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Dafydd ap Gruffydd
Dafydd ap Gruffydd (or Dafydd ap Gruffudd) (11 July 1238 – 3 October 1283), was Prince of Wales from 11 December 1282 until his execution on 3 October 1283. Following the murder of his brother, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, he was the last free Welsh ruler of Wales.

Early life
He was a prince of Gwynedd, a younger son of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn and his wife, Senana, and thus grandson of Llywelyn the Great. In 1241 he is recorded as having been handed over to Henry III of England as a hostage together with his younger brother, Rhodri, as part of an agreement. He came of age under Welsh law on 11 July 1252, his fourteenth birthday, and was invested, in front of his mother Senana and the Bishop of Bangor, as lord of the commote of Cymydmaen, at the outer reaches of the Llŷn Peninsula. In 1253 he was called upon to pay homage to Henry.

In 1255, he joined his brother Owain in a challenge to his other brother, Llywelyn, but Llywelyn defeated them at the battle of Bryn Derwin. Dafydd was imprisoned, but Llywelyn released him the following year and restored him to favour. In 1263, he joined King Henry in an attack on his brother. After Llywelyn was acknowledged by Henry as Prince of Wales in 1267, Dafydd was again restored to Llywelyn's favour, but in 1274 he joined King Edward I of England to challenge Llywelyn once again.

Family
Parents:
Gruffudd ap Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (died 1244) and his wife Senana.

Brothers:
Owain ap Gruffudd (died c. 1282)
Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales (lured into a trap and put to death, 11 December, 1282) married Eleanor de Montfort, daughter of Simon de Montfort, early of Leicester. They had one daughter, Gwenllian. Eleanor died in childbirth at Garth Celyn on 19 June 1282.
Rhodri ap Gruffudd (died c.1315) married 1) Beatrice, daughter of David of Malpas. 2) unknown. He had a son Thomas ap Rhodri (died 1363) by his second marriage, who was the father of Owain ap Thomas (Owain Lawgoch) (died 1378).
Sisters:

Gwladus ferch Gruffudd (died 1261) married Rhys Fechan (died 1271) of Ystrad Tywi.
Margaret ferch Gruffudd married Madog ap Gruffudd (died 1277) of Powys Fadog. They had two sons, Gruffudd ap Madoc and Llywelyn ap Madoc. (The two boys died in mysterious circumstances shortly after the outbreak of war in 1282.
Thomas Pennant, Tours in Wales (1874), (citing a MS communicated by the Reverend Mr Price, Keeper of the Bodleian Library), states that the boys were ‘drowned in the River Dee’ at Holt Bridge by their guardians John de Warenne, earl of Surrey, and Roger Mortimer the younger. D. Powel, History of Cambria (1584), mentions the ‘destruction’ of the two princes, whose guardians, Warenne and Mortimer, ‘so garded their wardes wit so small regard, that they never returned to their possessions. And shortlie after the said guardians did obtaine the same lands to themselves by charters of the king.’ 7 October 1282, John de Warenne was granted the land of Maelor (Bromfield) that had previously held by the two sons of Madoc ap Gruffudd at the beginning of the war. (‘Calendar of Welsh Rolls’, Calendar of Chancery Rolls, Various, London, 1912, page 240).

Dafydd ap Gruffudd married (sometime after 1265) Elizabeth de Ferrers, daughter of Robert Ferrers, earl of Derby. Elizabeth was the widow of William Marshal.

Through the marriage Dafydd came into possession of the manor of Folesham, Norfolk. He exchanged Folesham with John Marshal for the manor of Norton, Northampton.

September 1278 he accepted a grant for life from Edward l, king of England, of the manor of Frodsham, near Chester. (CCR, 1272-79, 317; CPR, 1272-81, 279)

Prince of Wales
At Easter 1282, Dafydd ap Gruffudd attacked Hawarden Castle, thereby starting the final conflict with Norman England, in the course of which Welsh independence was lost. The last Tywysog of Gwynedd and Prince of Wales, Dafydd was leader of his nation only for a few months after his brother Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's death.

Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, had been lured into a trap and put to death on 11 December 1282 (see corr. of Archbishop John Peckham, Lambeth Palace Archives). Dafydd was his brother's successor but by January 1282 Edward of England had the heartland of independent Wales ringed with a massive army. With limited resources of manpower and equipment available to him, Dafydd moved down to Castell y Bere. In April, Castell y Bere was besieged by over 3,000 men and the small Welsh garrison surrendered on 25 April. Dafydd, escaped and moved north to Dolbadarn Castle, a guardpost in the Peris Valley at the foot of Snowdon. In May 1283 he was forced to move again, this time to the mountains above the Welsh royal home Garth Celyn.

On 22nd June, Dafydd and his younger son Owain ap Dafydd were captured at 'Nanhysglain', a secret hiding place in a bog by Bera Mountain to the south of Garth Celyn. Dafydd, seriously wounded (graviter vulneratus) in the struggle, was brought to King Edward's camp at Rhuddlan that same night (Cotton Vesp. B xi, f30). Dafydd was taken from here to Chester and then on to Shrewsbury. Dafydd's wife Elizabeth de Ferrers and seven daughters were also taken prisoner at the same time. Whether they were with Dafydd and Owain at Bera is not recorded, but it is likely. On 28 June Llywelyn ap Dafydd was captured. Edward triumphantly proclaimed that the last of the 'treacherous lineage', princes of the 'turbulent nation', was now in his grasp, captured by men of his own nation (per homines lingue sue). (Note: Much has been read into this latter statement regarding Llywelyn ap Dafydd's betrayal, but it has to be taken in context with the other events of 1283, the fact that Llywelyn's father and brother had been taken, and the size of the army that had by now occupied Snowdonia.) Welsh resistance to the invasion temporarily and understandably came to an end.

On June 28, Edward issued writs to summon a parliament to meet at Shrewsbury, to discuss Dafydd's fate. On 30 September Dafydd ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, was condemned to death, the first person known to have been tried and executed for what from this time onwards would be described as high treason against the king. Edward ensured that Dafydd's death was to be slow and agonising. Dafydd was dragged through the streets of Shrewsbury at a horse's tail then hanged alive, revived, then disembowelled and his entrails burned before him for 'his sacrilege in committing his crimes in the week of Christ's passion',and then his body cut into four quarters 'for plotting the king's death'. Geoffrey of Shrewsbury' was paid 20s. for carrying out the gruesome task on 3 October 1283. Bleddyn Fardd, a Welsh bard, mourned Dafydd's death and the cruel way in which it had taken place.

Dafydd's daughter Gwladys, like her cousin Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn, was sent to a convent in Lincolnshire — Gwenllian to Sempringham and Gwladys to Sixhills, where she died in 1336. Their sons were both imprisoned at Bristol Castle; Llywelyn died in 1288, while Owain is last found living in August 1325. Dafydd had another (illegitimate) son, Dafydd Goch, who survived.

One cadet member of the ruling House of Cunedda also survived, Madoc ap Llywelyn, who was to raise the people of Wales to the banner of Gwynedd one last time.


 

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