William de Braose and The Red Wedding - Sarah Woodbury

William de Braose and The Red Wedding

In the Game of Thrones, ‘the red wedding’ (not to ruin it for anyone) is a massacre of epic proportions. While the author, Martin, says he based the scene on real events in Scotland, Wales had a similar incident, sad to say, this one on Christmas Day.

Here is the entry from Wikipedia which is accurate as far as events go: “In 1175, William de Braose carried out the Abergavenny Massacre, luring three Welsh princes and other Welsh leaders to their deaths. His principal antagonist was a Seisyll ap Dyfnwal, of Castell Arnallt near Llanover in the valley of the River Usk near Abergavenny, whom he blamed for the death of his uncle Henry. After having invited the Welsh leaders to a Christmas feast at Abergavenny Castle under the pretence of peace and the start of a new era at the end of the year (a traditional time for settling outstanding differences amongst the Welsh), he had them murdered by his men. This resulted in great hostility against him among the Welsh, who named him the “Ogre of Abergavenny”…

Gerald of Wales was an apologist for him, since he apparently became religious later in life, but this act colored relations between the Welsh and the March for generations. Given that hunted down and killed Seisyll ap Dyfnwal’s surviving son, Cadwaladr, a boy of seven, he had a lot to apologize for.

As William Camden, the 16th-century antiquary, writes about Abergavenny Castle: it “has been oftner stain’d with the infamy of treachery, than any other castle in Wales.”