What is the significance of ‘After Cilmeri’?

Today is the 731st anniversary of the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in a field at Cilmeri, Wales. It has been over 700 years since Llywelyn ap Gruffydd’s death on 11 December 1282.  J. Beverley Smith writes: “Intimations of treachery, of breach of faith, are so often conveyed darkly, and no chronicle, nor any other source, provides the unequivocal testimony which might enable us to unravel the threads in the various accounts of the tragic happening in the vicinity of Builth.  It was alleged at the time, or shortly afterwards, in the most explicit statement we have, that the prince’s decision to venture into the area was influenced by one of the sons of his old adversary, Roger Mortimer.  The Hagnaby chroinicler, an important source for the events of the day on which Llywelyn died, was quite definite:  Roger Mortimer, Read more…

The Kingdoms of Wales

Wales as a country evolved over a period of time after the Saxons completed their conquest of the rest of Britain. To recap, the Romans left Britain in 410 AD, leaving the ‘Britons’ to fend for themselves against succeeding waves of raiders from the north and east. These includes the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. Historians are not in agreement as to exactly how this worked, but the Britons as a culture and society were driven further and further west until they reached their last bastions in Wales. Regardless of the actual timeline, by 800 AD, the Saxons were well established right up to the border of what is now Wales.  Offa’s Dyke, an earthen wall built in the 8th century, delineated the border for much of the early Middle Ages. “Offa was King of Mercia from 757 to 796 AD. Read more…

Dryslwyn Castle

Dryslwyn Castle is built on the same ridge as Dinefwr Castle. It is likely that Lord Rhys, the ruler of Deheubarth in the 12th century, maintained a stronghold in both places, although both castles were rebuilt in stone by later rulers. Dryslwyn Castle as it exists today “stands on top of a hill overlooking the Tywi valley. Its date of construction is unknown but the similarity between it and neighbouring Dinefwr Castle suggest that it was built at a similar time and possibly by the same person. The most likely builder was Rhys Gryg who occupied Dinefwr in the early 13th century, or possibly his son Maredudd, who inherited Dryslwyn from his father. By the late 13th century the castle at Dryslwyn had developed into the largest native Welsh castle in South Wales. In 1277 the English king, Edward I sent an Read more…

Buellt Castle

Buellt Castle (Builth Wells for the English) was the seat from which the Mortimers lured Llywelyn ap Gruffydd to his death near Cilmeri on 11 December 1282.  It was a major Edwardian Castle of its time, but all of the stone work as disappeared. “Builth is nothing more than a series of earthworks – nothing visible remains to give testimony to the structure which once stood at the site. By 1183, documents record a clash here between the Welsh and Normans, and much of what we see reflects this original motte and bailey fortification. During the next 90 years, the castle saw repeated conflict and changed hands between the Welsh and English on several occasions. By the 1240’s masonry structures were established at Builth; however, it was as the result of Edward I’s initial campaign against the Welsh in 1277 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)

Criccieth Castle

Criccieth Castle was built by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn Fawr) before 1239.  “Apparently, Criccieth’s castle was built at the beginning of the 13th century, a rather late date for initiating a castle at a particular site in Wales. The earliest mention of a stronghold on the craggy outcrop is to be found in the Welsh chronicles, the Brut y Tywysogyon, in the year 1239, when Gruffydd ap Llywelyn (son of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, or “the Great”) was imprisoned in the castle by his half-brother, Dafydd. Most likely, Llywelyn the Great began the stone fortress just a few years before his sons’ quarrel.”  http://www.castlewales.com/criccth.html Llywelyn kept Gruffydd here and then upon Llywelyn’s death, so did Dafydd, Llywelyn’s son and Gruffydd’s half-brother.  Gruffydd was transferred to the Tower of London as part of a deal with the King of England, as a Read more…