An Independent Wales
Glyndwr and his forces began by attacking the towns of the Welsh Marches. Ruthin, Denbigh, Rhuddlan, Flint, Hawarden, Oswestry, and Welshpool all fell to his troops. As news of his victories spread, more and more of the Welsh flocked to his cause. Welsh scholars in Oxford abandoned their books and Welsh laborers laid down their tools. Crucially, Welsh soldiers and archers who had until recently been fighting for the English joined the rebellion. The English reacted furiously. Parliament passed retaliatory legislation, and Henry IV himself led a vast army into Wales that left a trail of destruction.
Faced with this vast army and blocked from the rebels, many of the Welsh sued for peace. Starved of recruits, it looked like Glyndwr’s rebellion was over before it began. Then in Spring 1401, the Welsh cause made a comeback. Glyndwr’s cousins, the Tudors launched a guerrilla attack on the English. They took Conway castle- and so allowed Glyndwr’s army access to the center and south of Wales. This event swelled the rebel’s ranks with the general populace and Welsh nobles alike. All were inflamed with a desire for freedom- and inspired by Glyndwr.
As the army swelled, so too did it’s victories. At the battle of Brynglas near the village of Pilleth, Glyndwr’s forces defeated the English and captured Edmund Mortimer, the Earl of the March. However, Mortimer was also the great-nephew of Richard II and had been his uncle’s heir before Bolingbroke took the throne. Amazingly, Glyndwr managed to win Mortimer over to his cause and married him to his daughter, Catrin. Glyndwr now had the potential heir to the English throne in his camp. Spurred on by success, Glyndwr began to reach out to the French and to the Scots to secure alliances against their shared enemy.
In 1404, with the English firmly on the run, Glyndwr called a parliament at Machynlleth in Powys. Glyndwr used a document from the time of Hywel Dda, a tenth-century king of Wales as the basis for its organization. Four men from every division of land in Wales were summoned to attend. The parliament was the first time the Welsh had had any say over their government since 1282. The parliament began by ratifying treaties of recognition with France and Scotland. Then it declared Glyndwr the de facto King of Wales when it recognized him as Prince of Wales.
A second parliament was convened at Harlech the following year was even more dramatic. For it was here that Owain signed the Tripart Indenture, with his son in law Mortimer and Thomas Percy, the Earl of Northumberland. The Indenture was an agreement to divide England and Wales into three parts. Mortimer was to take the south and west of England, Percy, the Midlands and the north while Glyndwr would control Wales and the Marches. At the same time, Glyndwr began to plan for an Independent Welsh church and two new universities- one in South Wales and one in the north.
Sadly, however, none of these grand plans were to reach fruition.