On this day, 1282

Back in the summer, during our trip to Anglesey in north Wales, we stopped off for a coffee and piece of bara brith at what seemed to be an old stone barn in the coastal village of Aberffraw. It had a notice, however, saying that it was the site of the palace of Llewellyn ap Gruffydd. Knew the name. That was all.
On this day in 1282, Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, was murdered by the English. Wales has never forgiven us, nor should it (not that I consider medieval barons or monarchs to be properly English, but that’s by the by). The point is, this is now a forgotten corner of history, unless you happen to be Welsh, and I do not consider it a mark of a civilised society that it selects and shapes history to suit itself. We are British, and yet we know so little of British history. All of it should be taught in our schools, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English, and not just the history of the Norman Conquest and its long, long, long aftermath.
It’s time we got to know each other a bit. That way, love lies.
So here’s a little film to tell us the story of the betrayal and death of Llewellyn on December 11th, 1282.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. A lovely film. Thank you, Linda, for bringing it to our attention. To readers of Edith Pargeter’s outstanding four-novel series about Llywellyn and his brothers, this is not a forgotten corner of history, and is one of the most moving. Pargeter was also Ellis Peters, who wrote the Brother Cadfael mysteries. The four Llywellyn novels have been packaged together as “The Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet,” and are individually titled “Sunrise in the West,” “The Dragon at Noonday,” “The Hounds of Sunset,” and “Afterglow and Nightfall.” Pargeter also wrote what is probably my favorite historical novel of all time, “The Heaven Tree,” about the building of a cathedral on the Welsh marches.

    1. Thanks so much, Margaret, for all those recommendations. My husband is a great Pargeter fan but I haven’t got on with her in my couple of attempts. Am resolved, now, to try again. Presumably her choice of pseudonym ‘Ellis’ was to get over the presumptions the public make about female historical novelists, but did she dumb down a bit, too, with Cadfael?
      For those who don’t know, Margaret Donsbach Tomlinson runs the most informative site, http://www.historicalnovels.info, which has really excellent reviews and arranges novels by period. I trust her recommendations so will go eat humble pie with regard to EP.

      1. I will admit to having trouble in Brothers of Gwynedd with a series of battles that seemed to go on and on, seemingly with every historically documented strategy, tactic and mudhole exhaustively detailed. Also, the numerous minor characters (with their often unfamiliar Welsh names) could be hard to keep track of. But I found the overall impact of the storyline and the best scenes in this series so breathtakingly good that the longer warfare passages were well worth slogging through, or skimming. The character of David, Llywelyn’s youngest brother, is a particular masterpiece. The Heaven Tree is shorter and its plot constructed in a more focused way, so you might want to start with that. The Cadfael mysteries are even more tightly plotted, as they must be, to fit the mystery format – though Pargeter/Peters is always faithful to the historical setting, so I wouldn’t necessarily call these dumbed down – just a lot less sweeping and complex in their themes and structure.

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