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Owain Glyndwr Associated Sites

Glyndyfrdwy, Sycharth


The Battle of Bryn Glas

Photograph of Glyndyfrdwy copyright © 2006 by Jeffrey L. Thomas
Photographs of Pilleth copyright © 1997 by Vicky Newell

Below you will find photographs of sites that are associated with Welsh patriot Owain Glyndwr. The first two photos show Owain Glyndwr's Mount, near Glyndyfrdwy. The tree-covered mound is reputed to be the site of Glyndwr's house, where he raised his standard of revolt against the English in Wales on 16 September 1400. Below are photos of the motte and bailey here.  Author Ralph Maud, writing in his book Guide to Welsh Wales says that the site of the house is not absolutely certain, but September 16th "will no doubt (one day) become recognized as a national holiday in Wales."


Helen Burnham

Owain Glyndwr's Mound, which occupies a commanding position overlooking the Dee valley, is 6.5m high, 36m across the base and 12m at the top, with a ditch 1m deep on its west and south-west, towards the road. It is probably a motte, although no bailey has been traced. Its active life would have been well before Glyndwr's rising in the early 15th century; in the same field, however, not visible from the road, is a moated site, destroyed in 1403, with well-attested connections with the hero. It is not known when the property came into his family's hands.

From the Cadw plaque at the site located at the base of the motte:

Near this spot at his manor of Glyndyfrdwy, Owain Glyn Dwr proclaimed himself Prince of Wales on 16th Sept 1400, so beginning his 14 yr rebellion against English rule. This mount, known locally at Owain Glyndwrs Mount, is actually the remains of a 12th century castle motte built to command the route through the Dee Valey. Like the motte nearby at Sycharth, it may have continued in use until the late 14th Century but Owain's manor is likely to have been in the square moated area across the field. This would have been defended by a water filled moat, pallisade and gate.


Below (2): view of the tree-covered motte at Glyndyfrdwy, and view of the bailey from the summit of the motte.


Sycharth Castle

Richard Williams

Six hundred years ago this was the noblest house in all of Wales, and between 1400 and May 1403 it was more. It was the focal point of a people who were enjoying, for one of the few brief instants in history, their existence as a nation. It was the home of Owain Glyndwr, their prince. (depicted at right)

Before emerging as the leader of the struggle for Welsh independence against the English Crown, as personified by King Henry IV, Glyndwr had served the latter's predecessor, Richard II, with some distinction. This service was befitting of an uchelwr, a stratum of minor nobles that the Anglo-Norman colonial administration of Wales chose to allow to develop following Edward I's subjugation of the country.

The plateaus of both the motte and the bailey, together with the complete outer perimeter of the structure were encircled by wooden palisades and the two main areas were connected by a drawbridge. The strategic concept of the design was that a besieged company could retire to the more heavily fortified motte and await relief. The summit of the motte, too, was the site of the manorial hall, the residence of the lord and his immediate household. The bailey, meanwhile, was where many of the services which met that household's needs were located. Understandably, it was also the zone of initial defence of the castle's community.





The Battle of Bryn Glas

One of Glyndwr's most important early successes was his victory at Pilleth where he met and defeated an army led by Edmund Mortimer (his future son-in-law). The battle took place on St Alban's day, 22 June 1402 reportedly on a hillside known as Bryn Glas, just to the left of the church shown in the photo below left. Again, according to Ralph Maud it is more likely that "the battle took place nearby on the flats behind the river Lugg." Mortimer was captured and eventually became an important ally of Glyndwr. Bodies of those slain in battle were brought to the church burial ground, "to be discovered by a plowman five hundred years later" (Maud). The tall trees in the photo to the right indicate the location of the mass grave.



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Copyright © 2009 by Jeffrey L. Thomas