200 years of Welsh wars vs the Normans that people have forgotten. (pre Edwardian con

Mar 2017
27
scotland via wales
#1
When people talk of the 'welsh wars' with England (Normans and Saxons), they nearly always talk of the Edwardian conquest of Wales and Glyndwrs uprising.

However, the years between 1067 and 1255 are the most violent in the in the very violent history of the welsh. Within those years we see a welsh people struggling with famine and disease, resist the Normans and send them packing time and time again, only for them to return again and again.

There were many full-scale invasions of wales with armys as large as 30,000 butchering its way through the welsh countryside.

The welsh princes stopped killing each other and joined together to fight a common enemy on a number of occasions and many battles were won at great cost to all sides.

The sources paint a picture of a people obsessed with keeping their independence, defending their customs, laws, and traditions seemed central to the welsh of the middle ages.

The Itinerarium Cambriae ("The Itinerary Through Wales") is a medieval account of a journey made by Gerald of Wales in 1191 and written in this book is a quote from an old mans warning to Henry II of England. he said...


"My Lord King, this nation may now be harassed, weakened and decimated by your soldiery, as it has so often been by others in former times; but it will never be totally destroyed by the wrath of man, unless at the same time it is punished by the wrath of God. Whatever else may come to pass, I do not think that on the Day of Direst Judgement any race other than the Welsh, or any other language, will give answer to the Supreme Judge of all for this small corner of the earth"


This is a timeline that shows you how brutal those times were and how it took someone as brutal as longshanks to put the welsh down, for a year or two anyway..



1067 to 1255



1067 Bleddyn and Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn, co rulers of Gwynedd, invade Herefordshire in support of Eadric the Wild, an English rebel resisting the Norman Conquest of England.

1067 The Normans invade the Kingdom of Gwent and conquer it driving king Caradog ap Gruffudd into exile.

1069 The Battle of Mechain was fought in 1069 in Powys, Wales, for the rule of the Welsh kingdoms of Gwynedd and Powys.

"And then was the battle of Mechain between Bleddyn and Rhiwallon, sons of Cynfyn, and Maredudd and Ithel, sons of Gruffudd. And then the sons of Gruffudd fell: Ithel was slain in the battle, and Maredudd died of cold in flight. And there Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn was slain."

"The name of this place is derived from its situation nearly in the centre of a beautiful vale in the north-eastern part of the county, of circular form, and about three miles in diameter, watered by the meandering river Cain, and from that circumstance called Mechain, or Mach Cain, 'the tract of the Cain'."

1072 Caradog ap Gruffudd defeated and killed the ruler of Deheubarth, Maredudd ab Owain ab Edwin, in a battle by the Rhymney River.

1073 The Normans invade Gwynedd and occupy Arfon.

1074 "Goodwick Moor. Here Rhys, son of Owain ap Edwyn, was defeated and slain in 1074 by Trahaearn ap Caradog (Brut y Tywysogion). The moor is now waterlogged and marshy. Visited, 2nd June 1921." [The 'Brut' gives a date of 1078, see below]Source: RCAHMW Pembrokeshire Inventory, 1925, ii, no.591.

1078: "And then there was the battle of Pwllgwdig. And then Trahaearn, king of Gwynedd, prevailed. And then all Rhys [ap Owain]'s warband fell."

Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.29.

"In 1078 Trahaearn of North Wales invaded Dyfed, defeated Rhys [ab Owain] in the battle of Goodwick, not far from Fishguard . . ."

In a footnote the battle is referred to as 'urwydyr Llan wnda' (battle at Llanwnda).

Source: J.E.Lloyd, A History of Wales, vol II, 1912, p.377; p.393 & n.114.

B.A.Malaws, RCAHMW, 27 October 2006.

1075 And then was the battle in the Camddwr between Goronwy and Llywelyn, sons of Cadwgan, and Caradog ap Gruffydd along with them, and Rhys ab Owain and Rhydderch ap Caradog. And Goronwy and Llywelyn were defeated, and Caradog along with them.

Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.29.

The location of this battle is uncertain; it could be confused with a battle "at Llanddewi Brefi" (nprn 404610) in 1073, or indeed be the same battle as exactly the same combatants were involved, but with a different outcome, and as the Camddwr is a river which forms the eastern boundary of the community of Llanddewi Brefi. Other sources suggest that it is the Camddwr in Maelienydd and this is supported by local folk-lore which claims that a battle was fought near Aber Camddwr, the location given here, between two Welsh armies.

1075 following the death of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn. Trahaearn ap Caradog had seized control of Gwynedd but had not yet firmly established himself. Gruffudd landed on Abermenai Point, Anglesey with an Irish force, and with the assistance of troops provided by the Norman Robert of Rhuddlan first defeated and killed Cynwrig ap Rhiwallon, an ally of Trahaearn who held Llŷn, then defeated Trahaearn himself in the battle of Gwaed Erw in Meirionnydd and gained control of Gwynedd.

1075 Gruffudd AP CYNAN led his forces eastwards to reclaim territories taken over by the Normans, and despite the assistance previously given by Robert of Rhuddlan attacked and destroyed Rhuddlan Castle. However tension between Gruffudd's Danish-Irish bodyguard and the local Welsh led to a rebellion in Llŷn, and Trahaearn took the opportunity to counterattack, defeating Gruffudd at the battle of Bron yr Erw above Clynnog Fawr the same year.

1076 Various sources, as yet unverified, suggest that a force under Gruffydd ap Cynan landed at Abermenai in 1076 or 77 and engaged with the men of Trahaearn, ruler of Gwynedd, forcing him to flee and thus enabling Gruffydd to take control of Lleyn, Arfon and Anglesey.

1078 Caradog ap Gruffydd won another victory over Rhys ab Owain who had succeeded Maredudd as prince of Deheubarth, killing him too.

: "And then there was the battle of Pwllgwdig. And then Trahaearn, king of Gwynedd, prevailed. And then all Rhys [ap Owain]'s warband fell."

Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.29.

"In 1078 Trahaearn of North Wales invaded Dyfed, defeated Rhys [ab Owain] in the battle of Goodwick, not far from Fishguard . . ."

In a footnote the battle is referred to as 'battle of Goodwick.

"Goodwick Moor. Here Rhys, son of Owain ap Edwyn, was defeated and slain in 1074 by Trahaearn ap Caradog (Brut y Tywysogion). The moor is now waterlogged and marshy. Visited, 2nd June 1921." [The 'Brut' gives a date of 1078,

1081 Gruffudd ap Cynan returned and made an alliance with Rhys ap Tewdwr, Prince of Deheubarth. Rhys had been attacked by Caradog ap Gruffudd of Gwent and Morgannwg, and had been forced to flee to St David's Cathedral. Gruffudd this time embarked from Waterford with a force composed of Danes and Irish and landed near St David's, presumably by prior arrangement with Rhys. He was joined here by a force of his supporters from Gwynedd, and he and Rhys marched north to seek Trahaearn ap Caradog and Caradog ap Gruffudd who had themselves made an alliance and been joined by Meilyr ap Rhiwallon of Powys. The armies of the two confederacies met at the Battle of Mynydd Carn, with Gruffudd and Rhys victorious and Trahaearn, Caradog and Meilyr all being killed. Gruffudd was thus able to seize power in Gwynedd for the second time.

1081 BATTLE OF Mynydd Carn. The battle has been described as one in which "all the leading rulers of Wales took part. Gruffudd ap Cynan, claimant to the kingdom of Gwynedd, and Rhys ap Tudor, king of Deheubarth, defeated Gruffudd's enemies and Caradog ap Gruffudd of Morgannwg. Gruffudd remained king of Gwynedd until 1137.

1085 The Normans launch a wholesale invasion of Wales ravaging Gwynedd and Powys.

1085 Erw Beddau (Acre of Graves) is supposedly the site of a battle between Prince Rhys ap Tewdr and Iestyn Gwrgant in about 1085-88; some sources say the battle is ficticious, others cannot agree on the date nor the opposing parties. 'Site of Battle' is marked on the first and second edition OS maps, which also show several mounds in the immediate vicinity. The area is now built over.

1088 And then Rhys ap Tewdwr was expelled from his kingdom by the sons of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, that is, Madog, Cadwgan and Rhiddid. And he fled to Ireland, and forthwith after that he assembled a fleet and came back again. And then the battle of 'Llychcrei' took place, and the sons of Bleddyn were slain; and Rhys ap Tewdwr gave immense treasure to the seamen, Scots and Irish, who had come to his aid.
Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.31.

1088 Cadwgan ap Bleddyn of Powys attacked Deheubarth and forced Rhys ap Tewdwr to flee to Ireland. However, Rhys returned later the same year with a fleet from Ireland and defeated the men of Powys, in a battle in which two of Cadwgan's brothers, Madog and Rhiryd, were killed.

'And then Rhys ap Tewdwr was expelled from his kingdom by the sons of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, that is, Madog, Cadwgan and Rhiddid. And he fled to Ireland, and forthwith after that he assembled a fleet and came back again. And then the battle of 'Llychcrei' took place, and the sons of Bleddyn were slain; and Rhys ap Tewdwr gave immense treasure to the seamen, Scots and Irish, who had come to his aid.'

Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.31.

"In 1088 [Rhys ap Tewdwr] was attacked by the sons of Bleddyn, who now ruled over Powys; at first defeated and forced to take refuge in Ireland, he speedily returned with the aid of a Danish fleet and overthrew his rivals in a battle in which Madog and Rhiryd ap Bleddyn fell, their brother Cadwgan escaping with his life.
Footnote: The name of the place at which the battle was fought is not to be recognised in the corrupt forms which have come down, viz. 'penllecheru' (Ann. C. MS. B. in Trans. Cymr. 1899-1900, 176), 'perilethereu' (MS. C. 177) and 'llychcrei' (Bruts, 270); 'llech ryt' (B. Saes. s.a. 1087), though adopted by Powel (88) and others, does not seem a happy conjecture.
Source: J.E.Lloyd, A History of Wales, 1912, vol II, p.398."

1091 The Normans conquer the kingdom of Morgannwg (formerly Glywysing) driving Iestyn ap Gwrgan into exile.

1091 Rhys ap Tewdwr faced another challenge in the form of an attempt to put Gruffydd, the son of Maredudd ab Owain, on the throne of Deheubarth. Rhys was able to defeat the rebels in a battle at St. Dogmaels, killing Gruffydd.

1092 A battle was fought between Bleddin ap Maenarch and Bernard Newmarch near Brecon, traditionally believed to be in Battle parish, in 1092.Sources: T.Jones, History of Brecknockshire, vol 2, 1809, p196; Archaeologia Cambrensis, vol 1, 1846, p.194.

1093 The Normans occupy Brycheiniog and ravage south Wales killing Rhys ap Tewdwr, the king of Deheubarth.

1093, Cadwgan again attacked Deheubarth, but it soon became clear that it was the Normans who would benefit from the death of Rhys ap Tewdwr.

1094 Welsh revolt against Norman rule broke out,

1094: "And then the French-led hosts into Gwynedd; and Cadwgan ap Bleddyn met them and attacked and defeated them, and drove them to flight and slew them, and overthrew and subdued them with great slaughter. And that battle was fought in Coed-ysbwys."

Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.35.

"In the spring of 1094 Rufus left England for Normandy. At once the Welsh, driven to despair by the rapidity with which their enemies were sweeping all before them, resolved to rise in revolt. The movement began in Gwynedd, where in a short space of time all the castles built by Earl Hugh to the west of the Conway were carried by assault, the island of Anglesey was recovered, and a Norman army which was dispatched to retrieve these losses was defeated at Coed Yspwys by Cadwgan ap Bleddyn."

1094 Aber Llech is the culmination of a national uprising across Wales that drives the Normans back into England with the exception of a few castles. Deheubarth makes territorial gains at the expense of other southern realms.

1095 had spread to many parts of Wales. This induced William II of England (William Rufus) to intervene, invading northern Wales in 1095. However his army was unable to bring the Welsh to battle and returned to Chester without having achieved very much

1095 The Normans return but fail to draw the Welsh into battle.

1096 "And the French moved a host to Gwent, but they returned empty-handed having gained naught. And as they were returning, they were slain by the Britons at the place called Celli Carnant."

1096: "The men of Brycheiniog, led by Gruffydd and Ifor, sons of Idnerth ap Cadwgan, fell upon another host which had issued from the same region [Glamorgan] and totally routed it at Aber Llech, about three miles north-east of Ystrad Gynlais."

1097 King William mounted a second invasion, but again without much success At this time Cadwgan ap Bleddyn of Powys led the Welsh resistance.


1098, Earl Hugh of Chester joined with Earl Hugh of Shrewsbury in another attempt to recover his losses in Gwynedd.

1098 The Battle of Anglesey Sound, The Normans occupy Gwynedd and Anglesey. They withdraw within the year.


"Magnus, king of Germany, and some ships with him came to Anglesey, hoping to overrun all the lands of the Britons. And when king Magnus had heard the French were often minded to ravage the whole land and to reduce it to naught, he hastened to attack them. . . . earl Hugh was wounded in the face, and by the hand of the king himself he fell in the battle. And then by a sudden resolve king Magnus withdrew from the bounds of the land."
Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.37-8.

1100 The situation was changed by the arrival of a Norwegian fleet under the command of King Magnus III of Norway, also known as Magnus Barefoot, who attacked the Norman forces near the eastern end of the Menai Straits. Earl Hugh of Shrewsbury was killed by an arrow said to have been shot by Magnus himself. The Normans were obliged to evacuate Anglesey, and the following year, Gruffudd returned from Ireland to take possession again, having apparently come to an agreement with Earl Hugh of Chester.

1114 King Henry invade Gwynedd in a three-pronged attack, one detachment led by King Alexander I of Scotland.

1116 The Welsh of Deheubarth revolt against their Norman overlords.

Gruffydd ap Rhys unsuccessfully attacked the Norman castle (nprn 301795) south of Aberystwyth in 1116.

Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.93-5.

As yet unconfirmed sources suggest that the battle took place around a bridge across the river Ystwyth to the southeast of the castle

1118 'Hywel ap Ithel made war upon his neighbours, the sons of Owain ap Edwin, who were lords of the cantref of Dyffryn Clwyd. Hywel brought Maredudd ap Bleddyn, with 400 warriors from Powys, to his aid, while Gronw ab Owain and his brethren had the help of Norman knights from the lands of the Earl of Chester. A bloody battle was fought at Maes Maen Cymro, a mile to the north-west of Ruthin, in which Hywel and his forces won the day and Llywarch ab Owain was slain. But Hywel was severely wounded, and his death six weeks later turned the momentary victory into a real defeat.

(Footnote:) Maes Maen Cymro is a township in the parish of Llanynys and lies in the neighbourhood of Rhewl railway station."

Source: J.E.Lloyd, A History of Wales, vol II, 1912, p.465-6.

In 1118, Hywel ab Ithel, lord of Rhos and Rhufoniog, and Goronwy, Rhuiddid and Llywarch, the sons of Owain ap Edwin and lords of Dyffryn Clwyd, fought a bitter battle where the sons of Owain and their supporters were defeated. Hywel died of his wounds forty days later.

Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.103.

B.A.Malaws, RCAHMW, 29 August 2006.'



1121 Another invasion by the king of England was a military failure. The king had to come to terms with Gruffudd AP CYNAN and made no further attempt to invade Gwynedd during Gruffudd's reign.

1121 Maredudd AP BLEDUDD carried out raids on Cheshire which provoked King Henry into invading Powys. Maredudd retreated into Snowdonia and asked Gruffudd ap Cynan for assistance. However Gruffudd was in no mood to defy the king on Maredudd's behalf, and Maredudd had to purchase peace at a cost of a fine of 10,000 head of cattle. Gwynedd continued to put pressure on Powys, with the sons of Gruffudd ap Cynan, Cadwallon and Owain Gwynedd annexing more territory in 1124

1125 Cadwallon ap Gruffydd (son of Gruffudd ap Cynan) killed the three rulers of the district Dyffryn Clwyd, being Meilyr ab Owain, Rhiryd ab Owain, and Gronw ab Owain—his maternal uncles, i.e., his mother's brothers. The district cantref of Dyffryn Clwyd was then annexed into the kingdom of Gwynedd. Cadwallon is notoriously remembered by historians for murdering his uncles, as this ended the reign of the house of Edwin of Tegeingl as a regime.

1127 Gruffydd ap Rhys, the son of Rhys ap Tewdwr came to terms with King Henry I of England and was allowed to rule a portion of his father's kingdom, the Cantref Mawr, although he was soon under pressure from the Normans again and was forced to flee to Ireland

1132, Cadwallon forged eastward to conquer more land for the kingdom of Gwynedd but was stopped in the area of Nanheudwy in 1133, near the town of Llangollen. An army from the kingdom of Powys then defeated and killed him.His uncle Einion ab Owain ab Edwin was one of the instigators, to avenge his brothers' deaths. Cadwallon's cousin Cadwgan ap Grown ab Owain also played a part in his slaying. Other cousins were also involved in Cadwallon's murder.


1134 Welsh raids into Shropshire destroying Caus Castle.


1135 A battle took place about 1135 near "Crug Mawr, a conical hill" in Llangoedmor parish. The Welsh under Gruffydd ab Rhys defeated an English force. The description fits Banc-y-warren, a high knoll (nprn 24407), there being a farm to the southeast named Crug-mawr (at national grid reference SN 206 472).Source: S.Lewis, Topographical Dictionary of Wales, 1842, p.2, and OS 495 card: SN24NW16.

In 1136, Gruffydd ap Rhys was confronted at Crug Mawr, two miles out of Cardigan, by an army gathered out of all parts of Norman south Wales. The Welsh defeated the Normans, pursuing them to the river Teifi and setting fire to the town of Cardigan.


1136 Gruffydd ap Rhys, the son of Rhys ap Tewdwr joined Owain Gwynedd and Cadwaladr, the sons of Gruffudd ap Cynan of Gwynedd, in a rebellion against Norman rule.


1136 An opportunity arose for the Welsh to recover lands lost to the Marcher lords after Stephen de Blois had displaced his cousin Matilda of England from succeeding her father to the English throne the previous year, sparking the Anarchy in England. A Welsh army was raised by the lord of Brycheiniog(Brecknockshire), Hywel ap Maredudd containing men from Brycheiniog as well as men from Northern Gŵyr that despised the Norman rule in Southern Gŵyr. The Normans sallied out expecting to meet a small collection of Welsh raiding bands, however, the scale of the Welsh army took them by surprise. The two armies met on the common of Carn Coch. In a violent melee, the Welsh army emerged victorious, the Normans having lost around 500 men.

The victory of the Welsh army inspired more rebellions around Wales including a battle near Kidwelly Castle fought by an army led by Gwenllian, Princess of Deheubarth and the Battle of Crug Mawr

1136 Gruffydd ap Rhys, the son of Rhys ap Tewdwr with Owain and Cadwaladr gained a crushing victory over the Normans at Crug Mawr (Battle of Crug Mawr )near Cardigan.

1136 A Welsh army was raised by the lord of Brycheiniog (Brecknockshire), Hywel ap Maredudd containing men from Brycheiniog as well as men from Northern Gwyr that despised the Norman rule in Southern Gwyr. The Normans sallied out expecting to meet a small collection of Welsh raiding bands, however the scale of the Welsh army took them by surprise. The two armies met on the common of Carn Coch. In a violent melee, the Welsh army emerged victorious, the Normans having lost around 500 men.

The victory of the Welsh army inspired more rebellions around Wales including a battle near Kidwelly Castle fought by an army led by Gwenllian, Princess of Deheubarth and the Battle of Crug Mawr


1136 While her husband (Gruffydd ap Rhys) was in Gwynedd seeking an alliance with her father against the Normans, Maurice of London and other Normans led raids against Deheubarth's Welsh. Gwenllian (daughter of Gruffydd ap cynan) was compelled to raise an army for their defence. In a battle fought near Kidwelly Castle, Gwenllian's army was routed, she was captured in battle and beheaded by the Normans. In the battle her son Morgan was also slain and another son, Maelgwyn captured and executed.


1136 When word reached Gwynedd of Gwenllain's death and the revolt in Gwent, Gwenllian's brothers Owain and Cadwaladr invaded Norman controlled Ceredigion, taking Llanfihangel, Aberystwyth, and Llanbadarn.


1136 Anarawd ap Gruffydd and his brother Cadell ap Gruffydd joined with the Prince of Gwynedd, Owain Gwynedd and the latter's brother Cadwaladr ap Gruffydd in an assault on Cardigan Castle which was in Norman hands. The assault was aided by a fleet of Viking ships, but an agreement was reached and the siege lifted.

1136 The Welsh of Gwent, led by Iowerth ab Owain (grandson of Caradog ap Gruffydd, Gwent's Welsh ruler displaced by the Norman invasions), ambushed and slew Richard Fitz Gilbert de Clare, the Norman lord who controlled Ceredigion.

1143 Anarawd ap Gruffydd was treacherously killed by the men of Owain's brother Cadwaladr. Cadwaladr himself was strongly suspected of having ordered the killing. This greatly angered Owain, for Anarawd had been a key ally and was about to marry Owain's daughter. Owain sent his son Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd to strip Cadwaladr of his lands in Ceredigion in punishment.

1044 "And then Hywel ab Edwin thought to ravage Deheubarth, and a fleet of the folk of Ireland along with him. And Gruffudd ap Llywelyn opposed him; and after there had been a fierce battle and a huge slaughter of Hywel's host and of the Irish at the mouth of the Tywi, Hywel fell and was slain. And then Gruffudd prevailed."
Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.25.

1044, king Hywel ab Edwin returned to Deheubarth as an exile; on entering the mouth of the river Towy with a Danish fleet, he was killed in the battle with Gruffydd ap Llywelyn and his men defeated.
Source: J.E.Lloyd, A History of Wales, vol II, 1912, p.360-1.

1136. Maredudd and Rhys were able to drive Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd from Ceredigion by
1153. The same year The Lord Rhys is recorded as an independent commander for the first time, leading an army to capture the Norman castle of St Clears. Maredudd and Rhys also destroyed the castles at Tenby and Aberafan that year. Maredudd died in 1155 at the age of twenty-five and left Rhys as ruler of Deheubarth. Around this time he married Gwenllian ferch Madog, daughter of Madog ap Maredudd, Prince of Powys

1137 An army from Gwynedd captures Carmarthen from the Normans.

1144 The Marcher lord Hugh de Mortimer re-takes Maelienydd.

1145 Gilbert de Clare rebuilds Carmarthen Castle. then began a campaign to reclaim Ceredigion. He built a castle in the commote of Mabudryd,

1146 OWEN GWYNEDD captured Mold Castle

1146 Cadell ap Gruffydd captured the castles of Carmarthen (repairing and retaining it for several years) and then destroyed the castle.

1146 The lord rhys fighting alongside his brothers Cadell and Maredudd capture Llansteffan Castle

This was followed by the capture of

Wiston in 1147,

Carmarthen in 1150

and Loughor in 1151

1147 Cadell ap Gruffydd defeated Walter Fitzwiz.

1149 Madog ap Maredudd advances into Shropshire and annexes Oswestry to the kingdom of Powys; it remains in his possession until 1157.

1150 Maredudd became ruler of Deheubarth and continued a campaign aimed at recovering Ceredigion, which had been held by Gwynedd since

1150 OWEN GWYNEDD captured Rhuddlan

1150 OWEN GWYNEDD encroached on the borders of Powys. The prince of Powys, Madog ap Maredudd, with assistance from Earl Ranulf of Chester, gave battle at Coleshill, but Owain was victorious.


"In the year following the invasion of Iâl [i.e. in 1150], Owain Gwynedd and Madog came to blows. Though there is no record of the achievement, Owain seems about this time to have taken Rhuddlan Castle and made himself master of Tegeingl; accordingly, he and Madog met at Coleshill, once a manor of the Earl of Chester and miles away from the Welsh border, but now, as the star of Wales rose to the zenith, to be the battleground of the two Welsh leaders. The prince of Powys did not rely upon his own strength, but came into the field with the support of troops lent him by Earl Ranulf, who had good reasons of his own for wishing to check the progress of Owain. Nevertheless, it was Owain who won the day."

Source: J.E.Lloyd, A History of Wales, vol II, 1912, p.494.

1150: In that year Madog ap Maredudd, king of Powys, with the help of Ranulf, earl of Chester, prepared to rise up against Owain Gwynedd. And after the people of his supporters had been slain at Coleshill, the others turned their backs in flight.

Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.129.

B.A.Malaws, RCAHMW, 31 August 2006.


1151Cadell ap Gruffydd was attacked while out hunting by a group of Norman and Flemish knights from Tenby, and left for dead. He survived but suffered injuries which left him unable to play an active role, and in 1153 he left on a pilgrimage to Rome.


1153. THE LORD Rhys leads an army to capture the Norman castle of St Clears. Maredudd and Rhys also destroyed the castles at Tenby and Aberafan that year. Maredudd died in 1155 at the age of twenty-five and left Rhys as ruler of Deheubarth.

1157 Henry II leads a massive invasion of the Perfeddwlad to drive Owain ap Gruffudd, the king of Gwynedd, away from the border of Cheshire. Following a failed landing on Anglesey, Henry II and Owain come to terms with Owain agreeing to withdraw to the west bank of the River Clwyd.

1157 Battle of Ewloe, Owain's men ambushed the royal army in a narrow, wooded valley, routing it completely with King Henry himself narrowly avoiding capture. The fleet accompanying the invasion made a landing on Anglesey where it was defeated. Ultimately, at the end of the campaign, Owain was forced to come to terms with Henry, being obliged to surrender Rhuddlan and other conquests in the east.



"a battle took place between [king Henry II's men] and the men of Anglesey [under Owain Gwynedd]; and in that battle the French fled, according to their usual custom."

Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.135-7.

"[Henry's] ships had cast anchor in the harbour of Moelfre . . . on the following day a battle was fought which vindicated the outraged honour of the saints of Môn. The invaders were defeated."


1157 "The spot marked on the Ordnance map as the supposed site of the battle of Coleshill, though anyone, or all, of the adjoining fields in the township of Coleshill Fechan would suit the required conditions. Henry II, advancing along the shore from Saltney March as far as Coleshill, found himself opposed by Owain, prince of Gwynedd. The sudden onset of the Welsh temporarily disorganised Henry's army, but the King rallied his forces, repulsed the charge, and advanced so as to cut off Owain's retreat, the latter taking shelter in a more hilly or more defensible region. The exact site of the 'Koet Kennadlaoc' (for which we should probably read 'Keun = Kefnhadlog') of Brut y Tywysogion is not certainly known. It has been surmised to be either Ewloe Wood or Hawarden.

Source: RCAHMW Flintshire Inventory, 1912, p.18, no.63; see also J.E.Lloyd, A History of Wales, vol II, 1912, p.497-8; Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.135.

1159 Rhys ap Gruffudd (the lord rhys) of Deheubarth attacks Anglo-Norman castles and settlements in south Wales, capturing Llandovery in 1162.

1163 Henry II launches a military campaign in south Wales invading Deheubarth. He captures Rhys ap Gruffudd at Pencader and takes him to England. Rhys is restored to his lands in 1164 after he agrees to make homage to Henry.

1163 All the Welsh princes united in an uprising,

1165 The Welsh revolt led to another invasion of Wales by King Henry in 1165. Henry attacked Gwynedd first, but instead of following the usual invasion route along the north coast he attacked from the south, following a route over the Berwyn hills. He was met by the united forces of the Welsh princes, led by Owain Gwynedd

1165 Battle of Crogen 'The Battle of Crogen took place in the Ceiriog Valley, Wales in 1165, between the vanguard of the forces of Henry II of Englandand an alliance of Welsh princes led by Owain Gwynedd. Although outnumbered, the ambush tactics and valour of the Welsh aided them in their defeat of King Henry's army'

"1165: In this year King Henry came to Oswestry, thinking to annihilate all Welshmen. And against him came Owain and Cadwaladr, sons of Gruffudd ap Cynan, and all the host of Gwynedd with them, and Rhys ap Gruffudd and with him the host of Deheubarth, and Owain Cyfeiliog and the sons of Madog ap Maredudd and the host of all Powys with them, and the two sons of Madog ab Idnerth and their host. And both sides stayed in their tents until the king moved his host into Dyffryn Ceiriog and there he was defeated at Crogen."

Source: The Chronicle of Ystrad Fflur.

Henry II led his army to the river Ceiriog, where a party of Welsh suddenly attacked the van of Henry's army and in the action that ensued, since called the battle of Crogen, many were killed on both sides.

Source: Entry for Denbighshire in Lewis S, 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849).

A commemorative plaque (nprn 412333) has been affixed to Castle Mill Bridge (nprn 310228) and refers to the "Battle of Crogen" having been fought "nearby in August 1165 . . . between Henry II, King of England (r.1154-89) and Welsh forces under Owain Gwynedd (1137-70)" The plaque was unveiled on 04 March 2009 by Wrexham Borough Council Leader Aled Roberts.

1165 Rhys ap Gruffudd returned to Deheubarth where he captured and burned Cardigan Castle. He allowed the garrison to depart, but held the castellan, Robert Fitz-Stephen, as a prisoner. Shortly afterwards Rhys captured Cilgerran castle

1167 Owain Gwynedd RE captures Rhuddlan Castle and Basingwerk advancing as far east as the River Dee.

1168 the lord rhys attacked the Normans at Builth, destroying its castle.

1170, Rhys ap Gruffydd had made the southern kingdom of Deheubarth the strongest of the Welsh kingdoms and had established himself as the leader of Pura Wallia. After Rhys died in 1197, fighting between his sons led to the splitting of Deheubarth between warring factions

1185 Welsh raiders sack Cardiff.


1188 "But shortly after [i.e.after 1188] there appears upon the stage the greatest of Welsh princes in the person of Llywelyn, son of lorwerth ab Owain, who in 1194 won two notable victories hereabouts, at Aberconwy (Conway) and Porthaethwy (Menai Bridge) [nprn 404316], which launched him upon his triumphant career."

Cambridge County Histories: Carnarvonshire, 1911; p. 91.

"After the victory of Aberconwy, Llywelyn [ab Iorwerth] won fresh triumphs at the passage of the Menai at Porthaethwy."
Source: J.E.Lloyd, A History of Wales, vol II

1189 Henry II died in and was succeeded by Richard I. The lord rhys considered that he was no longer bound by the agreement with King Henry and attacked the Norman lordships surrounding his territory. He ravaged Pembroke, Haverfordwest, and Gower and captured the castles of St. Clear's, Laugharne, and Llansteffan. Richard's brother, Prince John (later King John), came to Wales in September and tried to make peace. He persuaded Rhys to raise the siege of Carmarthen and accompany him to Oxford to meet Richard. Rhys arrived at Oxford to discover that Richard was not prepared to travel there to meet him, and hostilities continued

1194, with the aid of his cousins, Gruffudd ap Cynan[9] and Maredudd ap Cynan, Llywelyn the Great defeated his uncle. Dafydd ab Owain at the Battle of Aberconwy at the mouth of the River Conwy.

1194 Llywelyn, son of lorwerth ab Owain, [who] in 1194 won two notable victories hereabouts, at Aberconwy (Conway) [nprn 404453] and Porthaethwy (Menai Bridge), which launched him upon his triumphant career."Source: Cambridge County Histories: Carnarvonshire, 1911; p. 91.

1194 Rhys was defeated in battle by Maelgwn and Hywel, who imprisoned him in Nevern castle

1196 The lord Rhys launched his last campaign against the Normans, He captured a number of castles, including Carmarthen, Colwyn, Radnor and Painscastle, and defeated an army led by Roger de Mortimer and Hugh de Say near Radnor, with forty knights among the dead. This, the Battle of Radnor, was Rhys' last battle. William de Braose offered terms, and Painscastle was returned to him


"And thence [Rhys ap Gruffydd] immediately set out with his host to Radnor and burned it. And after it had been burnt, that day in the valley close by, Roger Mortimer and Hugh de Sai drew up their forces equipped with horses and corselets and helmets and shields without warning against the Welsh. And when the great-hearted Rhys saw this, like a fierce lion he armed himself with a stout heart and a strong hand, and he attacked his enemies manfully and turned them to flight and pursued them and treated them vilely, although manfully, so that the Marchers greatly lamented the exceeding great slaughter of their men."
Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes,

1197 , Llywelyn the Great captured Dafydd and imprisoned him. A year later Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, persuaded Llywelyn to release him, and Dafydd retired to England where he died in May

1198 . Gwenwynwyn ab Owain, Prince of Powys Wenwynwyn, tried to take over as leader of the Welsh princes and raised a great army to besiege Painscastle, which was held by the troops of William de Braose, Lord of Bramber. Llywelyn the Great sent troops to help Gwenwynwyn, but in August Gwenwynwyn's force was attacked by an army led by the Justiciar, Geoffrey Fitz Peter, and heavily defeated. Gwenwynwyn's defeat gave Llywelyn the opportunity to establish himself as the leader of the Welsh.

1199 Llywelyn the great, captured the important castle of Mold and was apparently using the title "Prince of the whole of North Wales"


1202 Llywelyn the great raised a force to attack Gwenwynwyn ab Owain of Powys, who was now his main rival in Wales. The clergy intervened to make peace between Llywelyn and Gwenwynwyn and the invasion was called off. Elise ap Madog, lord of Penllyn, had refused to respond to Llywelyn's summons to arms and was stripped of almost all his lands by Llywelyn as punishment.

1202 Within half a mile of the castle [Carreghofa castle; nprn 405178] lies a memorable spot, Gwern y Vigin, where a battle was fought about the year 1202, and probably terminated in favour of the English, and [the writer conjectures] that the castle of Carreghova was the fruit of their victory."

1210 , relations between Llywelyn and King John deteriorated. J.E. Lloyd suggests that the rupture may have been due to Llywelyn forming an alliance with William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber, who had fallen out with the king and had been deprived of his lands. While John led a campaign against de Braose and his allies in Ireland, an army led by Earl Ranulph of Chester, and Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, invaded Gwynedd. Llywelyn destroyed his own castle at Deganwy and retreated west of the River Conwy. The Earl of Chester rebuilt Deganwy, and Llywelyn retaliated by ravaging the earl's lands. John sent troops to help restore Gwenwynwyn to the rule of southern Powys.

1210 "Kilkennin . . . is remarkable in history as the scene of a slaughter committed, in 1210 by Rhys and Owain ab Grufydd, at the head of a chosen band of three hundred men, on a superior body of English and Welsh troops, under the command of their uncle Maelgwyn."Source: S.Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales, 1833.

In 1210, Rhys and Owain ab Gruffudd gathered three hundred men and at Cilcennin they slaughtered, captured or drove to flight a superior force of French and Welsh soldiers under Maelgwn ap Rhys.

Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.189-91.

1210: "Rhys and Owain . . . the two young princes with 300 chosen warriors, made an onslaught by night upon Maelgwn's camp at Cilcennin, drove him ignominiously into hasty flight, and captured his nephew, Cynan ap Hywel, and his chief counsellor, Gruffydd ap Cadwgan. It was an indubitable victory . . . but it had no great effect upon the general situation."

Source: J.E.Lloyd, A History of Wales, vol II, 1912, p.633-4.

B.A.Malaws, RCAHMW, 18 July 2006.

1211 King John of England launches an invasion of Gwynedd from Chester but has to retreat without making gains. A second invasion later that year, this time from Shrewsbury, leaves the Welsh town of Bangor in ruins; John succeeds in securing the surrender of the prince of Gwynedd, Llywelyn Fawr, who agrees to cede the Perfeddwlad to the English Crown as part of the peace terms.

1212 Llywelyn formed an alliance with Gwenwynwyn of Powys and the two main rulers of Deheubarth, Maelgwn ap Rhys and Rhys Gryg, and rose against John. They had the support of Pope Innocent III, who had been engaged in a dispute with John for several years and had placed his kingdom under an interdict. Innocent released Llywelyn, Gwenwynwyn and Maelgwn from all oaths of loyalty to John and lifted the interdict in the territories which they controlled. Llywelyn was able to recover all Gwynedd apart from the castles of Deganwy and Rhuddlan within two months

1213, Llywelyn took the castles of Deganwy and Rhuddlan

1215 Llywelyn had now established himself as the leader of the independent princes of Wales, and in December 1215, led an army which included all the lesser princes to capture the castles of Carmarthen, Kidwelly, Llanstephan, Cardigan and Cilgerran. Another indication of his growing power was that he was able to insist on the consecration of Welshmen to two vacant sees that year, Iorwerth, as Bishop of St. David's, and Cadwgan, as Bishop of Bangor

1216 Gwenwynwyn of Powys changed sides again that year and allied himself with King John. Llywelyn called up the other princes for a campaign against him and drove him out of southern Powys once more.



1217, Reginald de Braose of Brecon and Abergavenny, who had been allied to Llywelyn and married his daughter, Gwladus Ddu, was induced by the English crown to change sides. Llywelyn responded by invading his lands, first threatening Brecon, where the burgesses offered hostages for the payment of 100 marks, then heading for Swanseawhere Reginald de Braose met him to offer submission and to surrender the town. He then continued westwards to threaten Haverfordwest where the burgesses offered hostages for their submission to his rule or the payment of a fine of 1,000 marks

1220 Hostilities broke out with William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, in 1220. Llywelyn destroyed the castles of Narberth and Wiston, burnt the town of Haverfordwest and threatened Pembroke Castle, but agreed to abandon the attack on payment of £100


1223 Llywelyn crossed the border into Shropshire and captured Kinnerley and Whittington castles. The Marshalls took advantage of Llywelyn's involvement here to land near St David's in April with an army raised in Ireland and recaptured Cardigan and Carmarthen without opposition

1223 Marcher lord Hubert de Burgh starts a series of campaigns during which he retakes Carmarthen, Cardigan and Montgomery.

1223 Llewelyn ap Iorwerth took several of the Earl of Pembroke's castles in south Wales in his absence; the earl on his return in 1223 retaliated by taking the castles of Cardigan and Carmarthen. Llywelyn sent his son Gruffydd, who marched towards Carmarthen, where the earl was then posted. The latter crossed the river Tywi and gave battle; the engagement was terminated only by nightfall, when both commanders withdrew their forces, neither of them having obtained any advantage. The earl kept his troops in Carmarthen and Gruffydd encamped for a few days at some distance on the opposite side of the river, but his provisions beginning to fail, he withdrew into north Wales and the earl retired into Cardiganshire.

"William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke "made his way across the Tywi to Carmarthen bridge and Gruffudd ap Llywelyn waited for him fearlessly. And after protracted fighting for the greater part of the day, each of the two hosts fell back from the other to encamp, after many had been slain on either side and others had been wounded. And then because of hunger Gruffudd ap Llywelyn returned again to his land."

Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.225.

"After the victory of Aberconwy, Llywelyn [ab Iorwerth] won fresh triumphs at the passage of the Menai at Porthaethwy . . . and again at Coedaneu, in the heart of Anglesey, but there is no clear indication of the foes whom he fought".
Footnote mentions battle of 'Coettaneu'.

1228, Llywelyn was engaged in a campaign against Hubert de Burgh, who was Justiciar of England and Ireland and one of the most powerful men in the kingdom. Hubert had been given the lordship and castle of Montgomery by the king and was encroaching on Llywelyn's lands nearby. The king raised an army to help Hubert, who began to build another castle in the commote of Ceri. However, in October the royal army was obliged to retreat and Henry agreed to destroy the half-built castle in exchange for the payment of £2,000 by Llywelyn. Llywelyn raised the money by demanding the same sum as the ransom of William de Braose, Lord of Abergavenny, whom he had captured in the fighting

1228, there was further fighting. Llywelyn was becoming concerned about the growing power of Hubert de Burgh. Some of his men had been taken prisoner by the garrison of Montgomery and beheaded, and Llywelyn responded by burning Montgomery, Powys, New Radnor, Hay, and Brecon before turning west to capture the castles of Neath and Kidwelly. He completed the campaign by recapturing Cardigan castle.[46] King Henry retaliated by launching an invasion and built a new castle at Painscastle, but was unable to penetrate far into Wales

1231 Lywelyn ap Iorwerth laid an ambush for the men of King Henry III, who were stationed at Montgomery Castle, with the help of a monk from Abbey Cwm Hîr, who was instructed by Llewelyn to deceive the garrison with false intelligence. When the king's men rode out and became trapped in boggy ground, Llywelyn's men attacked and a violent battle ensued, the Welsh eventually gaining victory. One suggested site for the battle is at Abermule, another being at Hay
1233 That year there was strife between king Henry and Richard Marshal, earl of Pembroke. And then the earl made a pact with Llywelyn ap Iorwerth and with the princes of Wales. And forthwith he and Owain ap Gruffudd gathered a mighty host; and they attacked Monmouth and burned it and made a slaughter of the king's men who were there defending."

Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.231.

Earl Richard of Pembroke, supported by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, defeated John of Monmouth in a pitched battle near Monmouth on 26 December 1233.

1233 And their sons and the host of Llywelyn ap lorwerth and the host of the earl of Pembroke gathered together against Carmarthen. And they laid siege to it for three months, and they made a bridge upon the Tywi. And then the sailors came armed, with the tide, to break down the bridge. And when the Welsh saw that their expedition would be fruitless, they returned to their lands.Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.233.

"towards the end of this year [1233] . . . earl Richard [Richard MarshalI, earl of Pembroke], Rhys Gryg, Maelgwn Fyhan, and Owain ap Gruffydd beseiged the fortress [of Carmarthen] for three months and by building a temporary bridge across the river Towy, shut off all hope of relief from . . . the Bristol Channel. . . in March 1234, Henry de Turberville sailed with a fleet from Bristol and . . . broke up the improvised bridge, with great slaughter of its defenders."

1240 With Llywelyn Fawr dead the English attack Wales. Marcher lords retake the territorial gains made by Llywelyn.

1241 Henry III invades Wales; Dafydd ap Llywelyn is forced to surrender (Aug). The subsequent peace agreement, the Treaty of Gwerneigron, sees the English occupy the Perfeddwlad.

1244 Dafydd ap Llywelyn declares war, several Welsh raids are mounted on the Wales-England border.

1244 A victory of the English near Montgomery in 1244 (some sources suggest 1245), where 300 Welshmen were drawn into an ambush and slain.
Source: J.E.Lloyd, A History of Wales, vol II, 1912, p.703.

1245 Dafydd's war intensifies. Gwynedd and her allies in Deheubarth and Powys Fadog make few gains in mid-Wales; however, Mold is recaptured by the Welsh (28 Mar). In August the English attack Gwynedd from Chester; defeated by Dafydd in battle, the invasion force advances as far as Deganwy, where Henry is halted after heavy fighting. In the autumn a truce is agreed, and the English army withdraws to England. Dafydd's death in 1246 precipitates a new attack on Gwynedd from the south by Marcher lord Nicholas de Molis which compels Deheubarth and then Gwynedd to surrender. Under the terms of the Treaty of Woodstock, Gwynedd withdraws from Perfeddwlad.

1255 The Battle of Bryn Derwin Llywelyn II won a battle against his brothers Owain and Dafydd:

"Llywelyn awaited the armies of his brothers at Bryn Derwin, in the mountain pass which leads from Arfon to Eifionydd, not far from the battlefield of Bron yr Erw, and there in the space of one hour inflicted upon them a signal defeat, taking both Owain and David prisoners."

(Source: J.E.Lloyd, A History of Wales, 1912, Vol.2, p.715.)

"The next stage in the history of Carnarvonshire was reached when in 1255 the nephews quarrelled, and at Bryn Derwyn, in the pass which leads from Llanllyfni to Dolbenmaen, the abler of the two, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, won a signal triumph which was the beginning of a long and honourable career."

(Source: Cambridge County Histories: Carnarvonshire, 1911; p. 92.)

"In those days great strife was bred at the instigation of the Devil between the sons of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn, namely, Owain Goch and Dafydd, on the one side, and Llywelyn, on the other side. And then Llywelyn and his men, trusting in God, awaited unafraid on Bryn Derwin the fierce coming of his brothers, and a mighty host along with them. And before the end of one hour Owain Goch was captured and Dafydd fled, after many of his host had been slain and others had been captured and the remainder had fled. And then Owain was imprisoned, and Llywelyn gained possession of the territory of Owain and Dafydd without opposition to him."
 
Nov 2010
7,590
Cornwall
#2
When people talk of the 'welsh wars' with England (Normans and Saxons), they nearly always talk of the Edwardian conquest of Wales and Glyndwrs uprising.

However, the years between 1067 and 1255 are the most violent in the in the very violent history of the welsh. Within those years we see a welsh people struggling with famine and disease, resist the Normans and send them packing time and time again, only for them to return again and again.

There were many full-scale invasions of wales with armys as large as 30,000 butchering its way through the welsh countryside.
That's one hell of a lot of info my friend, well done. All I would comment is chroniclers had a nasty habit of being way out of their zone with numbers in this period. 30,000 is a lot of mouths to feed and a lot of boots over muddy tracks. Who exactly is counting? Answer is no one, so someone guesses. You don't need too much of a force to ravage villages and small towns. Armies of 'a lot'.
 
Aug 2006
583
Waltheofshire
#3
Earlier, there was Gruffydd ap Llewelyn. In 1039 he became king of both Gwynedd and Powys by the simple expedient of killing the incumbent, Llago ap Idwal. His next ambitious priority was to deal with the ever present threat from the English (Mercians) who repeatedly raided Wales.

He gathered an army, and at Rhyd y Groes (Crossford) on the river Severn, near Welshpool, he utterly crushed an English army led by Leofric, Earl of Mercia (whose brother Edwin was slain here) and thereby established effective mastery of the border, so decisive was the victory.

Gruffudd set about strengthening his hold on South Wales and with ally Aelfgar (outlawed son of then Earl Leofric of Mercia) raided into SW England in the 1050's, concerning KIng Edward 'the Confessor' enough to assign Earl Harold Godwinson to defend SW England against their raids, but a negotiated, fragile truce was negotiated- Aelfgar was pardoned and reinstated as earl of East Anglia (his father had now died), and Gruffudd was allowed to keep his Welsh border conquests.

When Earl Aelfgar died in 1062, Gruffydd's position was weakened and, under the king's orders, Earl brothers Harold and Tostig launched a lightening campaign into Wales in a brutal two-pronged attack, which culminated in the death of Gruffydd in 1063.
 
Oct 2017
186
United States
#4
The Welsh indeed have one of the more curious and elongated histories... whenever I try to read about it and also sometimes Southern Scottish histories it's quite a mix of stuff.
 

authun

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
5,181
#5
The Welsh indeed have one of the more curious and elongated histories... whenever I try to read about it and also sometimes Southern Scottish histories it's quite a mix of stuff.
This is the distribution for the surname 'Welsh' in the 1881 Census. It is common because the western side was british at the time of the anglo saxon arrival, walhs in OE. As hibernians, anglians and norse settled in parts of scotland, those still speaking the lnguage of the britons became known as welsh, which is a germanic designation. The welsh themselves use cymry. Cumbria of course remained 'welsh' speaking for many centuries. The various welsh speaking kingdoms also had familial connections.

Great Britain Family Names


A very enjoyable read, The Men of the North; The Britons of Southern Scotland: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Men-North-Britons-Southern-Scotland/dp/1906566186
 
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