Flatterers are the worst type of enemy. — Tacitus

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

The Conquest of Wales

Edward's great ambition was to rule over the whole island, so he soon began to plan how he could get possession of Wales and of Scotland. Now, as you know, Wales is a mountainous country in the western part of Great Britain. Hither the ancient Britons had fled when driven out of the southeast by the Saxons, and here they still spoke the old Briton language, sang about Briton heroes, such as Arthur, and proudly kept their old liberty.

Llewellyn, one of the Welsh princes, had taken part in the barons' rebellion under Simon de Montfort, and had received the latter's permission to marry his daughter as soon as her education was finished. The young lady was then at school in France, but as soon as she was old enough to marry, she prepared to join her gallant lover.

Edward, knowing that she was coming over from France, had her captured and brought to his court, where he said that he would detain her until Llewellyn came and did homage to him as his lord. Llewellyn proudly refused, and a war ensued; but, for the sake of his betrothed, Llewellyn finally complied with Edward's conditions.

The Welsh were too proud, however, not to resent being under the English, and before very long they rebelled, under the leadership of Llewellyn and his brother David. The Welsh had been greatly encouraged by the heroic songs of their bards, and by an old prophecy, said to have been made by Merlin, in which it was foretold that a Welsh prince would be crowned king in London when all the money was round.

The Welsh seized the first good opportunity to make a raid into England, captured the Castle of Hawarden, and killed all the English in it. Edward collected an army and marched into Wales to avenge this attack, but he lost many men in crossing Menai Strait, and could not get at the Welsh, who had taken refuge upon Mount Snowdon, whence they came down for sudden raids.

It was owing to a traitor that Llewellyn's brave little troop was finally conquered. Llewellyn's head was cut off and sent to London, where, to make fun of the Welsh prophecy, it was set up on the Tower and crowned with ivy or willow, or, some say, with a silver circle to make it look like a coin.

Six months later David also was taken prisoner. He underwent terrible torture before he was hanged. Then, as if this brutal treatment were not enough, his insides were taken out, and his body cut into four pieces, which were sent to the four most important cities to be exposed there. It was thus that by King Edward's order David was hanged, drawn, and quartered.

Edward I and Edward II

The Welsh were too exhausted to resist any longer, so the principal lords promised to be faithful to Edward, if he would give them as governor a prince born in their own land. Edward readily promised this; and when he added that the prince whom he intended to set over them did not know a word of French or English, they set up a shout of joy and clamoured to see him. Edward then stepped into the next room; but he soon came back, carefully carrying his infant son Edward, who had been born in the Castle of Carnarvon a few days before, and who was thus a native Welshman.

Of course the babe could not speak a word of French or English, but neither could he speak any Welsh. He was gladly welcomed, however, as "Prince of Wales." His elder brother soon died, so he became heir to the English crown, and ever since then the eldest son of an English monarch has borne the title of "Prince of Wales."

Some writers say that Edward ordered the massacre of all the Welsh bards, because he feared their exciting the people to new rebellion; but others deny this, and certainly some of these musicians must have escaped, for many of their songs have come down to us. The Welsh became loyal subjects, and it was a hundred years or more before they again rose up to fight against the English.


Front Matter

Early Times
The Druids
The Britons
Caesar in Britain
Queen Boadicea
The Great Walls
The Great Irish Saint
The Anglo-Saxons
Brave King Arthur
The Laws of the Saxons
The Story of St Augustine
Three Great Men
The Danish Pirates
King Alfred and the Cakes
Alfred conquers the Danes
A King's Narrow Escape
The King and the Outlaw
The Monasteries
An Unlucky Couple
St Dunstan
King Canute and the Waves
A Saxon Nobleman
Lady Godiva's Ride
The Battle of Hastings
The Conquest
Lords and Vassals
Death of William
The Brothers' Quarrels
Arms and Armour
The "White Ship"
Matilda's Narrow Escapes
Story of Fair Rosamond
Thomas a Becket
Murder of Thomas a Becket
Richard's Adventures
Richard and the Saracens
The Faithful Minstrel
Death of Richard
The Murder of Arthur
The Great Charter
The Rule of Henry III
A Race
Persecution of the Jews
The Conquest of Wales
A Quarrel with France
The Coronation Stone
The Insolent Favourite
Bruce and the Spider
Death of Edward II
The Murderers punished
The Battle of Crecy
The Siege of Calais
The Age of Chivalry
The Battle of Poitiers
The Peasants' Revolt
Richard's Presence of Mind
A Tiny Queen
Henry's Troubles
Madcap Harry
A Glorious Reign
The Maid of Orleans
The War of the Roses
The Queen and the Brigand
The Triumph of the Yorks
The Princes in the Tower
Richard's Punishment
Two Pretenders
A Grasping King
Field of the Cloth of Gold
The New Opinions
Death of Wolsey
Henry's Wives
The King and the Painter
A Boy King
Lady Jane Grey
The Death of Cranmer
A Clever Queen
Elizabeth's Lovers
Mary, Queen of Scots
Captivity of Mary Stuart
Wreck of the Spanish Armada
The Elizabethan Age
Death of Elizabeth
A Scotch King
The Gunpowder Plot
Sir Walter Raleigh
King and Parliament
Cavaliers and Roundheads
The Royal Oak
The Commonwealth
The Restoration
Plague and Fire
The Merry Monarch
James driven out of England
A Terrible Massacre
William's Wars
The Duke of Marlborough
The Taking of Gibraltar
The South Sea Bubble
Bonny Prince Charlie
Black Hole of Calcutta
Loss of the Colonies
The Battle of the Nile
Nelson's Last Signal
The Battle of Waterloo
First Gentleman of Europe
Childhood of Queen Victoria
The Queen's Marriage
Wars in Victoria's Reign
The Jubilee