Owain Gwynedd’s birthday

When was Owain Gwynedd born?  Here’s the truth:  no idea. Okay, that’s not entirely true.  Like Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, nobody seems to have recorded the date Owain Gwynedd was born, or even the year.  This is fine as far as it goes, because we can make some general estimates.  The problem arises when the birthdays for […]

Geoffrey of Monmouth

Geoffrey of Monmouth was born sometime around 1100, probably in Monmouth in southeast Wales. “His father was named Arthur. Geoffrey was appointed archdeacon of Llandsaff in 1140 and was consecrated bishop of St. Asaph in 1152. He died c. 1155. Geoffrey is one of the most significant authors in the development of the Arthurian legends. […]

Llywelyn ap Iorwerth Takes the Throne

Upon the death of Owain Gwynedd in 1170 AD, his eldest son, Hywel, purportedly a most capable man, succeeded to the rulership of Gwynedd.  In Wales, all sons, regardless of their legitimacy, can inherit, provided their father had acknowledged them.  This should have been the case with Hywel. As I wrote in this post, the […]

King Owain Gwynedd

Owain was born Owain ap Gruffydd around 1100 AD, the second son of Gruffydd ap Cynan.  Owain ruled from 1137 to 1170 AD.   His rule was marked by peace initially, at least with England, as Owain took advantage of the strife in England between Stephen and Maud for the English throne to consolidate his power in Wales.  That […]

The Revolt of 1136

Warfare was nearly constant in Wales both before and after the Norman conquest.  Of course, the Normans didn’t actually conquer Wales–only parts of it–until the final defeat of Llywelyn in 1282. In the years since 1066, however, the native Welsh princes and kings had lost out to the conquering Normans.  Deheubarth, the southwestern region of […]

Gruffydd ap Cynan, King of Gwynedd

One of the greatest kings of Gwynedd was Owain Gwynedd, but his father Gruffydd ap Cynan can equally lay stake to such a claim.  His rule was certainly eventful. Gruffydd ruled in Wales on and off since he was a young man, in between his flights to Ireland when the English—or other Welsh barons—ousted him […]

A Question about Rhuddlan Castle (Twthill)

A reader of the Gareth and Gwen medieval mysteries asked me a question today and I thought it and my answer was worth sharing … Question: Rhuddlan is an important component of the plot [of The Uninvited Guest]. A sentence in Wikipedia (yes, I know Wikipedia has its limitations, but I notice that, on occasion, […]

The Coracle, Prince Madoc, and the Mandans

Lewis and Clark trekked up the Mississippi river in 1804 and spent the winter of 1804-05 at Ft. Mandan (present day Washburn, North Dakota).  Lewis believed that the Mandan people were descended from Madoc ap Owain Gwynedd, who purportedly sailed from the new world in 1170 after the death of his father, and to escape […]

Bards and Poets

In Welsh society before the conquest–in all Celtic societies in fact–the bard/poet played a very important role in the life of society. “The three principal endeavors of a Bard: One is to learn and collect sciences. The second is to teach. And the third is to make peace And to put an end to all […]

Cadwaladr ap Gruffydd, brother to the King

If ever your family gets on your nerves, you can be glad that you don’t have a family like Owain Gwynedd. Cadwaladr ap Gruffydd was Owain Gwynedd’s brother.  A royal family in Wales wasn’t the same as in England, where the eldest son inherited most everything.  In Wales, upon the death of a king, an entire […]

NaNoWriMo Day 1

November 1, 2010: I sat up in bed morning, pulled my laptop close (hoping that my son wasn’t going to wake up quite yet) and started typing.  Now, with historical fiction, it doesn’t take very long before a need for research pops up, and I encountered the first after 3 sentences.  Why didn’t I do […]