llanrwst, conwy, north wales

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History of Llanrwst

The War of the Roses - The Earl of Pembroke 1468

The town of Llanrwst suffered greatly on two occasions. The first was during the wars of Owain Glyndwr. The second time was during the Wars of the Roses in the reign of Edward IV in 1461.

At around this time Llanrwst and the Abbey at Aberconway declare themselves for the Lancastrian cause. Dafydd ap Siencyn, the fabled Robin Hood character of Welsh storytelling, became an active Lancastrian captain. Dressed along with his followers in green, as an early form of camouflage led to his Robin Hood association. A native of the Conwy Valley and kinsmen of the Wynn family, Siencyn used a rocky outcrop in the Gwydir forest as his base, the cave where he lived known locally as Carreg Y Gwalch.

Dafydd ap Siencyn led a band of men to Denbigh, the main Yorkist stronghold in North Wales, and burned the entire garrison. The king was said to be furious and gave the order to William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke to "lay waste to the whole Conwy Valley".

It was at this time that the old Llanrwst Church was burnt down. This was in 1468. The ruined church was rebuilt two years later.

The following appears in the 'History of the Gwydir Family' -

'In Harlech and Denbigh, every house
Was basely set on fire;
But poor Nant Conwy suffered more,
For there the flames burnt higher
'Twas in the year of our Lord
Fourteen hundred, sixty eight
That these unhappy towns of Wales
Met with such wretched fate.'

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