RIP Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan - Whose Loyalty Never Died
On this day in 1401, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan was brutally executed for preventing King Henry IV's capture of the Welsh prince, Owain Glyndwr.
Owain Glyndwr rebelled against English rule and had crushed Henry IV’s army on the slopes of Pumlumon in 1401. Furious, Henry sought out Glyndwr, and discovered that he was in Llandovery. Accompanied by his son (the future Henry V) and a vast army, they asked the locals for help.
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan was a local, and offered to help the king find Glyndwr. However, the 60 year old landowner had two sons in Glyndwr’s army, and had no intention of betraying his prince. He led the king and his forces astray through the uplands of Deheubarth for weeks; which allowed Glyndwr and his men to escape and evade capture.
Eventually, The king realised that Llywelyn had tricked them. Embarrassed and angry, Henry ordered a gruesome punishment for Llywelyn; he was dragged through the town of Llandovery and tortured in the town square, in front of the castle gates. (warning - next part not suitable for sensitive eyes!) They cut out Llywelyn's stomach and cooked it in front of him. His death was long and excruciatingly painful. Finally, he was hanged, drawn and quartered. They sent his salted remains to other Welsh towns to deter them from opposing the king. However, Glyndwr remained uncaptured and was never betrayed.
600 years after Llywelyn’s death, a sculpture was erected in Llandovery on a small hill next to the castle where he died. It is Llywelyn, watching over his town and commemorating his undying loyalty.
Image source: Becca Hemmings