One of the greatest Welsh rebels of all, and the last Welshman to hold the title ‘Prince of Wales’
Owain Glyndŵr was of noble birth. On the death of his father he was fostered, around the age of 11, by the Anglo-Welsh judge Sir David Hanmer. Glyndŵr was later to marry Sir David’s daughter, Margaret, in 1383, adding the titles of Squire of Sycharth and Glyndyfrdwy to his honours.
Glyndŵr is known to have fought for the English King, Richard II, in the latter part of the 14th century. Up to this point he is believed to have lived the comfortable life of a Marcher nobleman.
In 1399 the overthrow of Richard II by Henry IV dramatically altered the course of Owain’s life. Interestingly, Richard II was actually betrayed at Conwy Castle, and following this a dispute arose between Owain and Reginald Grey of Ruthin, over land ownership and the perceived lack of sympathy from Henry IV. This led Owain to raise his banner against the English Crown on 16 September 1400, at Glyndyfrdwy.
At Glyndyfrdwy, his home near Corwen, Glyndŵr was proclaimed Prince of Wales by his followers. The revolt then continued for the next 10–12 years until it eventually petered out. It has attained almost mythical status, due to the fact that Glyndŵr was never betrayed and never caught. There are various theories about his last days, from being spotted alone on the Berwyn Mountains to living a quiet life on his daughter’s estate in Herefordshire.
During the revolt many Welsh towns were burned, and Glyndŵr was able to capture Harlech Castle and maintain his court there for four years. His vision was for a Welsh parliament and for a Welsh University. He remains one of the great Welsh heroes to this day, continuing to fascinate and inspire new generations of Welsh nationalists.