the LAST TRUE PRINCE of wales



Owain Glyn Dŵr, (c. 1349 or 1359 – c. 1415) was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales. He instigated a fierce and long-running but ultimately unsuccessful revolt against the English rule of Wales.

Glyndŵr was aristocratic landed gentry and a descendant of the Princes of Powys through his father and mother.  Following his father's death in 1370, he received the best education that money could buy in London. He even enjoyed the fashionable 'finishing school' environment provided by the Inns of Court.

He went on to serve the English Crown as a soldier against the Scots, and wearing a scarlet flamingo feather as his crest he is said to have bore down on the Scotsmen before him with only the butt of his broken lance! He married the daughter of an Anglo-Welsh judge, fathering six sons with remarkable speed, and led a very peaceful life on his pleasant estates. It was however, in the late 1390's that the seeds of rebellion were sown, following a series of disagreemnets and disputes with the English Crown and Paliament concerning the loss of lands and honour. And so in September, 1400, when he was 50, Owen organised a rebellion against the recently usurping English king, Henry IV and claimed the title, Prince of Wales. His popularity soared almost overnight with Welsh students, seeing in him the leader they had long been looking for, abandoning their university studies to join him. Welsh labourers threw down their hoes and joined the national uprising. More importantly for Owen, hundreds of seasoned Welsh archers and soldiers, fresh from campaigns in France and Scotland, left English service to join the rebellion.

Owen’s forces spread quickly through northeast Wales. Ruthin, Denbigh, Rhuddlan, Flint, Hawarden, Holt, Oswestry and Welshpool fell quickly. Simultaneously, the Tudor brothers from Anglesey launched a guerrilla war against the English. The Tudors were a prominent Anglesey family and cousins of Owen.

Owen's cause continued to grow fast - in 1401, despite English expeditions into north and south Wales his stature grew as a national hero. The whole of northern and central Wales went over to Owain who instigated the Welsh revolt against the rule of Henry IV of England. The uprising was initially very successful and rapidly gained control of large areas of Wales, but it suffered from key weaknesses – particularly a lack of artillery, which made capturing defended fortresses difficult, and of ships, which made their coastlands vulnerable. The uprising was eventually overborne by the superior resources of the English. Glyndŵr was driven from his last strongholds in 1409, but he avoided capture and the last documented sighting of him was in 1412. He twice ignored offers of a pardon from his military nemesis, the new king Henry V of England, and despite the large rewards offered, Glyndŵr was never betrayed to the English. His death was recorded by a former follower in the year 1415.

Glyndŵr is portrayed in William Shakespeare's play Henry IV part 1(anglicised as Owen Glendower) as a wild and exotic man ruled by magic and emotion. With his death Owain acquired a mythical status along with Cadwaladr, Cynan and Arthur as the hero awaiting the call to return and liberate his people. In the late 19th century he was recreated as the father of Welsh Nationalism.


Owain Glyndwr’s Crest and Flag:

Quarterly, four lions rampant armed and langued azure counterchanged.

The followers of Owain Glyndwr, the medieval Welsh freedom fighter who disappeared in about 1415, firmly believe that should Wales be in any danger from the English, he will return and free them from oppression. His name is still remembered and revered today.