1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/David (Welsh princes)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

DAVID, the name of three Welsh princes.

David I. (d. 1203), a son of Prince Owen Gwynedd (d. 1169), came into prominence as a leader of the Welsh during the expedition of Henry II. in 1157. In 1170 he became lord of Gwynedd (i.e. the district around Snowdon), but some regarded him as a bastard, and Gwynedd was also claimed by other members of his family. After fighting with varying fortunes he sought an ally in the English king, whom he supported during the baronial rising in 1173; then after this event he married Henry’s half-sister Emma. But his enemies increased in power, and about 1194 he was driven from Wales by the partisans of his half-brother Llewelyn ab Iorwerth. The chronicler Benedictus Abbas calls David rex, and Rhuddlan castle was probably the centre of his vague authority.

DAVID II. (c. 1208–1246) was a son of the great Welsh prince, Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, and through his mother Joanna was a grandson of King John. He married an English lady, Isabella de Braose, and, having been recognized as his father’s heir both by Henry III. and by the Welsh lords, he had to face the hostility of his half-brother Gruffydd, whom he seized and imprisoned in 1239. When Llewelyn died in April 1240, David, who had already taken some part in the duties of government, was acknowledged as a prince of North Wales, doing homage to Henry III. at Gloucester. However, he was soon at variance with the English king, who appears .to have espoused the cause of the captive Gruffydd. Henry’s Welsh campaign in 1241 was bloodless but decisive. Gruffydd was surrendered to him; David went to London and made a full submission, but two or three years later he was warring against some English barons on the borders. To check the English king he opened negotiations with Innocent IV., doubtless hoping that the pope would recognize Wales as an independent state, but here, as on the field of battle, Henry III. was too strong for him. Just after Henry’s second campaign in Wales the prince died in March 1246.

DAVID III. (d. 1283) was a son of Gruffydd and thus a nephew of David II. His life was mainly spent in fighting against his brother, the reigning prince, Llewelyn ab Gruffydd. His first revolt took place in 1254 or 1255, and after a second about eight years later he took refuge in England, returning to Wales when Henry III. made peace with Llewelyn in 1267. Then about 1274 the same process was repeated. David attended Edward I. during the Welsh expedition of 1277, receiving from the English king lands in North Wales; but in 1282 he made peace with Llewelyn and suddenly attacked the English garrisons, a proceeding which led to Edward’s final conquest of Wales. After Llewelyn’s death in December 1282 David maintained the last struggle of the Welsh for independence. All his efforts, however, were vain; in June 1283 he was betrayed to Edward, was tried by a special court and sentenced to death, and was executed with great barbarity at Shrewsbury in October 1283. As the last native prince of Wales, David’s praises have been sung by the Welsh bards, but his character was not attractive, and a Welsh historian says “his life was the bane of Wales.”