OWAIN GLYN DWR AND THE LORDSHIP OF RUTHIN I. INTRODUCTION THE important part played by Ruthin and its English lord in the early years of Owain Glyn Dwr's rebellion is familiar to every student of Welsh history. The dispute over property which arose between Glyn Dwr and Lord Grey of Ruthin at the very end of the fourteenth century, Glyn Dwr's attack on Ruthin town in September 1400, inaugurating the Welsh revolt, the capture of Lord Grey near Ruthin in 1402, and the payment of a great ransom: all these incidents, however presented, place Ruthin firmly in the forefront of any account of the first two years of the rebellion. Yet little attention has been paid to the reaction of the inhabitants of Ruthin lordship to the quarrel and its aftermath. Was Lord Grey a 'greedy and tyrannical Lord Marcher'1 whose 'mission in life, so far as the Welsh were concerned, was to make (himself) unpleasant' ?2 Were the Welsh of Ruthin lordship, like those of Caernarvon, 'so proud and malicious towards the English folk that (the English) dared not shift for fear of death'?3 What support did Glyn Dwr find in Dyffryn Clwyd? What effect did the trouble have on the administration of Ruthin in the first decade of the fifteenth century ? Were any of the English forced to flee, and were they found, as in Flintshire, 'creeping back to their boroughs, rebuilding their houses and cultivating their lands' only after 1405 ?4 These questions and others like them are obviously important in assessing the impact of Glyn Dwr's rising: they are particularly important questions in the lordship of Ruthin, for its lord has earned notoriety as the prime example of the unscrupulous and inconsiderate marcher lord through his intransigence towards Glyn Dwr. Ruthin, the old cantref of Dyffryn Clwyd, lies immediately north of Edeirnion, that corner of Merioneth in which the commote of Glyndyfrdwy lay. No more than some twenty miles separated the seats of Glyn Dwr and Grey; and Sycharth, Glyn Dwr's fine estate 1 A. G. Bradley. Owen Glyndwr and the Last Struggle for Welsh Independence (1901). p. 157. ■ Ibid., p. 107. I E. A. Lewis, The Mediaeval Boroughs of Snowdonia. University of Wales Series of Literary and Historical Studies. I (1912). p. 184. 4 The History of Flintshire from Earliest Times to the Act of Union, ed. C. R. Williams (1961). p. 113.
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