The Welsh Dragon

For most of history, the Welsh dragon was not a very common symbol. In fact, it was flown by only one king, Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon, who reigned from 655-682 AD. It was so distinct that his flag came to be known as “the Red Dragon of Cadwaladr”.  Today, it is known as the ‘Welsh dragon’ and the the Welsh flag looks like this: (my The Last Pendragon Saga is about a mythic version of Cadwaladr) Within Welsh mythology, the story of the two dragons, one red (for the Welsh) and one white (for the Saxons) fighting beneath Dinas Emrys dates back to Geoffrey of Monmouth, writing in the 12th century. The coat of arms of the Welsh princes in the 13th century was actually this: With the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd and the complete suppression of everything that had belonged to or symbolized Read more…

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 conflict lasted for 19 years (http://www.britainexpress.com/wales/history/owain-gwynedd.htm), finally resolving in the rule by Stephen but with the inheritance of the throne upon his death by Maud’s son, Henry. Owain “married, firstly, Gwladys, the daughter of Llywarch ap Trahaearn; and secondly, Christina, his cousin, the daughter of Goronwy ap Owain ‘the Traitor,’ Lord of Tegeingle, to whom he remained constant despite the active disapproval of the Church.” He had many sons and daughters, not all of whom are documented.  http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/owaingd.html His first  relationship was with a woman named Read more…

Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd, King of Deheubarth

In my book, The Good Knight, the King of Deheubarth, Anarawd, dies in the opening chapter.  This is in 1143 AD, and King Owain of Gwynedd rules Gwynedd–and much of the rest of Wales–with a strong hand. After Anarawd’s death, the rule of Deheubarth falls to his younger brother, Cadell.  “Cadell’s career was effectively ended in 1151. When out hunting, he was attacked by a Norman force from Tenby, who left him assuming him to be dead. In fact he survived, but was so badly injured as to be unable to resume his activities. In 1153 he left on a pilgrimage to Rome, leaving the rule of Deheubarth to his younger brothers Maredudd and Rhys. Cadell is not heard of again until 1175, when he entered the abbey of Strata Florida after a long illness and died there.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadell_ap_Gruffydd The bastard son of Owain Gwynedd, Hywel, plays a key Read more…

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 this research earlier?  Because I didn’t know what I needed until I’d written those three sentences. This new book is a murder mystery, if I can pull it off, set in Gwynedd in 1143 AD.  In real life, Cadwaladr, Owain Gwynedd’s obnoxious brother, has Anarawd, Owain’s future son-in-law, murdered on the eve of his wedding.  It is over a land dispute, and Anarawd was ambushed on the road.  Once it is determined that Cadwaladr is to blame, Hywel, Owain Gwynedd’s bastard son, is sent to exact retribution Read more…