The Rise and Fall of the Welsh Princes

C.A. Usher describes how, during the thirteenth century, the divided Principality of Wales succumbed to English Conquest.

The Shropshire knight who killed Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in the course of a skirmish near Builth on December nth, 1282 was probably unaware of his victim’s identity. Yet unknowingly he was altering the course of history, for with Llywelyn’s death the independence of medieval Wales came to an end. It is true that sporadic resistance to the English invaders continued, and we know that the final settlement of Edward I’s new dominions took time to achieve, but in practical terms the extinction of the Prince involved the submergence of the nation. In a world of monarchies princely leadership was vital. From time to time after 1282 Welsh leaders of distinguished descent and great ability arose, but they lacked the cachet of an assured succession and the advantage of a firm base on lands recognised as the traditional home of princes.

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