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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Llywelyn of Wales

On this date in our family history . . . the 11th day of April . . . in the year 1240 . . . Llywelyn of Wales dies at Aberconwy Abbey in Wales . . . Llywelyn the Great (Welsh Llywelyn Fawr), full name Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, was a Prince of Gwynedd in North Wales & eventually de facto ruler over most of Wales . . . this Llywelyn is a 21st great-grandpa to our Josephine (1842-1899) . . .

A popular history of the ancient Britons or the Welsh people from the earliest times to the end of the nineteenth century By John Evans: "especially the extent of territory seized by Davydd were probably exaggerated but the fact of dissensions was real Llewelyn died on the 11th of April in the year 1240 after the long reign of fifty six years He left two children by his first wife Tangwystl namely "
. . . The life of Llewelyn was now drawing to a close, and he wished to establish with Henry a permanent peace, and for this purpose he offered to place himself under his protection, and to hold his dominions as a fief of the English crown. Llewelyn was old and infirm, and was afflicted with paralysis. His days of warfare were thus ended. Under these circumstances, Davydd unwisely seized a great portion of the lands belonging to his brother Gruffydd, leaving him only the cantrev of Lleyn in Carnarvonshire. This led to dissensions, and to prevent further conflicts the bishop of Bangor arranged for a meeting of the two brothers. On the way to the place of meeting Gruffydd was arrested under the orders of Davydd, and imprisoned in the castle of Criccieth. This led to a civil war in North Wales. The particulars here mentioned, especially the extent of territory seized by Davydd, were probably exaggerated, but the fact of dissensions was real. Llewelyn died on the 11th of April in the year 1240, after the long reign of fifty-six years. He left two children by his first wife, Tangwystl, namely, Gruffydd and a daughter, Gwladys, who became the wife of Sir Ralph Mortimer, nephew and heir to the earl of Chester. By his second wife, Joan, he had one son, Davydd, who succeeded him. Thus ended the career of Llewelyn ab Iorwerth -- the most valiant of Welsh princes. "He brought all Wales to his subjection, and often put his enemies to flight and defended his country." He possessed the requisite qualities for a great warrior and a great prince. Of his greatness there can be no doubt, but of his personal goodness not much can be said. The goodness of ancient princes was made to consist of contributions to the Church and patronage of the priests, not in the possession and exhibition of the tender, pure, and lofty moral principles of the gospel. He must be judged by the character of his age, which was warlike, cruel, and corrupt. In the higher moral qualities he was equal to those of his times. As a patriot and a leader of men in peace and in war, he was the first of his age. Because of these qualities he was given the illustrious title of Llewelyn the Great, and it is under this title that he is known in history. His remains were interred in the abbey of Conway with much honour and amidst the lamentation of his people. . . .

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