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Introduction ~ Owain ap Gruffudd ~ Rhys ap Gruffudd ~ Llywelyn ap Iorwerth ~ Llywelyn ap Gruffudd ~ Owain Glyndwr
Llywellyn ap Gruffudd ~ page two
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For over an hour the Prince of Wales remained at the bridge in the hope that news would come of the attack on Builth castle, none did, but then none ever would. Unbeknown to Llywelyn, whilst he had been inspecting his men that morning, the local men had indeed carried out their intended plan and attacked Builth castle. However, substantially re-enforced by men from Montgomery, the garrison had quickly put them to flight. A disaster occurred when they withdrew in disarray, for they left one of their injured comrades behind. On his subsequent capture, then torture in the castle dudgeons he, in an attempt to save his life, informed John Gifford the Castellan of Builth that there was a ford across the river Irfon a little way upstream from Orewin bridge and that it could still be used even when the river was running in spate.

Moving quickly after extracting the information, during which the informer died on the rack, John Gifford had it relayed to L' Estrange: who immediately ordered his army group to prepare to advance. In the meantime a squadron of English lancers galloped for the river, crossed it by means of the ford; then hid in the trees beyond. When some hours later English bowmen and heavy cavalry from the main body of Army Group Central attacked the defenders of Orewin bridge from the front, the lancers broke out of the trees galloped forward and attacked the defenders from the rear. It was but a little time before the battle for the bridge was over, and the English battle group was across the river and advancing towards the Welshmen situated on the ridge to the south West.

When the two sides met in battle, O, what a bloody slaughter there was, that late December day. Without their Commander-in-Chief the Prince of Wales on the battlefield, it was but a short hour before rank upon rank of Welshmen, the majority without armour on, lay either dying or dead.

What of their Commander-in-Chief I hear you say? what became of him?

Dismayed that no news had reached him while he waited at the bridge, Llywelyn had rode north and crossed the river Wye before riding east in an attempt to observe the castle from the north. However, as he did so, he observed the English battle group begin its advance to the west, fearing the worst he immediately attempted to re -cross the river, but unfortunately lost his horse mid stream.

When Llywelyn eventually regained the south river bank, he set out hurriedly on foot up a gully that ran around to the base of hill, on which his men were at the top. Unfortunately a one Stephen-de-Frankton, a kings lancer, on seeing the lone figure hurrying before him without armour on, ran him through before carrying on his way without knowing who he was.

As dusk descended that fateful day, two men of the Shropshire Infantry were abroad looking for the spoils of war. On hearing an eerie moaning coming from the dark gully to the side of the battlefield, they entered it with some trepidation; where on getting to the scene, they found it was Llywelyn calling for a priest. Unfortunately by the time they found one, Llywelyn-ap-Gruffudd ' The Last Prince of Wales' was dead.

Later that night after the cries of the dying had ceased L' Estrange, the English commander, sat in his tent and prepared to write his battle report. As he did so a strange sound descended over the eerie battlefield; as though the dead were awakening and preparing themselves for war once more. L' Estrange shook himself as a chill ran up his spine and he began to worry as to the cause. He need not have, for it was just the wind stirring the tree's before it rained.( As it always does in a peculiar way in the Irfon valley) Hearing the patter of the heavy rain beginning to land on his tent, he began to write his report for his king which went thus:
Sire. On this 12th day of December
in this year of your reign 1282, I encountered the forces of Llywelyn Prince of Wales upon a battlefield at Builth. It is with great satisfaction that I report that the battle which ensued was a total success. The men of your Central Army Group fought with such tenacity and skill, that they have caused Llywelyn's forces to be no more. I am also pleased to report that neither is the rebel Prince, for he too is dead. I forward proof of my statement with the messenger who left this place on the 13th.

Llywelyn Memorial - lest we forget

L' Estrange did indeed forward proof. When the mounted messenger left the rain soaked Irfon valley the following morning for the King's headquarters in north Wales, in a bag behind him was Llywelyn's head. Later it ended up on a spike above the tower of London, where a few months later his brother's joined it.

Welsh National Flag

Llywelyn and his Men

Gone from life on mother earth the very last native Prince of Wales
No more his laughter to echo among the hills and vales
House of Gwynedd, A National leader, A man so great
His main ambition, was a Welsh state to re-create

Gone that day too so many Welshmen good and true
So very very sad when this country had so very few
No more would they talk and tell of this country so grand
This Wales of mine: A green and pleasant land

As the years continue to pass into history
So we of each generation shall continue to remember them

Welsh National Flag
Graphics by Ole R.D. Copyright © 1999-2005 / All Rights Reserved
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