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Llywelyn ap Gruffydd

Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (ap means son of)

Llewellyn was the Last Prince of Wales: he rebelled against the King Edward I of England and became a wanted man.

Llewellyn burned Edward’s castles and fought Edward’s troops in North Wales. Edward was furious. Llewelyn left his brother Dafydd in charge of North Wales and gathered an army on his journey to Mid Wales where he planned to join with other rebels and attack the English on a second front.

Mystery surrounds his last days in December 1282, there are several slightly different versions of the story. You can visit one secluded place where he is said to have sheltered before his last battle.

There is a tiny cave near Aberedw with a doorway and a small lookout window where local legend says he spent the night before his last battle. There is another story that says he asked a local blacksmith to put the shoes on his horse to face backwards, to confuse his enemies.

The next day the Welsh army faced the English near Builth, near the village of Cilmeri. The English attacked quickly, they used archers to attack the Welsh army on the flank. The English had more heavy horse Cavalry than the Welsh and were able to scatter the Welsh forces. Llewellyn was separated with a band of 18 loyal retainers. He was attacked in woodland near to the battle: some chronicles say this was near Aberedw; others say it was near Cilmeri. The legend says he was wounded by a knight who did not recognise him. As he lay dying he asked for his loyal priest and this gave away his identity. The knight beheaded him. This is all marked by a large standing stone near Cilmeri.

Local legend says 3,000 Welsh were slaughtered, and the rest put down their weapons – then the English slaughtered them. Some people believe the bodies are buried under the course at Builth Wells Golf Club.

Llewellyn’s head was taken to be displayed on a pike on London Bridge.

There is a longstanding tradition that the mangled body of Llewelyn was buried by the Cistercian Monks at Abby-Cwm-Hir. A modern slab has been placed at the east end to remember Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (Llewelyn the Last)

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