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-A certain ambivalence
-surrounds medieval Wales's princes.
-Some perceive them as leaders,
-who fought for the Welsh...
-..others as men who wanted power,
-for themselves and their families.
-We shall shed light
-on this paradox...
-..and place the princes
-in the context of the Middle Ages.
-A little over 100 years
-after the death of Hywel Dda...
-..Wales was a collection
-of small kingdoms...
-..when the Normans
-conquered England in 1066.
-From England, they turned to Wales.
-But in north Wales,
-they came across an obstacle...
-..a pirate, of Irish,
-Welsh and Viking descent.
-Gruffudd ap Cynan succeeded
-in stopping the Normans.
-He became the most powerful
-Welsh leader of his age.
-Gruffudd ap Cynan
-The kingdom of Wales was destroyed
-by the Normans during Easter 1093.
-Or at least, that was the opinion
-of the Welsh Chroniclers...
-..citing Rhys ap Tewdwr,
-king of Deheubarth's death...
-It was an exaggeration.
-But Rhys's death was an important
-turning point in Welsh history.
-Significantly, he wasn't killed by
-one of his fellow Welsh leaders...
-..but by the Normans.
-One Welsh prince succeeded in
-reviving a Welsh royal dynasty...
-..that lasted for 200 years -
-Gruffudd ap Cynan.
-What kind of place was Wales
-during Gruffudd ap Cynan's reign?
-After the Battle
-of Hastings in 1066...
-..the Normans' attempts
-to conquer Wales...
-..was clearly an extension
-of the conquest in England.
-Unlike the Vikings, they conquered
-great tracts of the country...
-..and became a permanent presence.
-Wales was less
-centralized than England...
-..and therefore more difficult
-for the Normans to conquer.
-Gruffudd ap Cynan was
-a constant thorn in their side.
-The Normans were of Viking descent.
-They settled in Normandy...
-..after the king of France allowed
-them to live in the Seine Valley...
-..so he would be left
-in peace, in 911.
-A century later,
-by the time of Duke William...
-..the victor at Hastings...
-..the duchy of Normandy had turned
-its back on its Viking roots...
-..and was part of the political and
-cultural world of northern France.
-The principal aim of the new
-King William after Hastings...
-..was to consolidate
-the conquest of England.
-That took a generation or so.
-the English-Welsh border...
-..the aim was to fortify it
-against attack from the Welsh.
-He did this by giving Crown land...
-..to certain noblemen,
-in three centres on the frontier.
-and Hereford in the south.
-The main duty of the chosen three
-was to fortify the frontier.
-This was at the time
-the Marches were created.
-They were used originally as a
-corridor between Wales and England.
-Here, the Norman lords
-could do as they pleased...
-..free from the constraints
-of the laws of England, and Wales.
-Although they were subjects
-of the King of England...
-..they could hold courts,
-build castles, and go to war.
-In the Marches, people upon whom
-the Norman lords could depend...
-usually immigrants from England.
-The idea that towns are alien
-to Wales originated from this time.
-perhaps without thinking...
-..use the word 'Marches'...
-..not in the historical sense,
-but to refer to the boundary...
-..between Wales and England.
-But the original Marches
-..that the Normans
-conquered within Wales itself.
-William fitz Osbern,
-Earl of Hereford...
-..Roger of Montgomery,
-Earl of Shrewsbury...
-..and Hugh of Avranches,
-or Hugh the Fat, Earl of Chester...
-..were hard, merciless men...
-..who'd seize every
-opportunity they could...
-their authority and lands.
-The key to all this
-was their castles.
-The earliest castles
-were made of mud and wood...
-..the motte and bailey.
-In Wales we see hundreds
-of these motte and bailey castles...
-..built when the Normans
-moved into an area.
-A motte and bailey castle is,
-basically, a mound of earth.
-They dug a ditch, and used the soil
-from it to build the mound.
-On top of the mound,
-they built a defensive tower...
-..usually of wood at first.
-the castle's stronghold - the motte.
-At its foot was the bailey,
-which was also defended.
-Most of the castle's
-buildings were located here...
-..because there wasn't
-much room on the motte.
-Later, magnificent castles were
-built, like Chepstow, on the Wye.
-Its strong, stone tower,
-and beautiful, ornate portal...
-..may have been built especially...
-..for a visit by William
-to Wales in 1081...
-..although there's no evidence
-that he stayed here at that time.
-The oldest wooden door
-in Europe is in this castle.
-But it was here in Gwynedd that
-the Normans were most successful.
-The campaigns were led
-by Hugh, Earl of Chester...
-..and his cousin, Robert
-of Rhuddlan, captain of his army.
-Hugh was a fat,
-cruel and violent man.
-His personal retinue
-resembled a rapacious army.
-He had illegitimate offspring
-all over north Wales.
-He even devastated his own lands,
-demolishing and burning villages...
-..in order to have
-more land for hunting.
-To reinforce his authority,
-he built a castle in Rhuddlan...
-..near the river Clwyd.
-There are two points to the location
-of motte and bailey castles.
-They are located in strategic
-positions such as...
-..the roads leading into Wales.
-They had to be defended as people
-travelled through the mountains...
-..for example, along the valley
-leading into Snowdonia.
-They also located
-castles on the sites...
-..of the old castles
-of the Welsh princes...
-..to show the ascendancy
-of the Normans over the old order.
-Compared with the stone castles,
-they could be built fairly quickly.
-The smallest ones
-took about a month...
-..the others, a little longer.
-Much depended on local resources...
-..of stone and wood.
-It also depended on coercing
-local Welsh people...
-..into building these castles.
-At first, only the Normans
-built motte and bailey castles.
-When they moved into an area...
-..they were threatened
-with attack by the Welsh.
-They had to build a castle quickly.
-Evidence shows that they used
-the local captive population...
-..to work on the castles.
-They were adept at building castles
-with the minimum of effort.
-They'd often locate them
-on an existing hillock.
-So you could imagine them
-building a castle in months...
-..in order to swiftly
-consolidate their position.
-We must also remember that
-a castle wasn't a place to hide...
-..but a secure base from which
-they could attack an area.
-By the time William
-the Conqueror died...
-..Robert of Rhuddlan was
-the master of the rest of Gwynedd.
-By 1086, the king leased him
-'Nortwales' at a rent of 40 a year.
-To reinforce his position,
-Robert built more castles...
-..including Deganwy Castle.
-It was built on the site
-of an old Welsh court...
-..that had burnt down
-a few years previously.
-Deganwy Castle was very important
-in the age of the princes.
-Robert of Rhuddlan
-built a castle there...
-..in the late 11th century.
-It was a kind of springboard...
-..into the stronghold of Gwynedd,
-over the Conwy River.
-Obviously, if the princes of Gwynedd
-wanted to be strong princes...
-..and oppose England, they had
-to recapture Deganwy Castle.
-There's evidence that it
-changed hands many times.
-Llywelyn the Great built
-a castle here, for example.
-It has an interesting history from
-the English kings' standpoint too.
-Henry III built a castle there...
-..which was described at the time
-as one of Britain's strongest.
-A small borough developed
-alongside the castle too...
-..that became a trading centre
-for the area.
-Then, Llywelyn the Last,
-Llywelyn ap Gruffudd...
-..razed the castle to the ground...
-..because of its strategic
-importance to the English...
-..during the attacks on Gwynedd.
-Although the Normans tried
-to ensure a presence in the north...
-..with castles like Deganwy...
-..unlike in south Wales, they only
-maintained their hold on Gwynedd...
-..for a very short time,
-mainly because of Gruffudd ap Cynan.
-Gruffudd was a king of Welsh,
-Irish and Viking descent...
-..and is a unique figure
-in Welsh history.
-Although he was a pirate for long
-stretches of his eventful life...
-..he was also a successful
-politician and a statesman.
-Gruffudd ap Cynan was
-a flexible and pragmatic leader.
-For this reason, the kingdom of
-Gwynedd was ruled by his family...
-..until Edward I
-put an end to the dynasty...
-..almost 200 years later, in 1282.
-Gruffudd was born in Ireland.
-Through his mother, Rhagnell...
-..he was related to the Irish
-and Scandinavian kings of Ireland.
-The famous Irish king, Brian Boru,
-was his great-great-grandfather.
-Gruffudd was brought up here, at the
-monastery of Swords, near Dublin.
-His father died when
-he was very young, probably.
-But his mother made sure that
-Gruffudd was aware of his claim...
-..to the kingdom of Gwynedd.
-You could say he was part
-of a Hiberno-Scandinavian world.
-We think of him as king of Gwynedd
-and founder of the dynasty...
-..that would lead to Owain Gwynedd,
-Llywelyn the Great...
-..and Llywelyn the Last.
-But the Irish and Viking
-influence in his life...
-..make him a more
-His biography was written...
-..that emphasized his claim
-to Gwynedd through his ancestry...
-..not by the grace
-of the King of England.
-When Gruffudd was about 20 years
-old, he decided to attack Gwynedd...
-..and claim his throne.
-He was helped by the king
-of Dublin, who lent him a ship...
-..to sail to Gwynedd.
-His great ambition for the next
-25 years would be to win...
-..the kingdom of Gwynedd.
-Gruffudd's tenacious attempts
-to gain control of Gwynedd...
-..are recorded in a unique work...
-..the only medieval biography
-of a Welsh king or prince.
-It was written in Latin in
-the age of his son, Owain Gwynedd.
-It was translated into Welsh
-in the 13th century.
-The biography gives quite
-a detailed description of Gruffudd.
-It praises him, of course...
-..because it would be unthinkable
-to criticize him at all.
-It describes his fair hair
-and large eyes.
-He was of moderate height,
-and had a lively mind.
-It also says a little
-about his character...
-..emphasizing one of the fundamental
-virtues of any prince...
-..his ferocity in battle.
-So Gruffudd ap Cynan
-wasn't a man to cross.
-At the same time, it says that
-he was merciful to his own people...
-..and ready to defend them.
-So it's a varied image,
-but rather stereotypical.
-It's impossible to say
-if the description was based...
-..on personal knowledge...
-..rather than an idealized
-portrait of the prince.
-Nevertheless, it's interesting
-to have a description of Gruffudd...
-..unlike the other princes.
-Ifor Davies, the Penarth artist...
-..is familiar with portraying
-aspects of Welsh history.
-This is Gruffudd ap Cynan.
-I portray Gruffudd
-in the middle of the sea...
-..between Ireland and Wales.
-the figure of his mother.
-To some extent, Gruffudd
-looks back towards Ireland.
-He moves towards Wales.
-He stands on a ship, perhaps.
-I'm not sure if I'll add
-details of the ship, perhaps I will.
-When Gruffudd arrived,
-intent on conquering Gwynedd...
-..he wasn't successful at first.
-He was beaten
-by Trahaearn ap Caradog...
-..in the Battle
-of Bron yr Erw, near Clynnog Fawr.
-He had to flee to Wexford.
-the next few years of his life.
-But all changed in 1081.
-Gruffudd sailed with a fleet
-from Waterford to Porth Clais...
-..near St David's, Pembrokeshire,
-to attack Wales once more.
-He came ashore
-in this beautiful spot...
-..and was aided by the army of
-Rhys ap Tewdwr, king of Deheubarth.
-Gruffudd and Rhys
-attacked Trahaearn's army...
-..at the fateful battle
-of Mynydd Carn, Pembrokeshire...
-..where Trahaearn was killed.
-he had to attack at once.
-Perhaps that's why they won...
-..because they caught the enemy
-unawares, camping on the mountain.
-There's a very detailed,
-..in 'Historia Gruffudd
-ap Cynan', of killing Trahaearn.
-An Irishman stabbed him...
-..and made bacon out of him,
-as if he were a pig.
-What was the result of the battle?
-The throne of Gwynedd
-and Deheubarth were now empty.
-The path was clear
-for Gruffudd and Rhys...
-..to claim the two lordships.
-Gruffudd went north, celebrating
-his victory and seized Gwynedd.
-He had finally
-accomplished his ambition.
-But he wasn't to celebrate for long.
-The old Norman enemies of the Welsh,
-Hugh, Earl of Chester...
-..and his cousin,
-Robert of Rhuddlan...
-to get rid of Gruffudd.
-He was an obstacle to their hopes of
-further expansion in the north-west.
-Very soon, Gruffudd was duped...
-..into attending a meeting
-at Rhug in Edeirnion.
-The remains of the original
-motte and bailey castle...
-..can still be seen
-in the grounds of the mansion.
-Gruffudd was captured
-by Robert of Rhuddlan...
-..and was locked, according
-to the story, in Chester Gaol.
-It seems he was imprisoned
-here for the next 12 years.
-But in about 1093, Gruffudd escaped.
-According to the legend, Hugh the
-Fat had bound Gruffudd in chains...
-..and dragged him in front
-of a crowd in Chester market...
-..so that they could humiliate
-the 'great king of Gwynedd'.
-It seems that he was being moved
-from one prison to another...
-..and a large crowd had gathered.
-Somehow, he managed to escape.
-Cynwrig Hir came to his aid
-and cut the fetters...
-..so he was free to flee.
-He went to Ireland,
-to his mother's family.
-It's a very exciting story.
-It also hints at the arrogance
-of the Normans...
-old Welsh kingdoms...
-..and taking for granted
-they owned and ruled them.
-Gruffudd ap Cynan said,
-"No, the land is mine. Get out!"
-And he succeeded.
-After travelling through Wales,
-Gruffudd escaped to Ireland.
-Then, with the help of Godred,
-king of the Isle of Man...
-..he captured the Normans' castle
-in Nefyn, on the Lleyn Peninsula.
-But he failed to usurp them...
-..from their castle in Aberlleiniog,
-near Penmon, Anglesey.
-It seems that these events...
-..were part of a great rebellion
-by the Welsh in 1094.
-The Battle of Aberlleiniog is very
-important in the history of Wales.
-For the first time, we see the
-Earls of Chester and Shrewsbury...
-..collaborating to recapture
-north Wales and Anglesey.
-Unfortunately for them,
-they faced Gruffudd ap Cynan...
-..who has just escaped
-from Chester Gaol...
-..and Magnus Barefoot,
-a Norwegian prince.
-Magnus and Gruffudd knew each other.
-We're not sure how,
-maybe there was a family connection.
-Magnus hid his ships...
-..and, at the last moment,
-came to help Gruffudd...
-..although at the time Gruffudd
-was trying to escape from Anglesey.
-is now looked after by Menter Mon.
-they have excavated the site...
-..and discovered that the castle
-was also of strategic importance...
-..during Cromwell's Civil War.
-Aberlleiniog Castle is in
-a prime location on the Menai.
-During the Civil War...
-..people realized that it was a
-good location to defend Beaumaris.
-So they came here
-and restored the Norman castle.
-They built towers and new floors,
-and then used it as a small fort...
-..in case Beaumaris was attacked.
-Here, we see work
-dating from the Civil War.
-It lies over
-the medieval archaeology.
-We have to study
-the Civil War archaeology...
-..before digging deeper, to see what
-happened in Gruffudd ap Cynan's era.
-The military link extended
-into the 20th century.
-During World War II, this tower
-was adapted as a defence...
-..from enemy attack.
-Although Gruffudd ap Cynan
-escaped to Ireland...
-the Battle of Aberlleiniog...
-..he gained most advantage from the
-death of Hugh, Earl of Shrewsbury.
-When Gruffudd returned
-from Ireland the following year...
-from his Anglesey stronghold...
-..that he extended his authority
-Things got easier after
-the death of Hugh the Fat in 1101.
-He was so fat at the end of his
-life, according to once source...
-..that he could hardly walk.
-Henry I was now ready to recognize
-Gruffudd's authority in Gwynedd...
-..on condition that Gruffudd
-recognized Henry's authority.
-The relationship between Henry I and
-Gruffudd ap Cynan was very fragile.
-They were both wary of each other.
-We see that Henry I gave the right
-to lands in Eifionydd, Lleyn...
-..Ardudwy and Arllechwedd
-to Gruffudd ap Cynan in 1101.
-People flocked back to the kingdom.
-Henry I began to worry, as Gruffudd
-ap Cynan added to his lands.
-He decided to attack Gruffudd with
-the aim of conquering the Welsh...
-..according to 'Brut y Tywysogion'.
-How determined was Gruffudd
-to extend his kingdom after 1114?
-Gruffudd ap Cynan
-was obviously very determined...
-..to extend his kingdom after 1114.
-This is evident in the way
-he encouraged his sons...
-..to actively campaign
-in neighbouring areas...
-..to try to recapture them
-and bring them under Gwynedd's rule.
-Killing members of even their
-own family was not an obstacle...
-..to the ambitions of his sons.
-The oldest son, Cadwallon, killed
-three of his mother's brothers.
-But seven years later,
-in an act of revenge...
-..Cadwallon was killed
-by the son of one of the brothers.
-This was a perfect example
-of the eternal strife...
-..that was an integral part of
-the political and social history...
-..of medieval Wales.
-Maybe one reason for this was
-that a substantial percentage...
-..of the population
-consisted of young people.
-We must remember,
-when we refer to these times...
-..and even as late
-as the 18th century...
-..how young the population
-was on average.
-Very few people lived
-beyond the age of 40 years.
-So the leaders of society
-were in their teens and twenties.
-Perhaps the problems
-of the society reflected this.
-We might consider their games
-and interests to be childish.
-But they are youthful traits.
-The leaders of society
-were young people.
-A girl would be ready to marry
-and be a wife at twelve.
-A boy would be a man
-at fourteen, ready to marry...
-..and to fight in armies.
-As a warrior, one of Gruffudd
-ap Cynan's chief successes...
-..was ensuring the continuation of
-the tradition of monarchy in Wales.
-He made sure that princes,
-descended from him...
-..would rule Wales through
-the 12th and 13th centuries.
-But one crucial difference between
-Wales and England at this time...
-..influenced the history of Wales
-for the next two centuries.
-Here, unlike in England...
-..the Normans failed to get
-rid of Wales's royal families.
-on Gruffudd ap Cynan's life...
-emphasized three points.
-His royal lineage,
-his courage in battle...
-..and the peace and prosperity
-he established in Gwynedd.
-The emphasis on his ancestry...
-..was probably an attempt to justify
-Gruffudd's regal authority...
-through the military power...
-..of a partly Irish exile
-with rather a dubious background.
-But from what we know of him...
-..Gruffudd was much more
-than a mere warrior.
-Gruffudd ap Cynan was certainly
-more than just a warrior.
-He was clearly an amazing diplomat,
-and very charismatic...
-..or he would never have been
-able to persuade Vikings...
-..Normans, Welsh and Irish
-to fight on his behalf.
-He was very proud to be a Christian.
-He began building churches
-in Gwynedd and planted forests.
-The area had economic growth.
-He tried to draw people back to
-Gwynedd and create a strong kingdom.
-So he was much more than a warrior,
-or he wouldn't have lasted...
-..as long as he did.
-And warfare wasn't the only way
-of increasing influence and power.
-In this age, women could
-confer power through marriage.
-Some women, like princess Gwenllian,
-fought on behalf of her husband.
-Owain ab Edwin ruled Tegeingl...
-..the area between
-the rivers Dee and Clwyd.
-Gruffudd married Owain's daughter,
-By so doing, he extended
-his power beyond Gwynedd.
-Angharad is described
-in Gruffudd's biography as...
-..'a woman of glorious countenance.'
-They had five children,
-Cadwallon, Owain, Cadwaladr...
-..Gwenllian and Susanna.
-An interesting feature
-of Gruffudd's biography...
-..is the way it tries to elevate
-Gruffudd's wife, Angharad.
-Indeed, there's one reference
-to Angharad as his queen.
-It was a deliberate attempt...
-..to state that Angharad
-was a person of importance.
-She is praised for the good counsel
-she gave her husband...
-..suggesting she had a political
-and public role at the time.
-There's an excellent description of
-her in Gruffudd ap Cynan's history.
-It gives us a picture
-of an idealized medieval woman.
-She has long, slim fingers.
-Obviously she didn't
-wash many dishes.
-There's a reference, as I recall...
-..to her black hair
-and dainty feet.
-But the most important fact
-was that she gave him children.
-It was fairly common
-for the wives of kings or princes...
-..to have quite
-a lot of power and influence.
-It depends how you define these,
-The fact that they were so close
-to the king was important.
-who could approach the king.
-They could speak on behalf of people
-who were hoping for favour...
-..or patronage from a prince.
-That gave them a certain influence.
-Angharad was probably no exception.
-But it's unusual for sources
-to record so much...
-..about a prince's wife
-as we hear about Angharad.
-Two of Gruffudd's daughters,
-Gwenllian and Susanna...
-..married members of other
-leading families in Wales.
-Marriages of this kind tied
-the main royal families together...
-the royal status of the husband.
-Although land was only
-inherited through the father...
-..royal status could be inherited
-through the mother as well.
-When the Normans arrived...
-..women were very important
-for them as well as the Welsh.
-They were used
-in political marriages.
-Very often, land would come with the
-women, so they were very important.
-One often gets the impression...
-..it didn't matter if the men
-liked the women or not.
-They were often very young,
-Clearly, some of the Norman invaders
-in Gruffudd ap Cynan's time...
-..believed that marriage with
-women from Welsh royal families...
-..would confer legal status
-to their hold on their new lands.
-Gerald of Wales, himself
-three-quarters Norman, said...
-..that his grandfather,
-Gerald of Windsor...
-daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr...
-..so that he and his family would
-have deeper roots in those areas.
-Gerald of Windsor wasn't the only
-one to be enchanted by Nest.
-She also bore children to Stephen,
-the Norman constable of Cardigan.
-And she had a child with none other
-than the king - Henry I...
-..who fathered about twenty
-illegitimate offspring in all.
-After marrying Gerald of Windsor...
-..Nest had at least three sons
-with him and two daughters.
-In 1109, she and her husband...
-..were in a castle
-known as Cenarth Bychan.
-No-one is sure
-where Cenarth Bychan was located.
-The people of Cilgerran say it was
-in Cilgerran but we're not sure.
-In any case, Nest's cousin,
-Owain ap Cadwgan...
-..had seen her at a Christmas feast,
-according to the story.
-He'd fallen in love at first sight.
-He came to the castle
-with his men and captured Nest.
-She went with him
-quite willingly, apparently.
-Her husband, Gerald of Windsor...
-..had been shown a way of escaping
-from the castle by Nest...
-..down a hole in the privy,
-on the wall of the castle.
-As you know,
-they were called 'garde-robes'...
-..the toilets inside the towers.
-That's how Gerald of Windsor
-..but perhaps not very fragrantly...
-..from this difficult situation.
-Nest and Owain lived
-as fugitives for a time.
-But Nest returned
-to her husband eventually.
-This wasn't the end
-of her story.
-Nest had children by a number
-of other Norman lords...
-..in south-west Wales.
-They all fell in love with her,
-according to the legend.
-But perhaps they too,
-like Gerald of Windsor...
-..wanted to have the children
-of a princess of Deheubarth...
-..and to see their children
-having a royal lineage.
-that Nest took advantage...
-..of her ancestry and beauty...
-..to extend her family's influence
-amongst the Norman invaders...
-..in Gruffudd ap Cynan's day.
-We really should
-re-evaluate Nest's situation.
-History was generally written
-by men until the 20th century.
-Men believed that women
-were the husband's property...
-..after marriage, and the father's
-property before marriage.
-Now, we're re-assessing
-the history of women.
-We don't believe
-the romantic stories any more...
-..or the spin put on them by men.
-Women had little independent status.
-This can be seen in historical
-documents of the time...
-..and also, of course, in poetry,
-and myths like the 'Mabinogion'.
-Gwenllian was an exception.
-She led her husband's army...
-..but paid the ultimate price.
-Gwenllian was the daughter
-of Gruffudd ap Cynan.
-According to Gerald of Wales, she
-was a second queen of the Amazons.
-When Gwenllian's husband went to
-the North in 1135 to ask for help...
-..from his wife's family,
-in fighting the king of England...
-probably of her own accord...
-..to attack Kidwelly Castle.
-She died on the battlefield...
-..which is called
-Maes Gwenllian to this day.
-A princess from Gwynedd,
-who fought in Deheubarth...
-..is our only example
-of a medieval warrior princess.
-But I wonder how many
-of them led armies...
-..and held high status
-amongst their people...
-..because they belonged
-to a royal family?
-The status of women was low in
-the eyes of the church and the law.
-For this reason...
-..we only have a few glimpses of
-women's lives in medieval sources.
-Nest and Gwenllian's examples...
-..show that this aspect
-of Welsh royalty was very important.
-People didn't live to a great age
-in the Middle Ages.
-Gruffudd ap Cynan was an exception.
-He lived to the age of 82.
-Like other European kings
-and leaders, he believed that war...
-..and godliness were two sides
-of the same Christian coin.
-So, in order to prepare for death,
-Gruffudd made bequests of money...
-in Ireland and Wales...
-..and to the Norman monasteries
-of Chester and Shrewsbury.
-His body was anointed with holy
-oil by clerics at his deathbed.
-Amongst them was Dafydd,
-Bishop of Bangor.
-He also blessed his sons...
-..and commanded them to be brave and
-resist their enemy with ferocity...
-..as he did, in his youth.
-In his elegy to Gruffudd, Meilyr
-Brydydd praised the brilliance...
-..of the king's military career...
-..and also promised that Gruffudd
-would be welcomed in heaven...
-..by angels and saints.
-"When the leader of brave men
-hath the light of confidence
-"And the courtesy of angels,
-I shall not be in want."
-In Meilyr Brydydd's elegy
-to Gruffudd ap Cynan...
-..the principal element
-is the heroic one, obviously.
-Gruffudd ap Cynan, the warrior.
-Maybe the poem is remarkable too...
-..because of its many
-I'd suggest that the poem
-was perhaps recited...
-..before an ecclesiastic audience.
-There are very definite references
-towards the end...
-..to the hope that Gruffudd ap Cynan
-would have eternal life in heaven.
-There's a hint in the poem too...
-..that there are more important
-concerns than worldly politics...
-..and that the eternal soul
-is of more everlasting importance...
-..than subjects like
-the politics of Gwynedd.
-Gruffudd was buried
-in Bangor Cathedral.
-Dafydd, Bishop of Bangor...
-..had been consecrated
-by the Archbishop of Canterbury...
-..at Gruffudd's request in 1120.
-The appointment was a sign...
-..of broader changes in the church
-in Wales, in Gruffudd's day.
-In Gruffudd ap Cynan's day,
-the see of Canterbury...
-..was trying to extend
-its influence in Wales...
-..by getting new bishops
-in Wales to swear obedience...
-..to the Archbishop.
-That happened quite soon after
-the Norman conquest in the south.
-Bishop Urban in Llandaff...
-..followed by Bernard, former
-chaplain to the queen...
-..of king Henry I, in St David's.
-Not all Wales's clerics were happy
-with the fact that the dioceses...
-to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
-Ironically perhaps, a Norman,
-Bishop Bernard of St David's...
-..was the first to try
-and obtain some independence...
-for the Church in Wales.
-But he failed.
-Ultimately, we have
-to wait until the 20th century...
-to see the Church in Wales...
-the Church of England.
-The process of creating
-formal dioceses also began...
-..in Gruffudd ap Cynan's time.
-The boundaries were fairly
-undefined before this.
-It was an attempt
-to establish a church system...
-..like the ones
-in England and Europe.
-Each diocese was divided...
-and rural deaneries.
-Wales's parishes were also defined.
-These were all new units
-which have lasted to this day.
-Gruffudd's bequests to Chester
-and Shrewsbury's monasteries...
-..show that the king endorsed
-a new kind of religious life...
-..introduced to Wales
-by the Normans.
-By the time the Normans arrived...
-..there had been major developments
-in western Europe.
-The Benedictine Order had
-introduced very strict rules...
-..about the monks' activities...
-..and how monasteries
-should be governed.
-Maybe most significantly...
-..they began to build
-beautiful churches of stone...
-..with arches and windows.
-Architecture of this kind is costly,
-But although Gruffudd
-endorsed the Normans' religion...
-..he gave many more bequests
-to old, important establishments...
-..like Penmon and Meifod,
-cornerstones of the Welsh church...
-..before the Normans arrived.
-It was a different story...
-..in the lands conquered
-by the Normans in the south.
-Although the Normans were fierce...
-..they were religious
-in their own way...
-..and believed it was essential for
-them to control the Welsh church.
-When the Normans came to Wales,
-they found these huts and 'clasau'.
-'Clas' means an enclosed area...
-..where a church made of earth
-or wood was built.
-There weren't any
-majestic stone buildings.
-The Normans couldn't see
-..corresponding to monasteries...
-..or what they understood
-by this term.
-They felt that the religious
-communities of Wales...
-..and not proper churches.
-Very often, the abbot
-was the son of the previous abbot.
-Very often, one family would
-practically 'own' the monastery.
-They regarded it as a deficiency,
-that there were no communities...
-..obeying any version
-of St Benedict's 6th century Rule...
-..which had become the basis of
-European monastic life by this time.
-They saw nothing like this in Wales.
-They viewed these enclosures,
-with mud and wood huts...
-who were married, and so forth...
-.. with scorn
-and felt they should be swept away.
-After a time, the Welsh
-themselves began to support...
-..the Benedictine monasteries.
-Indeed, Gruffudd ap Cynan
-was the first prince we hear of...
-..who gave patronage
-to houses of this kind...
-..by giving gifts to the abbeys
-of Chester and Shrewsbury...
-..at the end of his life.
-So the Church in Wales
-was opened to new influences...
-..in Gruffudd ap Cynan's day.
-In reality, it was a compromise
-and combination of old and new.
-Gruffudd ap Cynan showed...
-..that the Welsh were ready
-to look towards the future.
-European ecclesiastic patterns
-and fashions were adopted...
-..that had been originally
-introduced to the country...
-..by the Norman conquerors.
-He succeeded in retaining his hold
-on Gwynedd from the 1090s...
-..until his death in 1137...
-..nearly 40 years of unbroken rule
-by Gruffudd ap Cynan.
-The Chronicle - Buchedd,
-..how he planted small, lime-washed
-churches all over Anglesey...
-..like stars in the firmament.
-People would feel secure
-when they planted crops...
-..that those crops
-would be harvested.
-He created the stability
-that's essential for culture...
-and political growth.
-As he established himself
-as king in Gwynedd...
-..Gruffudd was drawn ever more
-into the Anglo-Norman world.
-In a way,
-he bridges these two worlds...
-..the Irish world, based around the
-Irish Sea's coasts, on one hand...
-..and the Anglo-Norman world, with
-its centre in England, on the other.
-Because of Gruffudd ap Cynan's
-..he was able defend
-the concept of a Welsh monarchy.
-Were it not for him, the whole
-concept of Welsh sovereignty...
-..would have disappeared.
-Gruffudd ap Cynan has a unique
-place in Welsh history.
-From being a pirate
-of Irish descent...
-..pillaging the coasts
-of the Irish Sea...
-..he became an astute
-and successful politician.
-the old and the new...
-..and gave his country peace
-and prosperity for thirty years.
-By restoring the kingdom
-of Gwynedd, Gruffudd succeeded...
-..where more traditional
-Welsh leaders failed.
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