You searched for *

Back to results

GRUFFYDD ap LLYWELYN (died 1244), prince

Name: Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
Date of death: 1244
Spouse: Senena ferch Caradog
Child: Gwladus ferch Gruffudd ap Llywelyn
Child: Rhodri ap Gruffydd
Child: Owain ap Gruffydd
Child: Llywelyn ap Gruffudd
Child: Dafydd ap Gruffydd
Parent: Tangwystl ferch Llywarch Goch
Parent: Llywelyn ap Iorwerth
Gender: Male
Occupation: prince
Area of activity: Politics, Government and Political Movements; Royalty and Society
Author: Thomas Jones Pierce

Natural son of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth by Tangwystl, daughter of Llywarch Goch of Rhos. He was born sometime before his father's marriage to Joan in 1206. The first reference to him is as one of the hostages handed over to John in 1211; he was still a prisoner in August 1213, but was released as part of the general settlement of 1215. Irresponsible and headstrong, Gruffydd openly resented the fact that his half-brother (Dafydd ap Llywelyn), was intended to be Llywelyn's sole successor, an injustice which, in mediaeval Wales, an acknowledged son, though illegitimate by normal standards, could challenge with reasonable hope of public support. It was not Llywelyn's intention, however, to exclude him entirely, if he proved co-operative, from some share of power. Although he suffered a long term of imprisonment at Degannwy from 1228 to 1234, after having been deprived of the lordships of Ardudwy and Merioneth, he was eventually made lord of Llŷn and given the extensive appanage of Upper Powys, in Llywelyns hands since the death of Gwenwynwyn.

It was Dafydd himself, during his father's last enfeebled years, who struck a final blow for the principles of legitimacy and primogeniture, stripping Gruffydd of all his territories and imprisoning him and Owain ap Gruffydd, his eldest son, at Criccieth. This last event occurred in the period just before Llywelyn died (April 1240) or immediately afterwards. On 12 August 1241, Senena, Gruffydd's wife, entered into an agreement with Henry III, arranging for her husband's release and restoration. When, a fortnight later, Dafydd was obliged to submit to the king at Gwern Eigron, the first part only of the agreement was fulfilled, for Gruffydd was now made a prisoner in the Tower of London where for over three years he spent an easy confinement in the company of his wife and some of their children, a pawn in the game of Anglo-Welsh politics. His attempt to escape on 1 March 1244 had a fatal ending. He had four sons - Owain Goch, Llywelyn, Dafydd and Rhodri - and one daughter, Gwladus, who married Rhys ap Rhys Mechyll. In 1248 his remains were conveyed to Wales and laid to rest at Aberconway.


Published date: 1959

Article Copyright:

Back to results

The Dictionary of Welsh Biography is provided by The National Library of Wales and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. It is free to use and does not receive grant support. A donation would help us maintain and improve the site so that we can continue to acknowledge Welsh men and women who have made notable contributions to life in Wales and beyond.

Find out more on our sponsorship page.