GRUFFYDD ap GWENWYNWYN (died 1286 or 1287), lord of Upper Powys

Name: Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn
Date of death: 1286
Spouse: Hawys Lestrange
Child: Margaret de la Pole
Child: Owen de la Pole
Parent: Margaret Corbet
Parent: Gwenwynwyn
Gender: Male
Occupation: lord of Upper Powys
Area of activity: Land Ownership; Military; Politics, Government and Political Movements; Royalty and Society
Author: Thomas Jones Pierce

the elder son of Gwenwynwyn by Margaret Corbet of Caus. An infant when his father died, an exile in 1216, he was excluded from his inheritance until after the death of Llywelyn I, meanwhile spending his youth and early manhood in England dependent on royal bounty and his mother's dower. When Dafydd II submitted to Henry III in 1241, the king invested Gruffydd (on strictly feudal terms) with the lordship of the family lands in Arwystli, Cyfeiliog, Mawddwy, Caereinion, Y Tair Swydd, and Upper Mochnant. Sometime before this decisive moment in his career, he had married Hawise, daughter of John Lestrange of Knockin.

Steadfast in his loyalty to the Crown during the first decade of Llywelyn II's rise to power, he suffered a renewed loss of patrimony and a second exile in 1257. With evident reluctance, and though deprived of the lands of Cyfeiliog lying north of the Dovey, he agreed, in 1263, to transfer his allegiance to Llywelyn and co-operate in the latter's plan for the creation of a native feudal principality. This arrangement, confirmed in the Treaty of Montgomery (1267), lasted until 1274, the year of the notorious plot against Llywelyn's life, in which Hawise and her eldest son, Owen, were deeply implicated.

From the shelter of his third exile at Shrewsbury, Gruffydd (not without some suspicion of royal encouragement) continued to embarrass Llywelyn, providing in this way one of the occasions for the war of 1277. Reinstated in his barony of Powys after Llywelyn's humiliation, he was still without the lands north of the Dovey; these now became the subject of legal controversy between him and the Prince of Wales, the ensuing complications being part of the web of circumstances which led to the final outbreak of hostilities in 1282, when Gruffydd figured among the most prominent of Edward's supporters.

He lived for five years after the conquest, dying sometime between 21 February 1286 and the end of 1287. He was survived by his wife (died 1310), six sons, and one daughter. The main inheritance passed to the eldest son, OWEN DE LA POLE, and eventually, in 1309, to John Charlton, the husband of Gruffydd's grand-daughter, Hawise.


Published date: 1959

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