Owain I Glyndŵr

Owain Glyndŵr, sometimes anglicised as Owen Glendower, was a Welsh ruler and the first of the short-lived House of Glyndŵr to hold the title Prince of Wales (Tywysog Cymru). Glyndŵr was born about 1350 in the Welsh Marchers and was a descendant of the Princes of Powys through his father and the Princes of Deheubarth through his mother. He served Richard II of England loyally but found himself politically manipulated by a neighbour following Richard’s deposement in favour of Henry IV in 1399. On 16 September 1400, Glyndŵr instigated the Welsh Revolt, also known as the Glyndŵr Rising and Last War of [Welsh] Independence, which lasted until the death of his grandson Owain II in 1439.

During the initial stages of the revolt, Glyndŵr fought and captured Sir Edmund Mortimer. Although Glyndŵr offered terms for ransom promptly, Henry IV was slow to fulfil them due to Mortimer’s potential claim to the English throne. This upset Mortimer enough for him to conspire with Glyndŵr, and with his brother-in-law Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland. To further their cause, the three men organised the kidnapping of Mortimer’s nephews – the children of his older brother and therefore with a better claim to the English throne. The conspirators intended to put the eldest nephew, Edmund, on the throne with Percy and Mortimer holding the power of England between them and Owain claiming an independent Wales.

However, things did not go according to plan with the nephews escaping. Although it is thought that the political and military might of the three conspirators enforced Henry IV’s belief that he should step down in favour of young Edmund’s virtue, the first Mortimer King of England did not deal with Glyndŵr any more favourably than his cousin Henry IV had and the revolt continued.

Glyndŵr was wounded in a skirmish in 1409 and retired to a monastery while his son, Gruffudd, took the title Prince of Wales in 1409 and continued the revolt. In 1412, Glyndŵr disappeared leaving no record of his death. In 2004, a descendent of Glyndŵr through his daughter, Alice, came forward and admitted she and her husband had sheltered Glyndŵr in his last years. He was buried in the Otherworld in a location accessed from a Waypoint at Monnington Straddle, Herefordshire, despite his and his family’s lack of Second Sight or other recognised connection with the Otherworld.

Glyndŵr became a mythical hero after his disappearance, listed alongside Cadwaladr, Cynan and Arthur as a king who sleeps in the Otherworld, waiting for the call to return and liberate his people. He is periodically used as a symbol of Welsh Nationalism and independence.


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