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The Making of Welsh legend Owain Glyn Dŵr

14 December 2016

Alumnus brings to life the great revolt of the last native Prince of Wales

In his new book The Rise and Fall of Owain Glyn Dŵr the historian Dr Gideon Brough firmly places the Welsh revolt at the centre of European history in the 15th century.

The book deftly explains how a loyal subject of the king of England reluctantly took up arms against the Crown to become one of the great figures of Welsh and military history.

‘A stimulating, revisionist study of a remarkable soldier and statesman’ Dr Andrew Ayton (Hull and Keele)

1399 saw a major shift as revolts broke out in England and Wales following the deposition of Richard II by Henry IV. With the dawn of the new century, Owain and his followers gradually defeated crown forces in Wales and erected a rebel state.Once committed to rebellion, Glyn Dŵr proved surprisingly talented at leading rebel troops against a theoretically vastly superior enemy.

Glyn Dŵr summoned native parliaments which engaged the three strata of society and he established diplomatic contact with surrounding powers, including a treaty with France. Foreign support for the Welsh rebels was eventually fractured by the intrigues of exceptionally talented English diplomats at work in the French court, finally enabling English forces to concentrate on defeating the rebellion in Wales.

Dr Brough explains: “Although renowned as a warrior, this work recasts Owain as a talented leader, diplomat and thinker. With his council, he conceived and implemented a multi-faceted strategy which saw outnumbered and poorly-equipped forces repeatedly outthink and outfight Crown troops, and bring down the apparatus of governance in Wales."

"Although ultimately unsuccessful, Owain emerges from the era as an honourable, intelligent and gifted leader, giving the Welsh a figure commonly recalled as a hero."

Interested in geopolitics, power relations, insurgencies and identity in Western Europe, Dr Gideon Brough has taught European History at Cardiff University since 2006. Following postgraduate studies at the Sorbonne, he gained his doctorate at Cardiff in 2013.

The Rise and Fall of Owain Glyn Dŵr – England, France and the Welsh Rebellion in the Late Middle Ages is published by I.B.Tauris.

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