Dolbadarn Castle

Dolbadarn Castle is only 6 1/2 miles as the crow flies from the Menai Straits, and yet, the topography of the area is such that it was built by Llywelyn Fawr (Llywelyn the Great) to guard the mountain pass from Caernarfon to the upper Conwy Valley.  ‘Its position at the tip of Llyn Padarn allowed the garrison to blockade anyone’s movement through that part of the north, then as now a main link to the rest of Wales. The military worth of the spot was evidently recognized as early as the 6th century but surviving masonry dates no earlier than the 1200’s.’ http://www.castlewales.com/dolbd.html Llywleyn Fawr built the castle in the early 13th century and it was one of the last defenses of Dafydd ap Gruffydd–Llywleyn Fawr’s grandson–in 1283 after Edward had defeated Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Dafydd’s brother (Paul Davis, Castles of Read more…

Eryri (Snowdonia)

Eryri, Snowdonia in English, was the place in Gwynedd to which the Princes of Wales retreated, and their final stronghold when the English pressed on them from every side.  Mt. Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) has always been at its center, but it traditionally included the Carneddau range and essentially all the land west of the Conwy River. It is the land the Edward allowed Llywelyn ap Gruffydd to keep in the 1277 treaty.  Today, as a national park, it includes 838 square miles. From John T Koch, Celtic Culture: An Historical Encyclopedia: “The first literary mention of Eryri occurs in the 9th century Historia Brittonum, where an account is given of the downfall of the semi-legendary 5th century king Vortigern.  Pursued by his revolted Anglo-Saxon mercenaries and hated by his Brythonic countrymen, the king’s magi direct him to build a stronghold Read more…

Sharing some pics from Wales …

My husband has kept these hidden on his drive until now, so I hadn’t even seen them!   These two pictures were taken on a nothing of a road from Devil’s Bridge (east of Aberystwyth) through the Elan Valley to Cilmeri.  The road was protected by a cattle guard on either end, was really only one lane (albeit paved), and we saw two cars and a million sheep for the two hours we were on it.   The rock is broken over the English translation and at first I couldn’t believe what it said.  It is at ‘Llywelyn’s Well’, which you reach by following a narrow path and some stairs behind his monument at Cilmeri.  It should read “Legend has it that this is the well where the head of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was washed.” Dinas Bran:   Dolwyddelan and Read more…

The Brothers Gwynedd

Once there were three brothers:  Owain, Llywelyn, and Dafydd … For more information about Llywelyn ap Gruffydd and his rule of Wales, as well as the difficulties posed by the Norman encroachments, see: 11 December 1282 Arwystli The Battle of the Menai Straits Betrayal in the Belfry of Bangor Biography of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Cymerau Dafydd ap Gruffydd Dafydd ap Llywelyn, Prince of Wales (d. 1246) The Death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Eleanor (Elinor) de Montfort Family Tree of the Royal House of Wales Gwynedd after 1282 Historiography of the Welsh Conquest King Edward I of England Medieval Planned Communities Memo to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd’s Staff The Rising of 1256 Senana, Mother of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Simon de Montfort The Statute of Wales (Rhuddlan) Surprise Holy Day Attack! Things Fall Apart Welsh Heraldry Welsh Independence Welsh Independence (again)