| 1st King of Wales
|King of Wales|
|Prince of Wales|
|Reign||5th August 1419 - 1st March 1432|
|Coronation||1st October 1419 Bangor Cathedral|
|Predecessor||Prince Owain IV Glyndwr|
|Successor||Title Elevated to King|
|King of Wales|
|Reign||1st March 1432 - 30th August 1462|
|Coronation||1st March 1428 St Davids Cathedral|
|Issue|| Owain V
|Maredudd ap Owain ap Gruffyd|
|Maredudd i Ysblennydd (Magnificent)|
|Cadet Branch of the House of Mathrafal||House of Glyndwr|
|Father||Owain IV ap Gruffyd ap Gruffyd|
|Born|| 25th September 1390 |
|Died|| 30th August 1462 (Aged: 71) |
|Burial||Royal Crypt, St Davids Cathedral|
Maredudd ab Owain ap Gruffydd - Maredudd Glyndwr
Maredudd was Owain Glyndwr's only surviving legitimate son and as such succeeded him in the August of 1419 to the title of Prince of Wales. Under the terms of the Treaty of London, which had ended the 1st War of Independence, Maredudd was the vassal Prince of Wales, under the King of England (at this time Henry V). By the end of his reign he had united all Welsh territory under his rule, had thrown off his vassal status (though the Welsh Crown would continue to pay lip service at the very least until the reign of Richard III) and the achievement which would raise his reign above his fathers, he was crowned and acknowledged as King of Wales.
Maredudd was born in 1390 in Sycharth Manor to Owain and his wife Marged Hanmer. He was the only legitimate male heir of Owain's to survive both childhood and the war of independence. As a son of Owain he was the latest in a line of descent from Madog ap Maredudd the last Prince of Powys (who died in 1160) and he was therefore part of the House of Mathrafal. He was also the heir to the line of Gruffydd Maelor who established the dynasty of princes of Powys Fadog (northern Powys)
When war first broke out Maredudd was too young to take part and spent most of it with his mother, now the Princess Marged of Wales in Harlech Castle. However, he soon joined his father on campaign. In 1404, as part of his father's treaties, Maredudd was betrothed to the granddaughter of the Earl of Northumberland, the Lady Margaret Percy, though the marriage would not be completed for some years. In 1405 Maredudd accompanied his father and the Franco-Welsh army on its campaigns through South Wales, leading to the Battle of Worcester. This battle turned the war around. Owain and his allies routed the army of Henry IV securing Welsh control of western Herefordshire and much of the March. From there on Owain was able to negotiate from a relative position of strength with the English king, an important element when Charles VI of France withdrew his support for an armed campaign and instead pushed for both sides to make peace.
In 1406 Maredudd's life changed completely. Whilst Gruffydd Young and his uncle John Hanmer were conducting a peace treaty with the English his elder brother and heir to the throne, Gruffydd died in battle with the future Henry V. Suddenly Maredudd was elevated to the position of Edling. In 1408 the Treaty of London was signed, formally ending the war. Owain had secured most of Wales under his control and some of the Marches. The treaty saw him recognise the English Crown as his feudal lord, and in return it recognised his control over Wales (apart from Pembrokeshire). It also recognised his control over the March (West of the Severn Gloucestershire & Worcestershire as well as Herefordshire, but excluding Shropshire) extending the Welsh borders back to the River Severn.
Another condition of the treaty was that the heir, Maredudd, move to the English court as a hostage, to ensure Owain's compliance. As such from 1408 until the death of Henry IV in 1413 Maredudd resided at the English Court. With the accession of Henry V, Maredudd was given leave to return to Wales and the Welsh Court in Harlech.
In 1415 Maredudd led the Welsh soldiers to France under Henry V. This was a difficult period for both Owain and Welsh politics. Just five years earlier, French support and men at arms had helped secure Wales' independence, but under the terms of the Treaty of London (ironically brokered by Charles VI of France) Owain was now obliged to send men to France at the behest of his feudal overlord, the English king. Maredudd led the Welsh forces sent to fight with Henry V in France during the 1415 campaign, serving with honour at Agincourt. Returning to Wales for 1416, Maredudd again led the Welsh forces sent to France in 1417. At the siege of Rouen in January 1419, Maredudd was wounded by a crossbow bolt through the shoulder. Taken ill, and thought to be on his deathbed, he was removed back to Wales, leaving the command of the Welsh forces in France under Edmund of March, who until the Treaty of London had been a claimant to the English throne. Maredudd returned to Wales as his father was about to engage in battle against those within his realm that disputed his right to rule. In battle in the Marches Owain fell to his death in the summer of 1419 and suddenly Maredudd was Prince of Wales.
Prince of Wales
On the 1st October 1419 in Bangor Cathedral, Maredudd was crowned Prince of Wales in front of the assembled Welsh Nobles and representatives of Scotland, England, France and the Holy Roman Empire. His new title was Prince of the Welsh & the March, Hereditary Prince of Powys, Lord of Sycharth, Harlech & Snowdonia. Following the coronation, Maredudd traveled to London and offered his oath to be a faithful vassal of Henry V in lieu of his English held lands.
Part of his coronation gift to Maredudd, King Henry gave control of Caernarfon Castle to the young Welsh monarch. Caernarfon had been one of the exceptions to the Treaty of London, along with Kidwelly, Carmarthen Castles and Pembrokeshire in that they remained English Crown possessions. With Caernarfon now his, Maredudd moved the court there, retaining Harlech alongside his holdings in Sycharth as personal possessions.
Welsh support for Henry V's French campaigns remained strong during the English monarch's lifetime. Maredudd traveled back to France for the signing of the Treaty of Troyes and the wedding of Henry to Catherine of Valois, leaving Welsh forces behind in France under the command of his half brother John Fitzowen.
With the death of both his overlord and his friend, Henry V, the political landscape of Wales changed again. On the 28 September 1423 Maredudd along with the other English nobles swore loyalty to the nine month old Henry VI. However, events were already shifting. The previous year, Maredudd had finally married Margaret Percy (20th June 1422) and was planning for what would become the Pembrokeshire War.
In 1429, Maredudd led his armies south from Cardigan Castle into Pembrokeshire. The English, attention focused on France were still not easy opponents to defeat, and at the Battle of Newport, Maredudd suffered a serious defeat at the hands of the English Lord. Maredudd, however, rallied his troops and continued fighting a low level war for the next two years, finally capturing his goal, St Davids in the April of 1431. 1431 also saw a new treaty signed with France, recognising Maredudd as king and a more serious break with England with the Welsh refusal to supply troops for Henry VI to use with his war in France.
On the 1st March 1432, Maredudd was crowned for the second time, this time as Maredudd, By the Grace of God, King of Wales, king of the Britons, Hereditary Prince of Powys, Great Lord of Gwynedd, Deheubarth, Glamorgan and the March, Lord of Sycharth, Harlech & Snowden. In common parlance, however, the title used was king of the Welsh or king of Wales. In a calculated political gamble, however, Maredudd though still offering an oath of loyalty to Henry VI for this English lands, this time offered them in absentia, lessening the feudal legalities tying him to the English Crown.
King of the Welsh
Maredudd spent the next 24 years consolidating both his power and rule within Wales. Following English practice, Parliament was called regularly to Machynlleth to air grievances and to approve taxes. He also spent a great deal of time encouraging trade with Scotland, Brittany and France, building up the ports of Milford Haven and Pembroke. Maredudd also spent time grooming his eventual heir, Owain, for the role as king of Wales.
In 1431, a marriage treaty was arranged with the Earl of Shrewsbury, whose lands fell within Wales, but whose town did not. Under the terms of the marriage, Owain would become Earl of Shrewsbury on the old mans death. The marriage was completed in 1438 with the 8 year old Owain marrying his 12 year old bride, Mary of Shrewsbury. With the marriage and death of the old Earl, the town of Shrewsbury fell to the Welsh crown.
Wars of the Roses
In 1455 with England falling into anarchy and war, Maredudd sided with the son of his old friend, Henry VI. This was the first major disagreement between father and son, with Maredudd siding both because of politics and loyalty. With Henry VI, Maredudd had someone he could profit from. Richard of York was not a man who liked or loved Maredudd. In 1459 Owain is sent by Maredudd with troops to the Battle of Bloreheath and the Battle of Northampton (1460). Maredudd by now was approaching 70 and political control rested more with Daffydd Young (the nephew of Gruffydd Young) the new Chancellor and Prince Owain and whilst Owain took part in the Battle of Wakefield he sends out peace feelers to the young Edward. Returning to Wales, Owain sets out to capture Lancastrian Chester as a sign of goodwill to the now Edward IV. Maredudd, in a final act of control takes command of the siege, but dies from an infected arrow wound on the 30th August 1462.
During his long reign, Maredudd completed the freeing of Wales from English control and extended his power and influence up to the western banks of the Severn. Towns and commerce grew, especially in the 24 years of relative peace the reign enjoyed. By the time of his death, England was a country in turmoil and Wales was increasingly secure.
|King of Wales|
Prince Owain IV
|Prince of Wales|
|Ancestors of Maredudd ap Owain ap Gruffyd Fychan|