The revolt of Owain Glyndwr
|From local dispute to national
On 16 September 1400 Owain Glyn Dwr was proclaimed prince of Wales by his followers at his estate at Glyndyfrdwy in Merioneth. Present were his brother, his son and his brothers-in-law, and several members of the Welsh clergy. What had brought them to open rebellion?
"It was from the outset a national revolt" (R.R. Davies), as the title that Owain was given shows. But Owain seems to have been provoked by local events, in particular a boundary-dispute with Reginald, Lord Grey of Ruthin, who held estates near Glyndyfrdwy.
|Grey seized a common which Owain believed was part of his inheritance; the case went to Parliament, but Greys influence was stronger and Owain lost the land. (The chronicle states that John Trefor, bishop of St. Asaph, warned them of the consequences in Wales, but that "those in Parliament said that they cared nothing for the bare-footed clowns" - quoted in Hodges.) Another account suggests that Grey also delayed giving Owain a military summons from the king until it was too late for him to go.|
|It was while the king, Henry IV, was on campaign in Scotland that Owain and his men took their chance. They launched a raid against the hated English boroughs in the north-east: Ruthin, Denbigh, Rhuddlan, Flint, Hawarden, Holt, Oswestry and Welshpool were all attacked and burnt. But they lacked equipment to take the castles.|
|The king was on his way back from Scotland when he heard the news, and turned at once to Shrewsbury. He led a short expedition into north Wales in October, but this achieved little. Owain and his followers went into hiding. Now, instead of offering pardons and trying to reconcile the Welsh, the English government went out of their way to alienate the populace, holding judicial sessions, extracting subsidies and legislating against Welshmen in English boroughs and in England. This meant war.|