Digital  History Project logo

The revolt of Owain Glyndwr
Powys and Owain Glyndwr: 2

The early months saw Owain very busy in north-east Wales, with the result that a garrison of 120 men was posted to Montgomery castle. The revolt could now truly be said to be national, and civilian rule was breaking down across Wales: revenues could not be collected and local powers of government and taxation were handed over to local military commanders, as happened in Montgomery, Radnor and Brecon. Castles such as Radnor, Montgomery and Builth were little more than isolated outposts. Henry IV responded with yet another royal expedition, which passed through Brecon on its way to Carmarthen. In October Henry appointed John, Lord Audley to take control of the castle and lordship of Brecon for a year.

A typical footsoldier of the period

From a drawing by
Dick Taylor

The Welsh were so active that the garrison at Radnor had to be increased on 24 January (most armies ceased to campaign through the winter). In February the men of upland Brecon were called upon to submit to the king’s authority; they responded with the remarkable offer that if the king defeated the rebels in Glamorgan they would submit, but that if he failed to do so, they could not be expected to submit! Attacks were made into English border counties and the government was powerless to help: instead it allowed local communities in Shropshire and Montgomeryshire to make their own treaties with the rebels. The best they could do was to put large garrisons in Welshpool and Bishops Castle. Owain held his first national parliament at Machynlleth.
The English tactic was basically one of containment: at this time Edward Charlton’s force at Welshpool consisted of 20 men-at-arms and 100 archers. By October support had begun to ebb away from Owain, even in Brecon lordship.
It was evidence of the threat that Owain still posed that 120 soldiers were still posted at Montgomery castle at least until early 1408. But by this time the Welsh were reverting to guerrilla tactics, and large parts of Wales submitted to English rule. Accounts show that civilian administration returned to Brecon by 1408-9.
Home Page