Gifts from Wales and the World
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Gifts from Wales and the World
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Owain Glyndwr

Born: 1350
Raised: Sycharth, Powys
Education: London Law Courts
Big Moment : Being announced as the Prince of Wales on 16 September 1400 and starting a rebellion against the English and establishing a Welsh Parliament in Machynlleth.
Diwrnod Owain Glyndwr: Owain Glyndŵr day is celebrated on the 16 of September every year. There is a campaign to make the date a national holiday in Wales.

Owain Glyndwrwas born around 1350. He was of noble birth on both sides, being connected to all the Welsh ruling families. He had homes at Glyndyfrdwy, in the Dee Valley in north Wales and at Sycharth, near Bala. He led a conventional life, studying law in London, and serving with Richard II in France and Scotland. When Richard was usurped by Henry IV, many refused to believe that he had died, probably from starvation.

There was much unrest because of the harsh rule of England, and strained relations between Owain and his neighbour Lord Grey of Ruthin, a close friend of Henry. When in 1400 Lord Grey deliberately delayed summoning Glyndwr to serve in the army in Scotland until it was too late to make an explanation, the uprising began with an attack on Ruthin and other towns in north-east Wales. After the attacks the men disappeared back into the hills.

Glyndwr was declared an outlaw and his estates were confiscated. The skirmishes became battles over the next few years, such as the important victory at Hyddgen on Plynlimon. News of success spread through Wales, and the Welsh grasped the opportunity to serve under the great leader they has been waiting for since the days of Llywelyn Fawr and to throw off the English rule they hated so much. Welsh students at Oxford sold their books and travelled home to fight, Welsh labourers in the fields of Shropshire and Herefordshire downed tools.

Owain Glyndwr

In 1404 he captured the key castles of Criccieth,  Harlech and Aberystwyth and held the first Welsh Parliament in Machynlleth, where he was also crowned Prince of Wales. He held two other Parliaments in Harlech and one in Dolgellau over the next two years, held an important conference in Dolgellau and signed a treaty with France. This was no minor revolt brought on by a local quarrel and for a short while it looked as if the Welsh dream of independence was within their grasp.

Then the tide turned, battles in the south and east were lost, and in 1408 Aberystwyth castle was the first in Britain to be attacked by big guns and was eventually starved out. The winter of 1408-9 was terrible and many communities starved or froze to death. The heart went out of the resistance movement, the French allies sailed away and in 1409 Harlech castle, which was home for Owain's family, surrendered because of famine and sickness.

His wife, daughters and grandchildren were taken prisoner and Owain himself was without a base. He faded from history, probably to live in Monnington Court with one of his daughters. Certainly folk tale in the village says that a horse was kept saddled day and night in case he needed to get away quickly. Many historians believe he returned to his hills to die.