CORWEN TRIP Ė September 21, 2019



       After usurping the throne of England in 1399, Henry Bolingbroke (- or Henry IV) named his eldest son the English Prince of Wales.

       In response to this, Owain Glyndŵr then proclaimed himself the true Prince of Wales near his hunting lodge in Glyndyfrdwy on September 16th, 1400.

Glyndŵrís Mount

       This signalled the start of his Uprising and, in the week that followed, he led his supporters in attacks on English-held towns and castles in the area.

*        *        *        *        *        *        *

       This trip visited a number of these places, and hopefully showed the significance of the first few days of the Uprising.


       Ruthin in Dyffryn Clwyd was the most substantial part of the inheritance of its lord, Reginald de Grey. It is often cited that a land dispute between Reginald and Owain was the trigger which started the Uprising.


Castell Rhuthun

       On September 18th, Glyndŵr led a surprise attack on Ruthin supported by a force of around 250 men. The town was looted and burned but they did not take the castle.

       Owain and his men returned to Ruthin in 1402, though, and captured de Grey, possibly at Bryn Saith Marchog.

       A large ransom was eventually paid by Henry IV for his release, but the de Grey family never fully recovered from repaying the debt.


       After attacking Ruthin, Glyndŵrís forces moved northwards and attacked Denbigh. Again, the town was burned and the castle attacked, but not taken.

       Henry ĎHotspurí Percy was the Constable of the castle in 1400 - the lordship was in the hands of the Mortimer family but the Earl of March was only 8 years old at the time.


Denbigh Castle

       Hywel Cyffin, the Dean of St Asaph, was present at Glyndyfrdwy on September 16th. He was one of a number of priests and scholars who supported Owainís campaign.

       A few years later, the Bishop of St Asaph, John Trefor, also joined Glyndŵr.

St Asaph


       Glyndŵrís men then travelled further north to attack Rhuddlan on September 19th. Although the town was badly damaged, the castle managed to hold out.

Rhuddlan Castle

       The following day they moved on to Flint, which suffered the same fate.

Flint Castle

       Just outside the town they were intercepted by an English relieving force that had travelled from Chester.

       This did not delay their campaign for long, however, and they carried on southwards.




       Over the next two days they attacked Hawarden, Holt and Whittington.


 Holt Castle

       On September 22nd they did the same to Oswestry and Felton before attacking Welshpool on the following day.

       The Battle of Vyrnwy apparently took place on September 24th as Owainís men made their way northwards from Welshpool.



       They were intercepted by an English force from Shrewsbury, and Glyndŵrís army dispersed.

       The first, tumultuous week of his Uprising was over.


       One of Owainís lieutenants was Hywel Gwynedd of Flintshire. He led attacks in the area until he was killed on Halkyn Mountain in March 1406.

*          *          *          *          *

       The town of Hope was liberated by Owainís supporters in February 1403.



       A parade is held annually to commemorate the event.

       It travels from Hope to neighbouring Caergwrle - and then up to the castle.


       The main residence of Glyndŵrís family was their manor house at Sycharth, a few miles to the west of Oswestry.

       Owain spent a good amount of his childhood at the familyís hunting lodge next to the river Dee in Glyndyfrdwy, however, and it was here that the uprising started.

Site of Glyndŵrís hunting lodge

       In Carrog, roughly a mile to the east of the hunting lodge, was a building known as Carchardy Glyndŵr. This is where he would have held his prisoners.


Carchardy Glyndŵr


       Corwen is closely associated with Owain Glyndŵr and his life is celebrated in the town - especially on Glyndŵr Day, September 16th.

       Above the town is Caer Drewyn, an Iron Age hillfort where Owain Gwynedd gathered a number of Welsh princes to repel an invasion by Henry II of England in 1165.

Caer Drewyn

       This may well have been where Glyndŵr mustered his troops before travelling north to attack Ruthin.

       The first public Eisteddfod was held in the Owain Glyndŵr Hotel in Corwen in 1789.


The Owain Glyndŵr Hotel