inhabitants into the vale of Clwyd. This action seems to have brought Henry II again to Wales, but he advanced no further than Rhuddlan, where he remained three days (probably in May 1165; Eyton, Itinerary of Henry II, p. 79; Bridgman, Hist. of the Princes of South Wales, pp. 48–9). In July, however, the king led a more formidable expedition against South Wales, where Rhys, like Owain, had been devastating the English border. For the first time the rival Welsh chieftains joined together in resisting the English invaders. Owain marched with Cadwaladr at the head of the men of Gwynedd to join Rhys. Even the men of Powys, now led by Owain Cyveiliog [q. v.], joined in the national resistance. The united host of the three Welsh districts encamped at Corwen to oppose Henry. The king marched through the vale of Ceiriog, where he lost many men in the woods, and at last got entangled amidst the Berwyn mountains. Rain and tempest completed the discomfiture of the English (‘parum vel nichil profecit,’ Gervase, i. 197), and, provisions falling short, Henry was forced to return without having encountered the enemy. In his rage Henry ordered the hostages that were still in his hands to be blinded. Among them were Cadwallon and Cynvrig, two of Owain's sons. Another son, named Llywelyn, died during the same year.
The English king's decided repulse gave Owain a stronger position than ever, especially as Henry II now absented himself from England for the next six years, and nothing was done by the central power to check the aggressions of the Welsh chieftains, or their constant wars with the marchers. Owain had waged war against Welsh prince and Norman marcher alike. His destruction of Basingwerk in 1166 was a menace to the Earl of Chester. In alliance with Owain Cyveiliog he drove out Iorwerth Goch from Mochnant, upon which the two Owains divided the land between them. But in 1167 the allies quarrelled, and Owain Gwynedd formed a fresh combination with Rhys of South Wales against the lord of Powys. Some sharp fighting ensued. Caereineon was wrested from Owain Cyveiliog and handed over to a vassal prince, Owain Vychan. Talawern was conquered and appropriated by the lord Rhys. But Owain Cyveiliog called in the help of the Norman marchers, destroyed Castell Caereineon, which the two Owains had previously erected, and killed all the garrison. The two Owains and Rhys, however, still kept their forces together, and atoned for their check in Caereineon by a destructive inroad against the English castles of Englefield. They burnt the strongholds of Rhuddlan and Prestatyn, and then ‘every one returned happy and victorious to his own country’ (Brut y Tywysogion, p. 206; Annales Cambr. p. 57). This was almost the last of Owain's warlike exploits.
Owain's declining years were embittered by a long and complicated struggle with the church. He naturally wished to keep his own bishopric of Bangor free from the intrusion of the Norman nominees of the English king, but the struggle for ecclesiastical independence was complicated by the irregular and uncanonical life of the native champion. Owain was, however, a pious man after his fashion; and Giraldus Cambrensis quotes some of his quaint sayings in the matter (Opera, vi. 144). Early in his reign Owain had a sharp contest with Maurice or Meurig, who was consecrated bishop of Bangor in 1139 in succession to David (d. 1139?) [q. v.] Though Maurice had some hesitation in professing canonical obedience to Canterbury, and though he was duly elected by ‘clergy and people’ of Gwynedd, Owain wrote indignantly to Bishop Bernard, the Norman bishop of St. David's, complaining that Maurice had ‘entered the church of St. Daniel not at the door, but like a thief’ (Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, i. 345; cf. Gir. Cambr. Opera, iii. 59), and proposed a meeting with Bernard and the South-Welsh prince Anarawd at Aberdovey, to combine against the intruder. After Maurice's death, however, in 1161, Owain obstinately kept the see of Bangor vacant, despite the vigorous protests of Archbishop Thomas of Canterbury and of Pope Alexander III. After 1164 Thomas's exile complicated the situation, and gave Owain the opportunity of prolonging his resistance to attempts which probably would have resulted in the intrusion of a Norman nominee, as in South Wales. About 1165 he wrote to Thomas, proposing that the archbishop should allow the consecration of a bishop of Bangor elsewhere than at Canterbury, on condition that he professed canonical obedience to Canterbury. Owain added, moreover, that Thomas ought to grant the request, as no law compelled the king of Gwynedd to subjection to Canterbury, but simply his good will ((Haddan and Stubbs, i. 364–5). Thomas naturally refused this request, whereupon Owain seems to have provided a nominee for the see, who sought for consecration in Ireland from the Archbishop of Dublin. This naturally made matters worse; and the dispute was further aggravated by the pope nominating another candidate. But the old prince now married his cousin Crisiant, an alliance that drew upon