This is by no means meant to be a detailed accounting or historical overview of the nation of Wales, a Celtic stronghold on the island of Great Britain. It is merely a collection of facts I compiled in no truly specific order while researching for my second book in The Crystal Crux series.
I’m putting this information out here so I can access it easily at a later date – and perhaps, if someone else needs it or wants to comment and introduce other insightful information, they can. Remember, it is random and meant to stimulate my thoughts and research whims – nothing more.
Wales is on the western side of the island of Great Britain with the Irish Sea to its north and west, and the Bristol Channel to its south. Wales once included the fertile valleys of the Severn and Tern – The Paradise of Powys.
They do not refer to themselves as Welsh, but rather as Cymry. And they are the only part of the United Kingdom where their language has been allowed official status, although English is still THE official language.
In medieval times, the currency consisted of the ceiniog cyfreith and ceiniog ewta.
There was Welsh law, laws of King Hywel Dda.
Several kings of Wales were Gruffudd ap Cynan (wife Angharad – Gules, three lioncels passant, in pale Argent, armed Azure), Owain Gwynedd (1100-1170), and Rhys ap Gruffydd.
Owain the Great – Owain Mawr – first styled to be Prince of Wales (Twysog, later called Owain Gwynedd to distinguish him. He commissioned a book to be written about his father and his exploits to assert his own primacy. Owain had dispute with Thomas Beckett, the Archbishop of Canterbury over the appointment of Arthur of Bardsley as Bishop of Bangor when the see became vacant. Beckett refused that nomination so Owain had Arthur consecrated in Ireland.
Owain’s second marriage was to his first cousin, Cristin. He was excommunicated for this.
Owain suffered a great depression at the loss of his first and favorite son, Rhun, in 1146. For some reason, the retaking of Mold Castle held relieve this depression.
According to legend, one of Owain’s sons, Prince Madoc, crossed the Atlantic Ocean and colonized the Americas.
Ynys Mon or Anglesey, is considered by some to be legendary Avalon and a final holdout of the Celtic priests and Druids, a land rich in apples. It appears, historically, there is little factual accounting for the Druids wrote nothing and the Romans wrote only a fraction about them.
In 1157, Wales was at war with King Henry II. Battle of Ewloe. Owain need to consolidate power so he eventually came to terms, rendering homage and fealty to Henry, and surrendered Rhuddlain Castle and restored Cadwaladr to his possession in Gwynedd. The English razed and looted Churches. Henry FitzRoy burned churches at Mon. Henry had the support of Owain’s brother Cadwaladr and Madog of Powys.
In 1170, Hywel ab Owain Gwynedd succeeded his father but the realm plunged into civil war. Pro-Irish and legitimists factions supported Hywel and the legacy of Owain while an anti-Irish coalition headed by Owain’s widow Cristen, promoted her son, Dafydd ab Owain. The princess dowager and her son overthrew Hywel and he was killed at the Battle of Pentraeth in 1171.
In 1176, for Christmas, Lord Rhys held a festival of poetry and son at his court at Cardigan believed to be the first Eisteddfad.