Llywelyn the Great
Llywelyn the Great, full name Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, was a King of Gwynedd in north Wales and ruler of all Wales. By a combination of war and diplomacy he dominated Wales for 45 years. During Llywelyn's childhood, Gwynedd was ruled by two of his uncles, who split the kingdom between them, following the death of Llywelyn's grandfather, Owain Gwynedd, in 1170. Llywelyn had a strong claim to be the legitimate ruler and began a campaign to win power at an early age, he made a treaty with King John of England that year. Llywelyn's relations with John remained good for the next ten years, he married John's natural daughter Joan in 1205, when John arrested Gwenwynwyn ap Owain of Powys in 1208, Llywelyn took the opportunity to annex southern Powys. In 1210, relations deteriorated, John invaded Gwynedd in 1211. Llywelyn was forced to seek terms and to give up all lands east of the River Conwy, but was able to recover them the following year in alliance with the other Welsh princes, he allied himself with the barons who forced John to sign Magna Carta in 1215.
By 1216, he was the dominant power in Wales, holding a council at Aberdyfi that year to apportion lands to the other princes. Following King John's death, Llywelyn concluded the Treaty of Worcester with his successor, Henry III, in 1218. During the next fifteen years, Llywelyn was involved in fights with Marcher lords and sometimes with the king, but made alliances with several major powers in the Marches; the Peace of Middle in 1234 marked the end of Llywelyn's military career, as the agreed truce of two years was extended year by year for the remainder of his reign. He maintained his position in Wales until his death in 1240 and was succeeded by his son Dafydd ap Llywelyn. Llywelyn was born about 1173, the son of Iorwerth ab Owain and the grandson of Owain Gwynedd, ruler of Gwynedd until his death in 1170. Llywelyn was a descendant of the senior line of Rhodri Mawr and therefore a member of the princely house of Gwynedd, he was born at Dolwyddelan, though not in the present Dolwyddelan castle, built by Llywelyn himself.
He may have been born in the old castle. Little is known about Iorwerth Drwyndwn, who died when Llywelyn was an infant. There is no record of Iorwerth having taken part in the power struggle between some of Owain Gwynedd's other sons following Owain's death, although he was the eldest surviving son. There is a tradition that he was disfigured in some way that excluded him from power. By 1175, Gwynedd had been divided between two of Llywelyn's uncles. Dafydd ab Owain held the area east of the River Rhodri ab Owain held the west. Dafydd and Rhodri were the sons of Owain by his second marriage to Cristin verch Goronwy; this marriage was not considered valid by the church as Cristin was Owain's first cousin, a degree of relationship which according to Canon law prohibited marriage. Giraldus Cambrensis refers to Iorwerth Drwyndwn as the only legitimate son of Owain Gwynedd. Following Iorwerth's death, Llywelyn was, at least in the eyes of the church, the legitimate claimant to the throne of Gwynedd.
Llywelyn's mother was Marared anglicised to Margaret, daughter of Madog ap Maredudd, prince of Powys. There is evidence that, after her first husband's death, Marared married in the summer of 1197, the nephew of Roger Powys of Whittington Castle with whom she had a son, David ap Gwion. Therefore, some maintain that Marared never married into the Corbet family of Caus Castle and Moreton Corbet Castle. However, there is in existence a grant of land from Llywelyn ab Iorworth to the monastery of Wigmore, in which Llywelyn indicates his mother was a member of the house of Corbet, leaving the issue unresolved. In his account of his journey around Wales in 1188, Giraldus Cambrensis mentions that the young Llywelyn was in arms against his uncles Dafydd and Rhodri; this young man, being only twelve years of age, during the period of our journey, to molest his uncles David and Roderic, the sons of Owen by Christiana, his cousin-german. In 1194, with the aid of his cousins Gruffudd ap Cynan and Maredudd ap Cynan, he defeated Dafydd at the Battle of Aberconwy at the mouth of the River Conwy.
Rhodri died in 1195, his lands west of the Conwy were taken over by Gruffudd and Maredudd while Llywelyn ruled the territories taken from Dafydd east of the Conwy. In 1197, Llywelyn imprisoned him. A year Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, persuaded Llywelyn to release him, Dafydd retired to England where he died in May 1203. Wales was divided into Pura Wallia, the areas ruled by the Welsh princes, Marchia Wallia, ruled by the Anglo-Norman barons. Since the death of Owain Gwynedd in 1170, Rhys ap Gruffydd had made the southern kingdom of Deheubarth the strongest of the Welsh kingdoms, had establ
A motte-and-bailey castle is a fortification with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised earthwork called a motte, accompanied by an enclosed courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade. Easy to build with unskilled forced, but still militarily formidable, these castles were built across northern Europe from the 10th century onwards, spreading from Normandy and Anjou in France, into the Holy Roman Empire in the 11th century; the Normans introduced the design into England and Wales following their invasion in 1066. Motte-and-bailey castles were adopted in Scotland, the Low Countries and Denmark in the 12th and 13th centuries. By the end of the 13th century, the design was superseded by alternative forms of fortification, but the earthworks remain a prominent feature in many countries. A motte-and-bailey castle was made up of two structures, a motte, a type of mound – artificial – topped with a wooden or stone structure known as a keep; the term "motte and bailey" is a modern one, is not medieval in origin.
The word "motte" is the French version of the Latin mota, in France the word motte was an early word for a turf. The word "bailey" comes from basse-cour, referring to a low yard. In medieval sources, the Latin term castellum was used to describe the bailey complex within these castles. One contemporary account of these structures comes from Jean de Colmieu around 1130, describing the Calais region in northern France. De Colmieu described how the nobles would build "a mound of earth as high as they can and dig a ditch about it as wide and deep as possible; the space on top of the mound is enclosed by a palisade of strong hewn logs, strengthened at intervals by as many towers as their means can provide. Inside the enclosure is a citadel, or keep, which commands the whole circuit of the defences; the entrance to the fortress is by means of a bridge, rising from the outer side of the moat and supported on posts as it ascends, reaches to the top of the mound." At Durham Castle, contemporaries described how the motte-and-bailey superstructure arose from the "tumulus of rising earth" with a keep rising "into thin air, strong within and without" with a "stalwart house...glittering with beauty in every part".
Mottes were made out of earth and flattened on top, it can be hard to determine whether a mound is artificial or natural without excavation. Some were built over older artificial structures, such as Bronze Age barrows; the size of mottes varied with these mounds being 3 metres to 30 metres in height, from 30 to 90 metres in diameter. This minimum height of 3 metres for mottes is intended to exclude smaller mounds which had non-military purposes. In England and Wales, only 7% of mottes were taller than 10 metres high. A motte was protected by a ditch around it, which would have been a source of the earth and soil for constructing the mound itself. A keep and a protective wall would be built on top of the motte; some walls would be large enough to have a wall-walk around them, the outer walls of the motte and the wall-walk could be strengthened by filling in the gap between the wooden walls with earth and stones, allowing it to carry more weight. Smaller mottes could only support simple towers with room for a few soldiers, whilst larger mottes could be equipped with a much grander building.
Many wooden keeps were designed with bretèches, or brattices, small balconies that projected from the upper floors of the building, allowing defenders to cover the base of the fortification wall. The early 12th-century chronicler Lambert of Ardres described the wooden keep on top of the motte at the castle of Ardres, where the "first storey was on the surface of the ground, where were cellars and granaries, great boxes, tuns and other domestic utensils. In the storey above were the dwelling and common living-rooms of the residents in which were the larders, the rooms of the bakers and butlers, the great chamber in which the lord and his wife slept... In the upper storey of the house were garret rooms... In this storey the watchmen and the servants appointed to keep the house took their sleep". Wooden structures on mottes could be protected by skins and hides to prevent them being set alight during a siege; the bailey was an enclosed courtyard overlooked by the motte and surrounded by a wooden fence called a palisade and another ditch.
The bailey was kidney-shaped to fit against a circular motte, but could be made in other shapes according to the terrain. The bailey would contain a wide number of buildings, including a hall, kitchens, a chapel, stores, forges or workshops, was the centre of the castle's economic activity; the bailey was linked to the motte either by a flying bridge stretching between the two, or, more popularly in England, by steps cut into the motte. The ditch of the motte and the bailey joined, forming a figure of eight around the castle. Wherever possible, nearby streams and rivers would be dammed or diverted, creating water-filled moats, artificial lakes and other forms of water defences. In practice, there was a wide number of variations to this common design. A castle could have more than one bailey: at Warkworth Castle an inner and an outer bailey was constructed, or alternatively, several baileys could flank the motte, as at Windsor Castle
Criccieth is a town and community on the Llyn peninsula in the Eifionydd area of Gwynedd in Wales. The town lies 5 miles west of Porthmadog, 9 miles east of Pwllheli and 17 miles south of Caernarfon, it had a population of 1,826 in 2001. The town is a seaside resort, popular with families. Attractions include the ruins of Criccieth Castle, which have extensive views over the town and surrounding countryside. Nearby on Ffordd Castell is Cadwalader's Ice Cream Parlour, opened in 1927, whilst Stryd Fawr has several bistro style restaurants. In the centre lies Y Maes, part of the original medieval town common; the town is noted for its fairs, held on 23 May and 29 June every year, when large numbers of people visit the fairground and the market which spreads through many of the streets of the town. Famous people associated with the town include the British prime minister, David Lloyd George, who grew up in the nearby village of Llanystumdwy, poet William George. Group Captain Leslie Bonnet, RAF officer and originator of the Welsh Harlequin Duck and his wife Joan Hutt, artist.
Criccieth hosted the National Eisteddfod in 2003 was granted Fairtrade Town status. It won the Wales in Bloom competition each year from 1999 to 2004; the town styles itself the "Pearl of Wales on the Shores of Snowdonia". The earliest recorded form of the place name Criccieth in Welsh is found in Brut y Tywysogion where reference is made to the imprisonment of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn in the'castle of Cruceith'; the form Cruciaith was used by Iolo Goch in a famous 14th century poem addressed to Sir Hywel y Fwyall, custodian of the castle. There are a number of theories as to the meaning, but the most popular is that it comes from Crug Caeth: caeth may mean'prisoner' and thus the name could mean prisoner's rock, a reference to the imprisonment of one of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth's sons in the castle by his brother. However, caeth has the primary meaning in Middle Welsh of'serf' and the name could refer to a bond community nearby. In medieval times the settlement was known as Treferthyr a reference to Saint Catherine, after whom the parish church is named.
The spelling of Criccieth remains controversial today. Many regard this version as an anglicism, arguing that the Welsh form Cricieth should be used instead. Others argue that Criccieth is an anomaly in the Welsh language, in which there is no double C, that the spelling should be preserved; the dispute has resulted in the vandalising of road signs at the entrance to the town. The area around Criccieth was settled during the Bronze Age, a chambered tomb, Cae Dyni, survives on the coast to the east of the town. Evidence from other sites on the Llŷn Peninsula suggests that the area was colonised by a wave of Celtic settlers, who explored the Irish Sea around the 4th century BC. Ptolemy calls the peninsula Ganganorum Promontorium. Although it is thought that Criccieth Castle was built around 1230 by Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, who had controlled the area since 1202, the first record of the building was in 1239, when the administrative centre of Eifionydd was moved from Dolbenmaen. In the years of his life, Llywelyn turned his attention to his successor.
Welsh law stipulated. On Llywelyn's death in 1240, Dafydd sought to secure his position. Dafydd was half English and feared that his pure Welsh half-brother would be able to gather support to overthrow him. Gruffydd was held prisoner in Criccieth Castle, until he was handed over to Henry III of England in 1241, moved to the Tower of London. Dafydd ap Llywelyn died in 1246, without leaving an heir, was succeeded by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, his nephew. Edward I had inherited the English throne in 1272, in 1276 declared Llywelyn a rebel. By 1277, Edward's armies had captured the Isle of Anglesey, were encamped at Deganwy. Dafydd ap Gruffydd, Llywelyn's younger brother, attacked the English forces at Hawarden in 1282, setting off a widespread rebellion throughout Wales. With the final defeat of Gwynedd, Edward set about consolidating his rule in Wales. Criccieth Castle was extended and reshaped, becoming one of a ring of castles surrounding Edward's newly conquered territories. A township developed to support the garrison and a charter was granted in 1284.
Weekly markets were held on Thursdays and there were annual fairs on 25 April and 18 October, the evangelical feasts of Saint Mark and Saint Luke. The new administration soon proved unpopular among the native Welsh, in 1294, Madog ap Llywelyn led a national revolt against English rule. Criccieth was besieged for several months over the winter.
Montgomery Castle is a stone masonry castle looking over the town of Montgomery in Powys, Mid Wales. It is one of many Norman castles on the border between England; the original motte and bailey is now known as Hen Domen and was built at the order of Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, sometime between 1071 and 1074. On the rebellion of his son Robert of Belleme in 1102, the castle was given to Baldwin de Boulers, it is from Baldwin that Montgomery gets Trefaldwyn. The de Boulers family held the castle until 1215, when the fortress was destroyed by Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth; the motte and bailey was subsequently refortified as an outpost for the new stone castle and survived until around 1300. The rebuilding of Montgomery Castle in stone was commenced in the late summer of 1223 on the 16th birthday of Henry III of England, a mile to the south-east of the original site; the architect of the new castle was Hubert de Burgh, who rebuilt Skenfrith Castle, Grosmont Castle and White Castle in the Welsh Marches.
From 1223 until 1228 masons worked solidly building the entire inner ward, or donjon as it was known, on a great rock above the town of Montgomery. This work consisted of the gatehouse, two D-shaped towers and the apartments which crowded around the curtain wall of the inner ward. After an unsuccessful attack by Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth in 1228, the middle and outer wards were added to the castle; the castle was again attacked in 1233, which resulted in damage to the well tower, which had to be subsequently repaired and re-roofed. Montgomery was granted a Royal Charter by the king in 1227. In 1267 Montgomery was the meeting place for treaty negotiations, where King Henry III granted Llywelyn ap Gruffudd the title of Prince of Wales. Fifteen years in December 1282, the army of Montgomery marched from here to Builth Wells to surprise and kill Llywelyn. After 1295 and the final Welsh War of the thirteenth century, the castle became more of a military backwater and prison than a front-line fortress.
The walled town of Montgomery was attacked by the Welsh forces of Owain Glyndŵr in 1402 and sacked and burned. However, the stone castle fortress held out against the attack. Though the garrison was not large, the design and the men inside did their job; the town walls were not rebuilt, the town remained a ruin for two whole centuries. The town walls have now all but disappeared over the intervening centuries, but the town ditch remains. In September 1644 the 1st Baron Herbert of Chirbury surrendered the castle to Parliamentary troops in the Civil War, it was demolished by order of the Parliament in June 1649 who had referred the matter to the Council of State, despite the plea against demolition by Richard Herbert, the succeeding eldest son of the late Lord Herbert of Cherbury who had died the previous year. The 2nd Baron, the last Herbert to have lived at Montgomery Castle, was buried at Montgomery in 1655. There are permanent exhibitions relating to the medieval Hen Domen and Norman Montgomery Castles and their archaeological excavations with scale models of both in The Old Bell Museum, Powys.
Castles in Great Britain and Ireland List of castles in Wales The Old Bell Museum, Powys. 3D Interactive Model of Montgomery Castle and surrounding area by www.dragonuav.co.uk "Montgomery" at Genealogy and History of the Bowdler Family Remfry, P. M. Montgomery Castle, a royal fortress of King Henry III Anglo-Norman-Castles Video footage of Montgomery / Trefaldwyn Castle www.geograph.co.uk: photos of Montgomery Castle and surrounding area Map sources for Montgomery Castle
Aberystwyth Castle is a Grade I listed Edwardian fortress located in Aberystwyth, Mid Wales. It was built in response to the First Welsh War in the late 13th century, replacing an earlier fortress located a mile to the south. During a national uprising by Owain Glyndŵr, the Welsh captured the castle in 1404, but it was recaptured by the English four years later. In 1637 it became a Royal mint by Charles I, produced silver shillings; the castle was slighted by Oliver Cromwell in 1649. Marcher lord Gilbert de Clare built an earlier Motte and bailey castle a mile south of the current site in around 1110, it was called Aberrheidol Castle and Old Aberystwyth. In 1116 it was sieged by Gruffydd ap Rhys, King of Deheubarth, but his attempt to capture it proved fruitless, he was successful in 1136, capturing it and burning it to the ground with the help of Owain Gwynedd and his brother, Cadwaladr ap Gruffydd, the sons of Gruffudd ap Cynan, King of Gwynedd, since the Norman invaders had killed their sister, Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, Gruffydd ap Rhys's wife.
Owain Gwynedd gave it to Cadwaladr to rebuild, but Cadwaladr's attempt to murder Anarawd ap Gruffydd, the new king of Deheubarth, resulted in Owain Gwynedd sending his son Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd to burn it in 1143. The castle was rebuilt and reinforced with stone. After a succession of at least three owners, it was taken by Welsh prince Llywelyn the Great in 1221. Llywelyn erected a new one in its place; the current castle was rebuilt in its current location by Edward I of England in 1277 after the end of the first war against Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Llywelyn the Great's grandson. The Welsh took the castle in 1282 at the start of the 1282 war and burned both the castle and the town. Under master mason James of St George, the castle was completed in 1289, though it was sieged extensively during the revolt of Madog ap Llywelyn in 1294-5; the town of Aberystwyth was flourishing by 1307. However, by the time of the Black Prince in 1343 the castle was in a bad state of disrepair. In 1404, Owain Glyndŵr captured the castle during a national uprising against English occupation.
There would be a treaty signed between the King of France at the Castle. Four years it was retaken by the English, became an important seat of the government. In 1637 Charles I turned the castle into a Royal mint, it became a producer of silver shillings; the mint's operator raised a regiment of Royalist soldiers during the English Civil War. The mint served as a warehouse for storing silver and lead. Oliver Cromwell slighted the castle in 1649. Building work started in 1277 at the time of the First Welsh War, it was begun during Edward I's first Welsh campaign at the same time as work started at Flint and Builth Wells. The inner ward was built in a diamond-shaped concentric castle, with a twin D-shaped gatehouse keep and mural towers at each corner; the outer ward is described as consisting of a "twin D-shaped gatehouse, a barbican, a rock-cut ditch and a large curtain wall with towers". Castles in Great Britain and Ireland List of castles in Wales Aberystwyth Castle at Castlewales.com
The Anglo-Normans were the medieval ruling class in England, composed of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons and French, following the Norman conquest. A small number of Normans had earlier befriended future Anglo-Saxon King of England, Edward the Confessor, during his exile in his mother's homeland of Normandy; when he returned to England some of them went with him, so there were Normans settled in England prior to the conquest. Following the death of Edward, the powerful Anglo-Saxon noble, Harold Godwinson, acceded to the English throne until his defeat by William, Duke of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings; the invading Normans came from the duchy of Normandy in the kingdom of France. They formed a ruling class in Britain, distinct from the native populations. Over time their language evolved from the continental Old Norman to the distinct Anglo-Norman language. Anglo-Normans established control over all of England, as well as parts of Wales. After 1130, parts of southern and eastern Scotland came under Anglo-Norman rule, in return for their support of David I's conquest.
The Norman conquest of Ireland in 1169 saw Anglo-Normans settle vast swaths of Ireland, becoming the Hiberno-Normans. The composite expression regno Norman-Anglorum for the Anglo-Norman kingdom that comprises Normandy and England appears contemporaneously only in the Hyde Chronicle; the Norman conquest of England, being a conquest by a people whose tongue and institutions were different from those of the English in many aspects, was an event of an altogether different character from the Danish conquest, a conquest by a people whose tongue was more akin to those of the English, but whose religion was pagan. The English were Catholic and shared this religion with the Normans and they had an influence in England, before the conquest. Furthermore, the relationships between the sailors from both sides of the English channel had maintained a certain common culture; the Normans were not a homogeneous group springing from Scandinavian stock, but hailed from a region of France known as Normandy. The Normans who invaded England did it with a strong contingent from a wide cross-section of north western and central France, from Maine, Brittany, Poitou and "France", altogether non-Norman men accounted for more than a quarter of the army at Hastings.
In terms of culture, they represented the Northern French civilisation, who only spoke French and other Langues d'oïl. The Norman settlers felt no community with the earlier Danish settlers, despite the fact that the Normans were themselves descendants of the Danish Vikings. However, in their own army, they did not feel any sense of community with the Poitou, the Bretons, other groups that had different dialects and traditions; the association between these different troops was only occasional and corresponds to an immediate necessity for the Norman ruler. In fact, the Normans met with the steadiest resistance in a part of England, the most influenced by the Danish. Ousting the Danish leaders who conquered parts of England and provided some of the stiffest resistance to the Normans, replacing the powerful English territorial magnates, while co-opting the most powerful of them, the Normans imposed a new political structure, broadly termed "feudal". Many of the English nobles lost titles. A number of free geburs had their rights and court access much decreased, becoming unfree villeins, despite the fact that this status did not exist in Normandy itself.
At the same time, many of the new Norman and Northern-France magnates were distributed lands by the King, taken from the English nobles. Some of these magnates used their original French-derived names, with the prefix'de,' meaning they were lords of the old fiefs in France, some instead dropped their original names and took their names from new English holdings; the Norman conquest of England brought Britain and Ireland into the orbit of the European continent what remained of Roman-influenced language and culture. If the earlier Anglo-Saxon England was tied to local traditions, the England emerging from the Conquest owed a debt to the Romance languages and the culture of ancient Rome, not so important before the Conquest, but was maintained at a high level by the English Catholic Church and the clerks of England, it transmitted itself in the emerging feudal world. That heritage can be discerned in language, incorporating shards of the French language and the Roman past, in architecture, in the emerging Romanesque architecture, in a new feudal structure erected as a bulwark against the chaos that overtook the Continent following the collapse of Roman authority and the subsequent Dark Ages.
The England that emerged from the Conquest was a decidedly different place, but one, opened up to the sweep of outside influences. The Norman conquest of England signalled a revolution in military styles and methods; the old Anglo-Saxon military elite began to emigrate the generation next younger to that defeated at Hastings, who had no particular future in a country controlled by the conquerors. William, encouraged them to leave, as a security measure; the first to leave went to Denmark and many of these mo