the Severn, and returned home to his mountains laden with booty (Adam of Usk, p. 82).
About the middle of September Henry IV marched from Hereford on his fourth expedition against Owain, and reached Carmarthen on 24 Sept. He found no enemy, and all he could do was to revictual and strengthen the castles and walled towns. But it was hard to get garrisons to stay in these remote and dangerous posts (Ord. of the Privy Council, i. 287), and after the king's withdrawal things became much what they had been before, except that Owain never quite got such a hold over the south as in the summer of 1403. The king had hardly left the country when a French and Breton fleet appeared in Carmarthen Bay, and spread a new panic in Kidwelly (Royal Letters, p. 162), but they were able to effect nothing against the new strength of the castles, and marched north to Gwynedd. In January 1404 Owain began with their aid his winter attack on Carnarvon, having now ‘engines, sows, and ladders of great length,’ and only a garrison of twenty-eight to hold the huge fortress against him; but he failed here also, though during the spring Harlech, with its garrison reduced to five English and sixteen Welsh, agreed to surrender to him on a certain day (Ellis, 2nd ser. i. 38). Early in 1404 Owain was again in the south and captured Cardiff, the capital of the Glamorgan palatinate, burning the whole town, except the street in which his allies the Franciscans had their convent. But he seized the books and chalices which the friars had deposited for safety in the castle, and on their remonstrating replied: ‘Why did you put your goods in the castle? If you had kept them at home, they would have been safe’ (Cont. Eul. Hist. iii. 401).
The year 1404 marks the highest point of Owain's power. On 10 May, ‘in the fourth year of his reign as prince,’ Owain issued from Dolgelly letters patent in sovereign style, ‘as prince of Wales by the Grace of God,’ appointing ‘Master Griffith Young, Doctor of Decretals, our chancellor,’ and John Hanmer, his own brother-in-law, his special ambassadors to conclude a perpetual or temporary league with the French (Fœdera, viii. 356). The death of Philip of Burgundy had just brought Louis of Orleans into power, so that the enemies of Lancaster were strongly in the ascendant. The ambassadors were splendidly entertained, the French thinking that Hanmer was Owain's brother (‘Religieux de Saint-Denys,’ iii. 164, in Collection des Documents Inédits). King Charles received them in person, and, learning from Hanmer that Owain loved arms above all other things, sent him a present of a gilded helmet, cuirass, and sword (Religieux de Saint-Denys; cf. Juvenal des Ursins, p. 421, in Panthéon Littéraire). Jacques de Bourbon, count of La Marche, was appointed to treat with them, and on 14 July a treaty of alliance was solemnly concluded at Paris between Charles and the envoys of the ‘illustrious and most dread prince of Wales’ against their common foe, ‘Henry of Lancaster’ (Fœdera, viii. 365–8). A list of Welsh harbours was sent by Owain to aid the French in their landing, and on 12 Jan. 1405 he ratified the treaty in his castle of Aberystwith, now at last captured from the English. But the expedition sent to help him under the Count of La Marche proved a disgraceful failure.
Owain had never spared churches or churchmen in his forays, and had burnt to the ground the cathedrals of St. Asaph and Bangor, and reduced to beggary the highborn nuns of Usk (Adam of Usk, p. 90). But, as a necessary result of this French alliance, he now recognised the French pope, Benedict XIII, who reigned at Avignon, hoping thus to free Wales from even ecclesiastical subjection to the schismatic English, who adhered to the Roman pontiff, and perhaps also to restore the fabled archbishopric of St. David's (Pauli, Geschichte von England, v. 33). Bishop Young of Bangor, a faithful partisan of Henry, had not dared to show his face in his diocese since the outbreak of the rebellion, and was now translated to Rochester. At Owain's request a Lewis or Llewelyn Bifort was ‘provided’ with Young's bishopric and apparently consecrated by the Avignon pope. The poets boasted that ‘Rome is Owain's friend secure,’ and that Owain is ‘well begirt with arms of Rome’ (Y Cymmrodor, iv. 230, vi. 99). Bifort long remained one of Owain's most trusted partisans (Haddan and Stubbs, Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents, i. 668–9). In 1404 John Trevor, bishop of St. Asaph, deserted Henry for Owain, though he had received livings in commendam to compensate for the losses he suffered from Owain's depredations. The Cistercian abbot of Strata Florida and the whole Franciscan order had long been Owain's active partisans. Crusading zeal against schismatics henceforth inflamed the patriotism of the Welsh.
Owain now aspired to reign over an organised state in a regular way, with his chancellor, secretaries, notaries, envoys, letters patent and close. His great and privy seals, well and artistically wrought, are figured from a French impression in ‘Archæologia,’ xxv. 616–19; Tyler's ‘Henry of Monmouth,’