the Annalists. 1

Towards the close of the war the King renewed his
overtures to the several Welsh Lords, and on November 1
he declares by his letters patent, dated from Chester,
that if Nicholas de Moels and Robert Walerand should
happen to receive to the King's peace the sons of Res
Junior, the King would remit to them all the indignation
he had conceived against them for having receded from
his fidelity and adhered to David ap Llewelyn, and
would receive them back to his favour. 2

l Annales Cambria- (c). 2 Pat. 30 Hen. Ill, m, 10.


The King left Chester two days afterwards and pro-
ceeded by Combermere, Lilleshali, Roddington and Wor-
cester, to Windsor, which he reached on November 29. l

In the course of this month, by means of large bribes,
he had won over the Pope to his side, who now consented
to the excommunication of David and his adherents.
And on November 10 the King issued a new proclama-
tion from Worcester forbidding his subjects to hold any
communication with his enemies the Welsh. 2

We must not omit to notice the death of Walter, Earl
of Pembroke, which occurred on November 24, and was
quickly followed by that of his last surviving brother,
Anselm Mareschal, who died eleven days later, when the
great inheritance of the family was divided between his
sisters or their representatives. The estates, in Dy vet or
West Wales alone, comprised the Lordships of Tenby, St.
Florence, Pembroke, Haverford, Castle Martin, and
Narberth, with lands, &c., in Kilgerran. Isabel, wife of
David ap Llewelyn was one of the Earl's nieces and
co-heirs ; and it is observable that the King's Bailiff was
ordered to retain the castle of Haverford and 66 16s. 8d.
of rent in Haverford which fell to her share. 3

Prince David ap Llewelyn died at Aberconway in
March, 1246; and as he left no issue, he was succeeded
by his two nephews, Owen Goch and Llewelyn, who
divided his dominions between them. 4

It is probable that Meredith ap Owen, and Meredith ap
Res Grig had ere this returned to the King's peace, and
been confirmed by him in the possession of their lands ;
for in this year, after the death of David, they were com-
missioned, in conjunction with Nicholas de Moels,
Justice of Carmarthen, to dispossess Maelgon Vychan of
his lands. Maelgon was thereupon compelled to flee into
North Wales, to Owen and Llewelyn, the sons of Griffith
ap Llewelyn, and leave his territory to strangers;
" because the royal power summoned all that adhered to
the King against Owen and Llewelyn, and Maelgon
Vychan, and Howel ap Meredith of Glamorgan, who
were then along with them in Gwyneth, being entirely

l MS. Itin. Hen. III. 2 Kymer's Fseclwa. 3 Clark's Earls of Pembroke. 4 Brut-


dispossessed by the Earl of Clare. 1 And when they
became acquainted with that they kept themselves in the
mountains and wilds." 2

On August 20, 1246, the King took the homage of
Res the son of Res Wachan (or Vaughan) at Woodstock.
And because the same Res and his brothers and their men
had returned to the King's fealty, the King's lieges are
commanded to suffer the said Res and his brothers to pass
hither and thither freely where they will. 3

On August 27, 1246, the King issues his letters patent,
dated at Woodstock, ratifying and confirming the assign-
ment of Gwonhonithe (Gwynnionith) which his beloved
and faithful Mereduk son of Owen had made to his wife
Elen in dower, at the door of the church, when they were
married. 4

On the 25th of November of that year, the King, by his
letters patent dated at Clarendon, notifies that he had
received to his favour, homage, and fealty, Mailgon son of
Mailgon, and by his favour conceded to him two corn-
mots of land with the appurtenances in the county of
Kaerdigan, namely the commot of Goneyrglyn, and the
commot of Yscoeyt, which "Mereducus films Oweyn"
formerly held, to be held by the said Mailgon and his
heirs of the King and his heirs, so long as they should
adhere to his fealty and service. 5

From a subsequent inquisition, which will be more
fully quoted in due course, it appears that Maelgon had
made an exchange of territory with Meredith ap Owen
about the year 1245, by which the dominion of the
former had been transferred to Uch Ayron, and that of
Meredith to Is Ayron in which the commot of Iscoed was
situate. 6 It is probable that when Maelgon was driven
from his lands, in 1246, some portion of them were trans-
ferred to Meredith ap Owen, who acted at that time in
conjunction with the King's Justiciary of Carmarthen
against Maelgon ; and on Maelgon's submission to the

l This dispossession by the Earl of Clare must be understood to apply to Howel ap
Meredith, of Glamorgan, only. 2 Brut-y-Tywysogion. The Princes of Gwyneth held
their own against the King through the winter but were compelled to make their peace
with him in the following spring under very rigorous conditions, whereby they sur-
rendered to the King the whole country between the frontier of Cheshire and the river
Con way together with the homage of all the Barons of Wales (Ilymer's Faedera).
3 Rot. Pat. 30 Hen. Ill, m. 2. * Ibid. 5 Rot. Pat. 31 Hen. Ill, m. . 6 Inq. p.m.
. I. No. 7<5.


King in November, 1246, there were only given to him
for his dominion the cornmots of Geneurglyn and Iscoed-
Ucherwern, which formed the two extremities of the land
of Cardigan, and which (as we are informed by the Welsh
Annalist) were all that he could obtain of his inheritance. 1
He was afterwards allowed to exchange the commot of
Iscoed for that of Crewthyn f under which arrangement
his territory will have consisted of the two Northern

On January 27, 1247, the King by his charter dated at
Windsor, conceded to Mereduk son of Res the land of Iken
[or Iscennen], which he claimed as his by right of inheritance
(jure hereditarioj , to have and to hold to himself and his
heirs according to the law and custom of Wales so long
as they shall continue faithful to the King's service : and
if the King or his heirs should wish to take the said land
into their own hands they will give to Meredith or his
heirs a reasonable exchange for it. 3 It is probable that he
never obtained seizin of this commot ; for we learn from
the Liberate Roll of the same year that Mereduc fil. Res
had lost his lands on account of his service to the King ;
and, on August 20, 1248, the Sheriff of Salop and Staf-
ford is ordered to allow him 20 out of the revenues of
the said counties to support him in the King's service. 4
In a subsequent order to the same sheriff, in the year
1250, it is stated that he receives this sum annually ; 5 and
we find by repeated entries in the said Roll that he con-
tinued to receive it by half-yearly instalments until the
41st of Henry III, Nov., 1256, inclusive; after which no
such entries occur on the Liberate Roll.

While Meredith ap Res was thus taking part with the
King, his nephew Res Vychan and his cousin Maelgon
Vychan had once more fallen away from their allegiance.
Under the year 1248 we are told that Owen [ap Meredith]
ap Robert obtained Cedewen his right ; 6 and Res Vychan
ap Res Mechyll recovered the castle of Carreg Cennen,

1 Annalos Cambria;. 2 Inq. p.m. 7 Edw. I, No. 76. 3 Pat. 31 Hen. Ill, m. 8.
4 Lib. Rot. 32 Hen. Ill, m. 3. 5 In the Pipe-Roll of Michaelmas 1250, the Sheriff of
Shropshire states the cognate payment. Et Mereduc fil. Rid 10 de termino Sti Jlich.
hoc anno, per breve Regis de 20 quas percipit per annum per manus Vieecomitis Salopia
ad sustentandum se in servitio Regis. 6 Brut-y-Tywysogion. The Lordship of
Cedewen, which formed an ancient cantrev situate in the present county of Montgomery,
was held by Meredith ap Robert in 1210. He was one of the chief supporters and con-
federates of Llewelyn ap Jerwerth in 1211 and during the period of his triumphs in
1215-16. When the castle of Kinnerley, co. Salop, had been ransacked and demolished


which his mother had deceitfully given over to the
English out of ill-will towards her son. 1 On September
26, 1250, Henry, by his charter, dated at Windsor,
commits to Robert Walerand the custody of the castles of
Carmarthen and Cardigan, and the lands which belonged
to Mailgon son of Mailgon, and likewise the island of
Lundy, to hold during the King's pleasure, he paying for
them, during time of peace, 40 marks, and covenanting
to give up the island in its present state as to farming stock
and utensils. 2 We cannot assume from this that these
lands were then actually in the King's hands: but it is
not easy to follow the many changes of ownership which
took place during this period in which Prince Edward
was assuming to himselt' the jurisdiction as well as the
title of Prince of Wales.

At the close of the year 1251 we have to record the death
of Morgan son of the Lord Res, after taking the religious
habit at Strata Florida. 3 And in the following year, 1252,
Res junior, the son of Res Vaphan (or Vychan), gives the
King 20 marks to hold the same liberties and customs, for
his lands in Keyrmardin, which he and his ancestors had
held in the time of Llewelyn formerly Prince of North
Wales. 4 At this time Wales was tolerably quiet; and
William de Valence and the Bishop of Bangor declared
officially that the Marches were subdued to the English law. 6

by the forces of Llewelyn, during the minority of Henry III, in 1222-3, Llewelyn
bound himself to make satisfaction for the damage done. On this occasion Mereduc fil.
Roberti was one of his securities for the performance of the agreement (Pat. 7 Hen. Ill,
m. 2 in dorso). He was also one of those Welsh Barons who, in 1211, petitioned the
King in behalf of Griffith ap Llewelyn the brother of David Prince of North Wales.
The Brut records the death of Meredith ap Robert, chief counsellor of Wales, after
taking the religious habit at Strata Florida, in 1244. The death of Owen ap Meredith
ap Robert, of Cedewen, in 1236, is previously recorded. I know not to whom this last
mentioued notice refers. But in 1248 the chronicler states that "Owen ap Robert
obtained Cedewen his right." This statement is somewhat inaccurate and calculated
to mislead. It was Owen ap Meredith, and not Owen ap Robert, who thus recovered
11 in 1248 ; for in that year, on July 30, Oweyn fil. Mereduc paid 300 marks to
the King that he might hold the land of Kedewy which had belonged to the said
Meredith ; and the Bailiff of Montgomery had orders to put him in seizin thereof after
taking his security for the said 300 marks (Rot. Fin 32 Hen III, m. 3). But this is
not the only instance in which I find the term " ap " applied to the lapse of more than
one generation. Owen ap Meredith, Lord of Cedewen, died in 1261 (Brut-y-Tywy-
sogion). In 1278 Owen son of Madoc complains to the King to whom he addresses
himself as " homo tester de Krdewein" that, after he hud come to the King's peace, his
men had been spoiled of their goods by the men of Griffin son of Gwenoewey (Rot.
Parl. 6 Edw. I, No. 26). This Owen ap" Madoc may, not improbably, have been the
grandson of Owen ap Meredith ; but of this I have no evidence.

1 Brut-y-Tywysogion. '! Rot. Fin. 34 Hei. Ill, m. 2. 3 Brut-y-Tywysogion.
According" to the" Golden Grove MS. Morgan ap Res was Lord of Llangyby and own
brother to Maelgon Mawr. 4 Rot. Fin. 36 Hen. Ill, m. 1 . 5 Clark's Earls of Pembroke.



In August, 1253, Henry sailed for Bordeaux, leaving
the care of the Kingdom to Prince Edward, Richard Earl
of Cornwall, and the Queen. After his success in Gascony,
in 1254, a marriage was arranged between Prince Edward
and Elianor, sister of the King of Castile, which was
solemnized in October of that year ; and the King made
over to Prince Edward his rights in Ireland, Wales, and

In this year, on the Feast of St. Katherine (Nov. 25,
1254) Gwenllian or Gwenthlian, daughter of Maelgon
Vychan, died at Llanvihangel Gelynrod, and was buried
in the Chapter House of the Monks at Strata Florida. 1

The King and Queen kept their Christmas at Boulogne,
and embarked for England on the night of St. John the
Apostle (Dec. 26). 2

In the following year 1255, died Meredith ap Llewelyn,
the widower of Gwenthlian, whose death we have just
recorded, by whom he left an only son and heir. 3 And
soon afterwards, about the Feast of St. John the Baptist,
died Res, the only son of Maelgon Vychan, a young
man of high promise, after taking the habit of religion
at Strata Florida, and there he was buried, near his
sister, in the Chapter House of the Monks. 4

The same year there was a quarrel between the sons

Online LibraryGeorge Thomas Orlando BridgemanHistory of the princes of South Wales → online text (page 13 of 31)