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- Boudicca was an awesome Celt, but she was not the only Celtic warrior princess to rise up against oppressors of her people.2 days ago
Gwenllian** ferch Gruffydd, c. 1097 – 1136, a true Celtic warrior princess, was the youngest daughter of Gruffudd ap Cynan (1055–1137), Prince of Gwynedd and Angharad ferch Owain, and a member of the princely Aberffraw family of Gwynedd. She was also the great-great-great-granddaughter of Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig, High King of Ireland.
More importantly, she is the only Welsh woman to lead an army into battle, and may have been (according to some scholars) the inspiration for Eowyn of Rohan, in J.R.R Tolkein's "The Lord of the Rings."
Historical writings about Gwenllian indicate she was a smart, striking beauty, who fell in love with Gruffydd ap Rhys, the Prince of Deheubarth (a south western region of Wales) and eloped with him.
She and her husband settled in at his family seat of Dinefwr in Deheubarth. Deheubarth and the other Welsh princes were in constant combat against the Norman invasion spreading through south Wales. As the conflict between the Normans and the Welsh continued, Gwenllian's family (she had 3 children) were often on the move, with Gwenllian frequently joining her husband in retaliatory strikes , aka "lightning raids" against Norman-held positions in Deheubarth.
In 1136, while her husband was in Gwynedd seeking an alliance with her father against the Normans, the Lord of Kidwelly, Maurice de Londres and other Normans led raids against Deheubarth's Welsh troops. Gwenllian quickly assembled an army for the defense of her people. Knowing she was outnumbered,she set up camp near Kidwelly Castle, hoping to use guerrilla attacks to fend off the Normans until her husband could send aid.
Unfortunately, a fellow Welshman sold her out to the Normans--Gwenllian's army was caught by surprise by a much larger force. She and her fellow Welshmen fought bravely, but could not overcome the superior numbers of the Normans. She was captured in battle and beheaded by the Normans. In the battle, her son Morgan, age 20, was also slain and another son, Maelgwyn, age 17, captured and executed.
Word quickly spread of Gwenllian's brave actions, inspiring others to rise up against the Normans in the Great Revolt of 1136. During that revolt and for centuries after her death, Welshmen cried out 'Ddail Achos Gwenllian'--"Revenge for Gwenllian" when engaging in battle.
The field where the battle is believed to have taken place, close to Kidwelly Castle and north of the town, is known as Maes Gwenllian (Welsh: Field of Gwenllian). A spring in the field is also named after her, supposedly welling up on the spot where she died.
**Gwenllian is ROUGHLY pronounced GWEN-he-ahn
image via Pinterest
- Sheesh--you'd think I was some kind of evil drama queen when it comes to my coffee...3 days ago
at all. ;-)
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Wild Eyed Southern Celt is the creation of Pye O’Malley, a small town Georgia girl who grew up with red dirt on her hands and Celtic dreams in her soul. read more>
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