Llywelyn ab Gruffydd (DNB00)
LLYWELYN ab GRUFFYDD (d. 1282), prince of Wales, was the second son of Gruffydd ab Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (d. 1244) [q. v.] and his wife Senena (Matt. Paris, Hist. Major, v. 718). Llywelyn ab Iorwerth [q. v.] was his grandfather. On his father's death in 1244, Llywelyn and his brothers became the heirs of their father's claims on the principality of Wales, then ruled by their uncle, Davydd ab Llywelyn [see Davydd II]. Llywelyn and his elder brother Owain (surnamed Owain Goch, that is Owain the Red) do not appear to have shared with their younger brothers, Rhodri and Davydd, the English prison, in escaping from which their father lost his life. But in March 1246 their uncle Davydd died without issue. Davydd had always been suspected from his English connections, and the Welsh nobles now joyfully turned to his nephews as full Welshmen both on their father's and mother's side, and the natural representatives of the patriotic tradition. After the local custom, and by the advice of the 'good men,' Llywelyn and Owain now made an equal division of their territories. But the English seneschal of Carmarthen seized this opportunity to take possession of the southern dependencies of the principality, then directly ruled by Maelgwn Vychan, who fled to Gwynedd and sought the protection of the two brothers. This involved the prospect of hostilities with Henry III, and on the seneschal's approach to Deganwy, Owain and Llywelyn took to the hills. A reconciliation was, however, soon effected. Llywelyn and Owain went to Woodstock and performed homage to Henry III, whereupon, on 30 April 1247, Henry signed a convention in which he pardoned them their rebellion (Fœdera, i. 267). The terms exacted testify their weakness. All the lands to the east of the Conway—including the four cantreds of Perveddwlad—went to the king. The advances of the royal officials in the south were not checked, and Maelgwn recovered only a fragment of his former heritage. Snowdon and Anglesey alone remained to the sons of Gruffydd (Worcester Annals, p. 438). It was a virtual undoing of the great work of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth. The princes of Wales were again confined to the highlands of Gwynedd.
For the next few years there was peace upon the borders. In 1248 Henry allowed Owain and Llywelyn to transfer the body of their father from the Tower to Aberconway Abbey (Brut y Tywysogion, p. 335). The princes of Gwynedd were too weak to be able to do Henry much harm, and soon quarrelled with each other. Llywelyn, though the younger, was certainly more able and energetic than Owain, and showed such an ascendency as to provoke universal jealousy among the Welsh chieftains. Owain was the first to revolt, having now the support of the younger brother, Davydd. In 1254 open war broke out between Llywelyn and his brothers. A pitched battle was fought at Bryn Derwyn, where, after an hour's hard fighting, Llywelyn prevailed. Owain Goch was taken prisoner, and remained in confinement until 1277. Davydd fled to England, leaving Llywelyn sole ruler of Gwynedd.
Llywelyn now aspired to win back for himself the position which had been attained by Llywelyn ab Iorwerth. Upon the death of his vassal, Maredudd, he took Meirionydd into his own hands. Such acts excited the alarm of the petty Welsh chieftains. The Welsh leaders in South Wales began to fear him. Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn [q. v.], lord of Cyveiliog or Upper Powys, sought protection from him by allying himself with the English. But more formidable to Llywelyn's power was the new departure which took place at the English court. In 1254 Henry III granted his firstborn son, Edward, on his marriage, the earldom of Chester and all the lands held by the crown in Wales. This included not only the four cantreds of Perveddwlad, but also those southern districts between the Dovey and Carmarthen Bay in which, since the times of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, the rule of the lords of Gwynedd had gone on side by side with that of the lords-marchers and the royal officials. The bailiffs of the young earl at once wished to show his power. In 1255 they made a survey of the lands and castles in Gwynedd, aiming apparently at the subjection of the four cantreds to the jurisdiction of the palatine authorities at Chester. In 1256 the violent Geoffrey of Langley, Edward's agent in the south, strove to set up a shire system with English laws at the expense of Welsh local customs (Dunstaple Annals, p. 200; Matt. Paris, Hist. Major, v. 613). This resulted in the first faint beginnings of the counties of Carmarthen and Cardigan.
Loud complaints at once arose among the Welsh tenants, who had accepted unwillingly the rule of English lords, and, disregarding the proffered mediation of Richard of Cornwall (Matt. Paris, v. 613), Llywelyn at once championed their grievances. In 1256 he invaded Perveddwlad, spreading desolation to the gates of Chester (Bermondsey Annals, p. 461). Within a week he had subdued the whole district except the castles of Deganwy and Diserth. He next marched south to Llanbadarnvawr, the northern stronghold of the new county of Cardigan. There he boldly granted to his vassal, Maredudd ab Owain [q. v.], that part of Ceredigion which belonged to Edward, and the district of Builth, which was held by the Mortimers (Brut y Tywysogion, p. 343). He then drove his cousin, Roger Mortimer, out of Gwrthrynion, and, early in 1257, expelled Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn from Powys, forcing the latter to take refuge in England, though the L'Estranges and other border families had already come to his help. Meanwhile a severe struggle had been proceeding in the south, and in Lent 1257 Llywelyn marched into Deheubarth (South Wales) to help his struggling allies there. He spent most of Lent on the borders of the Bristol Channel, burning the lands of the English lords of Kidwelly, Gower, and Swansea, and returning before Easter laden with booty to the north, after either subduing all the south Welsh or being accepted voluntarily as a deliverer. But on his departure some of the Welsh again joined the English, and the purposeless strife raged as before. Stephen Bausan, Edward's deputy, was slain in battle.
All the plans of Edward, whose father had been unable or unwilling to send him help, were shattered both in the east and north by Llywelyn's activity. In March 1257 Llywelyn entered into a league with the nobles of Scotland against Henry (Fœdera, i. 370). At last, in the summer of that year, Henry himself accompanied Edward in a formal expedition to North Wales, remaining in the country from 1 Aug. to 8 Sept. (Liber de Antiquis Legibus, p. 29; Matt. Paris, v. 639, 645, 648), and only advancing as far as Deganwy or Gannock. He never crossed the Conway, and therefore did not in effect invade Llywelyn's dominions at all. Henry lingered at Deganwy, hoping for the arrival of a large force of Irish light infantry, without whose support it would have been hopeless for the English men-at-arms to penetrate the trackless wilderness of Snowdon. But the Irish never came, and Henry, after strengthening the castles, returned to England, leaving the open country again the prey of Llywelyn's assaults. Llywelyn closely followed up the retreat of the king, cutting off stragglers (ib. v. 651). Next year the barons could not be persuaded to undertake a second campaign. In June 1258 a truce for one year was signed, reserving for Henry the right of communication with Diserth and Deganwy, and practically abandoning Perveddwlad to Llywelyn (Fœdera, i. 372). But almost immediately complaints arose of its violation (ib. i. 374, 377). The border struggle continued. Llywelyn still had to contend against rival Welsh chieftains and hostile marcher lords, though men were already marvelling how, despite the ancient animosities of north and south Wales, Llywelyn managed to bring the Welsh together under his sway (Matt. Paris, v. 645). Matthew Paris himself condemns the treachery of the marchers (ib. v. 717), and commends the vigour, courage, and patriotism of the Welsh prince. In 1258 a body of Welsh lords had bound themselves by oath to uphold Llywelyn. But one of them, Maredudd ab Rhys, soon went against him. Accordingly, at Whitsuntide 1259 Llywelyn, with the advice of his nobles, condemned Maredudd ab Rhys for treason, and imprisoned him until Christmas at Criccieth, when he was released on leaving his son a hostage and putting his stronghold of Dinevwr, the traditional capital of the south Welsh kings, into the hands of the lord of Gwynedd. At Michaelmas, Llywelyn sent the Bishop of Bangor to England on a vain attempt to make peace with the king (Flores Hist. ii. 435). In January 1260 Llywelyn overran the region round about Builth, and thence marched on a fruitless raid into the south, reaching as far as Tenby. Later on he took Builth Castle from Roger Mortimer, owing to the treachery of some of the garrison. On 30 July Mortimer was acquitted by the king of any blame in the matter (Fœdera, i. 398). After the dispute of king and barons had been settled by the Provisions of Oxford, summonses were issued on 1 Aug. for the feudal levies to assemble at Shrewsbury and Chester to fight against Llywelyn (ib. i. 398-9); while Archbishop Boniface of Canterbury threatened Llywelyn with excommunication if he did not make restitution for the lands he had conquered. But there was no solid result from these renewed threats. In August 1260 the divided English government consented to the renewal of the truce for two years. Llywelyn claimed under its provisions the right of carrying on war against all the marchers who refused to accept its conditions, without incurring the blame of violating his agreement with the king (Annales Cambriæ, p. 99).
After two years of comparative quiet the disputes were renewed early in 1262 (Fœdera, i. 414, 420). In July there was a rumour in England that Llywelyn was dead, and Henry summoned an army to meet at Shrewsbury (ib. i. 420). In November some Welsh subjects of Roger Mortimer in Melenydd rose in revolt, and called upon Llywelyn to protect them from the new castle of Cevnllys, which their English lord was building within their borders. Llywelyn came with an army, captured Cevnllys, Bleddva, and Cnwclas castles, and received the homages of the men of Melenydd (Annales Cambriæ, p. 100; Brut y Tywysogion, p. 349; Worcester Annals, p. 447). Thence he marched into the lordship of Brecon, where also he took oaths of fealty from the Welsh part of the population. Satisfied with this great extension of his power, he returned to Gwynedd. But his attack on the Mortimers reopened hostilities all along the marches. Moreover, the Mortimers and most of the marchers were hot partisans of the king against the barons, and Llywelyn consequently threw himself on the baronial side. As the son of Iorwerth had aided the barons in the struggle for Magna Carta, so now did the son of Gruffydd join hands with Simon de Montfort in his struggle with Henry III. Furthermore, Edward, who since 1254 had been the first of the marchers, was now the mainstay of his father's cause, and Llywelyn was thus again in open enmity to the future king of England.
Llywelyn's attack on the Mortimers had excited general consternation. Early in 1263 Peter of Aigueblanche, the Savoyard bishop of Hereford, wrote urgently to King Henry pressing for immediate assistance (Fœdera, i. 423). Henry wrote with equal persistence to his son, bidding him return to England and march against the Welsh (ib.) By April Edward was at Shrewsbury, preparing for an expedition (ib. i. 425). But civil war had already broken out between king and barons, and Edward had no leisure to castigate Llywelyn. Llywelyn readily suppressed a fresh revolt of his brother Davydd [q. v.], who was soon forced to flee to England, and he gained a new ally in his old foe, Gruflydd ab Gwenwynwyn, who did homage to him, and sought with his lord's help to drive the English out of his old territories in Powys. The close alliance with Montfort of Gilbert of Clare (1243-1295) [q. v.],the new earl of Gloucester, and lord of the Glamorgan palatinate, gave Llywelyn a powerful and unwonted support. He was therefore able to take the offensive against Edward with great effect. He again overran the four cantreds of Perveddwlad. Early in August he took the castle of Diserth, near Rhyl. On 29 Sept. the famine-stricken garrison of Deganwy surrendered to Llywelyn the strongest and most famous of the English fortresses in North Wales (Annales Cambria, p. 101; Rishanger, p. 20; Flores Hist. ii. 483). Meanwhile Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn destroyed the castle of Gwyddgrug. Other allies of Llywelyn took the castle of Radnor. Edward, who could hold with difficulty the border fortress of Hay, was forced to make a truce (Wikes, p. 133). In September Henry accepted the truce, though it did not for a moment check the victorious advance of Llywelyn (Fœdera, i. 433).
Early in 1264 the decisive struggle of the barons began. In February Henry sought, by cutting down the bridges over the Severn, to prevent a junction between Montfort and Llywelyn (Bémont, Simon de Montfort, p. 209, from Close Rolls). On 14 May Henry was defeated and taken prisoner by Llywelyn's allies at Lewes. The effect was immediate. 'That year,' says the Welsh chronicler (p. 353), 'the Welsh enjoyed peace from the English, Llywelyn, son of Gruffydd, being prince of all Wales.' In December the lords of the marches rose in revolt against Montfort's government, but the earl easily crushed their rebellion with the aid of Llywelyn. In this campaign Simon ravaged the lands of Roger Mortimer, penetrating as far as Montgomery. In March Montfort received the earldom of Chester, an acquisition which made his connection with Llywelyn doubly important. But on 28 May 1265 the escape of Edward, and his alliance with the Earl of Gloucester, now an open enemy of Simon, renewed the civil war. Edward and Gloucester held the left bank of the Severn, and strove to prevent Montfort, who was at Hereford with the captive king, from crossing the river to carry on the war in England. All depended upon Llywelyn's co-operation. On 22 June the puppet king was forced to sign a convention which, by restoring to Llywelyn large territories, including Maud's castle, Hawarden, Ellesmere, and Montgomery, and granting him the 'Principality,' with the homage of all the Welsh magnates, was to bind him still more closely to the cause of Leicester (Fœdera, i. 457; Waverley Annals, p. 363; Chronicle of Battle Abbey, in Bémont, p. 379). It was probably at this time that the plan of a marriage between Llywelyn and Eleanor, daughter of Simon de Montfort and niece of the king, was first broached (cf. Trivet, p. 294). Llywelyn once more spread desolation amidst the marches. But Montfort, on managing to cross the Severn, shifted the campaign from Wales, and on 3 Aug. 1265 he was slain at Evesham.
The remnants of the baronial party, the 'disinherited,' who still held out against Henry and his son, and soon sank into a little band of bold desperadoes, were congenial allies to Llywelyn, who now renewed with the younger Simon the close connection that he had formed with his father (Worcester Annals, p. 456). In September Llywelyn made so destructive an inroad into Cheshire that the great council at Winchester, where the victorious party was maturing its scheme of vengeance, was postponed for a month (Waverley Annals, p. 366). Henry now sent Maurice Fitzgerald and Hamon L'Estrange [see under Le Strange, John] to act against Llywelyn, while Pope Clement IV warned the Welsh prince of the perils incurred by his soul if he did not renounce his alliance with the excommunicated sons of Simon, and surrender his newly won castles to Edward, who had been restored to his earldom of Chester (Fœdera, i. 461). But Llywelyn chased away Fitzgerald and L'Estrange, and paid no heed to the papal threats, though in December he obtained safe-conducts for his ambassadors sent to meet the papal legate, and again negotiated for a truce (ib. i. 460-7). But with the surrender of Kenilworth almost the last hopes of the Montfort party expired. Yet the bad terms offered by the victors alienated Gilbert of Gloucester from the king, and Llywelyn joined, in April 1267, his old enemy the Earl of Gloucester in his efforts to obtain better terms for the 'disinherited' (Brut y Tywysogion, p. 355). But in June Gloucester submitted, and the extension to the defenders of Ely of the terms of Kenilworth brought the war in England to a conclusion. The papal legate, Ottobon, had long been striving to include Llywelyn in the general pacification. In the late summer Ottobon went with the king to the Welsh marches, and on 21 Sept. he received from Henry a commission to make a truce with Llywelyn on his own terms (Fœdera, i. 473). He persuaded Llywelyn to accept the liberal conditions which he offered him. On Sunday, 25 Sept., was signed at Shrewsbury the first formal treaty of peace that had been arranged for many years between Wales and King Henry (ib. i. 474). By the treaty of Shrewsbury Henry formally granted to Llywelyn the same terms offered to him by Leicester in 1265. The principality of Wales was to be held by him on condition of homage to the crown. But Llywelyn was himself authorised to receive the homage of all the 'Welsh barons' (save Maredudd ab Rhys), so that, except in the marchlands, he became the immediate lord of nearly all Wales, thus effacing the old distinction of north and south. The limits of the principality were liberally defined, and in particular the four cantreds, about which there had been so much fighting, were dissevered from Edward's earldom of Chester and restored to the Prince of Wales. An indemnity of twenty-four thousand marks, payable by instalments,was imposed on Llywelyn. Moreover Davydd, a royalist partisan all through the barons' wars, was fully restored to his old possessions. The whole agreement was ratified by papal authority, and was rightly considered a great triumph for Llywelyn (Brut y Tywysogion, p. 357). On the same 25 Sept. Llywelyn received a safe-conduct to meet the king at Montgomery (Fœdera, i. 473), whither Henry advanced from Shrewsbury. On 29 Sept., at Montgomery, Llywelyn formally ratified the treaty and performed homage to Henry for the principality (ib. i. 474).
During the rest of the reign of Henry III, the only aggression of Llywelyn noticed by the chroniclers was his attack on Caerphilly Castle in October 1270 (Brut y Tywysogion, p. 359). This was the result of a new dispute between him and the Earl of Gloucester ('History of Caerphilly Castle' in Archæologia Cambrensis, new ser. i. 285-90). In consequence of this and similar acts, various commissions were appointed to negotiate for the maintenance of the peace (Fœdera, i. 479, 486). But during this unwonted period of repose Edward revived his old plan for making Cardigan and Carmarthen shire-ground (Deputy-Keeper's Thirty-first Report, p. 11; Carmarthen Charters, p. 47; Rotulus Walliæ, 8 Edw. I, p. 18; the 'Welsh Shires' in Y Cymmrodor, vol. ix. pt. ii. p. 212), and Llywelyn quietly waited an opportunity for retaliation.
In November 1272 Henry III died, and on 20 Nov. Edward I was proclaimed his successor. The absence of the new king on crusade gave Llywelyn his opportunity. On 29 Nov. the regents appointed a commission to receive the oath of fealty due by Llywelyn to the new monarch (Fœdera, i. 498). On the same day Llywelyn was cited to perform homage, and on 2 Dec. was warned that a fresh instalment of his debt to the crown was payable at Christmas. But Llywelyn made no sign. Early in 1273 the commissioners reported his contempt with dismay (ib. i. 499). In the summer Llywelyn busied himself, despite the regents' remonstrance, with building a great castle near the royal stronghold of Montgomery. In September he wrote to the regents informing them that he was uncertain whether he should attend the coronation of the new king. Meanwhile the chronic border troubles assumed the dimensions of a serious violation of the truce, and in April 1274 the regents summoned a meeting at Montgomery to settle various pending disputes (ib. i. 510). But Llywelyn refused satisfaction. In August he obtained from Gregory X an order that he should not be cited anywhere outside of Wales. He still neglected to perform his homage, and actively negotiated with the ruffianly sons of Simon de Montfort, now notorious throughout Christendom for the brutal murder of Henry of Cornwall, or of Almaine [q. v.], at Viterbo. It was arranged that he should marry their sister, Eleanor de Montfort (Ann. Dunstaple, p. 266; Ann. Worcester, p. 470), and thus carry out a long-cherished plan of Earl Simon (Bémont, Simon de Montfort, p. 256). There can be no doubt that Llywelyn thus hoped to revive the Montfort party and policy, and so to provide Edward with an opposition serious enough at home to give him no leisure to deal with the Prince of Wales.
At the same time Llywelyn sought to strengthen his position in the principality by the subjugation or the ejection of rival and over-powerful chieftains. In the spring of 1274 he attacked Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn, upbraiding him in a personal interview for his deceit and treachery, and taking from him Arwystli and those parts of Cyveiliog beyond the Dovey. Moreover, he took Owain, Gruffydd's eldest son, as a hostage into Gwynedd. He also quarrelled anew with his brother Davydd, who now or a year later formed a plot against him [see Davydd III and Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn].
Edward I came back to England on 2 Aug. 1274. Llywelyn did not appear at his coronation on 19 Aug. Accordingly, in November a peremptory mandate was issued summoning him to perform his long-delayed homage at Shrewsbury, and pay to the king the six thousand marks which he owed him (Fœdera, i. 518, 519), but the royal order produced no effect. About the same time Llywelyn completed the degradation of Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn, whose whole territory he subdued with little opposition, forcing Gruffydd to take refuge in England (Brut y Tywysogion, p. 361), whither Davydd fled soon afterwards. In 1275 the war extended to South Wales, where Llywelyn's followers from the vale of Towy fought fiercely against the men of Kidwelly, the tenants of Earl Edmund of Lancaster (Annales Cambriæ, p. 104). Open war was now waged all along the marches, in the course of which Llywelyn's troops gained several successes. Disgusted at Llywelyn's obstinacy, Edward I went early in September to Chester, whence he issued on 10 Sept. a fresh summons to the Welsh prince to perform homage and fealty (Fœdera, i. 528). Llywelyn thereupon gathered together a great meeting of the Welsh chieftains. By the 'general consent' of all the 'barons of Wales,' it was agreed that Llywelyn should not go to the king, because he harboured the prince's fugitives, namely, Davydd and Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn (Brut y Tywysogion, p. 363). Moreover, Llywelyn pleaded the fate of his fathers as a proof that his person would be in danger were he to obey the summons of his overlord (Worcester Annals, p. 468). 'On that account the king returned to England in anger, and Llywelyn returned to Wales.'
About the end of 1275 Llywelyn's marriage negotiations were concluded, and Amaury de Montfort, an ecclesiastic, and the least violent of the sons of Earl Simon, had sailed from France to bring his sister Eleanor to her destined husband. But four Bristol ships were ordered to intercept them, and just before Christmas Edward thus succeeded in capturing off the Scilly Islands the two vessels with Amaury and Eleanor on board (Ann. Osney, and Wykes, pp. 266-7). Amaury was imprisoned at Corfe, while Eleanor was sent to Windsor, and detained in honourable confinement at the court of her aunt, the queen (Green, Princesses of England, ii. 163). Llywelyn offered large sums of money to the king for the release of his promised bride, but declined Edward's terms, comprising unconditional homage, the restoration of the lands which he had usurped, and the rebuilding of the castles which he had destroyed (Waverley Annals, p. 386).
In the autumn of 1276 Edward formally declared war against his recalcitrant vassal (Fœdera, i. 535-6). In November, Roger Mortimer was appointed the king's captain against the Welsh (ib. i. 537), and in December summonses were issued to the military tenants of the crown to meet at Worcester by midsummer 1277 to fight against the Welsh (ib. i. 538). Llywelyn continued some show of negotiations, obtaining in January 1277 safe-conducts for fresh messengers to treat with the king (ib. i. 541). Meanwhile Llywelyn left no stone unturned. He wrote to the pope complaining of the imprisonment of his bride, and denouncing the aggressions of the English (Add. MS. 15363, quoted in Pauli, Geschichte von England, iv. 21). But the church was not on his side. In February the Archbishop of Canterbury issued formal orders for his excommunication (Fœdera, p. 541). Meanwhile Edward divided the Welsh forces in South Wales by a treaty of peace with Rhys ab Maredudd (ib. i. 542). From Epiphany-tide till Whitsuntide a strong English force kept Llywelyn in check until the date arranged for the great invasion. Soon after Easter Edward left London. By moving the exchequer and king's bench to Shrewsbury he showed that he projected a long and determined campaign.
Early in August 1277 the great Welsh invasion began. Three formidable armies were poured over the frontier. Edward himself marched at the head of the northern army, whose starting-point was Chester, Davydd, the prince's brother, serving among its leaders. More to the south, Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, operated from Shrewsbury and Montgomery. In connection with this force Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn strove to win back Cyveiliog, and Roger Mortimer sought to restore his rule over Builth. Still further southward the Earl of Hereford busied himself with the reconquest of Brecheiniog. The third army fought in South Wales under the banner of Edmund of Lancaster. Llywelyn had no force with which he could withstand so overwhelming a power. He abandoned South Wales in despair, leaving the native chieftains to make what terms they could with the Earl of Lancaster. But he strove, by closely watching the royal advance, and by availing himself of his minute knowledge of the country traversed, to divide, starve out, or dishearten the invaders. A great wood offered a formidable obstacle to the king's advance, but Edward ordered a broad road to be cut through it, and successfully eluded the threatened ambush of Llywelyn. Meanwhile the fleet of the Cinque ports coasted along the shore, and finally, by occupying the Menai Straits, cut off Anglesey from Snowdon (Dunstaple Annals, p. 275).
By this time Edward had crossed the Conway, and army and fleet alike combined to block up the Welsh in the mountains of Snowdon, and cut them off from all provisions or possible succour. The destruction of the corn crops in Anglesey facilitated this task. Yet for a time Llywelyn held out, while Edward secured his retreat by building new castles and rebuilding the old strongholds of the district between the Conway and Chester. The king's army suffered some losses, but continued doggedly in its positions until the approach of winter, though not venturing to hunt out Llywelyn from his lairs. At last, in November, lack of food forced the Welsh prince to come down from the hills and accept the terms imposed by his suzerain. On 9 Nov. Llywelyn signed the treaty of Conway, which on 10 Nov. was ratified by the king at. Rhuddlan (Fœdera, i. 545-6; the French text is given in the Osney Chronicle, pp. 272-4, under the date 11 Nov.) By it Llywelyn surrendered all his prisoners, including his brother, Owain Goch, his captive since 1254. He also promised a fine of 50,000l., and unconditionally gave up all his claims to the four cantreds, and apparently to South Wales as well. Anglesey was restored to him, to be held at a rent of one thousand marks yearly to the king, and on condition of its reverting to the king if Llywelyn died without legitimate heirs. The homages of nearly all the 'Welsh barons' were transferred from the prince to the king, save the homage of five barons of Snowdon, 'inasmuch as he could not be called a prince if he had no barons under him.' The Welsh lords were called upon to swear to the treaty and renounce Llywelyn if he broke it. In return for all these concessions Edward promised to continue Llywelyn in his principality, now reduced to the district round Snowdon. Ample provision was made for Llywelyn's Welsh enemies, Davydd, Owain, and Gruffydd. Owain assumed the lordship of Lleyn, and Davydd was awarded territory in Perveddwlad.
Llywelyn was now absolved from his excommunication. He went to Rhuddlan and performed homage and fealty to Edward. The terms of his submission had been hard, for Edward had determined to show that he was master. But now that Llywelyn's power was broken, Edward voluntarily remitted some of the more onerous of the conditions, giving up the fine of 50,000l. and the annual rent for Anglesey.
Llywelyn was now in high favour. He went to London with some of his chieftains, and spent Christinas there with the king, performing homage more solemnly in full parliament. After remaining there a fortnight he returned to Wales. Some small matters were still in debate, and occupied the attention of the statesmen on both sides during the early months of 1278, and Llywelyn gave fresh offence by neglecting to attend the Easter parliament; but an understanding was at length arrived at. In August the king went to the marches (Wykes, p. 276), and met, Llywelyn at Worcester, where the treaty was renewed. Eleanor de Montfort accompanied the English king, and arrangements were made for her marriage to Llywelyn. Just before the ceremony Edward urged him with flattery to subscribe a letter pledging himself not to keep any man in his territory without the king's permission. Llywelyn signed this, smitten, as he tells us himself, 'by the fear which may overcome a steadfast man' (Peckham, Letters, ii.xlv, 443). On 13 Oct. he was married to Eleanor Montfort at the door of Worcester Cathedral. The kings of England and Scotland, the Earl of Lancaster, and a great gathering of magnates witnessed the ceremony, though there were some searchings of heart as to the policy of the match. Next day Llywelyn and Eleanor departed joyfully for Wales (Cont. Flore. Wig. p. 219; Brut y Tywysogion, p. 371). The union was soon brought to an end. On 19 Jan. 1282 Eleanor died in giving birth to her only child. This was a daughter named Wenceliana, or Wenciana (possibly Gwenllian), who, after her father's downfall, fell as an infant into her cousin's power, and became a nun at Sempringham, where she died in 1337 (Cont. Flor. Wig. p. 226; Fœdera, i. 712).
Several years of peace followed, but Llywelyn bore with impatience the loss of his power, while Edward's agents carried out roughly and violently his policy of anglicisation in the ceded districts. The four cantreds were brought under the county court of Chester. The sheriffs of Carmarthen and Cardigan carried out the same policy in the south. At the same time the energetic primate, John Peckham, strove to put down the abuses of the Welsh church, and bring it into greater harmony with the English church. His plans extended not merely to the ceded districts, but to the territory still ruled by Llywelyn, and his well-meant but blundering policy provoked the first open resistance. In 1280 Peckham visited Wales and patched up an agreement with Llywelyn, who, in obedience to his suggestions, concluded a composition with the Bishop of Bangor (Peckham, Letters, No. cviii. cf. Pref. ii, liii). Llywelyn made the archbishop the present of some hounds, and sent him home fairly contented. But some time after prince and archbishop were again in acrimonious controversy. Llywelyn was now again at feud with Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn, and complained that the terms of the peace were violated by Gruffydd's actions. Peckham told Llywelyn, who appealed to the customs of those parts, that the Welsh customs were only to be observed so far as they were reasonable. But many of the laws of Howel Dda were unreasonable (ib. No. lxvi.) and against the decalogue. Llywelyn had therefore no right to complain if the king and his council preferred to settle the disputes in the marches by the reasonable and just customs of England (ib. No. cxv.) Such reasoning aggravated Llywelyn's discontent with his position. He resented a summons to appear as a suitor before the king's justice at Montgomery, and neglected after the old fashion to attend Edward's parliaments. He soon began to listen to the loud complaints of his old subjects in the four cantreds, who clamorously appealed for his help against the violence and brutality of Edward's officials. Edward pressed his legal rights remorselessly and inexorably. His subordinates as usual served him badly, and displayed unnecessary violence and brutality. Davydd, Llywelyn's brother, was so disgusted at their actions; that he secretly entered into a league with him against the king. A great scheme of revolt seems to have been planned with the utmost secrecy. The reconciliation of Llywelyn and Davydd again united the Welsh forces. Reckless of consequences, heedless of the improbability of success, and puffed up by vain prophecies that the time of the downfall of the Saxon was approaching, Llywelyn plunged recklessly into his last revolt.
On the eve of Palm Sunday 1282 Llywelyn and Davydd suddenly attacked the castles of Flint, Rhuddlan, and Hawarden (Osney Annals, p. 287; Waverley Annals, p. 397 ; Eulogium Historiarum, iii. 146; Worcester Annuls, p. 481; Brut y Tywysogion, p. 373). The castles were taken, and Roger Clifford, the king's lieutenant, was wounded and taken prisoner. A general revolt of Perveddwlad followed. Llywelyn invaded the ceded districts, and was everywhere welcomed with enthusiasm. Even before the northern rising a similar outbreak had taken place in the south, where, on 25 March, Gruffydd ab Maredudd, the heir of the South Welsh princes, captured and destroyed the new fortress of Aberystwith, through which northern Cardiganshire was kept in subjection (Brut y Tywysogion, p. 373). Thence the revolt spread over the whole of South Wales (Annales Cambriæ, p. 106).
Edward, profoundly disgusted, resolved to end once for all Llywelyn's power. In April the Welsh prince was solemnly excommunicated by Archbishop Peckham (Peckham, Letters, No. ccliv.) On Midsummer-day Edward entered Wales at the head of a gallant army. The plan of campaign was now essentially the same as that in 1277, but carried out more ruthlessly and with a larger force. Llywelyn again retreated to Snowdon, and again the mountain district was blockaded by sea and land. The resistance continued all the summer, Edward taking up his headquarters at Conway, while Llywelyn remained at Aber, Garthcevn, or some other of his castles within the mountains. No general resistance was attempted to the progress of the English force, but many small combats were fought, with varying success, Llywelyn gaining a signal success on 6 Nov., when the flood-tide broke the bridge over the Menai Straits, and a large force of English on the Arvon bank were cut off by the Welsh. But the most interesting episode of the campaign was the attempt at mediation made by Archbishop Peckham, who had accompanied Edward's army. On 21 Oct. Peckham sent a doctor of divinity named John the Welshman to treat with Llywelyn (ib. No. cccxxvii). Elaborate schedules of the grievances of the Welsh were laid before him (printed in the Rolls edition of Peckham's Letters, including the special grievances of Llywelyn, in ii. 435-78). On 31 Oct. Peckham himself set out for Snowdon, though Edward had given him no encouragement. He there spent three days with Llywelyn. His offer was, that if Llywelyn completely submitted to the king, and abandoned his principality, Edward would allow him lands worth 1,000l. a year in some English county, take charge of his infant daughter, and even contemplate the prospect ot allowing any legitimate male heir born to him to succeed to Snowdon. The only alternative was his complete and absolute ruin.
On 11 Nov. Llywelyn professed his willingness to submit, but not on such impossible terms. Edward, however, would only accept unconditional surrender. This ended the negotiations. The passes of Snowdon were now closely beset. Llywelyn, afraid that with the winter season he should again be forced to surrender as in 1277, resolved to escape from Snowdon, and try his fortune in more fruitful lands. Moreover, his presence was urgently needed in the south, where Gloucester and Edmund Mortimer had won a great victory at Llandeilo. Leaving Davydd and most of his followers, Llywelyn succeeded in eluding the vigilance of the besiegers. Soon after, at the head of a small force, he devastated Ceredigion and Ystradtowi, and thence, journeying westwards, he vigorously attacked the middle marches (Eulogium Historiarum, iii. 146). The Welsh tenants of the Mortimers began to join him, but he was no match for the disciplined forces of the marchers. The final action was soon fought, but its place and details are very variously given by the chroniclers. Llywelyn was attacked by Edmund Mortimer somewhere in Mid-Wales, near the upper waters of the Severn, and not far from Builth and Cwmhir. He was slain on 11 Dec. by one Adam de Frankton, as he hurried up to join in a skirmish which was going on between his men and the followers of the Mortimers. The Welsh accounts speak of a treacherous appointment to which he came alone and unarmed, whereupon he was fallen upon and slain (Stephens, Literature of the Kymry, p. 368-9). A letter, couched in vague and mysterious language, was found on his body, and forwarded to the king (Fœdera, i. 619). His mutilated corpse was buried in consecrated ground at Cwmhir, but his head was sent to London, where it was received with great rejoicings by the citizens. It was finally crowned with ivy, in mockery of his pretensions to kingship, and was fixed on a pole upon the Tower (Cotton, p. 163; Worcester Annals, p. 486). Llywelyn's coronet was offered up by Alphonso, Edward's eldest son, at the shrine of St. Edward in Westminster Abbey (Worcester Annals, p. 490).
As the last champion of Welsh liberty, Llywelyn was greatly eulogised by the vernacular poets of his country. Elegies were written on him by Bleddyn Vardd (Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales, Gee's reprint, p. 253) and by Gruffydd ab yr Ynad Coch (ib. p. 268). This latter is translated in Stephens's 'Literature of the Kymry,' pp. 370 sq. Llywelyn's praises were also celebrated in an ode by Llygad Gwr (ib. p. 239), of which Stephens (pp. 346—54) also gives an English version (cf. Evans, Specimens of Ancient Welsh Poetry, pp. 36-41, ed. Llanidloes). The qualities for which the bards especially commend him are his generosity and openhandedness, especially to the poets. 'I never return empty-handed from the north,' wrote Llygad Gwr (Stephens, p. 346). Bleddyn Vardd describes him as 'the most reckless of givers,' and the 'freest distributor of garments.' That he was brave, active, and strenuous, his whole life abundantly testifies. He was, perhaps, better able to conceive than to carry out an elaborate policy; but his rough martial virtues and vigorous character make him appear a hero beside the manifold treacheries and greedy self-seeking of his brother Davydd.[Annales Cambriæ, Brut y Tywysogion, Annales Monastici, Rishanger, Flores Historiarum, Matthew Paris's Hist. Major, Registrum Epistolarum J. Peckham, all in Rolls Ser.; Mr. Martin's Preface to the second volume of Peckham's Letters largely deals with Llywelyn; Trivet and Hemingburgh (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Rymer's Fœdera, vol. i. Record ed.; Rotulus Walliæ, privately printed by Sir T. Phillips; Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales; Stephens's Literature of the Kymry; Y Cymmrodor, ix. 210-19; Stubbs's Const. Hist. vol. ii.; Pauli's Geschichte von England, vol. iv.; Seeley's Hist. of Edward I; Pearson's Hist. of England, vol. ii.; Bémont's Simon de Montfort; Owen and Blakeway's Hist. of Shrewsbury, i. 120-9; Eyton's Shropshire. A short biography of Eleanor Montfort is given in Mrs. Green's Princesses of England, ii. 160-9.]