Monday, 15 September 2014

16 MEDI 1400 - LLYS GLYNDYFRDWY...a big decision was made which is why we are still here as a nation today...just about!


                 A BIG DECISION WAS MADE




Those that met at Llys Glyndyfrdwy on 16 Medi 1400 knew only to well what they were up against; a number had fought in English armies in Scotland, Ireland and France. They were more than aware of the mighty prowess of English Knights hardened on jousting fields, crusades and in wars. They knew of the capabilities of the English to organise and prepare their armies as mighty military machines of war - equal to such of present times and equal to the English, European and American Armies of the last three centuries gone by. Those that met at Llys Glyndyfrdwy were only too aware of the Anglo – Norman conquest of Cymru that had, yes, taken nearly three centuries to achieve, partly, due to native fighting qualities being a totally formidable resistance but also, partly due to political divisions amongs the English rulers and the need for them to fight other wars distracting their attention and resources from Cymru.


Of course, we also had the advantage of our mountains and bad weather over our enemies, and, the very disunity of Cymru and it’s numerous Principalities, each with their own Prince made it impossible to win a quick victory as the Normans had done over the Saxons at Hastings with the death of Harold, their last singular King.


Those that gathered at Llys Glyndyfrdwy on Medi 16 1400 would have taken all the above into account along with the realization that to make medieval war would require the total support of the whole Cymric nation as well as the organisational qualities of the enemy and their present day military machines. They would have been aware of the tactics used by Edward I when raising up his Army for the final conquest of the Cymry where he was reduced to creating an ‘English National Debt’ in borrowing money from Italian Bankers to pay for Basque Mercenaries and extra thick underwear (in preparation of a possible winter War) for his foot soldiers as he knew only too well, that his men were not well disposed to fighting in Cymru in wet or snow driven landscapes. Thus, those meeting on the 16 Medi 1400 at Glyndyfrdwy had weighty matters to consider, they were well aware of the odds against them and would have had to weigh much up!

So, what had brought them to this most historic moment in time to consider not a mere revolt about minor issues but to commit to declaring Owain Glyndŵr as ‘Tywysog Cymru’ and having the courage to launch a War of National Liberation that would, in just three years, witness the entire nation in an unity of armed struggle making of that nation, a ‘Nation  in Arms’ that would, by the summer of 1403, see our land be made free of English castle rule and by the Summer of 1404, would see a ‘Senedd Cenedl Cymru Rydd’ be established in Machynlleth and in 1405, would see a great Franco – Welsh Army march into England and see Baneri Glyndŵr raised at Woodbury Hill in England. Those momentous five years were ones of great achievements, not least, in regards to the ‘National Unity’ that was forged, followed on with the creating of that amazing ‘National Consitution’ known to us all now as the ‘Pennal Letter’ which was essentially, for the times, equal to England’s Magna Carta, but, do we today commemorate and celebrate all this in fitting fashion, sadly and pathetically NO!


Above is but a very brief recapture of the political climate of the time when it came to the point where there was a need to weigh up for a ‘No’ against a War of Independence but, the brave, against all odds, decision was a ‘Yes’! why was that?  Suffice to say, without going into too much detail, that many of the  ‘Cymric Squires’ and those of descent from Nobles and Chieftains alike who swore allegiance to Glyndŵr at Llys Glyndyfrdwy, were the remains of a proud ruling native aristocracy who had had a gutsful of being treated as less. Not least, they were fed up of being wronged over such as the ‘Land Issue’ that had driven Glyndŵr into dispute with Lord Grey of Ruthin. Their aggrevated view of English rule is best seen in our previous article ‘Vent a Mythology’.


''Vent a Mythology'' (Exoteric) as in days of old. (Dadleuoedd were usually held at night times, obviously held at places and times to avoid spies or English patrols). See below an actual medieval account of such.................
It was so reported in those times……

…………….''their harpers and crowthers singe them songes of the doeings of theire auncesters, namlie, of their wars against the kings of this realme and the English nation, and then do they ripp upp theire petigres at length howe eche of them is discended from those theire ould princes. Here alsoe doe they spende theire time in hearinge some parts of the lives of Thalaassyn, (Taliesin) Marlin Beno Prybbe (Myrddin pen beirdd). Jerue (?Iorwerth), and suche other the intended prophets and saints of that cuntrie''.


However, there was much more that was pushing towards rebellion and that was a delayed ‘Welsh Peasants Revolt’. For much of the 14th Century the Welsh Serfs, Bond Population and Tenants of the Ango – Norman Ruling Class were in a growing state of anger. Fed up of being oppressed and suppressed from trade and having acess to markets and fairs in the castle towns such as those of Rhuddlan and Biwmaris - where riots had broken out over the such banning of natives from ways of making money. Taxation was another great maddening issue; if one had no money to pay taxes, the English Sheriff and his Borough Posse would ride into your village and take your livestock (your only means of making any little money in the first place) in lieu of Tax. No one was free of Taxation, minor lords had to pay up as well as the peasantry. Incidentally, this was the cause of the Llywelyn Bren revolt of 1315-6 and the killing of an English Tax Collector and Tax gathering party at Harlech on St Valentines Day 1345.


Such history shows clearly how the Cymry were oppressed during those years of Anglo Norman occupation and that not all could stand by passivelly and suffer such unjust treatment So riot and revolt would break out from time to time and many of the instigators of such would, of course, if caught, be severely punished  but those that were not caught would become the ‘Adar y Greim’, the Birds of Crime, they being outlaws who had taken to the woods and took delight in robbing the English who fell within their reach. It is these outlaws who would provide the hard core fighters of Owain Glyndŵr’s peasant army. Also in this mix were returning Crusaders and Mercenaries from Foreign Wars, hard fighting men such Dafydd ab Ieuan Goch. Then there were also the ‘workers’ such as Iuean ap Bleddyn of Ruthin, who put aside his craftsman’s tools to join Owain Glyndŵr on his raid on Ruthin on 18 September 1400.


Such peasants and workers post 1421 would become ‘Gwerin Owain’ the outlaws who would continue the ‘Cymric Resistance’ to English rule right up to the revolt of Rhys ap Gruffydd of Dinefwr, who was  executed in 1529. Eventually, this continuing Cymric Resistance gave the English the excuse to send Rowland Lee, ‘the Hanging Judge’ into Cymru to, first of all, pacify the trouble, secondly, to force the natives to accept English Rule. By the conclusion of the 16th century, this had, to all extent and purposes, been achieved though, a number of Pobl Glyndŵr and more militant ‘Gwerin Owain’ had left for France and Ireland by then to continue the War against the English in those countries. For most of the 17th Century, Cymru was pacified although there were rumblings of discontent against the English Aristocrats who had been given much Cymric Land.  The ‘Beauforts’, for example, had been given Glyndŵr’s Estates in the 15th Century and in the following centuries, they were to be ‘given’ 1000’s of acres of further Cymric land by the Tudors and Stuarts.

The name ‘Beaufort’ may sound familier to you if you read our blogs and fb pages and thus, you will be aware of our ‘Tarian Glyndŵr’ campaign against them and other Absentee English Landlords of old and new ‘Conquistadores’ such as RWE Renewables. Unfortunatley, Cymric Patriots today have proved, thus far, to be ‘no patch’ at all on the ‘Gwerin Owain’ or later ‘Pobl Tai Un-nos’, Pobl y Ceffyl Pren and ‘People of the Pitchfork’ who resisted enclosure and famine makers who sold corn to ‘English factors’ whilst their own people starved. By being ‘no patch’ I mean that those that have rallied to our call to struggle for Land Liberty  are few and far between whilst the rest would rather carry out their ‘so called’ struggle on ‘fb Fantasy Island’ or go down garden paths into dead ends following such as the ‘Cardiff Confusers’  to hold pointless ‘Rallies For Scots Independence’ on steps of the Sham Senedd aka, Puppet Parliament, rather than commit to our ‘Cymanfaoedd Annibyniaeth Cymru’ and join with us and other patriots in Gatherings for Welsh Independence at Ruthin, on 20 Medi, and upon Twtil, Caernarfon on 2 Tachwedd 2014. If you have not yet made the ‘big decision’ to support these two founding gatherings of a “for real” radical strggle for Welsh Independence – THEN DO SO NOW! NO EXCUSES… JUST JOIN THE FIGHT AND NOT, ALL THE TIME, GO INTO FLIGHT!

Gethin ap Gruffydd.


NB: Part 2 of this feature which is to follow will conclude as to how having made the big decision OF ‘YES’, at Llys Glyndyfrdwy on Medi 16, 1400, how the Cymry were to carry out such a successful struggle that was to last 21 years, bearing in mind, that the population of Cymru was just 550,000 whilst England had a population of 3 Million.  ‘How’ they did it has inspired great revolutionary struggle leaders ever since in carrying out their own struggles, and the inspirational guerrilla tactics deployed by Glyndŵr and his national army in early 15th century Cymru  would, in the 20th century, become known worldwide as the ‘War of the Flea’.