Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle is a World Heritage Site and one of Edward I’s Iron Ring of Castles that he built after the Welsh defeat in 1282. It is also linked to Welsh myth, in the story of the tragic heroine of Branwen, the daughter of Llyr, of the Mabinogion, who marries the King of Ireland but whose marriage is ultimately destroyed by the trickster/psychopath god, Efnysien. From CADW: “‘Men of Harlech.’ The nation’s unofficial anthem, loved by rugby fans and regimental bands alike, is said to describe the siege which took place here Read More…

Owain Glyndwr

At my nativity The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes, Of burning cressets; and at my birth The frame and huge foundation of the earth Shaked like a coward … all the courses of my life do show I am not in the roll of commen men. –Shakespeare (Henry IV) Born in 1349, at the height of the Black Plague, Owain Glyndwr lived in a turbulent time in Wales.  With the defeat of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1282, Wales became nothing more than a vassal to the English Read More…

The First Welsh Parliament

The first Welsh parliament was established by Owain Glyndwr (Owain Glendower) in 1404 in Machynlleth, a small town on the northwest coast of Wales, not far from Harlech Castle, which was his seat. “In 1404, Glyndwr assembled a parliament of four men from every commot in Wales at Machynlleth, drawing up mutual recognition treaties with France and Spain.”  http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~bowen/owainglyndwr.html The Owain Glyndwr Centre exists now on the site of the building where this was established and Owain was crowned Prince of Wales.  http://www.canolfanglyndwr.org/ Background: “Glyndwr was a member of the dynasty Read More…

Uneasy Lies the Crown–Owain Glyndwr

I have a guest post today on a subject near and dear to my heart … medieval Wales! N. Gemini Sasson has written a book about Owain Glyndwr and the Welsh War of Independence.  Welcome Gemini! ____________________ Owain Glyndwr and the Welsh War of Independence N. Gemini Sasson The history of Wales predates Roman settlements to a Celtic people who called themselves the Cymry.  It was a society as much rooted in warfare as it was in bardic tradition.    Although the Welsh as a society were autonomous from England for Read More…

Carreg Cennen Castle

The present castle at Carreg Cennen dates to the thirteenth century and Edward the first’s program of castle building.  The site itself, however, has been occupied since Roman times  (a cache of Roman coins and four prehistoric skeletons have been unearthed at the site).  The first to build a castle here were the Welsh princes of Deheubarth. “The first mention of a medieval castle is in 1248 when Rhys Fychan regained control after his mother had handed the castle over to the English out of hatred for her son. Nothing Read More…

Strata Florida Abbey

Strata Florida Abbey was an order sponsored by Lord Rhys of Deheubarth and was always a strong supporter of the native Welsh Princes.  One of the Chronicles of the Prices (not the Red Book of Hergest, but the more complete one which includes the events of 1282), was possibly written here. “The site of a 12th century Cistercian Abbey, Strata Florida is situated in the hills above the Ceredigion town of Tregaron and has been shaped by both human and natural influences. As the Ice Age ended, the retreating glacier Read More…