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ran, like wild-fire, along the hills, and “Liberty and Vengeance !” was once more the terrific war-cry of the Welsh. Glendowr him-a self, too, shook off his lethargy. Ambition now entered his mind; he called to his recollection his high and princely lineage, and, directing his arms to a nobler cause than the redressing of his own wrongs, he involved both nations in a war which lasted some years, sacrificed many thousand lives, and drenched both countries with blood.
Although the Welsh were, at first, despised as a barefooted rabble,* and their disaffection treated with contempt, they were soon found to be a formidable and dangerous enemy. The intelligence of Glendowr's retaliation upon Lord Gray no sooner reached the court, than the king immediately dispatched some troops under the command of that nobleman, and the Lord Talbot, to chastise him; and they arrived with such speed and diligence, that they nearly succeeded in surrounding his house before he gained any intimation of their approach. He contrived, however, to escape into the woods, where he did not long remain; but, having raised a band of men, and caused himself to be proclaimed Prince of Wales, on the 20th of September, 1400, he surprised, plundered, and burnt to the ground the greater part of the town of Ruthin (the property of Lord Gray), at a time when a fair was held there. Having achieved this, he retreated to the mountain-fastnesses of Merionethshire, and directed his attention to the speedy and effectual augmentation of his forces.
Hitherto the disturbance in the principality had been chiefly considered as a private quarrel between Gray and Glendowr, and the English government did not seem to be much concerned as to the issue. Now, however, it assumed a more serious and important aspect, and became altogether an international contest. The proclamation issued by Owen alarmed Henry, who determined to march in person into Wales to curb the boldness of the rebel-chieftain, and to crush, if possible, a revolt daily becoming more extensive and momentous. For this purpose, he assembled his troops, and hastened into Wales;
* John Trevor, Bishop of St. Asaph, foreseeing the danger of driving into desperate measures a person of Owen's interest, spirit, and abilities, advised more temperate proceedings, adding, that Owen was by no means a despicable enemy, and that the Welsh would assuredly be provoked into a general insurrection. His advice was rejected, and he was answered by an English nobleman in the House of Lords. “ Se de illis scurris nudipedibus non curare.” Pennant, vol. 3, p. 319. 8vo. Edition, and “Barrington's Observations on the Ancient Statutes.”
but Glendowr, whose forces were not yet sufficiently powerful, retreated to the fastnesses of Snowdon, and Henry was compelled to return to England, without having obtained any material advantage. In order, however, to weaken his opponent, he made a grant of all the chieftain's estates, in North and South Wales, to his own brother, John, Earl of Somerset; an act as ineffectual as it was irritating; for Glendowr was so far from any danger of being dispossessed of them, that, at this very time, he was daily growing more powerful, by the accession of new forces. It is remarkable, that the chieftain's revenue, in money, at this period, did not exceed 300 marks, which shows that his rents in kind must have been very considerable.
Preparations were now made by the king to commence a regular war with the Welsh ; and that they might have no plea of undue severity to urge, a proclamation was issued on the 30th of November, in the same year (1400), offering to protect all Welshmen who would repair to Chester, and there make submission to Prince Henry, after which they should be at full liberty to return to their respective homes. Few, however, availed themselves of the monarch's clemency. The martial spirit of the Welsh was once more kindled into action; and Glendowr found his cause warmly espoused by great numbers of his countrymen. Multitudes from all quarters flocked to his standard, and contributed to make him a most formidable opponent,--so formidable, indeed, that Henry, notwithstanding some very urgent affairs which had detained him at the capital, resolved to march again into Wales; and, entering the principality about the beginning of June, 1401, he ravaged the country in his progress; but was finally forced to retreat, his men having suffered severely from fatigue and famine.
The misfortunes which befell the king's army greatly encouraged the rebels; and a comet, which ushered in the
year 1402, infused new spirit into the minds of a superstitious people, and imparted additional vigour to their exertions. A victory, also, which Glendowr obtained, about this time, over a powerful force commanded by Lord Gray, strengthened their hopes of success, and gained the chieftain many friends and followers. By this event, Gray fell into the hands of the insurgents, and was secured in close confinement till a ransom of six thousand marks, and, in accordance with the rude policy of the
age, a promise to marry one of Owen's daughters, released him from captivity*. So elevated were the Welsh with these
* His release, however, was not effected without the formality of a special commission appointed by the king, and dated the 10th of October, 1402. By this commission, Sir William de Ross, Sir Richard de Gray, Sir William de Willoughby, Sir William de la Zouch, and
simultaneous successes, that, if we may believe the prejudiced Holinshed, they were “ uplifted with high pride, and their wicked and presumptuous attempts were marvellously increased.” At all events, the Welsh patriot now extended his designs, and plundered the domains of all such as were inimical to him, spreading fire and sword through the lands of his opponents, He revenged, also, in some degree, the indignities inflicted upon his royal master, the ill-fated Richard, for whom he seems to have entertained strong feelings of regard and commiseration. John Trevor, Bishop of St. Asaph, who had voted for the deposition of that unfortunate king, became a marked object of his vengeance; and the cathedral, episcopal palace, and canon's houses belonging to the see, were ransacked and destroyed..
But none suffered so severely as the vassals of Edward Mortimer, Earl of March, a child of ten years old, and who, with his brother Roger, was at that time in the custody of the king. Henry was very sensible of the just claim which this child had to the crown, for his title to the sovereignty had been formally acknowledged by the parliament, on account of his descent from Lionel, Duke of Clarence, third son of Edward the Third. Owen, also, was sufficiently aware of the importance of this youthful nobleman, and he directed his attention to the plundering of his domains, hoping, eventually, to become possessed of his person. But his designs were most valiantly resisted by Sir Edward Mortimer, uncle to the earl, who, unable any longer to endure the depredations of Glendowr, collected a large body of his nephew's retainers, and marched boldly to stem the progress of the invader. A bloody engagement ensued on Bryn-glàs, a mountain south west of Knighton, in Radnorshire, and victory declared in favour of Owen. Stow asserts, that the archers of Mortimer's army bent their bows against their own party; but another old writer affirms, that the earl's Welsh tenants took to flight, on the first onset, and this occasioned bis defeat.* However this may be, Sir Edward Mortimer sustained a very beavy loss, and was bimself taken prisoner by the Welsh. It was after this engagement that those disgusting practices, alluded to by Shakspeare, and detailed by Walsingham and Holinshed, are said to have been performed on the lifeless bodies of the enemy. “Such shameful villainy," says the latter, “was executed upon the carcasses of the dead
six other persons, were empowered to treat with Owen about the ransom, when 6000 marks was the sum agreed upon; and his lordship was accordingly liberated. (“Rymer," viii. 279.)
“ Vita Ricardi Secundi,” p. 178.
men, by the Welsh, as the like (I do believe) hath never or seldom been practised .... which is worthy to be recorded, to the shame of a sex, pretending to the title of weaker vessels, and yet raging with such force of fierceness and barbarism. *"
Owen's ravages became now so considerable, and were so fearlessly committed, that Henry was once more compelled to march into Wales; and, to insure success, it was determined that the English army should enter the principality in three different quarters. The rendezvous of the first division, headed by the king in person, was to be at Shrewsbury; that of the second, under the joint command of the Earls of Stafford and Warwick, and the Barons Abergavenny, Audley, and Berkeley, at Hereford ; and that of the third, under the direction of Prince Henry, at Chester: the forces were to be assembled at each place by the 27th of August.
Glendowr beheld these formidable preparations without dismay, and continued to devastate the country, destroying the principal towns in Glamorganshire, the inhabitants of that district having refused to embrace his cause, and receiving from all other parts of Wales fresh succours and supplies.
At the time appointed, Henry and his generals advanced towards the principality, and Glendowr, too prudent to hazard an engagement with a force so superior, in every respect, to his own, again retired to the fastnesses among the mountains, driving the cattle from the plains, and destroying every means by which the
enemy could procure food for themselves or forage for their horses. The English, willing to conceal their shame, attributed the cause of their ill success to the incantations of the British chieftain, who, as Holinshed expresses it, “ Through art magic (as was thought) caused such foul weather of winds, tempest, rain, snows, and hail, to be raised, for the annoyance of the king's arıny, that the like had not been heard of.” Perhaps Glendowr, as well to infuse terror into his foes as to give his own people a more exalted notion of his powers, might politickly insinuate his skill in spells and charms. This species of credulity was in full vigour at the time, and it is not improbable that the mountain-chief might have endeavoured to influence his followers by pretending to a proficiency in the mystic arts of sorcery and divination.
The Scots now took advantage of the king's absence from the capital, and, under the command of the renowned Archibald Douglas, the Tyneman, invaded England with an army of thirteen thousand men. It is probable, that they acted in con
*“ Holinshed's Historie,” p. 527. See, also, “Walsingham, apud Camden. Scrip. Angl." p. 577.
cert with the Welsh. Both nations had been rendered tributary to the English by the same compulsory and irksome measures, both entertained a common hatred for their conquerors, and both had groaned under their oppressive domination. Be this as it may, the revolt in the north was of no small advantage to Glendowr, for this event, and the adverse state of the weather, contributed to compel Henry, once more, to relinquish his design of reducing the Welsh rebels; and, for the third time, he quitted the principality without having accomplished any part of his
Him bootless back, and weather-beaten home.” The crown of England now began to totter on the brow of the usurper Bolingbroke; for, in addition to his disasters in Wales, the powerful and wealthy family of the Percies conspired to throw off its allegiance to Henry. A dispute between the king and the Earl of Northumberland appears to have been the primary cause of this disaffection; and, perhaps, the desire of becoming entirely independant might have contributed, in no small degree, to the same effect. At all events, be the causes what they may, this family, and its numerous adherents, joined Glendowr, and added very materially to the power of the Welsh. The rebels gained another very important ally this year. Sir Edward Mortimer, whom, we have already mentioned, Glendoyr had taken prisoner at the battle of Bryn-glâs. He procured the alliance of this knight, whom he had treated with great kindness and liberality since his capture, by insinuating that it might be in his power to seat the representative of his house upon the throne of his ancestorsa temptation not to be withstood by the brave and ambitious captive. Glendowr, therefore, Sir Edward Mortimer, and the gallant Percy, entered into a confederacy to overthrow the House of Lancaster, and to advance to the sovereignty of England the youthful descendant of the Plantagenets. So confident were the rebel chieftains of success, that they determined, beforehand, to divide the empire between them, so that, when they had subdued their opponents, no discord might arise as to a division of the booty. Henry Percy was to possess the district north of the Trent; Sir Edward Mortimer all the country from the Trent and Severn to the Eastern and Southern limits of the Island ; and Glendowr the whole of Wales, Westward from the Severn. It was on this occasion, that Owen, to animate his followers, reminded them of the an