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Llywelyn Bren

Llywelyn Bren (ap Gruffydd) is a somewhat forgotten hero of medieval Welsh history, and something of a Robin Hood figure in local folklore.

Llywelyn was a local Welsh nobleman from the House of Senghenydd, a great-grandson of Ifor Bach, and a descendent of Rhys ap Tewdwr (King of Deheubarth). His local land holdings, possibly based around the castle at Gelligaer (north of Caerphilly) had fallen under sway of the powerful Marcher Lordship of Glamorgan, making him a vassal of the local ruler.

By all accounts Llywelyn was on good terms, and had probably held office, under Gilbert de Clare, 8th Earl of Gloucester and Lord of Glamorgan. However, things turned sour when Gilbert was killed at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Without a recognised male heir, the administration of his lands passed to the crown.

The King, Edward II, appointed another local nobleman, Payne de Turberville of Coity (near Bridgend) as custos (sheriff) of Glamorgan. It seems that Payne was not fond of Welshmen and treated the local people, already suffering from sever famine, very badly.

Llywelyn felt compelled to denounce the new administration, was accused of sedition and summoned to appear before the King, under threat of hanging if found guilty. Not expecting a fair hearing, and afraid for his life, Llewelyn secretly fled for home and launched a revolt by laying siege to Caerphilly castle on 28 January 1316.

History tells us that events didn’t turn out too well for Llywelyn Bren but, if you’d like to hear the full story of this exciting chapter in Welsh history, make sure you book on to Black Tower Tales. This immersive family attraction that brings history to life in the very place where it happened, and in a way you won’t soon forget!

Find out more by looking at our Guided Tours, or enquire at the Castle’s ticket office for further infromation.



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