Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/437

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ship of Melenydd, and proclaiming that Owain's object was ‘if King Richard be alive to restore him to his crown, and if not that my honoured nephew (the Earl of March), who is the right heir to the crown, shall be king of England, and that the said Owain will assert his right in Wales’ (Ellis, 2nd ser. i. 24–5).

Owain was now closely besieging the few remaining castles which still held out for King Henry. In April and May he gathered a great host together, and boasted that he would no longer shrink from battle if the English resisted his aggressions (ib. i. 11). But already in March the Prince of Wales had been appointed his father's lieutenant in Wales and the marches (Fœdera, viii. 291). About May, Prince Henry marched into the rebels' country, but was, as usual, avoided by Owain. He burnt, however, Sycharth, Owain's chief residence, and afterwards burnt Glyndyvrdwy as well, completing his destructive foray by the devastation of the whole cymmwd of Edeyrnion and parts of Powys (Ellis, 2nd ser. i. 10–13; Ordinances of the Privy Council, ii. 61–2. Mr. Wylie is plainly right in assigning Henry's report of 15 May to this year and not to 1402, as Ellis and Nicolas thought). The prince eagerly clamoured for men and money to relieve the hard-pressed garrisons of Harlech and Aberystwith (Ordinances of the Privy Council, ii. 63).

Owain now turned his attention to South Wales, the marches of which had hitherto been quite free from his inroads. The defection of Edmund Mortimer was followed by the rising of the marcher lordships included in the modern Radnorshire and Breconshire. The rebels besieged Brecon, but were forced to raise the siege by the sheriff of Herefordshire on Sunday 1 July. Owain now for the first time went south of Cardiganshire. On 2 July his arrival in the vale of Towy was followed by a general rising, even in the plain country, and the siege of Dynevor Castle, near Llandilo, by the insurgents. On 3 July Owain appeared at Llandovery, captured the castle, and encamped his host there and at Llandilo for the night. Next day it was believed that he was marching towards Brecon, but he sent only a part of his forces thither, where on 7 July (Saturday) they renewed the siege. He now received oaths of fealty from all Carmarthenshire (much smaller then than the present county), from the Welsh subjects of the marcher lordships of Kidwelly, Carnwallon, and Ys Kennin. He slept on the night of the 4th at Drysllwyn between Llandilo and Carmarthen. On the 5th he was before the gates of the capital of South Wales. On Friday 6 July he took and burnt Carmarthen town, and received the submission of the castle. He next proposed to march to Kidwelly, being safe of the adhesion of the districts of Kidwelly, Gower, and Glamorgan. He sent for a seer, Hopcyn ab Thomas of Gower, to speak with him under a truce at Carmarthen, and begged for an oracle. The seer replied that Owain would be taken in a brief time between Carmarthen and Gower, under a black banner. Thus deterred by superstition from his eastward advance, Owain gladly turned westward on the news that the lord of Carew had assembled against him the Englishry of the Pembrokeshire palatinate. On Monday 9 July Owain lodged at St. Clears, a little town ten miles west of Carmarthen, with 8,240 spears, and ravaged all the surrounding country. But he still shirked a pitched battle. All Tuesday was occupied by negotiations. That night Owain slept at the little port of Laugharne, three miles south of St. Clears. But the negotiations led to nothing, and Owain resolved to retreat to the hills to the northward. He sent seven hundred men to search the ways, and on Thursday 12 July the exploring party fell in with Lord Carew's men, and were all slain. This led Owain to retire to Carmarthen. The exceptional minuteness with which the movements of Owain can be traced during these ten days is due to accidental preservation of the letters of the panic-stricken keepers of the English castles, which have been printed in Ellis's ‘Original Letters,’ 2nd ser. (i. 13–23) and Hingeston's ‘Royal Letters’ (pp. 138–152). All South Wales had now joined the north, for the storm at last broke in Morganwg and Gwent. Usk, Caerleon, and Newport fell into Owain's hands (Adam of Usk, p. 75).

The Percies now suddenly broke into rebellion against Henry IV, having previously established relations with Owain (Hardyng, Chronicle, p. 353, ed. 1812). Owain must still have been in the south when they were in full march for Shrewsbury, hoping that he would join them (Ann. Hen. IV, p. 361). Many Welshmen now joined their ranks, but when, on 21 July, the battle of Shrewsbury crushed for a time the rebellion, Owain had not been able to arrive, or possibly, as one chronicler suggests, feared to put himself too much in the power of his allies (Cont. Eul. Hist. iii. 396; cf. Tyler, Henry V, i. 164–9, 385–93). But after the battle he ravaged Herefordshire and Shropshire, paying scanty regard to the informal truces which the terror-stricken borderers had sought to conclude with him (Royal Letters, p. 155; Ord. of the Privy Council, ii. 77). He even crossed