Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 34.djvu/25

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Llywelyn
Llywelyn
19

mery. In connection with this force Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn strove to win back Cyveiliog, and Roger Mortimer sought to restore his rule over Builth. Still further southward the Earl of Hereford busied himself with the reconquest of Brecheiniog. The third army fought in South Wales under the banner of Edmund of Lancaster. Llywelyn had no force with which he could withstand so overwhelming a power. He abandoned South Wales in despair, leaving the native chieftains to make what terms they could with the Earl of Lancaster. But he strove, by closely watching the royal advance, and by availing himself of his minute knowledge of the country traversed, to divide, starve out, or dishearten the invaders. A great wood offered a formidable obstacle to the king's advance, but Edward ordered a broad road to be cut through it, and successfully eluded the threatened ambush of Llywelyn. Meanwhile the fleet of the Cinque ports coasted along the shore, and finally, by occupying the Menai Straits, cut off Anglesey from Snowdon (Dunstaple Annals, p. 275).

By this time Edward had crossed the Conway, and army and fleet alike combined to block up the Welsh in the mountains of Snowdon, and cut them off from all provisions or possible succour. The destruction of the corn crops in Anglesey facilitated this task. Yet for a time Llywelyn held out, while Edward secured his retreat by building new castles and rebuilding the old strongholds of the district between the Conway and Chester. The king's army suffered some losses, but continued doggedly in its positions until the approach of winter, though not venturing to hunt out Llywelyn from his lairs. At last, in November, lack of food forced the Welsh prince to come down from the hills and accept the terms imposed by his suzerain. On 9 Nov. Llywelyn signed the treaty of Conway, which on 10 Nov. was ratified by the king at. Rhuddlan (Fœdera, i. 545-6; the French text is given in the Osney Chronicle, pp. 272-4, under the date 11 Nov.) By it Llywelyn surrendered all his prisoners, including his brother, Owain Goch, his captive since 1254. He also promised a fine of 50,000l., and unconditionally gave up all his claims to the four cantreds, and apparently to South Wales as well. Anglesey was restored to him, to be held at a rent of one thousand marks yearly to the king, and on condition of its reverting to the king if Llywelyn died without legitimate heirs. The homages of nearly all the 'Welsh barons' were transferred from the prince to the king, save the homage of five barons of Snowdon, 'inasmuch as he could not be called a prince if he had no barons under him.' The Welsh lords were called upon to swear to the treaty and renounce Llywelyn if he broke it. In return for all these concessions Edward promised to continue Llywelyn in his principality, now reduced to the district round Snowdon. Ample provision was made for Llywelyn's Welsh enemies, Davydd, Owain, and Gruffydd. Owain assumed the lordship of Lleyn, and Davydd was awarded territory in Perveddwlad.

Llywelyn was now absolved from his excommunication. He went to Rhuddlan and performed homage and fealty to Edward. The terms of his submission had been hard, for Edward had determined to show that he was master. But now that Llywelyn's power was broken, Edward voluntarily remitted some of the more onerous of the conditions, giving up the fine of 50,000l. and the annual rent for Anglesey.

Llywelyn was now in high favour. He went to London with some of his chieftains, and spent Christinas there with the king, performing homage more solemnly in full parliament. After remaining there a fortnight he returned to Wales. Some small matters were still in debate, and occupied the attention of the statesmen on both sides during the early months of 1278, and Llywelyn gave fresh offence by neglecting to attend the Easter parliament; but an understanding was at length arrived at. In August the king went to the marches (Wykes, p. 276), and met, Llywelyn at Worcester, where the treaty was renewed. Eleanor de Montfort accompanied the English king, and arrangements were made for her marriage to Llywelyn. Just before the ceremony Edward urged him with flattery to subscribe a letter pledging himself not to keep any man in his territory without the king's permission. Llywelyn signed this, smitten, as he tells us himself, 'by the fear which may overcome a steadfast man' (Peckham, Letters, ii.xlv, 443). On 13 Oct. he was married to Eleanor Montfort at the door of Worcester Cathedral. The kings of England and Scotland, the Earl of Lancaster, and a great gathering of magnates witnessed the ceremony, though there were some searchings of heart as to the policy of the match. Next day Llywelyn and Eleanor departed joyfully for Wales (Cont. Flore. Wig. p. 219; Brut y Tywysogion, p. 371). The union was soon brought to an end. On 19 Jan. 1282 Eleanor died in giving birth to her only child. This was a daughter named Wenceliana, or Wenciana (possibly Gwenllian), who, after her father's downfall, fell as an infant into her cousin's power, and became a nun at Sem-

c 2