1100–70), king of Gwynedd (1132–70). Noted by contemporaries for his wisdom, prowess, and prudence, his creation of a large feudal principality in Gwynedd
was an inspiration to his successors, skilfully propagated by his court poets. The second son of Gruffydd ap Cynan
(d. 1137), king of Gwynedd, he and his brother Cadwallon helped their father to expand Gwynedd's power (1120s). As king (Cadwallon died in 1132), he strengthened his hold on church and state
in Gwynedd, exploited the anarchy in England
to advance south (he was at the Welsh victory near Cardigan, 1136), and he took his authority eastwards to the Dee (by 1165) despite hostility from the earl of Chester and Powys's
rulers. His only major (and temporary) reverse was at Henry II
's hands (1157), after which Owain wisely acknowledged English suzerainty. By his death (28 November 1170) he was the pre-eminent ruler in Wales
; he was buried in Bangor cathedral.
Ralph Alan Griffiths
Owain Gwynedd (ō´wīn gwĬn´ĕŧħ), d. 1170, prince of North Wales (1137–70). During the troubled reign of King Stephen of England, Owain and other Welsh princes were able to reoccupy much territory earlier wrested from them by the Anglo-Normans. Henry II of England invaded North Wales in 1157 and, though his expedition was a military failure, compelled Owain to do homage. In 1165, however, Owain inspired a general Welsh revolt, and the English army that attempted to quell it was forced to turn back because of bad weather and short supplies. Owain continued to expand his possessions and enjoyed independence until his death.