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Who was Owain Glyndŵr?

One of Wales' leading heroes

Although 600 years have passed since Owain Glyndwr's time he remains one of Wales' prominent heroes. He was a natural leader and an astute statesman who united the people of Wales and led them against English rule.

 

We are not sure when or where Owain Glyndŵr was born. The most likely dates are 1349, 1354 or 1359. It is most likely that he was born at the family home in Sycharth, or as some claim at Treffgarne, Pembrokeshire, at his mother's family home.

 

Owain Glyndŵr was a Welsh Prince, a right arising from his association with the other two Welsh royal families. On his father's side, he could trace his lineage back to the 11th century Prince of Powys, Bleddyn ap Cynfyn. His mother's dynasty stretched back to the same period, to Rhys ap Tewdwr, Prince of Deheubarth.

 

In 1400-01, Owain Glyndŵr embarked on a course that would lead to one of the most dramatic periods in Welsh history. An argument about common land with Baron Reginald de Gray of Ruthin; who enjoyed the favour of the English Crown, came to a head when Owain took matters into his own hands and attacked Ruthin.

 

What is significant about the event is the speed at which a local dispute between the two marcher lords turned into a heated war against the English Crown. Discontented men from all walks of life to joined Owain's cause, and so he showed that the vision of an independent Wales had not died with Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1282 after all.

 

Glyndŵr's fierce rebellion lasted for almost a decade and despite early victories and Glyndŵr's coronation as the Prince of Wales in 1404, he would eventually be defeated. By 1408-09, the rebellion was almost over, and by 1410 this inspirational leader was on the run, his career and reputation shattered, his home and family destroyed.

 

It is probable that Owain spent his final years in Herefordshire, near the manor of his son-in-law Sir John Scudamore, and he may have died around 1416. The location of his grave is unknown.