he forced his uncle Dafydd to lay down his arms and surrender.
His action that day
was soon followed by others, for other Gwynedd princes were keen
to gain the title 'Prince of Gwynedd'. There was however, no other
prince that could match his battle skills, all engagements enter
into resulted in Llywelyn being the victor.
was a time for consolidation not rivalry, for incursions into
Gwynedd by Norman forces were becoming more and more frequent
as they tried to establish a strong hold upon the kingdom now
that the great Owain Gwynedd was dead. Llywelyn however, was having
none of it. By
February of 1199,
most of the minor princes and their forces of eastern Gwynedd
at his call,
he planned a campaign
to reduce the Norman incursions into Gwynedd
from castles situated on the English/Welsh border.
the mild autumn of that year turned into the atrocious winter,
he set out to attack the powerful
border fortress of Mold, a distance of some seventy to eighty
miles as the crow flies from Dolwyeddlan castle. His chosen route
was the high mountain one, it was however a treacherous journey.
Men and horses slipped in the snow and ice and many fell to their
death from the high mountain 'roadway'. Nevertheless, it was the
use of this way across the high mountain 'roadway' which kept
the presence of Llywelyn and his men from prying Norman eyes.
Mold castle was finally attacked, it turned out to be for the
English garrison, a bloody and costly affair. It was when the
garrison succeeded in beating of the initial attack that Llywelyn's
tactical awareness came to the fore. Whilst one section of his
men kept up the attempt to break in at the original position,
his reserves, having manoeuvred into position undercover of the
nearby trees, attacked simultaneously two new positions of the
Successful entry soon caused the Anglo/Norman garrison to surrender.
Even then for them,
with the fighting over, there was little relief from the rigours
of war. Determined to reduce the use of Mold as a staging post
for any further advances westward by English troops, on beginning
his withdrawal from the castle Llywelyn ordered it to be burnt.
The smoke of which, seen in the sky from the mighty castle of
Chester some twenty miles away to the east, served as a warning
to anyone thinking of an incursion into eastern Gwynedd.
1199 began to slide into the annals of history, so Llywelyn began
incursions into western Gwynedd. He was here, there and everywhere
in a bid to bring it under his control. His attacks were ruthless,
no quarter was asked and none given as one after another local
leaders were brought under control. Slowly but surely his grip
tightened on the north. Then when the celebration of the birth
of Christ was over in 1199, and the first warm air of Spring 1200
began to melt the snow on the mountains of the 'Eyrie', he achieved
his ultimate goal. That to become the Prince of Gwynedd.
Llywelyn's cousin, Gruffydd ap Cynan donned the mantle of death
Llywelyn, before his son Hywel ap Gruffudd could gather his thoughts
and prepare the defence of the region, took advantage of the situation.
Accompanied by some three hundred men he crossed the mountains
of the 'Eyrie', and descended onto the coastal plain around Bangor.
Soon the area was secured and when he added the Llyen peninsular
to his acquisitions the following year, then did he cross the
Menai Straits and enter Aberffraw, the historical home of the
Kings and Princes of Gwynedd on Anglesey. Now the year was 1202
and when Hywel ap Gruffydd swore allegiance to him, Llywelyn was
the Lord of of everything north of a line from the river Dovey
in the west to the estuary of the river Dee in the east.
ambition however, was not sated with the acquisition, for he had
expansionist plans that involved the whole of Wales. As the autumn
leaves began to show that winter was approaching in 1202, so Llywelyn
with all the princes of Gwynedd, except for one, advanced south
to the Gwynedd/Powys border. His intended adversary was to be
prince Gwenwynwyn of Powys of which he had a pure hatred that
was to remain so throughout his life.