DAFYDD GAM (d. 1415), Welsh warrior

Name: Dafydd Gam
Date of death: 1415
Child: Gwladus verch Dafydd
Child: Morgan ap Dafydd Gam
Parent: Llywelyn ap Hywel Fychan
Gender: Male
Occupation: Welsh warrior
Area of activity: Military
Author: John Edward Lloyd

was the son of Llywelyn ap Hywel Fychan, a Brecknock landowner of the stock of Einon Sais, whose castle stood at Pen-pont on the river Usk. His byname signified that he squinted or had lost an eye. Tradition averred that he fled from his homeland after killing his relative, Richard of Slwch, in the High Street of Brecon. He first appears, as a king's esquire, in April 1400; in this capacity he was to receive forty marks a year (Cal. Close Rolls, 79). Since Henry had been for some years, through his marriage to Mary Bohun, in control of the lordship of Brecknock, the association was probably not new; Dafydd, at any rate, remained a loyal Lancastrian until his death. In Nov. 1401 he was rewarded out of rebel lands (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 11), and, according to the Scottish historian, Walter Bower, he had a part in the royal victory over Owain Glyn Dŵr at Pwll Melyn, near Usk, on 5 May 1405 (Scotichronicon, ed. W. Goodall, 1759, ii, 452). This date throws doubt upon the familiar story of his treacherous attack upon Owen at the parliament of Machynlleth in 1404; it has other doubtful features, and, in any case, is not heard of until the time of Robert Vaughan, Hengwrt (died 1667). That Dafydd fell into the hands of Glyn Dŵr is certain, but that was at a much later date; it was in June 1412, when the revolt was nearing its collapse, that the seneschal and the receiver of Brecon, with the assent of Llywelyn ap Hywel, the prisoner's father, were empowered to treat with Owen as to the ransom of ‘David Gamm,’ tenant in the lordship of Brecon (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 406). The release was effected, and the final scene came in 1415, when David went with his royal master to France, to meet his death on the field of Agincourt. Legends gathered round the end of this puissant fighter; in particular, it was believed that he was knighted on the fatal day. An influential posterity kept up his reputation; for two centuries and a half the Games clan were prominent in Brecknock affairs, at Aberbrân, Newton (near Brecon), Tre-gaer, Buckland, and Penderyn, until the male line died out and the surname disappeared. The last sheriff to bear it was Hoo Games of Newton (1657). Through the marriage of his daughter Gwladus to Sir William ap Thomas of Raglan (see under William Herbert, died 1469), Dafydd Gam was forefather of all the Herberts.

Author

Published date: 1959

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