Gruffydd ap Llywelyn

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Gruffydd ap Llywelyn (d. 1063), king of Gwynedd and Powys (1039–63). The son of Llywelyn ap Seisyll, king of Gwynedd, and Angharad, the king of Deheubarth's daughter, Gruffydd created a personal dominion over much of Wales in alliance with English and Scandinavians. He was later said to be slow and listless as a youth, but he grew into an ambitious warlord who won Gwynedd and Powys in battle (1039) and defeated the Mercians on the river Severn. His conquests in Deheubarth took longer (1040–55), during which he slew two of its kings. His alliance with Earl Ælfgar of Mercia, whose daughter he married, sustained a long struggle with Harold Godwineson (later Harold II), and Bishop Leofgar of Hereford also led an army against him (1056). To a Welsh chronicler he was ‘the head and shield and defender of the Britons’. Harold's attack on Gruffydd's court at Rhuddlan (1062) caused him to flee, and soon afterwards (5 August 1063) he was killed by his own men; his territorial dominion collapsed at the same time.

Ralph Alan Griffiths