The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr

The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr

The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr

The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr

Synopsis

Owain Glyn Dwr is the most commanding figure in the history of Wales, His revolt (1400-1409) gave the people of Wales a glimpse of their country as an independent state. Written by Britain's leading medieval historian, this is the first scholarly book for over fifty years to present Owain and his revolt to a general audience. It will appeal to those who are fascinated by national heroes in all periods and is of particular interest to those who are intrigued by this most famous movement in the history of Wales, and by the mystery surrounding its remarkable leader.

Excerpt

On 27 October 1916 David Lloyd George, then Secretary of State for War but within a few weeks to be Prime Minister, unveiled eleven statues of distinguished figures from the Welsh past which had been commissioned to be placed in the City Hall at Cardiff, itself a building opened ten years earlier. One of his Welshmen--for with the anomalous exception of Boudicca they were all men--now immortalized in the finest statuary marble in the headquarters of the putative capital of twentieth-century Wales was Owain Glyn Dŵr. His statue was the work of Alfred Turner, who had already designed statues of Queen Victoria at Sheffield, North Shields, and Delhi and of King Edward VII at Lyallpur, India. It was a nice irony that the chisel which once had etched three statues of the Empress of India should now do similar service for that 'most profligate rebel', as Owain Glyn Dŵr was called in the sixteenth century. But the commemorative unveiling of October 1916 had a further significance: it brought together the two most famous Welshmen, arguably, in the history of Wales--Owain Glyn Dŵr and David Lloyd George. Both have suffered from a surfeit of books about them; so the appearance of yet another--albeit an account of the revolt of Glyn Dŵr rather than a biography of the man--calls for some justification.

Personal piety is one reason. I was brought up in Glyn Dŵr country. My home lay only a few miles from Glyndyfrdwy, the village from which he took his cognomen; my father in his youth walked over the Berwyn mountains to Llansilin, much as Glyn Dŵr and his entourage centuries earlier traversed the same mountains as they travelled from Glyndyfrdwy to his other manor of Sycharth, likewise in the parish of Llansilin; my mother told me tales of caves and tunnels associated with Glyn Dŵr in our locality and was impatient with my scepticism about their authenticity. This book may not, in Thomas Carlyle's words, have 'come out hot from my own soul'; but it would be idle to deny that local affection, for the neighbourhood and its people, have in part prompted me to write it. Indeed, unfashionable as are such sentiments in the austere world of academic historiography, I proudly affirm that this is so.

But I had my academic reasons for writing this book also. First, I was anxious to place Owain Glyn Dŵr and his revolt firmly in the context of contemporary society in Wales and indeed beyond, for it is this context alone which makes his revolt and the remarkable degree of support it enjoyed comprehensible. Secondly, I wanted to bring the detailed scholarly work of historians who have written about Owain and his revolt since the appearance of J. E. Lloyd's classic . . .

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