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had given to her in dower. About the same time he writes to the King complaining
of Margaret widow of Madoc Vychan Lord of Bromfield that she had impleaded him
before the King's Justices and before Llewelyn, Prince of Wales, for certain lands and
tenements in Glynndyuyrd in Edeirnyaun which he held in capite by the King's
license and by the concession of the said Llewelyn (Calendar of Royal and other letters
and writs, No. 1986). By charter dated on Oct. 7, 1282, the King grants to John de
Warren, Earl of Surrey, the land of Yal which belonged to Griffin Vaghan son of
Griffin de Bromfield, the King's enemy, at the same time that he gives to the said John
de Warren the lands of Bromfield which Griffin and Llewelyn the sons of Madoc
Vaghan had held (Rot. Wall. 10 Edw. I, m. 3). In November of the same year Llew-
elyn ap Griffith, Prince of Wales, complains to the Archbishop of Canterbury that
" whereas it is stipulated in the peace that Gruffyth Vadhan should do homage to the
King for the land in Yale and to the Prince for the land in Ederneon, the King's
Justices brought the Lady of Maylor into all the said lands of Edeyrneon ; the
knowledge of which cause pertained to the Priuce, and not to the said Justices ; and
yet for the sake of peace, the Prince did tolerate all this, being at all times ready to do
justice to the said lady" (Warringtou's Wales, p. 573 appendix). It would seem
that the land of Glyndyfrdwy was also taken from Griffith Vychan about this time and
granted to his nephew Griffin son of Madoc Vaghan, for on Feb. 11, 11 Edw. I, 1283,
(if we may trust to the accuracy of the transcriber) the King on behalf of Griffin.
Vaghan notifies to his bailiff's &c., that, at the request of his beloved and faithful
John de. Warren, Earl of Surrey, he has conceded to Griffin Vaghan son of Madoc that
he should hold the land of Glyndor'do of the King at the King's will ; but so that
the said Griffin Vaghan should give the King his letters patent by which he should
confess that he has no right to hold the said lands except at the King's will (Mr. J..
Morris' MS). If this grant does not really apply to Griffith Vychan ap Griffith instead
of Griffith ap Madoc it is probable that the latter did not long hold possession of the
Lordship of Glyndyfrdwy. I should suppose that Griffith Vychan soon afterwards
made his peace with the King and compounded with the King's grantee for his posses-
sions in Edeirneon by relinquishing his claim to those in Yal ; for, by deed without
date, but preserved in the Close Roll of 11 Edw. I (1283), "Griffinus Vaughau
filius Griffini de Bromfeud" granted to John de Warren, Earl of Surrey, " totam
terrain et tonemeutum de Yal que aliquando habui pro partem hereditatis prodicti
Griffini patris mei coiitingentem " (so transcribed in Mr. J. Morris' MS. from Rot.
Claus. 1 1 Edw. 1, memb. 9 in dorso) ; and by charter dated on July 22, 1284, the King
grants to Griffin son of Griffin de Brumfeld that ho should hold his land* per baroniam
as his ancestors had held them ; but the entry is corrected by a marginal note, stating
that the tenure of Griffith was not to be by Barony, but at the will of the King (Rot.
all. 12 Edw. I, m. 5). Griffith Vychan ap Griffith was succeeded as Lord of Glyn-


Richard Croft ; and another who married David ap
Ednyfed Gam. 1

Owen ap Griffith, the eldest son of Griffith Vychan and
Elen, afterwards known as the famous Owen Glendower,
is said to have been born at Trefgarn, 2 the residence of
his maternal grandfather (uncle ?), on May 28, 1359. 3 He
succeeded to his father's lands and manors, 4 except the
manor of Gwyddelwern in Merionethshire (which was
the portion of his younger brother), as also to his mother's
possessions in South Wales. As Owen Sire de Glen-
dore he appears as a witness in the celebrated Scrope
and Grosvenor controversy, on the side of Robert le
Grosvenor, on September 3, 1386. He then stated in his
deposition that he was twenty-seven years of age and
more. 5

dyfrdwy and Cynllaeth by his son Madoc ap Griffith, who is said to have married
Gwenllian, daughter of Ithel Vychan, of Northop and Mostyn in Englefield, by whom
he had a son and heir Griffith. Sir John 1'Estrange, Lord of Knockin, bought for his
daughter Elizabeth, from Madoc ap Griffith, the marriage of the said Griffith, his son
and heir, for which he paid 50 sterling (Rot. Parl. Vol. I, p. 306). Madoc ap Griffith
died on November 11, 1305-6, seized of the land of Glyndon'do containing the fourth part
of a commot and of Kentleth (Cynllaeth) containing the moiety of a commot, which
lands he held of the King in capite per JBaroniam Wallensicam, namely by the fealty
and service of attending the King's army, with his men, whenever it should be
necessary. Glendon'do was estimated at the annual value of 24 13s. 4d. and Kentleth
at 35. Griffith, his son and heir, was born on the Feast of St. Clement (Nov. 23)
1298 (Inq. p.m. 14 Edw. II, No. 13). In 1328 "Griffinus de Glyndoverde" fined
20 marks for licence to enfeoff Walter de Mutton and Walter Huse in the manors of
Glyndoverde and Kenlith with the appurtenances (Grossi Fines 2 Edw. Ill, ro. 22).
The said Griffith ap Madoc, Lord of Giyndyfrdwy and Cynllaeth, was Steward of
Oswestry under Richard FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel in 1347 (Mr. J. Morris' MS.)
He was married to Elizabeth, daughter of John, Lord Strange of Knockin, by his wife
Maud daughter of Roger d'Eiville, at Rhuddallt, on the quinzaine of the Nativity of
St. John Baptist, (July 8) 1304 (vide King's writ to the Bishop of St. Asaph and
return thereto, anno 11 Edw. II, taken from the Red Book of St. Asaph by Mr.
Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt, ex inf. Mr. J. Morris). Their son Griffith Vychan Lord
of Glyndyfrdwy was the husband of Elen daughter and coheir of Thomas ap Llewelyn
ap Owen, Lord of Iscoed, Gwynnionith, and Trefgarn.

1 Sir Samuel Meyrick informs us, in a note to the Heraldic Visitations of "Wales
(Vol. II, p. 151), that on the failure of the issue of Owen Glendwr his armorial bearings
were adopted by the Pulestons, via. : Paly of eight, argent and gules, over all a lion
rampant sable. The Pulestons may very likely have assumed the Royal Arms of
Powys Fadog in consequence of this marriage, but it cannot be asserted that they did
so on account of the failure of Owen Glendower's female issue. 2 Memoris of Owen
Glendwr by the Rev. Thomas Thomas (p. 48), who gives as his authority the
following extract from the MS. of the late Rev. Mr. Pugh, of Ty-gwyn, Denbighshire ;
"Trefgarn, a place in Pembrokeshire, South Wales; (formerly a gentleman's

residence, but now converted into a farm house) being the place where

Owain Glyndwr was born, and the house Of Thomas ap Llywelyn ap Owain." From
what has been written in these pages it would seem that Thomas ap Llewelyn was dead
in 1359 ; and Trefgarn was probably at this time in the possession of his son Owen ap
Thomas. 3 Mr. J. Morris' MS. Other writers have given the date of his birth as
May 28, 1349, or 1354 ; but the date which I have adopted from Mr. Morris' MS.
agrees with his own deposition in 1386. 4 Hist. Shrewsbury by Owen and Blakeway,
Vol. I, p. 179. 5 De controversia in curia militari inter Ricardum le Scrope et


It was the custom of those days for the gentry to be
enrolled as Burgesses of the neighbouring Borough towns,
and generally as members of some particular guild. It is
therefore quite possible that "Griffin de Glyndorde,
taylor,", who was admitted a Burgess of Salop in 21
Richard II (1397-8), might have been identical with the
popular Welsh hero of the following reign.

Owen de Glyndyfrdwy, Glendore, or Glendower was
a man of acute mind, ardent courage, and a cultivated
understanding. Moreover he received the best education
of the age in what Fortescue calls the University of
London, where he was afterwards called to the bar ;* a
distinction at that time conferred only upon young men
of good family. Most of our writers, as Hall, Gough,
Pennant, Burton, Carte, and others who have followed
them, have represented Glendower as esquire to King
Richard II, and have ascribed his hatred of the usurper to
his attachment to his late Sovereign and master. 2 But
Messrs. Owen and Blakeway, the historians of Shrews-
bury, 3 shew that it was into the family of the Duke of
Hereford (afterwards King Henry IV) that he was
received as an Esquire, and there is no authority given
for his ever having been in the service of King Richard II.
He probably continued in the retinue of the Duke of
Hereford until his dispute with Lord Grey de Ruthyn
induced him to retire from court to his estates in North
Wales in order to maintain his rights against his power-
ful neighbour. Their contention had reference to certain

Robertum Grosvenor milites : Rege Ricardo secundo, mccclxxxv mcccxc : e recordia
in Turre Londinensi asservatia. Printed by Samuel Bently, Dorset Street, Fleet
Street, London.

1 Apprentlciu* legis fuit apud Westmonasterium ("Walsingham, 364). Fortescue
speaks in exalted terms of the high birth of the barristers of his day. No student,
he says, in the greater Inns can well be maintained under eighty crowns a year ;
and if ha have a servant to wait on him, as for the most part they have, the ex-
pence is proportionably more. For this reason the students are sons to persons of

quality so that there is scarcely to be found throughout the Kingdom, an

eminent lawyer who is not a gentleman by birth and fortune ; consequently they have
a greater regard for their character and honour than those who are bred in any other
way (De laudibus legis Angliae, chap. xlix). Taking the crown at 7s. 2d. and the bushel
of wheat at 6d., the expence of a young student at that time would be little short of
600 a year of modern currency ; which might well make Fortescue say that persons
of an inferior rank were not able to bear the expences of maintaining and educating
their children to this profession (Hist. Shrewsbury by Owen and Blakeway, Vol. I, p. 180).
2 Mr. Jones, the historian of Brecknockshire (Vol. I, p. 161), quotes Walsingham in
proof of his assertion, but the words of that historian, as pointed out by the historians
of Shrewsbury, are in direct contradiction to this theory : " Scutifer regis moderni,"
must surely mean " esquire of tht now King" and Walsingham is writing the history
of Henry IV. 3 Hist. Shrewsbury Vol. I, p. 180.


rights of common, with respect to which Glendower con-
sidered himself to have been treated with injustice by the
English courts ; and his quarrel with De Grey gradually
involved him in a rebellion against the crown. His pre-
datory incursions on the English borders commenced in the
year 1399, about the time that Henry ascended the throne.
The first act of open hostility is generally said to have
been the sack of Ruthin on the 20th of September, 1400 j 1
but on the day preceding, Henry had issued an order from
Northampton to the Bailiffs of Shrewsbury, in which, after
stating that he had heard that certain Welshmen had
risen in rebellion, he commands them to take security
from all the persons of that nation resident in their town,
to be good subjects ; otherwise to arrest and throw them
into prison : and there are not wanting other circum-
stances to make it probable that the. countrymen of
Glendower at least, if not himself, were in arms at no
great distance from Shrewsbury before the date usually
assigned for the first demonstration of hostility. 2

On the 8th of November, 1400, the manors and lord-
ships of Glendourdy in Edernyon, Sawarth in Kentlith,
in North Wales, and the manors and lordships of Hiscote
and Guynyoneth, in South Wales, were granted by King
Henry IV to his brother John, Earl of Somerset, by the
names of all the manors, lands, and tenements, which
were of Owyn de Glyndordy as well in South Wales as
in North Wales, and which were forfeited to the King by
the high treason of the said Owyn, to have and to hold
all the said manors, lands, and tenements, together with all
RegoMef) Eegalites, Knights' fees, Advowsons and Patron-
ages of Churches, Franchises, Liberties, Customs, Wards,
Marriages, Reliefs, Escheats, Forfeitures, Chaces, Parks,
Warrens, Wrecks at Sea, and all other profits and
advantages to the said manors belonging, as freely as the
said Owyn had held them. 3

By this grant, though inoperative during the period
of Owen's ascendancy, the chief remnant of the ancient
possessions of the Princes of South Wales eventually
passed away from their descendants ; for the share of in-
heritance which fell to the other coheir of Thomas ap

l Cambro-Briton Vol. I, p. 462. 2 Hist. Shrewsbury Vol. I. p. 180. 3 Rot. Parl.
Vol. IV, p. 440.


Llewelyn ap Owen consisted mainly of the Lordship of
Trefgarn, a recent acquisition, in addition to which it
comprised only a few westva and unimportant manorial
rights belonging to the ancient dominion of the Princes.
The English Parliament which met in January 1401,
passed a series of the most oppressive and cruel ordinances
ever enacted against any people ; prohibiting the Welsh
from purchasing lands, from holding any corporate office,
and from bearing arms within any city, borough, or market
town ; ordering that in lawsuits between an Englishman
and a Welshman the former should be convicted only by
the judgment of English Justices or the verdict of all the
English burgesses, or by inquests of English boroughs
and towns of the lordships in which the respective suits
lay ; disfranchising all English burgesses who were
married to Welshwomen ; and forbidding Welshmen to
assemble together for conference without licence from the
local authorities and in their presence. No provisions or
arms were to be received into Wales without special
permission from the Bang or his council. No Welshman
was allowed to have the charge of any castle, fortress, or
place of defence, even though he might be its owner, nor
to execute the offices of Lieutenant, Justice, Chancellor,
Treasurer, Chamberlain, Sheriff, Steward, Coroner, or
any other office of trust, any patent or licence to the
contrary notwithstanding. Moreover the Welshmen were
forbidden to bring up their children as scholars, or to
apprentice them to any occupation within any town or
borough of the realm. 1 These vindictive enactments
remained in force until the 21st year of King James I.
They are a disgrace to the English legislature ; and their
effect at the time would seem to have been rather to
strengthen the hands of Owen than otherwise.

A glowing description of Glendower's mansion (pro-
bably written about this time), is given by lolo Goch,
a celebrated poet of his time who seems to have fre-
quently enjoyed the chieftain's hospitality. The poet
compares it in point of magnificence to Westminster
Abbey ; and informs us that it had a gate-house, and was

1 History of "Wales, by Jane Williams ; a work full of information on the subject of
these memoirs which has only recently fallen into the hands of the author, and an
earlier acquaintance with which would have spared him much time and labour.


surrounded with a inoat, that within were nine halls, each
furnished with a wardrobe; filled, I imagine (says
Pennant from whom I quote) with the clothes of his
retainers, according to the custom of those days. Near
the house on a verdant bank, was a wooden house,
supported on posts, and covered with tiles. It contained
four apartments, each subdivided into two, designed to
lodge the guests. Here was a church in the form of a
cross, with several chapels. The seat was surrounded
with every conveniency for good living ; and every
support to hospitality : a park, a warren, and pigeon-
house; a mill, orchard, and vineyard; and fish-pond,
filled with pike and gwyniads ; the last introduced from
the lake at Bala. A heronry, which was a concomitant
to the seat of every great man, supplied him and his

guests with game for the sport of falconry The

bard speaks feelingly of the wine, the ale, the braget,
and the white bread ; nor does he forget the kitchen,
nor that important officer the cook ; whose life (when in
the royal service) was estimated by the Welsh laws at
126 cows. Such was the hospitality of Owen that the
place of porter was useless ; nor were locks or bolts known.
To sum up all, no one could be hungry or dry at
Sycharth, the name of the place. 1 The bard pays all due
praise to the Lady of the house, and her offspring :

His wife, the best of wives !

Happy am I in her wine and metheglin.

Eminent woman of a Knightly family.

Honorable, beneficent, noble.

His children come in pairs ;

A beautiful nest of chieftains.

The lady whom he thus celebrates was Margaret
daughter of Sir David Hanmer, of Hanmer, in the county
of Flint, one of the Justices of the King's Bench, by
appointment ofKichard II, in 1383, and Knighted by
him in 1387. 2

l Mr. Pennant supposes this castle or mansion of Owen Glendower to have been in
Glyndyfrdwy. He had doubtless a capital mansion in each of his manors, and there
are traces of one in the valley of the Dee in. Glyndyfrdwy, but the mansion of Sycharth
(as shewn by the writer of an able article in the Cambro-Briton, Vol. I, pp. 145 &
seq.), was in the parish of Llansilin and Lordship of Cynllaeth. There are no remains
of a house at either place, and as the houses of that date were commonly built of wood
no such remains could be reasonably looked for ; but there is a place still called Pare
Sycharth, with a farm attached to it ; which doubtless marks the site of the Chieftain's
ancient residence. 2 Pennant's Tours in Wales, Appendix vii.


In 1402 the Welsh insurrection had reached its greatest
force. At the approach of spring the operations of Glen-
dower had become more extensive. A fortunate accident
made his great enemy and most active opponent, Lord
Grey de Ruthyn, his prisoner, and there remained but a
few ill-garrisoned castles to hinder his crossing the border.
Early in the year the Prince of Wales (afterwards King
Henry V) had been sent to Shrewsbury, where he was
organizing an army to hold North Wales in check. A
letter which he wrote (in Norman French) to the privy
council on the loth of May, and of which the following
is a translation, gives a curious picture of the kind of
warfare carried on between the rival parties.

" Very dear and entirely -well belored, we greet you earnestly with
our entire heart, thanking you very dearly for the good care which you
have had of the businesses which concern us in our absence, and we
pray you very affectionately for your good and friendly continuance,
as our trust is in you. And for news in this part, if you will know,
among others we were lately informed that Oweyn de Glyndourdy
assembled his forces of other rebels, his adherents, in great number,
purposing to make an incursion, and to fight if the English would
resist him in his purpose, and so he boasted to his people. Wherefore
we took our forces and went to a place of the said Oweyn well built,
which was his principal mansion called Saghern (Sycharth), where we
expected to have found him, if he had had will to fight in manner as
he said ; and at our coming thither we found nobody, and therefore
we caused the whole place to be burnt, and several other houses there-
abouts of his tenants. And then we went straight to his other place
of Glendourdy, to seek him there, and there we burnt a fair lodge in
his park, and all the country thereabout. And we lodged ourselves by
there all that night, and certain of our people sallied forth there into the
country, and took a great gentleman of the country who was one of the
said Oweyn's chieftains, who offered five hundred pounds for his ransom
to have had his life, and to have paid the said sum within two weeks ;
nevertheless it was not accepted, but he was put to death, as well as
divers others of his companions who were taken in the expedition.
And then we went into the commote of Edeyrnion, in the county of
Merionyth, and there we ravaged with fire a fair country and well in-
habited. And thence we went into Powys, and there being a scarcity
of provender for horses in Wales, we caused our men to carry oats with
them, and we remained .... days. And to inform you more fully
of this expedition, and of all other news here at present, we send to
you our very dear esquire, John de Waterton, to whom you will be
pleased to give entire faith and credence in what he shall report to you
from us touching the news above mentioned. And may our Lord have
you always in His holy keeping. Given under our signet, at Shroues-
bury, this 15th day of May."

Soon after the return of the Prince from this foray
Owen Glendower, whose strength was evidently increasing,

2 i


approached the English border, with the intention of
ravaging Herefordshire and Shropshire. Edmund de
Mortimer, the uncle of the young Earl of March, hastily
levied the men of Herefordshire, and met the Welsh on
the hills in the neighbourhood of Radnor, at Maelienydd.
In this battle which was fought on the 12th of June, the
men of Herefordshire were entirely defeated, and
Mortimer himself taken prisoner. 1

On September 20, 1402, Owen convoked a parliament
at Machynlleth in Montgomeryshire, where he was pro-
claimed Prince of Wales and formally crowned in the
presence of the assembled chieftains.

From the time of his coronation he used his Royal
Seals, which are thus described by Sir Henry Ellis from
the seals attached to two deeds deposited in the Hotel
Soubise, at Paris; "The Great Seal has an obverse
and reverse ; on the obverse, Owen is represented with a
bifid beard, very similar to Richard II, seated under a
canopy of gothic tracery ; the half body of a wolf forming
the arms of his chair on each side ; the back-ground is
ornamented with a mantle seme'e of lions held up by
angels. At his feet are two lions. A sceptre is in his
right hand, but he has no crown. The inscription
is Owenus . . . Princeps Wallie. On the reverse Owen
is represented on horseback, in armour; in his right
hand, which is extended, he holds a sword, and in his
left a shield, charged with, quarterly, four lions rampant ;
a drapery, probably a kerchief de plesaunce, or handker-
chief won at a tournament, pendant from his right wrist.
Lions rampant also appear upon the mantle of the horse.
On his helmet, as well as on his horse's head, is the
Welsh Dragon. The area of the seal is diapered with
roses. The inscription on this side seems to fill the gap
upon the obverse, Owenus Dei gratia . . . Wallie"*
Pennant mentions a pardon granted by him to one John
ap Howel ap Jevan Goch, to which this seal was attached,
and which is dated " anno principatus nostri VP datum
apud Cefn Llanfair X die Jan. per ipsum principem"

1 Wright's History of Ludlow, pp. 247, 248. 2 Archseologia, Vol. XXV, pp. 616 &
seq. It is probable that Owen assumed the armorial bearings of 4 lions rampant on
his seal as claiming to represent the Princes of North "Wales. His paternal coat as
borne by his family was " Paly of eight, argent aud gules, over all a lion rampant


Amongst the witnesses are two of his sons, Gryffydd ap
Owen and Meredydd ap Owen, his Chancellor
Gryffydd Yonge, and (his cousin ?) Rhys ap Tudur, and

Gwillimap l " The privy Seal " says Sir Henry

Ellis " represents the four lions rampant towards the
spectator's left, on a shield, surmounted by an open
coronet : the Dragon of Wales, as a supporter, on the
dexter side: on the sinister a lion. The inscription
seems to have been Sigillum Oweni Principis Wallie. No
impression of this seal is probably now to be found either
in Wales or England." 2 Its workmanship shows that in
Glendower's time heraldic taste and artistic execution
were far in advance of anything typified by the seals of
his predecessors.

The subsequent career of this eminent Welsh hero is
matter of general history, and therefore beyond the scope
of the present work.

It is said that he asserted an hereditary right to the
Principality of Wales as being the representative of its
ancient Princes; to which pretension much exception
has been taken. He was, we explain, in all pro-
bability, the direct representative of the Princes of Lower
Powis ; he was unquestionably, through his mother Elen
verch Thomas ap Llewelyn, the senior coheir to the
chief line of Princes of South Wales ; and it is perfectly
credible that he and his cousin John, Lord of

Online LibraryGeorge Thomas Orlando BridgemanHistory of the princes of South Wales → online text (page 26 of 31)