Wales was not a part of England until 1218

 1218 Treaty of Worcester between Llywelyn the Great and the English Crown

"Known as Gwynedd and Deheubarth, The Principality of Wales became part of UK

During the early medieval period Wales was divided into a number of kingdoms, but the ruler of Gwynedd was usually acknowledged as King of the Britons. Some such rulers were able to combine several kingdoms to extend their rule to much of Wales and Gruffydd ap Llywelyn in the mid 11th century controlled all of Wales and some areas in England for a period. These centuries were marked by struggles against English kingdoms such as Mercia, then against the united English kingdom and finally against the Normans, who arrived on the borders of Wales around 1067. Warfare continued for over two centuries until the death of Llywelyn the Last in 1282 led to the annexation of Wales to the kingdom of England. Owain Glyndŵr led a rebellion in the early 15th century and kept control of Wales for a few years before the English crown reimposed its authority. In the 16th century legislation was passed aimed at fully incorporating Wales into England. Yet, the Welsh retained their language and culture in spite of heavy English dominance.

Cyerphilly Castle: The construction of this castle between 1268 and 1271 by Gilbert de Clare led to a dispute between Llywelyn the Last and the English crown, one of the issues which led to the wars of 1277 and 1282 and the end of Welsh independence.

Powys was united with Gwynedd when king Merfyn Frych of Gwynedd married princess Nest, the sister of king Cyngen of Powys, the last representative of the Gwertherion dynasty. With the death of Cyngen in 855 Rhodri became king of Powys, having inherited Gwynedd the year before. This formed the basis of Gwynedd's continued claims of overlordship over Powys for the next 443 years.

Deheubarth, like several other Welsh kingdoms, continued to exist until the Norman Conquest of Wales, but constant power struggles meant that only for part of the time was it a separate entity with an independent ruler. It was annexed by Llywelyn ap Seisyll of Gwynedd in 1018, then by Rhydderch ab Iestyn of Morgannwg in 1023. Llywelyn ap Sisyll's son, Gruffydd ap Llywelyn again annexed Deheubarth and became ruler of most of Wales, but after his death the old Dinefwr dynasty regained power.

Llywelyn's son Gruffydd would unite all Wales under his own kingship, displacing his cousins in Deheubarth, and even expanding into England affecting politics there. With Gruffydd's death Deheubarth passed through a series of rulers with various claims, but would return to the historic Dinefwr dynasty in 1063 in the person of Maredudd ab Owain ab Edwin.

Following the conquest of Gwynedd and the Statute of Rhuddlan which divided the former princely realm into counties as in England, the whole of Wales was thus divided between the Principality of Wales (which was ceded forever to the English Crown) and the March of Wales which remained under the rule of autocratic Anglo-Norman Marcher Lords. There is a legend which states the conquering King Edward I of England promised the Welsh people a prince to rule them who was born in Wales and would not speak a word of English, in 1300 his son Edward (the future King Edward II) was born at Caernarfon Castle and fulfilled this prophecy. Following this tradition the eldest born son of each English sovereign from herafter would bear the title Prince of Wales, but this is largely rejected by Welsh nationalists who assert the point that "No Englishman can ever be Prince of Wales".

Sources are listed at the bottom of my main webpage.

Researched and Posted by:  Wanda Bostc Dunlap 2010

 


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Wanda Bostic Dunlap has done research on the Family Tree for over 5 years, as she finds new information I edit our website.

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Revised: August 01, 2011.