The revolt of Owain Glyndwr
|The modern county of Powys did not exist in 1400; nor even did Breconshire, Montgomeryshire or Radnorshire. Wales was a patchwork of lordships and the area now known as Powys consisted of several of these. But for simplicitys sake the modern names are used here.|
Welshpool was one of the first towns that the rebels attacked and burned.
By the autumn, Adam of Usk reported that the whole of north Wales including Montgomeryshire had defected to Owain and were attacking the English and their towns. Defections were also reported at Builth. Henry IV responded with his October expedition and placed garrisons in many castles including Builth, Brecon and Painscastle.
On 22 June 1402 Owain led an expedition into Radnorshire and won a major victory at Bryn Glas, near Pilleth church, capturing Edmund Mortimer. (Leland, writing in the 1530s, said that Owain led a raid into Radnorshire in the summer of 1401 or 1402 and that he "spoiled and defaced" the abbey of Cwm-hir. Leland goes on to say that local tradition recalled him partly destroying Radnor castle, and beheading 20 men of the garrison afterwards, although contemporary English sources do not mention this raid.) The king immediately took steps to safeguard Radnor castle and put Brecon castle on alert, a clear indication that these areas were now within his reach. Edward Charlton was sent to his castle at Welshpool to counter the rebellion in Montgomeryshire, and Richard, Lord Grey of Codnor was made the kings lieutenant from Aberystwyth to Hay. The English government continued to raise revenues from estates in Wales with remarkable insensitivity, and the inhabitants of Brecon were told to pay a "war loan" of £210 towards Lord Greys expenses to avoid having to dip into the ordinary revenues from the lordship!
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