The Horrible Histories of Wales
Llywelyn the Last
We’d never want to put you off visiting our lovely country, but some pretty nasty stuff has happened in Wales over the last 250,000 years or so. It’s fine now, though, honest.
The story of Llywelyn ap Gwynedd
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (1223-1282) was also known as Llywelyn ap Gwynedd and Llywelyn the Last. Of course, he didn’t know he was going to be the last. He probably thought he’d be the first in a long line of Welsh princes.
Henry III gave Llywelyn the title of ‘Prince of Wales’ and he had to fight to keep Wales for the Welsh. In 1282 he rebelled against King Edward of England.
A brutal battle
He burned Edward’s castles and fought Edward’s troops. Edward was furious. But while Llywelyn was away gathering a new army, the English attacked first.
The Welsh were beaten near Builth Wells. They say 3,000 Welsh were slaughtered, and the rest put down their weapons – then the English slaughtered them.
Some people believe the corpses are buried under the course at Builth Wells Golf Club.
Llywelyn heard the battle and rushed back. But it was a trap. He’d been betrayed.
When Llywelyn got to the Orewin Bridge he met an English knight, Stephan de Frankton, who challenged him to a fight.
Llywelyn - a wanted man
Llywelyn was the most wanted man in Britain – but Stephen de Frankton had no idea he was fighting the Prince Of Wales, as Llywelyn wasn’t wearing any armour – just a tunic. Stephen de Frankton charged at him with a lance. When he found out who he’d killed, he cut off Llywelyn’s head and it was put on show in English towns.
There’s a stone monument at the nearby village of Cilmeri where Llywelyn fell. It says: Ein Llyw Olaf ...Our Last Ruler.
Reproduced by kind permission of Scholastic Children’s Books.