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The History of England from the Accession of Henry III. to the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377)
The Conquest Of North Wales
by Tout, T.F. (M.A.)


The treaty of Shrewsbury of 1267 had not brought enduring peace to Wales and the march. The pacification was in essentials a simple recognition of accomplished facts, but, so far as it involved promises of restitution and future good behaviour, its provisions were barely carried out, even in the scanty measure in which any medieval treaty was executed. Moreover, the treaty by no means covered the whole ground of variance between the English and the Welsh. like the treaty of Paris of 1259, it was as much the starting-point of new difficulties as the solution of old ones. Many troublesome questions of detail had been postponed for later settlement, and no serious effort was made to grapple with them. Even during the life of the old king, there had been war in the south between the Earl of Gloucester and Llewelyn. However, the Welsh prince paid, with fair regularity, the instalments of the indemnity to which he had been bound, and there was no disposition on the part of the English authorities to question the basis of the settlement. Even the marchers maintained an unwonted tranquillity. They had lost so much during the recent war that they had no great desire to take up arms again. Llewelyn himself was the chief obstacle to peace. The brilliant success of his arms and diplomacy seems somewhat to have turned his brain. Visions of a wider authority constantly floated before him. His bards prophesied the expulsion of the Saxon, and he had done such great deeds in the first twenty years of his reign, that a man of more practical temperament might have been forgiven for indulging in dreams of future success. Three obstacles stood in the way of the development of his power. These were his vassalage to the English crown, the hostility of the marcher barons, and the impatience with which the minor Welsh chieftains submitted to his authority. For five years he impatiently endured these restraints. He then took advantage of the absence of the new king to rid himself of them.

Five days after the accession of Edward I., the lieutenants of the king received the last payment of the indemnity which Llewelyn condescended to make. Their demand that the Welsh prince should take an oath of fealty to his new sovereign was answered by evasive delays. Arrears of the indemnity accumulated, and the state of the march became more disturbed. The regents showed moderation, though one of them, Roger Mortimer, had himself been the greatest sufferer from the treaty of Shrewsbury. In the south, Humphrey Bohun, grandson of the old Earl of Hereford and earl himself in 1275 by his grandfather's death, was engaged in private war with Llewelyn. In direct defiance of the terms of 1267, Humphrey strove to maintain himself in the march of Brecon, which had been definitely ceded to Llewelyn. It was to the credit of the regents that they refused to countenance this glaring violation of the treaty. Meanwhile Llewelyn busied himself with erecting a new stronghold on the upper Severn, which was a menace alike to the royal castle of Montgomery and to his own vassal, Griffith ap Gwenwynwyn, the tributary lord of Powys. Yet the regents were content to remonstrate, and to urge on all parties the need of strict adherence to the terms of the treaty. The Earl of Warwick was appointed in the spring of 1274 as head of a commission, empowered to do justice on all transgressions of the peace, and Llewelyn was ordered to meet him at Montgomery Ford. But Llewelyn was busy at home, where his brother David had joined hands with Griffith ap Gwenwynwyn in a plot against him. Llewelyn easily crushed the conspiracy; David, after a feeble attempt to maintain himself in his own patrimony, took flight to England, and Griffith of Powys, driven from his dominions, was also obliged to seek the protection of Edward. Henceforth Llewelyn ruled directly over Powys as well as Gwynedd. His success encouraged him to persevere in defying his overlord.

Rash as he was, Llewelyn recognised that he was not strong enough to stand up single-handed against England. Former experience, however, suggested that it was an easy matter to make a party with the barons against the crown. But times had changed since the Great Charter and the Barons' War; and a policy, which could obtain concessions from John or Henry III., was powerless against a king who commanded the allegiance of all his subjects. Yet there was enough friction between the new king and his feudatories to make the attempt seem feasible, and Llewelyn revived the Montfort tradition, by claiming the hand of Eleanor, Earl Simon's daughter, which had been promised to him since 1265. The alarm created by this shows that Edward perceived the danger that it might involve. But his policy of conciliation had now restored to their estates the last of the "disinherited," and, since the murder of Henry of Almaine, the name of Montfort was no longer one to conjure with. The exiled sons of Earl Simon welcomed Llewelyn's advances, and, in 1275, Eleanor was despatched from France to Wales under the escort of her clerical brother Amaury. On their way, Eleanor and Amaury were captured by English sailors. Edward detained the lady at the queen's court, and gave some scandal to the stricter clergy by shutting up Amaury in Corfe castle. He had foiled the Welsh prince's game, but he had given him a new grievance.

During these transactions negotiations had been proceeding between the English court and Llewelyn. In November, 1274, Edward went to Shrewsbury in the hope of receiving the prince, but he was delayed by illness, and Llewelyn made this an excuse for non-appearance. Next year the king journeyed to Chester with the same object, but his mission was equally fruitless. Summons after summons was despatched to the recalcitrant vassal. Llewelyn heeded them no more than requests to pay up the arrears which he owed the English crown. After two years of hesitation Edward lost all patience. Irritated to the quick by Llewelyn's offer to perform homage in a border town on conditions altogether impossible of acceptance, the king summoned a council of magnates for November 12, 1276, and laid the whole case before them. It was agreed that the king should go against Llewelyn as a rebel and disturber of the peace; and the feudal levies were summoned to meet at Worcester on June 24, 1277. As a preliminary to the great effort, Warwick was sent to Chester, Roger Mortimer to Montgomery, and Payne of Chaworth to Carmarthen. All the available marcher forces and every trooper of the royal household were despatched to enable them to operate during the winter and spring. Their movements were brilliantly successful. On the reappearance of its ancient lord, the middle march threw off the yoke of Llewelyn and went back to its obedience to Mortimer. Griffith ap Gwenwynwyn was restored to upper Powys; the sons of Griffith of Bromfield cast off their allegiance to Llewelyn and were received back as direct vassals of the king. A Tony was once more ruling in Elvael, a Gifford in Llandovery, and a Bohun in Brecon. Rhys ap Meredith yielded up Dynevor, and was content to be recognised as lord of the humbler stronghold of Drysllwyn. Chaworth's bands conquered all Cardiganshire. Thus the wider "principality" of Llewelyn was shattered at the first assault, and when the decisive moment came, Llewelyn was thrown back upon his hereditary clansmen of Gwynedd. Of all the acquisitions of the treaty of Shrewsbury, the four cantreds alone still held for their prince.1

1 On the whole subject of this chapter Mr. J.E. Morris's Welsh Wars of Edward I. throws a flood of new light, especially on the military history, the organisation of the Edwardian army, and the political condition of the march.
When the baronial levies mustered at Worcester, the work was already half accomplished. Of the thousand lances that there assembled, small forces were detached to help Mortimer in mid Wales and to reinforce the marcher army in west Wales, which was now commanded by Edmund of Lancaster, the king's brother. The mass of the troops followed Edward to Chester, whence the main attack was to be made. Edward's plan of operations was simplicity itself. He knew that the Welsh desired no pitched battle, and he was indisposed to lose his soldiers in unnecessary conflict. Swarms of workmen cleared a wide road through the dense forests of the four cantreds. The route chosen was as near as possible to the coast, where a strong fleet, mainly from the Cinque Ports, kept up communications with the land forces. The advance was cautious and slow, with long halts at Flint and at Rhuddlan, where hastily erected forts secured the king's base and safe-guarded a possible retreat. By the end of August the king was at Deganwy, and the four cantreds were conquered. During all this time fresh forces were hurried up. Some 15,000 infantry, largely drawn from southern and central Wales, swelled the king's host.

Llewelyn was closely shut up in the Snowdon country. His position was safe enough from a direct assault, and his only fear was want of provisions. He trusted, however, that supplies would come in from Anglesea, whose rich cornfields were yellowing for the harvest. But the fleet of the Cinque Ports cut off communications between Anglesea and the mainland, and ferried over a strong detachment of Edward's troops, which occupied the island. English harvest-men gathered for Edward the crops of Welsh corn, and left Llewelyn to face the beginnings of a mountain-winter without the means of feeding his followers. By September the real fight was over. Edward withdrew to Rhuddlan and dismissed the greater part of his followers. Enough were left to block the approaches to Snowdon, and Llewelyn, seeing no gain in further delay, made his submission on November 9.

The treaty of Aberconway, which Edward dictated, reduced Llewelyn to the position of a petty North Welsh chieftain, which he had held thirty years before. He gave up the homage of the greater Welsh magnates, and resigned all his former conquests. The four cantreds thus passed away from his power, and even Anglesea was only allowed to him for life and subject to a yearly tribute. He was compelled to do homage, and ordered to pay a crushing indemnity, twice as much as the expenses of the war. But Edward was in a generous mood. After Llewelyn's personal submission at Rhuddlan, the king remitted the indemnity and the rent for Anglesea. It was a boon to Llewelyn that the treacherous David received his reward not' in Gwynedd itself but in Duffryn Clwyd and Rhuvoniog, two of the four cantreds of the Perveddwlad. Llewelyn's humiliation was completed by his enforced attendance at Edward's Christmas court at Westminster. Next year, however, he received a further sign of royal favour. He was allowed to marry Eleanor Montfort, and Edward himself was present at their wedding. But on the morning of the ceremony, Llewelyn was forced to make a promise not to entertain the king's fugitives and outlaws.

The treaty of Aberconway left Edward free to revive in the rest of Wales the policy which, when originally begun in 1254,1 had, like a rising flood, floated Llewelyn into his wider principality. The lords marchers resumed their ancient limits. Princes like Griffith of Powys and Rhys of Drysllwyn sank into a position which is indistinguishable from that of their Anglo-Norman neighbours. David, in the vale of Clwyd had no better prospects. The heirs of lower Powys were put under the guardianship of Roger Mortimer's younger son, another Roger, who, on the death of his wards by drowning, received possession of their lands, and henceforth, as Roger Mortimer of Chirk, became a new marcher baron. Meanwhile Edward busied himself with schemes for establishing settled government in the conquered territories. To a man of his training and temperament, this meant the establishment of English law and administration. He could see no merits in the archaic Welsh customs which regarded all crimes as capable of atonement by a money payment, treated a wrecked ship as the lawful perquisite of the local proprietor, and hardly distinguished legitimate from illegitimate children in determining the descent of property. He convinced himself that the land laws of Wales were already those of Anglo-Norman feudalism. He subjected the cantreds of Rhos and Englefield to the Cheshire county court, and breathed a new life into the decayed shire organisation of Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire. Flint and Rhuddlan dominated the two former, Aberystwyth and Carmarthen the latter. Round the king's castles grew up petty boroughs of English traders, who would, it was believed, teach the Welsh to love commerce and peaceful ways.

1 See page 76.
For five years all seemed to go well, though underneath the apparent calm a storm was gradually gathering. The Welsh of the ceded districts bitterly resented the imposition of a strange yoke and complained that the king had broken his promise to respect their laws. "Are the Welsh worse than Jews?" was their cry, "and yet the king allows the Jews to follow their own laws in England." But Edward coldly answered that, though it would be a breach of his coronation oath to maintain customs of Howel the Good, which were contrary to the Decalogue, he was willing to listen to specific complaints. It was, however, a very difficult matter to persuade Edward's bailiffs and agents to carry out his commands, and many acts of oppression were wrought for which there was no redress. Nobles like David and Rhys found their franchises threatened by the encroachments of the neighbouring shire-courts. Lesser Welshmen were liable to be robbed and insulted by the workmen who were building Edward's castles, or by the soldiers who were garrisoning them. At last even the Welsh who had helped Edward to put down Llewelyn saw that they had been preparing their own ruin, and turned to their former enemy for the redress refused them at Westminster. David himself made common cause with his brother, and the spirit of resistance spread among the half-hearted Cymry of the south. Edward's oppression did more than Llewelyn's triumphs to weld together the Welsh clans into a single people. A rising was planned in the strictest secrecy; and on the eve of Palm Sunday, March 21, 1282, David swooped down on Hawarden, a weak castle in private hands, and captured it. Llewelyn promptly crossed the Conway and turned his arms against the royal strongholds of Flint and Rhuddlan, which withstood him, though he devastated the countryside in every direction. Meanwhile David hurried south and found the local lords in Cardigan and the vale of Towy already in arms. With their help he captured the castles of the upper Towy, but lower down the river Rhys remained staunch to the king, whereupon David hurried over the hills to Cardiganshire and took Aberystwyth. North and south were in full revolt.

Edward, taken unawares, prepared to reassert his authority. Certain faithful barons were "affectionately requested" to serve the king for pay, and a fairly large army was gathered together, though the scattered character of the rebellion necessitated its acting in small bands. Meanwhile the military tenants and the Cinque Ports were summoned to join in an attack on Llewelyn on the lines of the campaign of 1277. Edward's task was more difficult than on the previous occasion. Though Rhuddlan, not Chester as in 1277, had become his starting-point against Gwynedd, he dared not advance so long as David threatened his left flank from Denbigh, and the rising in the south was far more formidable than that of five years before. A considerable part of the levies had to be despatched to the help of Earl Gilbert of Gloucester, who was charged with the reconquest of the vale of Towy. On June 17 as the earl's soldiers were returning, laden with plunder, to their headquarters at Dynevor, they were suddenly attacked by the Welsh at Llandilo, and were driven back on their base. Gloucester hastily retreated to Carmarthen. He was superseded by William of Valence, whose activity against the Welsh had been quickened by the loss of his son at Llandilo. Llewelyn then came south, and pressed the English so hard that for several weeks nothing of moment was accomplished.

The advance against Gwynedd was delayed until the late summer. Edward still tarried at Rhuddlan, with a host constantly varying in numbers, for his soldiers had long overpassed the period of feudal service. Every effort was made to bring fresh troops to the field, and Luke de Tany, seneschal of Gascony, came upon the scene with a small levy of the chivalry of Aquitaine. To Tany was assigned the task of conquering Anglesey, but it was not until September that he was able to occupy the island. In the same month a strenuous effort was made to dislodge the hostile Welsh in the vale of Clwyd; the Earl of Lincoln at last took Denbigh from David; Reginald Grey, justice of Chester, captured Ruthin, higher up the valley, and Earl Warenne seized Bromfield and Yale. Each noble fought for his own hand, and Edward was forced to reward their services by immediately granting to them their conquests, and thus created a new marcher interest which, later on, stood in the way of an effective settlement. But things were getting desperate, and it was well for Edward that the security of his left flank at last enabled him to advance to the Conway. Thereupon Llewelyn returned to Snowdon, where he was joined by the homeless David. Meanwhile Tany, then master of Anglesey, opened up communications with the coast of Arvon by a bridge of boats over the Menai Straits. Winter was already at hand when Llewelyn and his brother were at last shut up amidst the fastnesses of Snowdon.

Late in October Archbishop Peckham appeared on the scene. He had excommunicated Llewelyn at the beginning of the war, but was still anxious to negotiate a peace. Edward did his best to put him off, but Peckham's importunity extorted from him a short truce, during which the primate visited Snowdon, taking with him an offer of an ample estate in England if the prince would surrender his patrimony. Llewelyn furnished Peckham with long catalogues of grievances. He was quite willing to gain time by discussing his wrongs.

Edward's army shared his irritation at Peckham's interference, and, while the archbishop was still in Snowdon, a breach of the truce destroyed any hopes of peace. On November 6 Tany led his troops over the bridge of boats at low water and marched inland. But his operations were ill-planned, and the Welsh came down from the hills and easily put him to flight. Meanwhile the tide had risen and the flood cut off access to the bridge over the Menai. In their panic the soldiers rushed into the water rather than face the enemy. Many leading men were drowned, including Tany himself, the author of the treachery. Flushed with this success Llewelyn rejected Peckham's terms. In great disgust the archbishop went back to England, bitterly denouncing the Welsh. But defeat only strengthened the iron resolution of Edward. He issued fresh summonses for men and money. Contrary to all precedent, he determined to continue the campaign through the winter.

Llewelyn was probably ignorant of the perilous plight into which the king had fallen. With the approach of bad weather he became afraid that he would be starved out in Snowdon. Any risk was better than being caught like a rat in a trap, and, fearing lest a cordon should be drawn round the mountains, he made his way southwards, leaving David in command. His enemy, Roger Mortimer, was just dead, and Mortimer's eldest son Edmund, a youth brought up for the clerical profession, was not likely to hold the middle marches with the same strong grasp as his father. Thither accordingly Llewelyn made his way, hoping that on his approach the tribesmen of the upper Wye, over whom he had ruled so long, would abandon their English lord for their Cymric chieftain. A force gathered round him, and he occupied a strong position on a hill overlooking the river Yrvon, which flows into the right bank of the Wye, just above Builth. The right bank of the Yrvon was held by the English of Builth. But the only way over the stream was by Orewyn bridge, which was held by a detachment of the Welsh. Their position seemed so secure that, on December 11, Llewelyn left his troops to confer with some of the local chieftains. The English were, however, shown a ford over the river; a band crossed in safety, and, taking the defenders of Orewyn bridge in the rear, opened up the passage over it to their comrades. The English ascended the hill, their mail-clad squadrons interlaced with archers, in order that the Welsh infantry might be assailed by missiles before they were exposed to the shock of a cavalry charge. In the absence of their leader, the Welsh were a helpless mass of sheep, and were easily put to flight. Meanwhile Llewelyn, hearing the din of battle, hurried back to direct his followers. On the way he was slain by Stephen of Frankton, a Shropshire veteran of the Barons' War, who fought under the banner of Roger l'Estrange. The discovery of important papers on the body first told the conquerors the rank of their victim.

Thus perished the able and strenuous chief, who had struggled so long to win for himself in Wales a position similar to that occupied by the King of Scots in the north. His death did not end, but it much simplified, the struggle. The south and midland districts were entirely subdued, and the interest of the war again shifted to the mountains of Snowdon, where David strove to maintain himself as Prince of Wales. His best chance lay in the exhaustion of his enemy, but Edward stuck grimly to his task. His coffers were exhausted, and his army for the most part went home. Yet Edward tarried at Rhuddlan for over six months, dividing his energy between watching the Welsh and replenishing his treasure and troops. His treasurer, John Kirkby, wandered from shire to shire soliciting voluntary contributions. Then in January, 1283, an anomalous parliament was summoned, consisting mainly of ecclesiastics, knights of the shire, and burgesses, and meeting in two divisions, at York and at Northampton, according as the members came from the northern or southern ecclesiastical provinces. The grant of a thirtieth so little satisfied the king that he laid violent hands on the crusading-tenth, which was deposited in the Temple. Meanwhile the chivalry of Gascony and Ponthieu were tempted by high wages to supply the void left by the retirement of the English.

Early in 1283 a gallant force from beyond sea, among which figured the Counts of Armagnac and Bigorre, reached Rhuddlan. After their arrival the king took the offensive, crossed the Conway and transferred his headquarters to the Cistercian abbey of Aberconway. Fearful once more of being enclosed in the mountains, David sought a new hiding-place among the heights of Cader Idris. He shifted his quarters to the castle of Bere, hidden away in a remote valley sloping down from the mountain to the sea. The unwearied Edward once more issued summonses for a fresh campaign. David was at the extremity of his resources. Before the new arrivals enabled Edward to move, William of Valence marched up from the south, and in April forced Bere to surrender. David fled before the siege began; but he was a fugitive without an army, and the campaign was reduced to a weary tracking out of the last little bands that still scorned to surrender. In June David was betrayed by men of his own tongue, and Edward summoned for Michaelmas at Shrewsbury a parliament whose chief business was the trial of David. On October 3 the last Cymric Prince of Wales suffered the ignominious doom of a traitor, a murderer, and a blasphemer. The magnates then adjourned to the chancellor's neighbouring seat of Acton Burnell, where the rejoicings incident to the king's visit to his friend's new mansion were combined with passing the statute of Merchants.

Edward's love of thoroughness made him linger in Wales to settle the government of the newly won lands. His first care was to hold Snowdon with the ring of fortresses which, in their ruin, still bear abiding witness to the solidity of the conqueror's work. Round each castle arose a new town, created as artificially as were the bastides of Aquitaine, within whose walls English traders and settlers were tempted by high privileges to take up their abodes, and whose strictly military character was emphasised by the general provision that the constable of the castle was to be ex officio the mayor of the municipality. Chief among these was Aberconway, whose strategic importance Edward understood so fully that he forced the Cistercian monks to take up new quarters at Maenan, higher up the valley, in order that there might be room for the castle and town which were henceforth to guard the entrance to Snowdon. Equally important was the future capital of Gwynedd, Carnarvon, where on April 25, 1284, a son was born to Edward and Eleanor, who seventeen years later was to become the first English Prince of Wales. Elsewhere fortresses of Welsh origin were rebuilt and enlarged to complete the stone circuit round the mountains. Such were Criccieth, the key of Lleyn; Dolwyddelen, which dominated the upper Conway; and Harlech and Bere, the two strongholds that curbed the mountaineers of Merioneth. In the south the same policy was carried out. Alike in Gwynedd and in the vale of Towy, both in his castle building and in his town foundations, Edward was simply carrying on the traditions of earlier ages, and applying to his new lands those principles of government which, since the Norman Conquest, had become the tradition of the marcher lords. Even in his architectural schemes there was nothing novel in Edward's policy. Gilbert of Gloucester at Caerphilly, and Payne of Chaworth at Kidwelly, had already worked out the pattern of "concentric" defences that were to find their fullest expression in the new castles of the principality. In each of these strongholds an adequate garrison of highly trained and well-paid troops kept the Welsh in check.

The civil government of the Edwardian conquests was provided for by the statute of Wales, issued on Mid-Lent Sunday, 1284, at Rhuddlan, Edward's usual headquarters. It declared that the land of Wales, heretofore subject to the crown in feudal right, was entirely transferred to the king's dominion. To the whole of the annexed districts the English system of shire government was extended, though such local customs as appealed to Edward's sense of justice were suffered to be continued. Gwynedd and its appurtenances were divided into the three shires of Anglesey, Carnarvon, and Merioneth, and were collectively put under the justice of Snowdon, whose seat was to be at Carnarvon, where courts of chancery and exchequer for north Wales were set up. The shires of Cardigan and Carmarthen were re-organised so as to include the southern districts which had been subject to Llewelyn, or to the Welsh lords who had fallen with him. These were put under the justice of west Wales, whose chancery and exchequer were established at Carmarthen. It is significant that Edward prepared the way for making these districts into shires by persuading his brother Edmund, to whom they had been granted, to abandon his claims over them in return for ample compensation elsewhere. Without this step the new shires would only have been palatinates of the Glamorgan or Pembroke type, and the creation of such franchises was directly contrary to Edward's policy. It was different in the vale of Clwyd, where it would have been natural for Edward to have extended the shire system to the four cantreds. Military exigences had, however, already erected most of these lands into new marcher lordships, and Edward was perforce content with the union of some fragments of Rhos to the shire of Carnarvon, and with joining together Englefield and some adjoining districts in the new county of Flint. This arrangement secured the strongholds of Flint and Rhuddlan for the king. But the district was too small to make it worth while to set up a separate organisation for it, and Flintshire was put under the justice and courts of Chester, so that it became a dependency of the neighbouring palatinate.1

1 For the shires of Walessee my paper on The Welsh Shires in Y Cymmrodor, ix. (1888), 201-26.
The lordships of the march were not directly influenced by this legislation. They continued to hold their position as franchises until the reign of Henry VIII., and under Edward III. were declared by statute to be no part of the principality but directly subject to the English crown. Yet the removal of the pressure of a native principality profoundly affected these districts. The policy of definition made its mark even here. The liberties of each marcher were defined and circumscribed, and, while scrupulously respected, were incapable of further extension. The vague jurisdictions of the sheriffs of the border shires were cleared up, and if this process involved some limitation of the royal authority in districts like Clun and Oswestry, which virtually ceased to be parts of Shropshire, there was a compensating advantage in the increased clearness with which the border line was drawn and the royal authority consolidated. Gradually the marcher lordships passed by lapse into the royal hands, and even from the beginning there were regions, such as Montgomery and Builth, which knew no lord but the king. All this was, however, an indirect result of the Edwardian conquest. Strictly speaking it was no conquest of all Wales but merely of the principality, the ancient dominions of Llewelyn, to which most of the crown lands in Wales were joined.

Ecclesiastical settlement followed the political reorganisation. Peckham was as zealous as Edward in compelling the conquered to follow the law-abiding traditions of the king's ancient inheritance. He laboured strenuously for the rebuilding of churches, the preservation and extension of ecclesiastical property, the education of the clergy, and the extirpation of clerical matrimony and simony. Despite his unsympathetic attitude, he did good work for the Welsh Church by his manful resistance to all attempts of Edward and his subordinates to encroach upon her liberties. He quaintly thought it would promote the civilisation of Wales if the people were forced to "learn civility" by living in towns and sending their children to school in England. His assiduous visitation of the Welsh dioceses in 1284 did something to kindle zeal, and win the Welsh clergy from the idleness wherein, he believed, lay the root of all their shortcomings.

In the autumn of 1284 Edward went on an extended progress in Wales. He passed through the four cantreds into Gwynedd, and thence worked his way southwards through Cardigan and Carmarthen, ending his tour by visits to the marcher lords of the south. He crossed over from Glamorgan, where he had been entertained by Gilbert of Clare, to Bristol, where he held his Christmas court. Wales was to see no more of its new ruler for seven years. During that time the principality gave Edward little trouble, though the marchers, as will be seen, were a constant anxiety to him. In 1287, while Edward was in Gascony, the regent, Edmund of Cornwall, was called upon to deal with a revolt of Rhys, son of Meredith, the loyalist lord of the vale of Towy, who resented the authority of the justice of Carmarthen over his patrimony. His grievances were those of a marcher rather than those of a Welshman. Yet his rising in 1287 was formidable enough to require the raising of a great army for its suppression. The Welsh chieftain could not long hold out against the odds brought against him, and the confiscation of his lands swelled the district directly depending on the sheriff of Carmarthen. The support of the countryside enabled Rhys to evade his pursuers for nearly three years. At last he was captured, and with the execution of the last of the lords of Dynevor, the triumph of Edward became complete.

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