Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The monument to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan at Llandovery

Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan of Caeo (c. 1341 – 1401) was a wealthy Carmarthenshire landowner who was executed in Llandovery by Henry IV of England in punishment for his support of Owain Glyndwr's Welsh rebellion.

Until recently Llewelyn was little known even in his home area, but has become celebrated as a "Welsh Braveheart" after a campaign to construct a monument to him in Llandovery.

Life[edit]

The main source for Llewelyn's life is Adam of Usk, who mentions him in his Chronicle as a "bountiful" member of the Carmarthenshire gentry who used "fifteen pipes of wine" yearly in his household (implying he was both wealthy and a generous host). He continues by stating that as a result of Llewelyn's support for the rebellion, Henry had him drawn, hung, beheaded and quartered before the gate of Llandovery castle on October 9th, 1401 "in the presence of his eldest son" (it is slightly unclear whether Adam is referring to Henry's son or Llewelyn's son at this point).[1] After his death his lands were granted to one of Henry's supporters, Gruffydd ap Rhys.[2]

A more detailed version of the story suggests that Llewelyn was specifically charged with having deliberately led the English forces the wrong way while pretending to guide them to Glyndwr.[3] Adam however states only that Llewelyn "willingly preferred death to treachery".[1] Llewelyn is also thought to have had two sons fighting in Glyndwr's forces.

While Llewelyn undoubtedly existed, concrete details of his life are scant (it has been stated that all that is known of him is "his name, his politics and his alcohol consumption").[4] However, his name and ancestry may be recorded in genealogies: for example Lewys Dwnn's Heraldic Visitations lists "Llywelyn, Tomas [and] Morgan meibion [sons of] Gwilim ap Llewelyn ap Gruffydd vachan ap Dafydd vongam ap David ap Meurig goch"[5] as holding Mallaen in the parish of Caeo, and traces the family back to Selyf, King of Dyfed. Dwnn also suggests that Llewelyn's wife was Sioned, daughter of one of the Scudamores of Kentchurch, and identifies his sons as Gwilym (of Llangadog) and Morgan.[6] His father Gruffydd Fychan (described as "lord of Caeo and Cilycwm")[7] was recorded as holding the constableship of Caeo in 1359 for the sum of £8 per annum;[8] Gruffydd's wife (and therefore Llewelyn's mother) was said to have been Jonnett, daughter of Gruffydd ap Llewelyn Foethus of Dryslwyn Castle.[7]

Llewelyn's (probable) grandson, Llewelyn ap Gwilym ap Llewelyn, was said by Edward Lhuyd to have lived at the mansion of Neuadd Fawr at Cilycwm, where his "motto over his door was Gresso pan dhelech, a chennad pan vynnech, a phan dhelech tra vynnecli trig"[9]

Statue[edit]

A campaign was started in 1998 in Llandovery to construct a monument to Lelwelyn; financial support came both from the community and the Arts Council of Wales. After an exhibition of proposed designs in 2000, a public vote chose a submission by Toby and Gideon Petersen of St Clears.[10]

The 16-foot-tall (4.9 m) stainless steel statue, a figure with an empty helmet, cloak and armour stands on a base of stone brought from Caeo. Petersen described the statue as representing a "brave nobody", with the empty helmet and armour representing both the universal nature of Llewelyn's actions and the violence of his death.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sir Edward M Thompson (ed) Chronicon Adæ de Usk, J. Murray, 1876, p.192
  2. ^ The National Library of Wales journal, Volume 21, 1980, p. 3
  3. ^ Seward, D. Henry V: the scourge of God, 1988, p.16
  4. ^ a b Welsh Braveheart walks tall again, Daily Telegraph, 16/10/2001
  5. ^ Lewys Dwnn, Heraldic visitations of Wales and part of the Marches, vol I, 1846
  6. ^ Dwnn, p.230
  7. ^ a b Rowland, J. The pedigree of the ancient family of Dolau Cothi, 1877, p.10
  8. ^ Griffiths, R. A. The Principality of Wales in the later Middle Ages: v II, the Structure and Personnel of Government, UWP, 1972, p.66
  9. ^ Lhuyd, quoted in Fenton, R. Tours in Wales (1804–1813), p.343
  10. ^ Llewelyn's Memorial, BBC South West Wales

Further sources[edit]

"The Last Mab Darogan: The Life and Times of Owain Glyn Dŵr", C Parry, (Novasys, 2010), ISBN 978-0-9565553-0-4, pp. 105–7.

External links[edit]