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be given up to them. And when their demand was
denied they attacked the country and devasted the
land, reducing the castle of Aber Llychwr to a heap of
ruins, and burning the castle of Llan Rhidian ; after
which they returned home with great spoil. 1 The castle
of Dynevor was at this time repaired by them and
strengthened, and garrisoned with chosen men. At the
same time Howel ap Owen repaired Humphrey's Castle
in the vale of Calettwr. 2 We hear no more of Cadell
after his ill-treatment at the hands of the English, except
that he went on a pilgrimage to Rome about the year 1156,
when he left his possessions in the custody of his brothers
Meredith and Res until he should return home. Perhaps
he never afterwards fully recovered from his wounds, for
we do not find him again taking part in the affairs of state;
but he lived many years after this, and died in 1175. 3

In the meanwhile we find the brothers Meredith and
Res, in the year 1153, following up their successes
against Howel ap Owen Gwyneth in Cardigan. They
led their forces into Penwedic, the most northern division
of Cardigan, and took from him the castle after a long
and toilsome siege. This was probably Castell Gwalter
at Llanvihangel Genau'rglyn, the castle of Llanvihangel
in Pengwern which they had been unable to take from
him on the former occasion. So that at this period the
whole of Cardigan must have fallen into their hands.
I imagine them to have also possessed themselves of the
whole land of Carmarthen, with the exception of the two
Southern commots of Kidwelly and Gower which pro-
bably yet remained in the hands of the Norman Con-
querors. Their expedition into Cardigan was followed
by an attack upon the castle of Tenby, in Dy vet, which
they took by a night assault and committed to the custody
of their cousin William fitz Gerald.

1 Gwentian Chronicle. Gower or Gwyr was a district of Glamorganshire, so called
because Gwyr signifies an encircled place ; and this peninsular, once a part of Car-
marthenshire hut now forming the Western portion of Glamorganshire, is nearly
encircled by sea and rivers. It was conquered from the Welsh by Eoger de Newburgh
and held by him and his heirs under Bernard Newmarch and de Braose, his
successor (Jones' Hist, of Brecknock, Vol. I, p. 95). 2 Brut-y-Tywysogion. 3 Ibid.,
compared with Powel and others.


The continued success of the young princes appears to
have fired their ambition and excited them to greater
projects. Res applied to his cousin Morgan ap Caradoc
ap Jestyn (whose mother Gwladus or Gladys was a
daughter of Prince Griffith ap Res) to assist him in an
organised attack upon the Normans and English, with
the intention of driving them from every district in Wales.
He sent a similar message to Madoc ap Meredith, Prince
of Powys. But, failing to obtain the assistance of these
magnates, he entered Cyveilioc, 1 which belonged to
Powysland, and took heavy spoil from thence. Meredith
also led his " forces into Morgan wg against Morgan ap
Caradoc and assaulted the castle of Aberavan, which they
demolished, and brought away a rich booty ; but Morgan
and his men fled, and placed themselves under the sanc-
tuary of the churches and monasteries and under the pro-
tection of William ap Robert, Prince of Morganwg," 2 i.e.
William, Earl of Gloucester, son of Robert de Caen.

King Stephen died on October 25, 1154, and was
succeeded on the English throne by Henry II : and not
long afterwards " died Meredith ap Griffith ap Res, King
of Cardigan and Ystrad Tywi and Dyved, in the 25th
year of his age," 3 leaving his brother Res to contend alone
against the enemies of his country.

" In the year 1155 Rees ap Gruffyth ap Rees, whom
the Welsh booke surnameth Lord Rees [Res Argloith],
and all the Latine and English writers of that time name
King of South Wales, did gather all his strength togithir
to defend his countrie from Owen Gwyneth, whom he
heard to be levieing of men to conquer South Wales.
So Rees came to Aberdyvi [Aberdovey] over against
North Wales, and perceiving the rumour to be false,
built a castle there, and so returned backe." 4 About
this time the King banished from England the Flemish
soldiers who had been introduced by King Stephen, and
gave them permission to settle among their countrymen
in West Wales. In 1156 he visited Anjou to put down
his brother Geoffrey ; from whence he returned in the

1 Cyreilioc or Kevelioc was a commot or lo r dship in Montgomeryshire lying to the
North of the cant rev Penwedic in Cardigan. 2 Gwentian Chronicle. 3 Brut-y-
Tywysogion. 4 Powel's Hist. Aberdovey is & seaport in the Parish of Towyn and
modern hundred of Estimanor, in the county of Merioneth (Lewis' Top. Dictionary).


following year, fully bent on the conquest of Wales ; his
designs being encouraged by the disaffection of the
lords of North Wales towards Owen Gwyneth their
Prince. Before he had been long on his throne
Henry seems to have contemplated an expedition
into South Wales and Ireland ; for the Royal " eorrody "
was conveyed in one ship to Pembroke, for the hire
of which Roger, the Constable, had 4. This was in
the 3rd year of his reign (ending at Michaelmas 1157),*
and the eorrody was probably sent in subservience to
his proposed invasion of Wales. This invasion how-
ever did not ultimately extend further than the northern
seaboard. War stores were in the same year sent some
whither from Gloucester ; but it is quite clear that Henry
never visited any part of the Border of South Wales.
In that year (1157) he raised a great army with which he
marched into Flintshire, where he was met with spirit
by Owen the Prince of North Wales, who successfully
resisted the invasion, and baffled the efforts of the King.
But, though little was accomplished by force of arms in
this war, the expedition was by no means unfruitful to the
English in its results, for the Welsh Prince, alarmed at
the prospect of a lengthened war with so great a power,
was induced to relinquish his high pretensions and sub-
mit to the King's terms. By the treaty of peace which
ensued it was stipulated that he and his lords should do
homage to the King for their lands, and Owen engaged
to yield up those castles and districts which had been
taken from the English during the reign of King
Stephen ; moreover he had to deliver two of his sons as
hostages for his future obedience. 1 Having obtained these
concessions, and put strong garrisons in the castles of
Rhuddlan and Basingwerk, Henry left the remainder of
the war to be prosecuted by the Lords of the Marches
against the other Welsh Princes, supposing that they
would not long continue in arms after the submission of
Owen. Nor was he mistaken in his judgement. For at
the beginning of the following year (1158) all the Princes
of South Wales, except Res ap Griffith, and all the inferior

l This is substantiated by an entry on the Middlesex Pipe Eolls where the Sheriffs
charge 72 shillings "propannis obsidum Oeni Eeyi3."


chieftains and nobles of that country, came to him in
England, and there received from him the conditions of a
peace, which he accorded to them on their making a full
cession to him of all the territories or lordships which
had been won from the crown or subjects of England in
the reign of his predecessor, and doing homage to him for
their own patrimonial estates. In that year the castle of
Ystrad Meuric was taken by Roger de Clare, Earl of
Hertford, who had succeeded his brother Gilbert in
1151-2. But no quiet or perfect settlement could be
made of South Wales, while Res ap Griffith remained un-
conquered. The great spirit of that Prince could not
patiently endure to see the dominions, which for many
ages had belonged to his illustrious ancestors, torn by the
arms of ambitious foreigners from him and his children.
He, though deserted and betrayed by all his confederates,
commanded his people to remove their flocks, herds,
and other goods to the wilds of Towy and thence make
war on the King of England. Henry, who esteemed his
courage and magnanimity and dreaded his further
depredations, sent him a friendly invitation to come to his
court, with an assurance that he should be graciously re-
ceived ; but threatened, if he refused the favour offered to
him, that the whole power of England and Wales should
be employed to bring him thither. 1 Accordingly Res,
" after having taken counsel with his good men, went to
the King's court [at Woodstock], and there he was com*
pelled, against his own will, to make peace with the
King " under the promise that he should receive "the
Cantrev Mawr, and such other cantrev as the King should
be pleased to give him whole and not scattered. Yet
the King did not adhere to this, but gave him a piece of
land in the territories of each out of several barons.
And though Res understood that deceit, he accepted
those portions and held them peaceably. And in that
interval, though Roger, Earl of Clare [better known as
Earl of Hertford] was intent upon entering Cardigan,
nevertheless he dared not, until Res had made peace with
the King. Afterwards on a muggy day of the calends
of June, he came to Ystrad Meuric, and the day following

Lyttelton's Hist. Hen. II. Vol. II. p. 75.


the calends of June he stored that castle, the castle
of Humfrey, the castle of Aberdovey, the castle of Dineir,
and the castle of Rhystud." 1

Thus did the Normans re-occupy their former conquests
in Cardigan and Carmarthen, and the Lord Res was
compelled to do homage to the King for the territories he
was allowed to retain, and to give up two of his sons as
hostages for his fidelity ; a like security having been
exacted from all the other Welsh Princes. 2

The Norman Lords no sooner re-entered upon their
lands than they commenced their former system of
aggression upon their neighbours. We are informed by
the chronicler that " Walter Clifford carried a booty out
of the territory of Res ap Griffith, and killed many of the
men of the country nearest to him ; for the castle of
Llanymddyvri was his possession. 3 When that was done,
Res despatched messengers to the King to inform him of
it ; but the King would not cause satisfaction to be made
to him for this. Then the family of Res took up arms ;
and Res joined them at the castle of Llanymddyvri, and
subdued the castle. Then Eineon son of Anarawd,
nephew to the Lord Res (brother's son), who was
young in age and manly in strength, seeing that his
uncle Res was released from his agreement and from

1 Brut-y-Ty wysogion. Humfrey's Castle, afterwards called Castel Howel, was in the
parish, of Llandyssil, in the modern hundred of Troedyraur, co. Cardigan, but formerly
in the commot or lordship of Gwynnyonydd in the cantrev or hundred of Syrwen
or Hirwan (Meyrick's Hist. Cardiganshire, p. 149). Dineir or Dynerth and Llan-
rhystid castles are sometimes assumed to have been the same, but there were probably
two castles in the parish of Llanrhystid, one of which was called Castel Rhos. This
parish lies in the lower division of the modern hundred of liar, but was formerly situate
in the commot of Anhunog. See note to page 37. 2 Lyttelton's Hist. Hen. II,
Vol. II, p. 76. 3 Llanyruddyvri or Llandovery Castle, which occurs so often in Welsh
history, is situated in the parish of Llandingat in the hundred of Perveth, co. Car-
marthen, 27 miles E.N.E. from Carmarthen, a pleasant locality in the upper part
of the vale of Towy (Lewis' Top. Dictionary). It would have 'been in the ancient
cantrev of Ffiniog and therefore not in the district assigned to lies by the King. This
oantrev is the same as that which is elsewhere called Cantrev Bychan (or the little
cantrev), which was given by Henry I, to Richard fitz Ponz, the father of the
first Walter de Clifford, whose heirs contested the possession with the descendants of the
ancient Welsh Lords. The second Walter de Clifford married Margaret, daughter of
Prince Llewelyn ap Jerwerth and widow of John de Braose, by whom he had an only
daughter and heiress Matilda or Maude de Clifford, who married first William de
Longespee, and secondly John Giffard of Brimsfield. By the former she had a daughter
Margaret, wife of Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, whose sole daughter and heiress
Alice was thrice married but died without issue. Being left a young widow by the
early death of her first husband, Matilda de Clifford was forcibly abducted from her own
Manor house and taken to the castle of Brimsfield by John Giffard, who subsequently
fined 300 marks for having married her without the King's licence. By John Giffard
she had two daughters, her eventual coheirs, namely, Katherine wife of Nicholas
Audley, of Helagh. and Alianore wife of Fulk le Strange, of Blackmere.


every oath he had given to the King, also lamenting the
subjection of his own nation through the deceit of enemies,
made an attack upon the castle of Humfrey, and slew
the bravest knights, and all the garrison of the castle,
and carried away with him the whole booty and spoil of
the castle. And then when Res ap Griffith perceived
that he could not preserve anything of what the King
had given him, except what he could gain by his arms,
he made an attack upon the castles that had been
subdued by the Earls and Barons in Cardigan, and
burned them. And when the King heard of this, he
entered South Wales with an army," 1 by the sea coast of
Glamorgan ; " but seeing the Welsh nation gathering
from all parts to Res, he offered him terms of peace," 2
which were accepted ; and when Res had given him pledges,
and had certain castles assured to him by the King in re-
turn, the latter went back to England, and thence pro-
ceeded to Normandy, in September, 1158. 3 When Res,
however, went to take possession of the castles that were
assigned to him the garrisons refused to deliver them
up. 4 Whereupon he collected his forces and ravaged the
country of Dyvet, conquering and burning the castles
which the Normans had erected there. This was in the
year 1159. He then brought his little army to Carmar-
then and besieged it, but was obliged to raise the siege
on the approach of Reginald, Earl of Cornwall, with a
large force to relieve it. Earl Reginald was joined on
this occasion by William, Earl of Gloucester, Roger,
Earl of Clare, and two other Earls, as also by Cadwalader
ap Griffith, the brother, and Howel and Cynan, the
sons of Owen Gwyneth, Prince of North Wales, who
had been induced to join the English by the promise of
having the lordship of South Wales made over to him.
Res, unable to resist so formidable an opposition retreated
to the mountains of Cevn Resterin which strong post
he remained in security. The English army encamped
at the castle of Dynevor, " but, not daring to approach
the place where Res was, they returned home empty
handed. After that they offered a truce to Res which

l Brut-y-TyTrysogion. 2 Gwcntian Chronicle. 3 Towel, verified by Mr. Eyton.
* Gwentian Chronicle.


he accepted ; and he permitted his men to return to
their country." 1

He appears to have conquered and taken possession of the
castles of Dynevor and Llandovery in or about the year
1161, 2 and probably retained possession of them during
the following year.

On the King's return from Normandy in 1 1 63 he invaded
South Wales with a strong force to reduce its Prince to
submission, and Res appears to have been betrayed by the
men of Brecknock, who interfered between him and the
King and persuaded him to give the King a meeting,
at a place called Pencadaer, in Carmarthenshire.
Giraldus thus describes the affair; " Not far to the
north of Caermardyn, namely at Pencadair, that is,
the head of the chair, Rhys the son of Gruffydd, was,
more by stratagem than force, compelled to surrender,
and was carried away into England." 3 He was not long
afterwards released by the King, to whom he did homage
at Woodstock* for his lands, and gave hostages for
his future fidelity. According to the Gwentian Chronicle
the King made over to him on this occasion the castle
of Dynevor and the Cantrev Mawr, which were pro-
bably then in his hands. I presume that these would
have formed the whole of his possessions at this period,
and that the land of Cardigan was now in the tenure of
its Norman lord, de Clare. The hostages given by Res
were his nephews Eineon ap Anarawd and Cadogan ap
Meredith ap Griffith. And these were soon afterwards
treacherously slain through the agency of the Norman
Barons,to whose custody they had probably been committed
by the King. Eineon, the son of Anarawd ap Griffith,
was foully murdered in his sleep by one of his own men
at the instigation of the English ; and Cadogan ap Meredith
was slain after the like manner by Walter de Clifford son
of Richard fitz Pons. Res was at this time in quiet possession
of Cantrev Mawr and the castle of Dynevor ; but the
murder of his nephews and the failure of the King's promises
afforded him a pretext for breaking the peace in the

1 Brut-y-Tyvrysogion. 2 Annales Cambriae. 3 Itin. Lib. I. cap. 10. Hoare's Giraldus,
Vol. 1, p. 175. 4 Bartholomaei Cotton Historia Anglicana, sub anno gratiao MCLXIII.
" Rex Scpttorum Malcolmus et Resus princeps Demetiae, id est Australium "Walensium,
cum aliis regibua et majoribus Cambriae, fecerunt homagium regi Anglorum
Henrico et filio ejus Henrico, Kalendas Julii, apud "Wudeetok."


following year (1164), and, entering the lands of Roger de
Clare, Earl of Hertford, by whose means Eineon was said
to have been put to death, he " dismantled and burned
the castle of Aber Rheidiol 1 and the castle of
Mabwynion, 2 and reconquered a second time the whole
of Cardigan ;" 3 from which, however, we must except the
castle of Aberteivi or Cardigan. Having thus possessed
himself of the land of Cardigan he carried his victorious
arms into Dyvet, attacked the Flemings settled there,
and ravaged all their country ; from whence he returned
to Dynevor, with great spoils and much honour, about
the end of the year 1164. It was probably at this period
that he founded the Abbey of Strata Florida or Ystradflur
for monks of the Cistercian order, in the commot of
Mef enydd and land of Cardigan, which afterwards became
the burial place of his family. 4

During the winter, Prince Res negotiated with all the
other Welsh Princes. He reproached them with their
cowardice and pusillanimity. He shewed them how
favourable the time then was for an attempt to deliver
themselves and their country from the oppression of
foreigners ; there being dissensions in England between
the church and state ; an archbishop of Canterbury exiled ;

l The castle of Aber Rheidiol -was situate in the commot of Anhunog in Cardiganshire
South of Aberystwith. 2 Castell Mabwynion, or the castle of the sons of Wynion, was
situated in the parish of Llanarth in the modern hundred of Moythen, co. Cardigan.
It formerly gave its name to a commot and extensive lordship in the cantreT y Castell
or Castle hundred. This lordship remained with the elder branch of Res' descendants
until the greater part of it was forfeited to the crown and granted by King Edward I.
to a representative of a younger branch, by whom it was shortly afterwards forfeited
for rebellion, when it lapsed once more to the crown. 3 Brut-y-Tywysogion. 4 Mr.
Roberts, the learned writer of a very able paper in the Archseologia Cambrensia
on this subject, supposes an earlier foundation for this religious House, chiefly on the
strength of Leland's statement " Rhesus Jilius Theodori princeps Suth-Walliae primus
fundator" (a statement which has also been followed by Dugdale), and a passage from the
works of Lewis Glyn Cothi (Roberts' StrataFlorida,in-4rcA. Cambrensis, Vol. Ill, p.110).
But I have much doubt as to this earlier foundation. The patronymic was sometimes given
rather loosely from one of the ancestors, and not always from the father, in the same
way that it is often given in the genealogies of Holy Scripture, so that Res ap Griffith
may possibly have been the person meant by Leland under the name of Res ap Tudor ;
and the assertion, in the Brut, that "in that year (viz. 1164 according to the writer's
dates), by the permission of God and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, came a convent
of monks/r4< to Strata Florida," corroborates the statement of the Lord Res in his own
foundation charter, where he describes himself as the founder. Sir C. Hoare gives the
following sketch of the abbey : " This monastery is situated in the wildest part of
Cardiganshire, surrounded on three sides by a lofty range of mountains, called by
Giraldus Cambrensis ' Ellennith ' ; a spot admirably suited to the severe and recluse
order of the Cistercians. But wild and desolate as its present appearance may seem,
how much more so must it have been in former times, when King Edward, for the
better security of his subjects from the dangers they were likely to incur in these
solitary districts, ordered the highways to be repaired and the surrounding woods
to be cut down."


his cause supported equally by Rome and by France ;
and a great probability of war between Louis and Henry
on that and other accounts. These instigations so influ-
enced them, and they were so animated by the success
which had attended his enterprizes, that not only Owen
Gwyneth and all his sons, but his brother Cadwalader,
who had married a sister of the Earl of Hertford and was
moreover under many obligations to King Henry,
as well as the Princes of Powis and other Welsh chief-
tains, now took up arms to recover their independence.
Provision having been made for levying soldiers against
Res ap Griffith at the parliament held at Northampton
the year before, the King, upon his arrival in England
from Normandy, found some forces already assembled,
with which he marched into Flintshire, where David,
one of the sons of Owen Gwyneth, had been making
grievous depredations ; but he found, on his arrival at
Rhuddlan that the Welshmen, after ravaging the country,
had retired with their plunder to the vale of Clwyd in
Denbighshire ; whereupon he contented himself with
strengthening the garrisons of all his castles in Flintshire,
and then returned to England to augment his forces ;
for he knew how great a war he had to sustain, and how
difficult he should find it to vanquish so courageous and
warlike a nation, now that they were united, which they
never had been since their first confederacy against
William Rufus. That he might be able to oppose this
formidable league, he not only raised an army of chosen
men out of all his British territories, but brought over many
troops from Normandy, Aquitaine, Anjou, Bretagne and
Flanders. With this combined force, the greatest that
had ever been drawn together against Wales by any King
of England, he marched to Powisland, which he entered
at Oswestry (in July, 1165. 1 ) The Welsh Princes awaited
him at Corwen in Edeyrneon ; and, when the King
heard that they were so near him, he advanced to the
river Ceiriog, and, for fear of ambuscades, he commanded
the woods, that covered the banks on both sides of it, to
be cut down. But while this was being done, a body of
Welshmen, without any orders from their leaders, fell
upon his vanguard, in which he had posted all the flower

l Eyton's Ant. of Shropshire, Vol. X, p. 323.


of his army. A bloody action ensued. The Welsh
fought bravely ; but Henry at last gained the pass, and
came to the mountain of Berwin, one of the highest in
Wales, at the foot of which he encamped. The Welsh
hung like a dark cloud, at the top and on the sides
of it, waiting for an occasion to fight the King with
advantage, who found it impracticable to attack them
in the post they had taken, and was very uneasy in his
own ; for the flying parties of the Welsh cut off his
provisions, and his soldiers, being afraid to stir from their
camp, were soon distressed by a great scarcity of victuals
and forage. 1 At this time there fell on a sudden such
excessive and violent rains, followed by such inundations
and torrents of water pouring down from the mountains
into the valley where the King was encamped, that he
was forced to retire, with great loss of men and ammuni-
tion, and leave his enemies in possession of the field. 2
But, moved with rage at being baffled in his designs, he
cruelly ordered the eyes of his hostages to be torn out in
revenge. Among these were Cynwric and Meredith,

Online LibraryGeorge Thomas Orlando BridgemanHistory of the princes of South Wales → online text (page 5 of 31)