Owain Glyndŵr is one of Wales’s most renowned figures, best known for leading a Welsh war of independence against English rule in the 15th century.
It was his determination to stand up against English oppression that sparked a nationwide rebellion against the social, economic and religious hardships at the time. To this day his legacy survives in a number of places – from the spot where he proclaimed himself ‘Prince of Wales’, to the castles he fought so hard to capture.
The Owain Glyndŵr and his Uprising trail covers a number of these sites, while places like Glyndŵr’s court at Sycharth, and the St Chad’s church in Hanmer where he was married, can be added to the route to allow even further insight into the life of this iconic character.
Enrich your adventure further by visiting Pilleth (Bryn Glas) – the site of his most memorable victory in battle. You can visit the church and the hill that was the focus of the battle.
What? Spot where Glyndŵr famously proclaimed himself ‘Prince of Wales’
It was Glyndŵr’s self-proclamation as ‘Prince of Wales’ that began his 14-year rebellion against English rule.
The site is quite complex and not always easy to pick out on the ground, but the most obvious feature is the mound. Known locally as ‘Owain Glyndŵr’s Mount’, it is actually the remains of a 12th century castle motte built to command the route through the Dee Valley.
Visitors to the site are welcomed by an interpretative panel which explains the significance of the site. The site lies between the main A5 road and the Llangollen Railway, and is in private hands, though with public access.
Did you know..? Glyndŵr’s ‘fine’ manor is likely to have been in the area across the field, and would have been defended by a surrounding moat.
What? Mighty Medieval fortress that also forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Where? Harlech, Gwynedd
Built in 1283, Harlech was one of a number of castles created to secure land King Edward I had won in north Wales.
When Glyndŵr’s forces set out to capture Harlech in 1404 they were pleased to find the English perilously under-equipped, with only three shields, eight basinets, six lances and four guns at their disposal.
Harlech was consequently won, and Glyndŵr installed his court and family in the castle shortly after, holding his second parliament at Harlech in 1405. The site was finally recaptured by the King’s son, Harry of Monmouth (future King Henry V), in 1409.
Did you know..? In 1468, Harlech Castle fell to the Yorkists, giving rise to the traditional song ‘Men of Harlech’
What? Visitor Centre & Exhibition on life of Owain Glyndŵr
Where? Machynlleth, Powys
The Owain Glyndŵr Centre houses a range of interactive exhibitions designed to tell the story of his life as leader of the rebellion.
A specially commissioned video depicts him being crowned, while displays include a replica of the Pennal letter – the letter sent by Glyndŵr attempting to enlist the support of the King of France. A mural by Scottish artist Murray Urquhart (1880-1972) also portrays Glyndŵr's pivotal victory over the King's forces at the Battle of Hyddgen in 1402.
Did you know..? The Centre is thought to be built on the site of Glyndŵr’s famous parliament of 1404.
Free Admission (Open Seasonally)
What? Ruined Edwardian castle built in late 13th century
Where? Aberystwyth, Ceredigion
Aberystwyth Castle suffered a somewhat turbulent past. The site was seized by the Welsh uprising in 1404, before being besieged by English forces (under the command of the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York and the Earl of Warwick) just three years later.
The fortress was near surrender when Glyndŵr himself decided to lead the castle’s defence. Alas, his efforts proved unsuccessful, and a year later, it finally fell. The loss of Aberystwyth meant that Glyndŵr, “hero of the common people”, was no more than a guerrilla leader from that point on.
Did you know..? Thanks to the later events of the Civil War in the 1600s, the castle is now a romantic ruin; its remaining walls and tower form an attractive silhouette against the sea.