Edward and Wales 2
Edward I and the conquest of Wales
Edward I (17 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307.
Llewelyn of Wales
Llewelyn ap Gruffydd was the Prince of Wales. He was accepted as the ruler of the Welsh and when King Edward became King of England he expected the Prince to pay homage and accept Edward as his overlord.
According to the Treaty of Shrewsbury Llewelyn had to pay the English crown a sum of money each year for the privilege of ruling the Welsh people. Since the death of Edward's father, Henry III, the payments had stopped.
Edward sent for Llewelyn several times but the Welsh Prince failed to respond. Llewelyn further annoyed King Edward by arranging for Eleanor de Montfort, who had been promised to him as a bride for his support of Henry III in the Baronial revolt against the barons, to come from France.
He led an army into Wales in 1277. The first invasion proceeded along the North Wales coast.. The campaign was successful and the Welsh Prince surrendered to the English king, by the Treaty of Aberconwy in 1277 he was compelled to accept humiliating peace terms. By the end of 1277 Llewelyn had been defeated by the English. The Welsh Prince accepted King Edward as his overlord and was allowed to marry Eleanor de Montfort. At Christmas that year Llewelyn visited Edward at the English court to pay homage to the king. Llewelyn had been subdued but not for long.
In 1282 the Welsh, led by Llewelyn's brother Dafydd, rose against English rule. Edward again marched an army into Wales. Llywelyn joined the revolt which experienced some initial success, the castles of Builth, Aberystwyth and Ruthin were wrestled from English hands and an English army defeated at the Menai Straights in Gwynedd. Llywelyn was killed at the Battle of Irfon Bridge on the 11th December 1282, crushing Welsh hopes.
In accordance with the barbaric custom of the time, his severed head was sent to London to be displayed at the Tower. Dafydd continued to lead the Welsh resistance, but was handed over to Edward in June 1283, when he too, was tried and executed.
Following his conquest of Wales, Edward I built a formidable Iron Ring of Castles, a days march from apart, to defend his aquisitions from Welsh rebellion. Subsequent to Edward's first Welsh campaign when he succeeded in isolating his adversary, Llywelyn the Last in Snowdonia and Anglesey, the English king erected the castles of Flint, Rhuddlan, Builth Wells and Aberystwth.
After the failure of Llywelyn's second uprising in 1282, the Iron Ring was extended to include castles at Conway, Caernarfon and Beaumaris.
After the second Welsh rebellion Edward decided to bring Wales under direct rule. The Statute of Rhuddlan brought English laws to Wales. Edward appointed sheriffs and bailiffs for the northern territories while the southern areas were left under the control of the Marcher Lords.