Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Owain Glyndwr Pub review

This review was written for the Landworker magazine of Unite 

Owain Glyndwr Pub and Restaurant, Llanddona, Beaumaris, Anglesey

Photo is copyright Paul Box 

Owain Glyndwr was the last native Welshman to hold the title of the Prince of Wales after he rose against the occupying English at the start of the fifteenth century.
And whilst six centuries later most Welsh people have abandoned any idea of independence he remains a national hero. In 2002 he was the highest Welsh entry in a BBC poll in which the UK public considered the greatest British people in history. Glyndwr came 23rd in the 100 Greatest Britons.

Directly descended from the princes of Powys and Cyffyliog, Glyndwr was a distinguished soldier of the English King before returning home. This counted for little when he appealed, unsuccessfully, to King Henry IV, after his neighbour, Baron Grey de Ruthyn seized control of some common land. Further injustice was heaped on him when he lost a legal case after he was accused of being a traitor in London court circles.

With his life under threat, Glyndwr raised his banner on 16 September 1400 and was proclaimed Prince of Wales by a small band of followers. Henry IV despatched troops to North Wales and their brutal actions, plus the enactment of Penal Laws against Wales, pushed many Welshmen into joining Glyndwr in open revolt. They included Welsh archers in Henry’s army. By 1403 Glyndwr, backed by local Lords, controlled most of Wales.

The following year, Glyndwr called his first Parliament and moved to draw up international treaties with France and Spain. He was crowned and sought alliances with the Earl of Northumberland and Sir Edmund Mortimer to divide up England and Wales.

However in 1406, English forces landed in Anglesey as a bridgehead to defeat Glyndwr’s smaller army. Isolated castles were relieved. Aberystwyth and Harlech fell in 1408/09. Glyndwr’s family was taken prisoner – all were to die in the Tower of London by 1415 - and he was forced to again engage in guerrilla warfare by taking to the woods.

In 1412, Glyndwr led a successful raiding party in an ambush in Brecon. This was the last time he was seen alive by his enemies. Having never been betrayed by his own people he is believed to have died four years later. By which time the new king, Henry V, was adopting a more conciliatory attitude to the Welsh including offering pardons to those involved with Glyndwr.

For hundreds of years Glyndwr lived on in folk memory and during the First World War, the Prime Minister and Welshman David Lloyd-George unveiled a statue to him in Cardiff City Hall. A more recent statue was installed in 2007 in Corwen, Denbighshire. There is also a hotel named after him in the town.

Thanks to Paul Box for this photograph. 

The Owain Glyndwr on Anglesey is a very friendly family run pub in Llanddona. This small village of around 800 residents is known for its magnificent beach that forms part of the beautiful Red Wharf Bay from which the panoramic views are stunning.

The pub, which serves real ale and highly affordable food, is well used by a number of agricultural workers who back when it opened in the 1980s helped choose the pub name.

Owain Glyndwr statue 
Owain Glyndwr Pub and Restaurant, Llanddona, Beaumaris, Anglesey LL58 8UF 01248 810710 

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