Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/435

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continuator tells us how the Bishop of St. Asaph, John Trevor, warned the parliament not to despise Owain. The lords replied that they did not care for the barefooted rogues, and Owain went home in a rage with his grievances unredressed.

Owain soon had another complaint. Grey had neglected to deliver a writ summoning Owain to the Scottish expedition, until it was so late that obedience was impossible. Grey then denounced him before the king as a traitor for not appearing (Monk of Evesham, p. 171). Owain now plundered and burnt Grey's estates, and cruelly murdered some of Grey's household (Ann. Hen. IV, p. 333). Grey was much occupied at the time with a quarrel with Gruffydd ab Davydd ab Gruffydd, ‘the strengest thief in Wales.’ The revolt spread. The rumours that King Richard was still alive kindled Welsh feeling for their deposed favourite (cf. Adam of Usk, p. 54). Owain, despite his Lancastrian connections, put himself at the head of the movement, which soon developed into a Welsh national rising against Saxon tyranny.

The rebels were from the first brilliantly successful. The clashing jurisdictions of the Prince of Wales and the marcher lords made united action among the English impossible. The castles were ill-equipped and undermanned, and, when not in Welsh hands, were in charge of Welsh deputies. The civil administration was almost entirely in native hands, and a large Welsh element had crept in even among the ‘English towns.’ Before long all North Wales was in revolt. Owain soon assumed the title of Prince of Wales, and gave himself the airs of a sovereign (Evesham, p. 171; Adam of Usk, p. 46). The Welsh scholars at Oxford and Cambridge left their books and joined in the rebellion. The Welsh labourers from England hurried off to Owain with whatever weapons they could seize (Rot. Parl. iii. 457). In Wales the farmers sold their cattle to buy arms (Ellis, 2nd ser. i. 8). Secret meetings were held everywhere, and the bards wandered about as messengers of sedition. Many castles and ‘English boroughs’ fell into Owain's hands. The great border stronghold of Shrewsbury, with its negligent town-guard and large Welsh population, was hardly beyond the range of danger (Fœdera, viii. 160).

Henry IV heard of the Welsh rising at Leicester on his way back from his expedition to Scotland. On 19 Sept. he issued from Northampton summonses to the levies of ten shires of the midlands and borders. He entered Wales a few days later, and wandered for a month throughout the north. He penetrated as far as Anglesey, where he drove out the Franciscan friars of Llanfaes, who, like their brethren in England, were keen partisans of King Richard, and therefore of Owain (Cont. Eul. Hist. iii. 388, but cf. Wylie, p. 147); but as the army began to suffer from want of provisions, and Owain kept obstinately in hiding, Henry had to return to England with a few captives. On 9 Nov. he was at Westminster, where he granted all Owain's forfeited estates to his brother, John Beaufort [q. v.] earl of Somerset.

Owain for some time hid himself with only seven companions (Adam of Usk, p. 46). His bard, Iolo Goch, lamented his disappearance in impassioned strains (the Welsh in Lloyd, Hist. of Powys Fadog, i. 220; English translation in Y Cymmrodor, iv. pt. ii. 230–2). But the rebels were soon as active as ever. In January parliament pressed hard for coercive laws. The king to a great extent accepted their proposals, but still aimed at conciliation, and on 10 March, at the petition of the Prince of Wales, issued a general pardon, from which Owain, himself, and the brothers Gwilym and Rhys, sons of Tudor, were the only exceptions. The commons of Carnarvon and Merioneth humbly tendered their thanks, and offered to pay the usual taxes. Yet with the return of spring the rebels were again active. Gwilym and Rhys seized Conway Castle on Good Friday, though on 28 May they had to give it up. On 30 May Percy won a battle near Cader Idris. He believed he had now subdued the three shires of Gwynedd, but, angry at being left to bear the expense, threw up his command. Before leaving Wales he entered into suspicious dealings with Owain.

Owain's movements during this time are very obscure. He was plainly keeping himself in the background until his agents had got all things ready. A curious letter addressed to his partisan, Henry Don, explains clearly enough his general plan of operations (it is printed in Owen and Blakeway's Shrewsbury, i. 181–2). In the spring of 1401 Owain suddenly appeared in South Wales, in the ‘marches of Carmarthen,’ driven there perhaps by Percy's activity in Gwynedd, or perhaps by the desire of extending the rising to the south. On 26 May the king received the news that Owain had held a great assembly of rebels in that district, ‘with the purpose of invading England, and of destroying our English tongue’ (Ordinances of the Privy Council, ii. 55). Henry at once hurried to Worcester to prepare for a second expedition into Wales, but, finding the accounts of it exaggerated, he abandoned the invasion to attend to pressing business in London. Owain at once hurried to Powys, where on one of the