A week ago, Alli Templeton set off on a quest to discover the medieval castles of Wales. Every day she has been sharing the stories behind their building and the history of the warring princes. This is the first episode of her journey… follow Alli’s footsteps at Medieval Wanderings….
Episode One: In the beginning…
Once upon a medieval time there was a king and a prince that didn’t get on.
The king was Edward Plantagenet, who had become Edward 1st of England (reigned 1272-1307) and the prince was Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (known as ‘Llywelyn the Last’ – you’ll see why later), the second of four brothers from a dynastic line of Welsh leaders whose lands centred around Gwynedd in the north, and he had ambitions to expand his rule. But in doing so, the prince trod on the king’s toes once too often. The result was a series of wars that ultimately led to England and Wales being ruled by the English king, and Edward’s subjugation of the Welsh was to be instrumental in forging the beginnings of a United Kingdom, an incipient Great Britain that would hold sway to this day.
But to tell the story of how it all happened, we need to travel even further back in time to before Edward came to power and his father, Henry III was the unpopular incumbent English king.
In the 1260’s, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was expanding his territories from his powerbase of Gwynedd while Henry III was busy scrapping with his own barons in England. In 1263, Llywelyn secured his grip on power in the region by capturing two of the king’s castles at Dyserth and Deganwy, of which nothing of any substance remains. But owing to the ongoing challenges Henry was facing to his authority in England, he wasn’t in a position to deal with an incursion into his lands in far-off Wales. Instead, the next four years saw him grant a series of temporary truces, until 1267 when he finally took the then Prince Edward and his court to meet Llywelyn on the Welsh border to sort things out once and for all.
Continue reading at Medieval Wanderings