In faith, he is a worthy gentleman;
Exceedingly well-read, and profited
In strange concealments; valiant as a lion,
And wondrous affable, and as bountiful
As mines of India.     - Shakespeare

Owain was born about 1355.

He was sent as a page to the Marcher family of Fitzalan, during which time he underwent military training. He fought for England against France and Scotland, and became well-known because of this.

He retired to Sycharth, nr. Corwen, although soon ran into trouble. Owain had fought for King Richard II who was deposed in favour of Henry IV in 1399. The Marcher Lord de Grey of Ruthin supported King Henry IV and picked a fight with Owain which started off the whole rebellion. Towns that had grown around the castles and had been decreed out-of-bounds to Welsh people were quickly burned down by Glyndwr's men. Ten years of fierce fighting laid waste many castles and churches over a great area of Wales.

The dispute involved in a land dispute with Lord Grey. Owain was apparently in the right but the court found for Grey. Apparently anxious to obtain all of Owain's land, Grey betrayed him again - the King has summoned Owain to join an army to fight against Scotland, but Lord Grey did not pass the message on.

Owain responded by sacking Rhuthun (Ruthin), Grey's capital. All Owain's lands were confiscated.


The Tudors of Anglesey (the family later to be become famous for other obvious reasons) captured Conwy. In the Hyddgen Valley, west of Pumlumon (Plymlimon), 1500 English (and Flemish) troops attacked 400 troops of Owain. Nevertheless victory went to Owain, which enhanced his reputation greatly.


After various guerrilla actions, Owain's troops were caught at Pilleth, Radnorshire, but again the Welsh won the ensuing battle. Captured Edmund Mortimer, agent for the english King. Henry 4. sent 100,00 troops into Wales, but was forced to retreat, the winter was the worst for years. The welsh again resorted to guerilla tactics.


The future Henry V, Henry of Monmouth, sacked Glyndwr's homes at both Sycharth, 2 kilometers south of Llansilin, and Glyndyfrdwy


By now, Owain was son much in control of Wales that he could hold a parliament at Machynlleth (the so-called Parliament House, although very old, dates from after Owain's time, but does appear to stand on the site used by this Welsh parliament) . In response to a call for assistance, the French prepared to invade England.

Campston Hill, Grosmont, Gwent. Defeated by Richard Beauchamp, Earl of W. Craig y Porth, Monmouth, victory to Owain.

The last parliament in Dolgellau


The Tripartite Indenture was signed - at Aberdaron on the Lleyn Peninsula - Britain was to be divided with Wales becoming independent.

French troops landed at Milford Haven and combined forces of French and Welsh troops marched on England. They turned back 13 kilometers west of Worcester, without engaging in battle. There was a slow retreat and the French returned home - the tide appeared to be turning against Owain.

Grosmont, Owain defeated by troops under Prince Henry. Reportedly 1.000 Welsh killed. Pwll Melyn, nr. Usk, another defeat for Owain. His brother Tudor was killed and Gruffudd, his son, taken prisoner.


unidentified site. Defeat for Owain, reportedly his son was among 1.000 Welsh dead.

Rhys Du, Rhys ap Tudor and Philip Scudamore executed for treason for supporting Owain.


Defeated at Harlech Castle , Owain Glyndwr became a fugitive




The revolt was over. Owain disappeared in 1412.


Owain was offered a a pardon, but never heard of again.

Specific Areas of Conflict


routed in 1404.


Castle fell to Owain in 1404 with town being much destroyed. The castle was re-captured by Prince Henry in 1408, being an important base for Owain in the meantime.



Carmarthen captured


On 1. April 1401, the commander of Conwy, John Massey, marched with his guard to church, under the old assumption that battles would not be fought on Sundays or religious festivals ( in line with a fundamental rule of chivalry). Supporters of Owain, Gwilym and Rhys Tewdwr, took the opportunity to capture the town and castle, firing the town in the process, burning it to the ground. Henry Percy (Hotspur) arrived with his troops and besieged the castle. Both sides wanted an end to the siege, each for their own different reasons, although negotiations dragged on for a months. In the end, the rebels were allowed to go free by handing over nine of their number for the English to ritually execute. These nine were apparently taken in their sleep to be handed over, and obviously the English 'victory' was very hollow, so neither side came out with any glory. The rebels left the castle on 28. May.


In 1404, Criccieth Castle was captured and almost razed except for the gatehouse and sections of the walls. The effects of burning are still visible.


Castle stormed by Owain




1404 Harlech Castle taken.


Old castle, across the river from the town is attacked.


Before Glyndwr arrived, Henry 4. had already hung, drawn and quartered a local man, Llewellyn ap Grufydd, in the market square (apparently, his sons were believed to be active supporters of Glyndwr). Owain took the castle to South of the town (now only remnants of the keep remain, on land owned by the Castle Hotel), and additionally fired the town and murdered several inhabitants.

Newcastle Emlyn

Castle was practically demolished for harboring royalists.

Newport (Gwent)

1402 sacked Newport Castle (but it was re-fortified later in the same century).

New Radnor

Castle destroyed in 1401


Originally held for the Parliament, the governor switched sides in 1648. Oliver Cromwell oversaw personally the campaign to take the castle which involved a 48 day siege which succeeded when he was able to cut off their water supply. The castle was partially demolished.


pillaged by Owain.


Town destroyed although castle survived.

  • St. Asaph The woodwork of the cathedral was burnt

    St Clears

    Owain defeated here in a battle in 1406

    Strata Florida

    This suffered under the troops under Henry 4. Early on, in 1401, the English, including Henry 4.) seemed to have taken out their anger on the Welsh on the abbey itself. It was plundered and many monks murdered. After a two-day drinking session, they smashed down the buildings and fired the ruins. In 1407, his son used the abbey (or what was left of it) to quartered his troops. After the rebellion, the abbey was re-built.


    1403 attacked and castle almost destroyed


    Anti-Welsh legislation was introduced. Marriage between Welsh and English was forbidden. English people were immune from any accusations from Welsh people etc. etc. Owain was classified as an official traitor, although this description appears to have been officially withdrawn in 1948!