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In honour of my recent appointment to education minister by @cymrocarn I'm going to lob a LOT of info your way about a prince of Powys.
Introducing Owain ap Cadwgan, Powysian badboy
#Wales #medievaltwitter #medieval #powys #History
11th and 12th century Powys was an absolute mess. Following the death of daddy dom Gruffudd ap Llywelyn, his half brothers Bleddyn and Rhiwallon inherited Gwynedd and Powys, having colluded and helped in their brothers destruction and eventual murder.
Rhiwallon died early and it was the descendants of Bleddyn who would continue to rule in Powys for the next few centuries. After the death of Bleddyn in 1075 Powys collapsed into an incoherent mess of competing princes and branches of the royal dynasty fighting for the crown
Bleddyn's sons and grandsons would spend their lives engaged in a near constant tangle of war and alliance with and between themselves, other Welsh rulers and the Anglo-Normans who were making their power felt throughout Wales. Yay civil war!
I cannot express just how much of a clusterfuck this family was. Between themselves and their sons, by the early years of the 12th century the extended family had near enough wiped themselves off the map in an orgy of familial murder and mutilation.
Prior to the 12th century Cadwgan seems to have been the dominant member of the dynasty. Enter his son Owain. Owain bursts onto the wider political scene when in 1109 he took a fancy to his cousin, the Princess Nest, the daughter of the prince of Deheubarth, "Helen of Wales"
She was the wife of the prominent norman lord Gerald of Windsor and also the lover of the English king Henry I. Owain being Owain and the times being what they were he decided to not only satisfy his cousin horn but to also give the Norman's in Wales the big middle finger 🖕
Owain attacked Cilgerran Castle and abducted and raped his cousin Nest, forcing her husband to escape down the shitter. There's some discussion as to whether Nest was complicit in her "abduction" but barring any evidence I'm gonna go on a limb and call Owain a piece of shit
The abduction of a woman of royal blood, the wife of a prominent norman, lover of the king along with her children (including the kings illegitimate son) was not just a scandal, it was the spark which ignited the powder keg. Owain was condemned near universally for his crime
and declared outlaw. His father, Cadwgan, appealed to Owain to return Nest and surrender to no avail. His inability to control his son left Cadwgan politically vulnerable and he was deposed, his and his Owains lands being offered to his brothers and nephews if they would...
bring Owain to justice. Nest was eventually returned to Gerald and Owain forced to flee to Ireland as his cousins Madog and Ithel, the sons of his dead uncle Rhirid, rampaged their way through Wales hunting him.
Cadwgan subsequently had his lands in Ceredigion restored to him in return for a fine and promise to have no contact with his son and to refuse him any aid or support.
Madog fell out with Henry I over harbouring English fugitives, going so far as to murder his uncle Iorwerth who Henry had sent to secure Powys in the fallout of Nests abduction and Cadwgans deposition and Owain allied himself with Madog like nothing ever happened.
Cadwgan was reinstated in his eastern lands following Iorwerth's murder but it was not long before he too was murdered by the same Madog.
Forced to recognise Owain as the only legitimate heir to Powys, Owain returned to royal favour, allying with his uncle Maredudd
Maredudd managed to capture his nephew Madog in 1113 and surrendered him to Owain who took vengeance on his cousin for the murder of his father by plucking his eyes out of his head. Recognised as the legitimate heir to Powys Henry sought to bring him into the royal fold.
In 1114, with Powys relatively secure, Owain accompanied the king to Normandy in 1114, where he was knighted, returning to rule Powys with his uncle's ruthless assistance. However in what's basically a soap opera worthy twist..
Owain was ambushed and murdered in 1116 by Gerald of Windsor with the assistance of a group of Flemmings whom Owain had pissed off with his raiding years earlier. After having finally secured his kingdom after years of conflict he gets killed by the husband of the woman he
had assaulted seven years before. His death left the path to power open to his nephew murdering uncle Maredudd who's son Madog would be the last ruler of Powys before its fracture into northern and southern principalities.
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