Owain Glyndwr

Born about 1349, Owain was directly descended from the princes of Powys and Cyfeiliog. He was an educated man, who furthered his education in London, and was initially a faithful soldier to the King. He carried the title Lord of Glyn Dyfrdwy, and lived very comfortably at the mansion of Sycharch.

In 1399 he fell out with a neighbour over a land dispute, and unfortunately the neighbour, Lord of Ruthin, was on good terms with King Henry IV. As a result, Owain got nowhere with his claims, and must have become increasingly disaffected with things until ultimately he rallied others of similar mind and in 1400 raised his standard and was proclaimed Prince of Wales by his followers. He attacked Ruthin and a host of other towns in that corner of Wales, not surprisingly causing a major reaction from Henry: Owain's support rapidly dwindled and he fled to the hills with a tiny band of faithful followers.

By 1401 the tide started turning Owain's way again and, at the Battle of Mynydd Hyddgen in 1401, he met a force of 1500 or so English and Flemish men who were marching North on the orders of Henry to put down the rebellion. It was a key battle, and Owain defeated the opposition with a force said to be no more than 120 men, but who were far better suited to the bleak moorland conditions. He spent the night at Siambr Trawsfynydd, NE of Hyddgen, and the battle ensued the next day at a point near the confluence of Nant Goch and the Llygnant stream. These streams flow into the Hengwm river, which in turn flows nowadays into Nant-y-Moch reservoir. Below the battlefield stand two quartz boulders known as Cerrig Cyfamod (Covenant Stones) Owain Glyndwr. Although this all took place only 2 miles from Llyn Plas-y-Mynydd, and 9 miles from Machynlleth, there is no road from this direction, and you have to approach instead from Ponterwyd, followed by a 2 mile hike from Nant-y-Moch. What a place to choose for a battle!

There's a simple memorial to the battle near Nant-y-Moch dam, the inscription on which translates as "In memory of the many who fell in the battle".

Owain's luck held and by 1402 he and his supporters had captured Edmund Mortimer at Pilleth. Further successes meant that by the end of 1403 he controlled most of Wales. In 1404, Owain established a parliament at Machynlleth, where he was crowned king of a free Wales, and treaties were drawn up with France and Spain. He had plans to divide up portions of England and Wales, to be shared between him, Mortimer (who had changed his allegiance and married Owain's daughter), and Thomas Percy. However, this only brought renewed determination from King Henry, and of course the grand plan never came about.

In 1406, he wrote from Pennal to Charles VI of France, pledging that Welsh bishops would pay allegiance to the French Pope, Benedict XIII, and not the Roman Pope, Gregory VII, if only France would come to his aid by organising a crusade against Henry IV of England. Furthermore Owain stated that he planned two universities for Wales, one in the North and one in the South. King Charles VI replied with encouragement but little else.

In 1408 there were major reversals of fortune, when Aberystwyth and Harlech castles were lost to Henry, and Owain's family was imprisoned. Owain fled into the hinterland, carrying out harrying activities into 1409. The new Henry V offered Owain a pardon, but got no response. Nobody knows where or when he died - and the myth is that he didn't, but awaits, Arthur-like, to return.

http://www.castlewales.com/glyndwr.html     You can't get away from Owain Glyndwr when in Machynlleth, and this site gives you a good potted history of the old rascal.

http://www.owain-glyndwr-soc.org.uk/history.htm - And this web site will fill in the detail.

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