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A national hero, or a divisive force for Wales? Which is the more appropriate description of Owain Glyndwr?

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Introduction

344885 2599 A national hero, or a divisive force for Wales? Which is the more appropriate description of Owain Glyndwr? In 1400, after more than a century of English rule in Wales, one man gathered an army of men and led a revolt against the English crown, in what was to be the last ever Welsh rebellion. The man's name was Owain Glyndwr, who, in a recent poll presenting the greatest welsh heroes, was respectably voted second out of a hundred, despite the fact that his campaign failed to succeed.1 Understandably, however, it is not as straightforward as to jump to the same conclusion that Glyndwr was looked upon as a hero in the early fifteenth century as the campaign lasted for nine years, all of which led to physical, economic and emotional destruction throughout the whole of Wales, not to mention dire consequences towards Wales, conflicted on by the English crown in the aftermath of rebellion. Nevertheless, once one understands the background of the saga of the Owain Glyndwr rebellion, the way the Welsh lived hundreds of years before the rebellion and how it changed after the English conquered the nation under the rule of Edward I, it is of reasonable notion to jump to the conclusion that Owain Glyndwr was just the hero the Welsh people needed, had been waiting for even. Although Glyndwr did not overly succeed in his battle he still achieved major successes in aspects such as military victories and acknowledgment by foreign powers. If succeeding in standing up for his nation, Owain Glyndwr, can most certainly be named a hero. This essay hopes to burrow deep into the minds of the welsh population of GlynDwr's age and establish that the mentality of the welsh was one of self importance and pride. ...read more.

Middle

10If this is the case, then medieval Wales fit's a description of one of these cultures splendidly. Observations mentioned by Gerald of Wales leads one to discover that the Welsh were a nation that held a strong sense of national pride, so in that respect the first group fits the bill. If being conquered was not enough, there are many reasons as to why the people of Wales fitted into the category of Henken's second group; a nation that believed to be being oppressed by another group. It was not just the fact that Laws and taxes were being applied differently depending on you nationality in Wales. There were many different ways of life being introduced to Wales that contradicted welsh origin, thus oppressing their underlying society. Pre Anglo French conquest, Gerald of Wales describes the welsh as a nation that "Pay no attention to commerce, shipping or industry...do not live deep within towns, villages or castles, but leads a solitary existence, deep in the woods."11 The most vital conclusion one can conclude from this 6. statement is that in the 12th century welsh society was almost certainly less stratified than neighbouring England, and that the Welsh were a Nation dedicated to its freedom. If you compare Gerald's description of the welsh to a century later after Edward I Conquest you will begin to notice a completely different Wales. One that consisted of settler towns, that encouraged English immigration and one that contained a number of deeply intimidating, huge, well built castles surrounded by boroughs to be used by English tradesmen.12 All in all the Wales Glyndwr had been born into was a society that consisted of Henken's theory; of a culture that was in need of a national redeemer. ...read more.

Conclusion

certainly wanted.22 Wales was a nation that fought for pride and stood scorned by England, a nation that fought for power. So when Owain Glyndwr, came to fight cause for Wales, the nation took to the idea, like it was one that expected, and indeed it was. The theory of a national redeemer seems no more apparent than in the tale of Owain Glyndwr and with his disappearance, after being defeated by the English, the myth tradition lived on with theories that he never died, and one day when Wales is in great need he will return. 23 1 Unknown, 100 Welsh Heroes, <www.100welshheroes.com/en/biography/owainglyndwr>, [Accessed 10th March 2007] 2 Glanmore Williams, Owain Glyndwr, (University of Wales Press, 1993)1-2. 3 Elissa R Henken, National redeemer, (Cornell University Press, 1996),24. 4 Williams, Owain Glyndwr, 2. 5 Henken, National redeemer,25. 6 R.R Davies, The revolution of Owain Glyndwr, (Oxford University Press, 1995)66. 7 Dai Smith, Gareth Elwyn Jones, The people of Wales(Gomer Press,2000)35. 8 Gerald of Wales, The Journey through Wales/The description of Wales, (Penguin classics, reprint edition 1978)223. 9 Unknown, Owain Glyndwr and lord Grey, <http://www.owain-glyndwr-soc.org.uk/history.htm>[accessed 10th March, 2007] 10 Henken, National redeemer,23. 11 Gerald of Wales, The Journey through Wales, 223&251. 12 Williams, Owain Glyndwr, 3. 13 Williams, Owain Glyndwr, 13 14 Dai Smith, The people of Wales,36 15 Ian Skidmore, Owain Glyndwr, (Christopher Davies publishers22,1986)22. 16 Franz Alexander, <http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/cgi/reprint/8/2/110.pdf>, [Accessed 10th March 2007] 17 Williams, Owain Glyndwr,7 18 R.R Davies, The revolution of Owain Glyndwr,64. 19 Dai Smith, The people of Wales,41 20 Glanmore Williams, Renewal and Reformation in Wales,(Oxford University Press)4 21 Williams, Renewal and Reformation in Wales,5 22 Williams, Renewal and Reformation in Wales,5 23 Elissa R Henken, National redeemer, 69 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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