Who Was Owain Glyn Dŵr?
Soldier Diplomat Statesman
Glyn Dŵr’s Great Seal
The Welsh suffered from oppressive laws, which led to resentment against the crown. This reached its critical point on September 16th. 1400 when over 300 of Owain’s supporters met at Glyndyfrdwy to proclaim him Prince of Wales. The sacking of the towns of Ruthin, Denbigh, Rhuddlan, Flint, Hawarden, Oswestry and Welshpool followed. In response, Henry IV’s army marched into north Wales.
1401 saw the defeat of an army of English and Flemish at Hyddgen; Henry IV launched a campaign into south Wales and harsh new laws were imposed on the Welsh. In 1402 Owain’s men gaining a famous victory over the army of Edmund Mortimer at Brynglas (Pilleth) and by 1404 Owain’s campaign was approaching its high point. He captured Harlech and Aberystwyth castles and called a parliament at Machynlleth.
In 1405 Owain signed an agreement with Thomas Percy of Northumberland and Edmund Mortimer to divide the kingdom in three parts (the Tripartite Indenture). Wales’ border would extend as far as the Severn, to Six Ashes (10 miles from Birmingham), and the sources of the Trent, and Mersey. Owain’s men campaigned into England getting to within a few miles of Worcester.
In 1406 a letter was sent to the king of France (the Pennal Letter). In it he outlined his ambitions for an independent church for Wales, and two universities - one for north Wales and one for south Wales, but by 1408 Owain’s campaign was in decline and the castles of Aberystwyth and Harlech (home of Owain’s court) were lost. When Harlech castle fell, several members of his family were captured and sent to the Tower of London. Some sources suggest he probably died in 1415. His last years are shrouded in mystery and we have no conclusive evidence of where he is buried.