His fame rests on his defence of Harlech castle for the Lancastrians (1460-8) during the Wars of the Roses. His father, Ieuan ab Einion of Cryniarth and Hendwr in Edeirnion, Meironnydd, was a descendant of Llywelyn ap Cynwrig of Cors-y-Gedol; his mother, Angharad, was daughter and heiress of Dafydd ap Giwn Llwyd of Hendwr; his wife was Margaret, daughter of John Puleston of Emral, Flintshire. Like so many young Welshmen of his day, he served with the English forces in France during the latter part of the Hundred Years’ War — in Rouen, according to Dafydd Nanmor. That he did serve abroad is corroborated by Guto'r Glyn.
When the English power in Normandy collapsed in 1450 Dafydd returned to England, possibly with the troops under his fellow-countryman Mathew Gough. In 1453 his name appears in a Record of Inquisitions for Merioneth to the effect that some of his cattle had been stolen near Ffestiniog. Two years later the rival Roses were at war. Dafydd is stated to have been authorized by queen Margaret to hold Harlech. During the campaign which culminated in the battle of Northampton (July 1460), the queen took refuge in Harlech, and that may have been the occasion on which she put Harlech in Dafydd's keeping. The castle now became a refuge for prominent English Lancastrian partisans, and a convenient link between Margaret and her supporters. Dafydd was repeatedly called upon to surrender, though no active steps were taken to enforce the summons. However, when Jasper Tudor landed with a Lancastrian force at Barmouth (June 1468), Edward IV sent William (lord) Herbert with a powerful army to reduce Harlech, and Dafydd at last submitted (1 August 1468). Fifty prisoners were taken. Two of the most prominent English Lancastrian leaders, Elwick and Troublok, were taken to the Tower of London and executed. Dafydd was apparently included in a general pardon (1 December 1468), while Herbert's reward was the earldom of Pembroke. The date of Dafydd's death appears to be unknown.
Published date: 1959
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