At the beginning of August, 1165AD, Henry II invaded Powys to wage a campaign against the Cymry who had united under the leadership of Owain Gwynedd. Despite the time of year, the rain trapped the English army in the woods and uplands near the Ceiriog Valley. Enraged by the failure of his effort to defeat Owain’s army, Henry II mutilated twenty-two of his hostages, blinding Cadwallon and Cynwrig, Owain’s sons and Maredudd Ddall, the son of Arglwydd Rhys. 2
A small band of the Cymry were selected to attack Henry’s large army. Ferociously, the Cymry threw themselves into the center of the English army, striking mercilessly at the heart of Henry’s invaders.
The battle remains one of the most famous in the defense of Cymru against the English kings. The bravery and skill of the greatly outnumbered Cymry against Henry’s army was remembered and admired for years afterward. English soldiers used the word, ‘Crogen’ as a euphemism for ‘courage.’
In September, I am offering a short course in the history of Cymru for Hearts Through History, Seiri Cenedl Cymru / Nation Builders of Wales, concentrating on the individuals who contributed to this small country and its many significant contributions to world history.
1 Alamanc y Teulu, Gwasg Carreg Gwlach, 1990
2 The Journey Through Wales/The Description of Wales, Gerallt Cymro, 1978