Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

GRUFFYDD ab GWENWYNWYN (d. 1286?), lord of Cyveiliog, Upper Powys, or, as it was called from his father, Powys Gwenwynwyn, was the son of Gwenwynwyn [q. v.], the son of Owain Cyveiliog, by his wife, Margaret Corbet. The expulsion of his father from his dominions by Llewelyn, son of Iorwerth, led to Gruffydd's being brought up in England, where in 1218 his father died. He was supported by a charge on the revenues of his estates, which remained in Llewelyn's hands, by the dower of his mother's English estates, and by occasional grants from the exchequer, as for example in 1224, when he received half a mark because he was sick (Rot. Lit. Claus. i. 583). Llewelyn kept Cyveiliog in his hands until his death in 1240, though after 1233 Gruffydd and his followers seem to have frequented the king's border castles. In 1241 Gruffydd paid a fine of three hundred marks to the king and obtained the seisin of all his father's estates, doing homage for them to Henry alone, so that he held as a baron of the king, and was independent of the princes of Gwynedd (Excerpta e Rot. Finium, i. 350; Annales Cambriæ, s.a. 1241). In the same year he acted as a surety for Senena, wife of Gruffydd ab Llewelyn, in her agreement with Henry III (Matt. Paris, Hist. Major, iv. 318, ed. Luard).

In 1244 Gruffydd was one of the three Welsh magnates who alone remained faithful to the king when Davydd ab Llewelyn [see Davydd II, 1208-1246] revolted. He was besieged in his castle of Walwar, and though steadfast himself was much afraid that his followers would desert to Prince Davydd (Shirley, Royal Letters, ii. 38). In 1247, after Davydd's death, Gruffydd led a South Welsh army over the Dyvi to ravage Gwynedd (Ann. Cambriæ, s. a. 1247).

Gruffydd's fidelity to the English king involved him similarly in conflicts with Llewelyn ab Gruffydd, and brought him more privileges and grants from the crown. After Prince Edward's officers had enraged the Welsh princes by their attempt to introduce the English system of administration, Llewelyn marched against Gruffydd, and in 1256 deprived him of nearly all his lands (Brut y Tywysogion, p. 343). In 1257 he lost his territories altogether (ib. p. 345), and took refuge in England, where in 1260 he was summoned, doubtless for his English estates, to serve against Llewelyn (Fœdera, i. 399). But the English connection had done Gruffydd very little good, and he was also involved in a long and troublesome suit with his kinsman Thomas Corbet of Caus, for the possession of Gorddwr. In 1263 he revolted from the king and on bended knee did homage to Llewelyn as prince of Wales (Annales Cambriæ s. a.), receiving in return some additional grants of territory. He at once besieged Mold, in the interest of his new lord. In 1267, when the mediation of the legate Ottobon put an end to the war, Gruffydd was recognised by Henry III as a vassal of Llewelyn, but was not required to restore any land which he had held when with the king (Fœdera, i. 474).

Gruffydd was not long contented as a vassal of the prince of Wales. In 1274 Llewelyn upbraided him for his deceit and disloyalty, took from him part of his land, and kept his eldest son Owain at his court (Brut y Tywysogion, s. a.) In 1276 Gruffydd and Owain joined with Davydd, Llewelyn's brother [see Davydd III, d. 1283], in a conspiracy against Llewelyn (Fœdera, i. 532). But the prince found out the plot, and Owain was forced to confess before the Bishop of Bangor. Llewelyn sent five of his nobles to Gruffydd, who at first received them well at Pool Castle, his chief residence. But he soon treacherously shut them up in prison and prepared his castle for a siege. Llewelyn now overran Powys; but the king's campaign in 1277 compelled him to relinquish his conquests, and Gruffydd was again restored. Henceforth Gruffydd remained faithful to King Edward. Fresh lawsuits broke out between him and Llewelyn, which were soon referred to the sword. The fall of Llewelyn left him no longer any temptation to do more than play the part of an English baron. He secured a royal charter in 1282 for a weekly market at his town of Welshpool, which had been previously suppressed as likely to injure the king's town of Montgomery. In 1283 he was summoned to the council which tried his former ally, Davydd, at Shrewsbury (Fœdera, i. 630).

He died some time after 27 Feb. 1286. His career as well as that of his father illustrates very remarkably the process of transition by which Welsh princes became English barons.

Gruffydd had married Hawise, daughter of John L'Estrange of Knockin, some time before 1242. He left by her a numerous family, among whom he distributed his estates by a deed or will, preserved in the Welsh Roll of 6 Edward I ('Rotuli Walliæ,' privately printed by Sir T. Phillips). Owain the eldest had Cyveiliog and Arwystli. Lesser portions were provided for his other sons, Llewelyn, Sion, Gwilym, Davydd, and Gruffydd. He also left a daughter Margaret, who married Fulk Fitzwarren of Whittington (Calendarium Genealogicum, p. 258). Hawise, his wife, died in 1310. His heir, Owain of Pool, as he was generally called, died in 1293, leaving his son and heir, Gruffydd, only two years old. On the latter's death, before he came of age, Powys went to his sister, Hawise Gadarn, who in 1309 married John Charlton [q. v.], first lord Charlton of Powys.

[Brut y Tywysogion; Annales Cambriæ; Matthew Paris, Hist. Major; Shirley's Royal Letters, all in Rolls Ser.; Rymer's Fœdera, vol. i. Record ed.; Rotuli Litterarum Clausarum et Patentium, Rotuli Chartarum, Rotuli de Liberate, Record editions. The facts are all collected in Bridgeman's Princes of Upper Powys in the Montgomeryshire Collections of the Powysland Club, i. 22-50, 112-68; Eyton's Shropshire, especially vol. vii.]

T. F. T.