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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 17:58 GMT
Children recall medieval prince
Image of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd
Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was the last native Prince of Wales

A Welsh prince murdered at the hands of the English 721 years ago was remembered by a group of schoolchildren on Thursday.

More than 70 youngsters from Ysgol Gynradd Llanfairpwll in Anglesey ensured one of Wales' most important historical figures - Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the last native Prince of Wales - was not forgotten on an official day of commemoration.

They visited one of his former homes at Pen y Bryn, Aber, near Bangor, and Dolbadarn Castle, outside Llanberis, one of the fortresses which was under his control.

One of the children who found the day particularly poignant was Rhys Owen Hughes, ten, who said he could trace his family tree back to Llywelyn.

"My father has told me that we are part of his family and I think it's very important to commemorate him because he was such a great leader."

Rhys Owen Hughes
Rhys Owen Hughes says he is one of Llywelyn's descendants

Ben Gruffudd Hughes, ten, said: "He taught us in Wales that it is right to stand up for yourself even if someone is bigger than you."

Lauren Dixon, also ten, said: "I find it is both a happy and a sad day.

"I'm happy because it means a lot to me and we can remember Llywelyn. It is sad because of what he went through and for all the things that happened to Wales since he died."

The death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd is still remembered as a national disaster by many who believe it was the final nail in the coffin of Welsh independence.

He was ambushed and killed at Cilmeri, near Builth Wells on 11 December, 1282.


His head was then put on a spike outside the Tower of London, leaving the way clear for Edward I to extend English dominance over Wales.

Commenting on the death of Llywelyn, Pope Damasus declared that "all Wales has been cast to the ground."

Llywelyn's death will be marked in mid Wales on December 13 and 14, starting with the laying of wreaths at his memorial in Cilmeri on Saturday.

Dolbadarn Castle
The children visited Dolbadarn - one of Llywelyn's castles

In July, a 40 foot square mural depicting his last days was unveiled in Builth Wells.

In the winter of 1282, after defeating the English army at Menai Straits, Llywelyn came to Builth to raise support amongst the local chieftains.

He camped with his army near Cilmeri when he was summoned to go alone to Aberedw, supposedly to meet the Chieftains of Breconshire to join forces with them against the English invaders.

Llywelyn and his retainer Grono ap Fychan, and a bodyguard of 18 men, crossed the River Wye at Llechrhyd and leaving the soldiers to guard the ford, Llywelyn and Grono went on alone to Aberedw before he was killed.

Mass to remember lost princess
04 Jun 01  |  Wales
Unveiling of ancient prince mural
16 Jul 03  |  Mid Wales
Tribute to lost Welsh princess
12 Jun 00  |  Wales


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