Name: Owen Glendower
Birth: ABT 1359 in Glyndwrdwy, Merionethshire, Wales
Death: ABT 1416
Occupation: Welsh rebel.
Cause: Having disappeared into the mountains
FILE: ~/Documents/Ged Pics mstr/Glendower, Owain.jpg
Title: Glendower, Owain.jpg
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Change Date: 31 OCT 2008
A scion of the princes of Powys, he was also claimant through his mother to the lands of Rhys ap Gruffydd; he was thus one of the most powerful lords in Wales. After studying law in London and fighting in the English army, he returned to Wales. In 1400 he emerged as the leader of a revolt against English rule. The immediate occasion was a quarrel with his neighbor Lord Grey of Ruthin, an English border baron; but deeper causes of the national upheaval that followed lay in Welsh antagonism toward their English overlords, Welsh resentment of unjust English laws and administration, and widespread economic discontent. Owen, proclaimed (1400) prince of Wales by his followers, kept the revolt against Henry IV of England burning for years. In 1402 he captured Sir Edmund de Mortimer, whose nephew the 5th earl of March had a claim to the English throne, and secured his support. He then allied himself with the discontented Percy family (Sir Henry Percy; his father, Henry Percy, 1st earl of Northumberland; and Thomas Percy, earl of Worcester). The defeat of the Percys at the battle of Shrewsbury in 1403 (in which Owen did not take part), was only a temporary setback for the Welsh leader. The following year he displayed his skill as a daring guerrilla fighter by capturing the key castles of Aberystwyth and Harlech. He was recognized by Charles VI of France, with whom he made (1404) an alliance, and summoned (1405) his own parliament. However, the failure of an expedition from France on his behalf (1405-6) weakened him, and the recapture by the English of Aberystwyth (1408) and Harlech (1409) left him powerless. He disappeared into the mountains and refused to take advantage of the general amnesty offered by Henry V.
The royal great seal of Owain Glyn Dwr only survives in a single impression attached to his 1404 treaty with Charles VI of France. It is of very fine workmanship - perhaps it was commissioned in France.
On the obverse, Owain is shown enthroned beneath a canopy of state, holding a sceptre, but with no crown. A lawyer by training, here he represents the role of a king as the giver of justice. As in French royal seals, angels hold up his cloth of majesty, which shows the lions rampant of Gwynedd. His feet rest on two more lions, and two wolf heads spring from the arms of his throne.
On the reverse, Owain appears on horseback as the warrior and feudal leader he also was - this time with a crown on his helmet. The Welsh dragon appears on both his helmet, and on the warhorse's head.
The legend is now incomplete, but (putting the two sides together) probably read OWYNUS DEI GRATIA PRINCEPS WALLIAE - 'Owain, by the grace of God, Prince of Wales'.
(Bowen Family web page http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~bowen/owainglyndwrseal.html)
Father: Gruffydd Fychan
Mother: Helen verch Thomas
- Alice Glendower b: 1378
- Catherine Glendower b: ABT 1380 in Wales
- Jonet verch Owain b: 1376