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Dafydd V of Wales (Welsh History Post Glyndwr)

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Dafydd V
11th King of Wales

10. Dafydd the Rash.jpg
King of Wales
House of Deheubarth
Reign 30th September 1706 - 28th August 1718
Coronation 22nd November 1706, St Davids Cathedral
Predecessor Hywel IV
Successor Rhys
Spouse Princess Henrietta Bourbon De France
Issue Prince Rhys of Wales. Edling Cymru
Full name
Dafydd ap Hywel ap Hywel
Posthumous name
Dafydd Anystyriol (the Rash)
House House of Deheubarth
Father Hywel ap Hywel ap Dafydd
Mother Marged Pritchard
Born 31st December 1682
Archbishops Palace, St. David's
Died 28th August 1718 (Aged: 38)
Battle of Caerdydd, Morgannwg
Burial Llandaff Cathedral
Religion Roman Catholic
Dafydd was the eldest child and only son of King Hywel IV & Queen Marged. He was born on the 31st December 1682 in the Royal Apartments in the Archbishops Palace in St Davids. For most of his childhood he was an only child (his sister not being born until he was 19 years old). Dafydd has the dubious honour of owning a suffix to his name, that of The Rash. He gained this retrospectively following his decision to wage war on the United Kingdom of England and Scotland, losing both his life and his kingdom in the process, dooming Wales to 78 years of foreign domination


Dafydd's time as heir to the throne was a happy one. Born to two well educated monarchs he enjoyed a rich academic schedule until the age of 12 where he was then introduced to the military arts by the Duke of March. Dafydd was also the first monarch since his namesake and great-grandfather, Dafydd IV to marry a member of a senior European Royal House. In 1695, Dafydd and his father traveled to France to met with Louis XIV. For Hywel the purpose was originally trade and defence. The net result, however, with the Treaty of Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, was the marriage of the Edling, Dafydd with a daughter of Louis XIV, the Princess Henrietta Bourbon De France. Born on the 30th July 1679 she was older than her husband-to-be, and part of the conditions of the marriage treaty was that no ceremony would take place until the Princess turned 18. That marriage duly took place on the 7th March 1698. The final eight years of his father's life, Dafydd was increasing to find himself involved in the running of the kingdom, with Hywel wanting his heir to be ready for the duties of kingship once he died. Accordingly Dafydd was assumed the duties of the Prince of Gwynedd, though his father did not grant him the title, preferring to leave him as Lord of Snowdon instead. Dafydd and his wife also experienced much heartache in these early years of marriage with six miscarriages and two still-born children during the first ten years of marriage.

Finally in 1706 as his father grew weaker Dafydd was placed in control of the Kings Council, the central part of the Kings Government, leaving Dafydd well placed to act when his father died on the 30th September 1706.

Brenin Cymru

Crowned in magnificent pomp and splendour on the 22nd November 1706, Dafydd settled down to rule his new kingdom. Tomos Eifion, Chancellor for his father continued to control the government apparatus, while Dafydd settled control of the other organs of state power.

Dafydd and Henrietta also experienced the joys of parenthood in 1708 with the birth of their only child to survive into adulthood. The Prince Rhys, born in Harlech Palace on the 15th July 1708 was the scion of two strong Royal Houses, and whilst bared from the French Succession by Sallic Law, he was praised by the French Court as a future son of that Royal House.

The Gower Uprising

The first rumblings of discontent began in the late 1690's. Although Wales was a Roman Catholic nation, there remained pockets of Calvinist or Lutheran protestants throughout the country. The largest pockets were in the far east of the March or in Henffordd. The next largest pocket however, was in the Gower, centered Abertawe. The autocratic rule of Hywel had been ill-disposed to the Protestants of Wales, and conditions did not improve much with the limited reintroduction of Chancellor led government following the 1703 parliamentary restoration. Matters continued into the reign of Dafydd with Tomas Eifion continuing his stewardship of what amounted to the Welsh government. In the spring of 1709 however a new tax was declared. This tax penalised any non Roman Catholic into paying a special religious tax to the king. The Protestant communities sent representative to Harlech to lobby the king, but these were turned away from court. Finding their options being restricted at every turn, the Gower population turned to their Earl for help. The Earl (Rhys II) was unable to help them, being in debt to the crown himself he stood to benefit from the Protestant tax. Spurned by parliament, king and liege lord, the population rose in revolt in the summer of 1709.

Shocked by the uprising (which soon had control of all the west of Gower and was pressing east) Dafydd ordered the Army in to crush the uprising. The Army, which had been in such excellent form when Prince Iago of Morgannwg had retired in 1672, was now a poor shadow of its former self. Starved of funds since 1690 and even before that starved of official attention, the Army was not prepared for action. The Royal Arsenal's were either empty or the powder rotting, the cavalry had not mustered for some 25 years and the Infantry was ill disciplined and ill trained. The few regiments of men prepared were marched from barracks but mutinied outside Brecon, refusing to go further. Faced with such actions, Dafydd was forced to employ mercenaries with which to put down the rebellion. Ironically, mercenaries which included Welsh soldiers then proceeded to put down the rebellion with relative ease. One brief and bloody battle, the Battle of Oxwich Bay, saw the end of the uprising and with it, the protestant population of the Gower was almost extinguished. The Uprising of '09 as it was soon called only added to the increasing rise in tensions with the Anglican United Kingdom of England & Scotland.

The Anglo-Scottish Act of Settlement 1701 & Exclusion Crisis of 1707

Exclusion Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms of Dafydd 1707-1718

Dafydd and Rhys were also part of the Roman Catholic line of succession to the thrones of England and Scotland (and following 1707 the throne of the United Kingdom of England & Scotland). Although barred under the Act of Settlement 1701, Dafydd and therefore Rhys were both descendants of Princess Margaret Stuart. Daughter of James VI & I of Scotland and England and wife to Dafydd IV of Wales, Margaret had converted to Roman Catholicism in order to marry Dafydd. After that union all the Kings of Wales were therefore related by blood to the English and Scottish monarchs. Under the provisions of the Act of Settlement however, the line of succession was decided upon the descendants of the Electoress Sophia of Hanover. Dafydd decided to contest this and added to the Welsh Royal Arms the arms of the English-Scottish kingdom.

Welsh Armed Forces during the Reign of Dafydd

The Armed Forces during the reign of Dafydd were to see much change. The Navy had long been the Royal favourite and had managed to survive the withdrawal from European affairs instituted by Hywel IV. The Army by contrast had suffered greatly under Hywel IV and during the early year of Dafydd V. The damage done was significant enough that the Army was unable to put down the minor Uprising of '09 in the Gower, with the Government being forced to employ mercenaries to help put down the rebellion.

The Navy

Prince Llewellyn of Powys held the post of Prince-Lord Admiral, a position he had held under Hywel IV from 1688. Under his guidance, the Navy received enough funds to modernise the fleet, maintaining a small, but well equipped fleet. Llewellyn continued to hold the post of Prince-Lord Admiral under Dafydd and he continued to modernise and enlarge the fleet, keeping up with the English as much as the Welsh treasury could afford to. The fleet in 1710 consisted of 25 ships of the line, with another 10 planned for construction. The flagship, the HBMS St Teilo was already a 20 year old ship in 1710. The ambitious plans included new Naval bases and docks in Milford Haven, Abertawe, Caerodor and Beaumaris and represented an increased desire by Dafydd to bring Wales back into European politics.

The Army

The Army had been in decline for some years, with many pointing to the 1690 pay reductions as the being of the rapid decline of what before had merely been a stagnation. 1690 saw both the reduction in the rates of pay for the Welsh soldiers and a reduction in the size of the Army. Where before the pay had been 4 ceiniogau and 1 swllt, in 1690 pay was reduced by Parliament to pisyn tair (three pieces) for an Infantryman and chwecheiniog (sixpence) for a cavalryman. Such reductions in pay saw a decrease in the numbers of men joining the Army and the army was also reduced from 5 cavalry regiments to 3 and 6 Infantry regiments to 4. In 1704 Welsh troops took part in the Battle of Blenheim under Marlborough with reports of poor discipline, poor uniform and poor equipment, and this was to be the last engagement fought by the Army prior to the 3rd Anglo-Welsh War.

Following the failure of the Army during the Gower Uprising of 1709 the Army was largely mothballed. Only the Household and Fortress Guards retained any active status as these were needed for the Royal Fortress' and to provide security for the King. This state of affairs continued until 1716, when the Prince of Powys and the Duke of March (Llewellyn Powys-Fadog and Edmund Grey) were appointed to control the Army (Powys as Commander and the March as his active deputy).

Under March, the Army was restructured with Regiments taking the place of the previous Milwraid (Colonel) Regiments (the first of these being the Regiment of the March), pay was also increased, with an Infantryman now earning 10 ceiniogau and a Cavalryman earning 2 swllt, with officers now earning a Coron (Crown or 5 swllt) Such a move pulled men to the colours, and the with the restructuring the Army was starting to resemble a small but efficient fighting force, however, the timing of such reforms, (1716) put it at odds with the increasingly fractured relationship with the United Kingdom and as a result the Army was in no real shape to fight the war when it broke out just two years later.

Succession Crisis 1714

The death in 1714 of Queen Anne of the United Kingdom of England & Scotland raised again the spectre of the succession. Although the Act of Settlement had already declared that George, Elector of Hanover, as next in line, there were still the Old Pretender (James VIII & III) and Dafydd both of whom had a claim to the throne even if they were both Roman Catholic. With the accession of George, tensions, already taut were increased further, with Dafydd at first not recognising the new United Kingdom monarch. Such tensions were not helped by the Revolt of the Fifteen's, when the Old Pretender was defeated in his attempt to regain his kingdom. Wales had offered to help the King in Exile, offering arms and money, though such offers were in the end too little and too late to aid him in his attempt. Such aid though infuriated the new king, George. With the increasingly rapid re-militarisation of Wales, he needed little help to see the Welsh Roman Catholic Kingdom as a threat to the safety and security of his new realm.

The 3rd Anglo-Welsh War 1718-1719

The war which ended the independence of the Welsh kingdom broke out in the February of 1718. Dafydd, in trying to help the cause of James III & VIII decided (against the advice of both Princes, the Dukes of March & Gwent) to declare war on the United Kingdom of England & Scotland (UK-ES). Wales was not ready. The Army Reforms of 1716 had only recently begun to bear fruit and as such the Army was still in relative poor shape to wage a war. The Royal Arsenal's in Caerodor and Amwythig were low in material. However in the March of 1718, the King orders the newly created Regiment of the March to take positions to the east of Amwythig. Dafydd then dismisses both the Prince of Powys and the Duke of March from the command of the army and assumes control for himself.

Facing this small Welsh Army (about 2000 men) was an English Army under the command of the young Duke of Newcastle,
Wales June 1718

English controlled territory June 1718

Thomas Pelham-Holles. Under his command was an army numbering 9,000 men under arms. Following this there were 2 months of stalemate, where diplomats on both sides tried to mediate a ceasefire. Finally in June 1718, Dafydd loses patience and moves his small army against Newcastles. The resultant Battle of Amwythig saw a complete English victory. 1000 men dead or captured, the remainder scattered and the Welsh king fleeing towards the village of Radnor. The English under Newcastle, against original Parliamentary orders move to take the North March, parts of Northern Powys and Gwynedd east of the Conwy.

Dafydd flees southward towards Morgannwg, where Cystennin is arranging a second Welsh army. Facing this however is another English Army. this time commanded by the Duke of Cornwall, the heir to the English-Scottish throne, Prince George Augustus. This Army is split into two, with the Prince commanding the northern half and the southern under William Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan. The southern arm bypasses the fortress of Caerodor, but succeeds in taking the Gwlad yr Haf and Northern Coast Territory within the month. With the countryside under English control, Cadogan then settles down to a seige of Caerodor, which would hold out until the December of 1718.

Wales August 1718

English controlled territory end of August 1718

Meanwhile, the Duke of Cornwall had crossed the River Severn at Worcester and seized, Henffordd and Caerwrangon (Worcester), and then started moving southwards, taking Monmouth and Newport. The rate of advance is so swift that on the 28th August, the Dukes army catches up with Dafydd and the Battle of Caerdydd takes place. The battle takes place over several hours, and the Regiment of March earns several honours during the battle, but the net result was still another total Welsh defeat. Dafydd was killed during the fighting and many Welsh soldiers are again either killed or captured. The loss of Caerdydd now opens up Wales to invasion. During August the Duke of Newcastle had not been idle either. Crossing the Conwy River he advanced further into Gwynedd taking Garth Celyn and Caernarfon, and laying seige to Conwy Castle (falling in the October). With the death of the King, the Prince of Powys is appointed Regent for the child-king Rhys, and he organises the flight of the Royal Family to France under the protection of Duke Owain of Dyfed. Half the Navy is ordered to sail for the Breton coast, whilst the remainder is to dock in Milford Haven. The Regent under fierce English attack controls the Welsh fallback to Abertawe. The Regent is scrabbling for troops, utilizing the Royal Household Guard and the Fortress Guards as well as press-ganging any man not already under the Colours. The Duke of Cornwall now advances further into Glamorgan, with the fortress of Caerfilli now under siege.
Wales September 1718

The end of September 1718

On the 15th September 1718 the next major battle of the war takes place in Abertawe. The Welsh forces hold out well, the Prince of Powys, aided by the Duke of March and the Duke of Gwent hold off the English, however, the following day the Duke of Cornwall orders a fresh assault and Powys is killed by English Sharpshooters. His death takes the heart from the Welsh defence and the Prince of Morgannwg, Cystennin, taking over as both Regent and General of the Army orders the retreat.

Trading men for time, the new Regent orders that the Royal Treasury, recently evacuated from North Wales be sent to France. Ships laden with every movable treasure sets sail from Milford Haven on the 29th September, whilst the first half of the fleet, ordered to France early returns. The Captains, unable to follow the orders and desert their countrymen having seen the treasury ships returned to Milford to provide assistance.

The war was now proving to be almost unrecoverable. The diplomats in London had been arrested on orders from George of Hanover and now any hope for a diplomatic end to the war disappeared. By the end of September, Morgannwg has been lost to the English with the Duke of Cornwall encroaching on the Earldom of Gower. English Warships are now patrolling the Bristol Channel and bombarding any coastal village causing panic amongst the population. During October there is a relative lull in the fighting, although Caerfilli and Conwy fall to the English and the Duke of Newcastle begins the siege of Harlech.

With November beginning the English pick up the pace, advancing into Gower, which quickly falls, then into Kidwelly and advancing into Ystrad Towi. By the end of the month, Carmarthen and St Clears are under English control. Cystennin realising that total defeat is looming orders the evacuation from Wales of the senior nobility. "Like rats on a sinking ship" was the description given by the Duke of Cornwall when he was informed of the mass evacuation of the nobility.
Wales End of 1718

Wales; December 1718

At the end of the year, as Cystennin sailed away towards France, the English armies were advancing on the remaining pockets of Welsh resistance. There were men who refused to leave, and these men were given orders to resist the UK-ES as far as they could and then to work with their new overlords until the King could return. The war was not over yet, it would continue into the first year of the new monarchs reign.

1719 would open with the English armies, rested after a Christmas lull, resuming their advance on the remainder of the Welsh Kingdom.

During 1719 first the Earldom of Pembrokeshire would fall. The Lord-Archbishop, the only senior member of the Welsh aristocracy not to flee met the Duke of Cornwall at the edge of the City of St David where he surrendered rather than have the city sacked. The Duke of Cornwall then marches up the west coast, meeting the Duke of Newcastle on his march south. By the end of the year the only unconquered parts left are the Isle of Anglesey, though it is under blockade and the rump of Powys and Brycheiniog. These fall in the spring of 1720.


The legacy of Dafydd is a mixed one. His reign saw the completion of the redesigning of many of the towns and cities of Wales. Palace of Harlech, Caernarfon, Garth Celyn, Sycharth Manor, all restored and amplified. The other senior nobles following the kings lead, with ornate palaces constructed in Montgomery, Cardiff, St Davids, Caerleon, Dinefwr. Arts, science, all flourished as they had under the previous two kings. Dafydd was taking Wales back into European politics, the Army was again given the attention required to bring it up to a modern standard. However, Dafydd helped raise the tensions with the UK-ES. Religious differences had been a part of British politics since the creation of the Anglican Church under Elizabeth and yet previous monarchs had handled it more adroitly. Under Dafydd's clunking fist, the UK-ES was driven to scratch the itch which was the independent Roman Catholic Kingdom to the west, and in that area the Anglo-Scot's were successful.

Preceded by:
Hywel IV
King of Wales
Succeeded by:

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