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Owain Glyndŵr Day celebrations to continue despite new King’s visit

16 Sep 2022 6 minute read
Owain Glyndŵr statue in Corwen. Picture by Michael Garlick (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Some Owain Glyndŵr Day celebrations will continue today despite the visit to Wales of the new King Charles III.

Despite Cadw cancelling a weekend of activities at Harlech Castle, which Glyndwr took in 1404, events will continue in Corwen and Machynlleth.

People in Corwen have been gathering at the Glyndŵr statue in the town square on the date when his proclamation as Prince of Wales took place for the last 20 years.

The event will consist of a procession and wreath laying ceremony before a memorial service will take place at the Seion Church in Corwen for 10.30am.

Children from Betws Gwerfyl Goch and Gwyddelwern schools will make presentations before the Cambrian Band marches to the Glyndŵr statue at around 11am.

A walking tour will start at Owain Glyndŵr’s Parliament House in Machynlleth at 10am and 2pm, and Caffi Alys in the town will also host a night of music starting at 7.30pm to celebrate Owain Glyndŵr Day.

A musical about Owain Glyndŵr will also tour the country this autumn, as a new near-sell-out production of Y Mab Darogan comes to theatres across Wales.

On September 16 each year, thousands celebrate the life and legacy of the “rebel” Prince of Wales.

The same day in 1400 is when Glyndwr began a 15-year uprising against the then-king of England, Henry IV, after which his followers would proclaim him Prince of Wales.

The revolt is considered to be the last Welsh war of independence and Glyndwr has since been viewed as a figurehead of Welsh nationalism and the independence movement.

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a number of Glyndŵr Day events were cancelled, prompting disappointment and anger in some communities.

Who was Owain Glyndwr?

Owain Glyndwr was the last Welshman to hold the Prince of Wales title.

He was born in around 1354 in Sycharth Castle, Llansilin, Powys.

Of aristocratic stock, he claimed descent from Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, known as Llywelyn the Last, and was directly related to the princes of Powys and Cyfeiliog.

Due to his status, he was educated partly in England and returned home to Wales to marry.

His life in Wales was comfortable but, towards the end of the 14th century, there was growing discontent between the Welsh and the English Crown and Parliament over land disputes.

On September 16 1400, Glyndwr, who was 50, mobilised a militia of several hundred men in Ruthin and attacked a number of towns in the north-east of the country.

Hearing news of the fight, Welsh scholars in Oxford are said to dropped their books and Welsh labourers in England downed their tools to head back home.

Seasoned Welsh soldiers and archers who had fought in Europe for the English monarch left the king’s service and also joined the uprising.

The response was severe, with Henry IV marching an army across north Wales and bringing in anti-Welsh legislation, including outlawing Welsh-language performers and singers.

But, by the end of 1403, Glyndwr controlled most of Wales.

He assembled a parliament at Machynlleth in 1404 and was crowned king of a free Wales.

However, from 1408 the tide turned against Glyndwr, beginning with the fall of Aberystwyth and Harlech castles.

His family was taken hostage and he was ruled an outlaw.

Glyndwr went into hiding but was never betrayed and, despite being offered a pardon by Henry V, he never came forward and is believed to have died some time in 1416.

Prince of Wales title

The title Prince of Wales, as it is used today, was originally created by Edward I in 1301 after his conquest of Wales. He bestowed it on his heir, who later became Edward II.

It was a political statement made to emphasise the subjugation of the Welsh by the English monarch and has therefore been seen by some as a symbol of oppression. The title is why Wales is still sometimes referred to as a principality, though this is wrong because the role is ceremonial only.

It has been held by 21 heirs to the throne, although there have been long periods when the title was not used at all.

In the 1950s, the title was held by the Queen’s uncle, who later became Edward VIII before abdicating the throne.

While Prince of Wales, he endeared himself to the industrialised areas of Wales by seeming to highlight rising unemployment.

Queen Elizabeth II announced her son Charles would be Prince of Wales when he was nine.

He was sent to study at the University of Aberystwyth, where he learned to speak some Welsh, in the 1960s.

His investiture was held in 1969 at Caernarfon Castle, though protests were planned to coincide with the ceremony.

Many demonstrations were peaceful, but more direct action was taken by paramilitary groups including Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (MAC), which plotted to place bombs outside government buildings to explode on the day.

Decades later, Charles became the first member of the royal family to have a residence in Wales after buying Llwynywermod, a 192-acre estate in Carmarthenshire.

His decision to name his son William as Prince of Wales in his first speech as King last Friday, however, came as a surprise to many.

A petition calling for an end to the title out of “respect” for the Welsh has since gathered more than 25,000 signatures.

The page quoted Welsh actor Michael Sheen, who returned his OBE in 2017 and said about the title: “Don’t necessarily just because of habit and without thinking just carry on that tradition that was started as a humiliation to our country.

“Why not change that as we come to this moment where things will inevitably change?”

In a statement following the announcement, the new Prince and Princess of Wales spoke of their “deep affection” for Wales, having made their first family home in Anglesey.

They promised to carry out the role with “humility and great respect”.

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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 year ago

Da iawn. Dydd Glyndwr hapus I bawb a diwrnod da I chi bawb yng Nghorwen.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 year ago

As they should!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 year ago

And rightly so. Why should any celebration be affected by the very English royal family that caused Wales to rebel all though centuries ago. But I do find the North Korean outpouring of grief towards the Queen and deffernce shown towards the other members of the royal family very uncomfortable watching, as is the closing down of society itself. What next to be affected? Our breathing. Are we to stop inhaling air as a mark of submission towards the late monarch & new king? It seems besides Cardiff being sanitised by a Windsor wet-wipe with business & roads closed for… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 year ago

As the English Monarchy always remember theirs we have a right to always remember ours. Glyndŵr may have been centuries ago but he is still our last indigenous Prince of Wales, technically King of our country – we should remember. Some people think that because it was so long ago – we should just forget it – they are wrong. Just as they are wrong about Wales just accepting another English Prince of Wales.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
1 year ago

I haven’t seen any celebrations in my part of Wales. Sadly, a lot of children are not being taught about Glyndwr.
Many people are not even aware that today is his day.

Llewelyn Tudor
Llewelyn Tudor
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

And why are our Welsh children not being taught about Harri Tudur the Welshman who conquered England?
Too many Welshmen have been conned by the English version of the Battle of Bosworth.
The Battle was not fought at Bosworth ast all. It was fought in Mancetter (Modern day Atherstone).
As a true Welshman I do not buy the English story. It is all lies. Why Welsh nationalists buy their story beats me.

1 year ago

I’m wondering why the title of the article includes “despite”, I would replace this with “all the more because of”

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 year ago
Reply to  Tawelwch

How about an Owain Glyndŵr Bank Holiday? We are well short of bank holidays compared to the rest of the EU so what about March 1st and 16th September, which is nicely balanced.

1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Yr economi stiwpid !!!

Dafydd ap Robart
Dafydd ap Robart
1 year ago
Reply to  Eifion

Dim ond munud. Rwy’n meddwl ei fod yn bod yn gwatwargar. Rwy’n gobeithio y bydd yn dweud wrthym.

Llewelyn Tudor
Llewelyn Tudor
1 year ago

Sobering thought. Only since Henry 7 can every monarch trace their ancestry back to Henry 7. In other words QEii is a direct descendent of Owain Tudor who was born in Llangefni. The same cannot be said of previous monarchs.

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