Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 34.djvu/26

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Llywelyn
Llywelyn
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pringham, where she died in 1337 (Cont. Flor. Wig. p. 226; Fœdera, i. 712).

Several years of peace followed, but Llywelyn bore with impatience the loss of his power, while Edward's agents carried out roughly and violently his policy of anglicisation in the ceded districts. The four cantreds were brought under the county court of Chester. The sheriffs of Carmarthen and Cardigan carried out the same policy in the south. At the same time the energetic primate, John Peckham, strove to put down the abuses of the Welsh church, and bring it into greater harmony with the English church. His plans extended not merely to the ceded districts, but to the territory still ruled by Llywelyn, and his well-meant but blundering policy provoked the first open resistance. In 1280 Peckham visited Wales and patched up an agreement with Llywelyn, who, in obedience to his suggestions, concluded a composition with the Bishop of Bangor (Peckham, Letters, No. cviii. cf. Pref. ii, liii). Llywelyn made the archbishop the present of some hounds, and sent him home fairly contented. But some time after prince and archbishop were again in acrimonious controversy. Llywelyn was now again at feud with Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn, and complained that the terms of the peace were violated by Gruffydd's actions. Peckham told Llywelyn, who appealed to the customs of those parts, that the Welsh customs were only to be observed so far as they were reasonable. But many of the laws of Howel Dda were unreasonable (ib. No. lxvi.) and against the decalogue. Llywelyn had therefore no right to complain if the king and his council preferred to settle the disputes in the marches by the reasonable and just customs of England (ib. No. cxv.) Such reasoning aggravated Llywelyn's discontent with his position. He resented a summons to appear as a suitor before the king's justice at Montgomery, and neglected after the old fashion to attend Edward's parliaments. He soon began to listen to the loud complaints of his old subjects in the four cantreds, who clamorously appealed for his help against the violence and brutality of Edward's officials. Edward pressed his legal rights remorselessly and inexorably. His subordinates as usual served him badly, and displayed unnecessary violence and brutality. Davydd, Llywelyn's brother, was so disgusted at their actions; that he secretly entered into a league with him against the king. A great scheme of revolt seems to have been planned with the utmost secrecy. The reconciliation of Llywelyn and Davydd again united the Welsh forces. Reckless of consequences, heedless of the improbability of success, and puffed up by vain prophecies that the time of the downfall of the Saxon was approaching, Llywelyn plunged recklessly into his last revolt.

On the eve of Palm Sunday 1282 Llywelyn and Davydd suddenly attacked the castles of Flint, Rhuddlan, and Hawarden (Osney Annals, p. 287; Waverley Annals, p. 397 ; Eulogium Historiarum, iii. 146; Worcester Annuls, p. 481; Brut y Tywysogion, p. 373). The castles were taken, and Roger Clifford, the king's lieutenant, was wounded and taken prisoner. A general revolt of Perveddwlad followed. Llywelyn invaded the ceded districts, and was everywhere welcomed with enthusiasm. Even before the northern rising a similar outbreak had taken place in the south, where, on 25 March, Gruffydd ab Maredudd, the heir of the South Welsh princes, captured and destroyed the new fortress of Aberystwith, through which northern Cardiganshire was kept in subjection (Brut y Tywysogion, p. 373). Thence the revolt spread over the whole of South Wales (Annales Cambriæ, p. 106).

Edward, profoundly disgusted, resolved to end once for all Llywelyn's power. In April the Welsh prince was solemnly excommunicated by Archbishop Peckham (Peckham, Letters, No. ccliv.) On Midsummer-day Edward entered Wales at the head of a gallant army. The plan of campaign was now essentially the same as that in 1277, but carried out more ruthlessly and with a larger force. Llywelyn again retreated to Snowdon, and again the mountain district was blockaded by sea and land. The resistance continued all the summer, Edward taking up his headquarters at Conway, while Llywelyn remained at Aber, Garthcevn, or some other of his castles within the mountains. No general resistance was attempted to the progress of the English force, but many small combats were fought, with varying success, Llywelyn gaining a signal success on 6 Nov., when the flood-tide broke the bridge over the Menai Straits, and a large force of English on the Arvon bank were cut off by the Welsh. But the most interesting episode of the campaign was the attempt at mediation made by Archbishop Peckham, who had accompanied Edward's army. On 21 Oct. Peckham sent a doctor of divinity named John the Welshman to treat with Llywelyn (ib. No. cccxxvii). Elaborate schedules of the grievances of the Welsh were laid before him (printed in the Rolls edition of Peckham's Letters, including the special grievances of Llywelyn, in ii. 435-78). On 31 Oct. Peck-