The Tripartite Indenture

In February 1405, Owain Glyndwr made an agreement with Edmund Mortimer and Henry Percy that, once they had defeated Henry Bolingbroke – their enemy – in battle, they would split England and Wales up into three, roughly equal parts.

In this agreement or ‘Tripartite Indenture’, the Welsh border was described in detail:

“... Owain and his heirs shall have the whole of Cambria or Wales, within the borders, limits, and boundaries underwritten, divided from Loegria, which is commonly called England; namely, from the Severn coast where the River Severn leads from the sea, going down to the North Gate of the city of Worcester [Foregate]; and from that gate directly to the ash trees commonly called Onennau Meigion in the Cambrian or Welsh language, which grow on the high road from Bridgnorth to Kinver [Six Ashes]; thence directly by the high road, which commonly is called the old or ancient way, as far as the head or source of the river Trent [Biddulph Moor, north of Stoke]; thence directly to the head or source of the river commonly called the Mersey [Compstall, east of Manchester]; and thence, as that river leads to the sea [at Liverpool], going down within the borders, limits, and bounds written above.”

Percy (the Earl of Northumberland) would then have roughly the northern half of Lloegr -

(Northumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Norfolk.)

- and Edmund Mortimer would have the rest of Lloegr.


Glyndwr referred to omens and prophecies throughout his life and in the Uprising - he used the prophecies of Myrddin, for example, when his army invaded England in August 1405 supported by a large French force. His aim was to confront Bolingbroke at the Onennau Meigion – here – where the ‘Great Eagle’ would defeat an army from the east.

Unfortunately for Owain, Henry intercepted them about 15 miles to the south of here at Great Witley, where a stand-off resulted in both sides eventually retreating without a battle taking place. The French had returned home a few months later, but on March 31st 1406 Owain wrote the famous Pennal Letter to Charles VI - King of France - setting out his vision for Wales as an independent country.

I’m sure that Glyndwr would have been happy with our decision to unveil the noticeboard today on the anniversary of that date. Of course, if the weather had not intervened then this ceremony should have taken place on the third of March – which was close to the anniversary of the Tripartite Indenture and also the time that a ‘Blue Moon’ was seen – an omen. Luckily there is another Blue Moon tonight and so obviously the omens were also good for today.


This area played its part in the history of Wales and England – especially in ancient times. There are place names that have a Celtic derivation and, earlier this week, I visited the church in Tuck Hill – roughly half a mile to the west of here. Some of the surnames I discovered on the gravestones in the churchyard included: Thomas, Davies, Edwards, Roberts, Jones, Lloyd, Lewis, Griffith, Evans and Meredith – not a bad selection of Welsh names.

Hopefully the noticeboard will be of interest to a number of people who visit Six Ashes. There are a number of footpaths that pass through here – a few of which link up with the Staffordshire Way, which is about a mile south of here.


Over the May Bank Holiday, the Society will have a display at St Fagans entitled ‘Oes y Tywysogion’ or ‘The Age of the Princes’ – if you have any suggestions for improving it then please let us know. The display will then be used at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Builth Wells a few weeks later.

Also, if you have any suggestions for any future projects for the Society then again please let us know.


Finally, I’d like to thank a number of people who made today possible:

Martin – for suggesting the idea to one of the Society’s Patrons which set the ball rolling;

To Amy and the pub owners – who kindly allowed us to install the noticeboard here;

To Professor Gruffydd Aled Williams – one of our members – who provided the text and translation into English for the board;

To Martin’s friends, Mez and Pugh – for doing the spadework;

And, of course, to all of you – for attending today and helping to promote our history.