Gwynedd, kingdom of
Gwynedd, kingdom of.
The name was derived from the district called in Latin, Venedotia, and the kingdom was based upon Snowdonia and Anglesey, extending at its height to include territory to the east of the Conwy. It was one of the immediate post-Roman kingdoms of the 6th cent., ruled by Maelgwn (Maelgwn Gwynedd), said to be a descendant of Cunedda
, who, about ad 440, moved, or was moved, with the Votadini
to meet a threat from the Irish. From the outset Gwynedd was one of the most significant of the Welsh kingdoms, with claims to overlordship, and pursuing an expansionary policy. Under rulers such as Rhodri
Mawr (d. 878), Gruffydd
ap Llywelyn (d. 1063), Owain
Gwynedd (d. 1170), Llywelyn
the Great (d. 1240), and Llywelyn
ap Gruffydd (d. 1282), much of Wales
was brought under its hegemony, and titles such as ‘king of the Britons’ and ‘prince of Wales’ were employed. Under Gwynedd there was certainly a move towards statehood in Wales. Its downfall came from overambition on limited resources. Gwynedd took advantage of English divisions during the reign of Henry III to reassert itself and the treaty of Montgomery
in 1267 gave it substantial territorial gains. But after the campaigns of Edward I in 1277 and 1282–3 it became part of the principality under the control of the English crown and was eliminated as a political entity, being divided by the statute of Rhuddlan
in 1284 into the counties of Anglesey, Caernarfonshire, and Merionethshire.
A county of north-west Wales created by the Local Government Act of 1972 and extant in its initial form from 1974 to 1996, when it was modified by the removal of Anglesey
(Ynys Môn), which became a separate unitary authority. It was based upon the post-Roman and medieval kingdom of Gwynedd which, after conquest by Edward I, had been divided by the statute of Rhuddlan
in 1284 into the counties of Anglesey, Caernarfonshire, and Merionethshire. The name was revived in 1972 when new counties were created. Initially the proposal was to include all the counties of north Wales
in a county to be called Gwynedd, a name acceptable because of its ‘historical associations as well as … shortness and pronounceability’. But a Consultative Document in 1971 accepted a twofold division, defining Gwynedd as Anglesey, Caernarfonshire, and Merioneth, though there were minor changes by which the Conwy valley was included in Gwynedd and the Edeirnion rural district moved to Clwyd.
In 1996 further changes occurred with the establishment of unitary authorities. Ynys Môn was separated and reconstituted as the county of Anglesey and a new authority, Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire, proposed, again with some minor additions from the former Glyndŵr district. That new authority, however, opted to retain the name of Gwynedd.
County in nw
Wales, on the Irish Sea
coast; the administrative centre is Caernarvon
. It is the site of a medieval principality. Gwynedd is rugged and mountainous, and includes most of the Snowdonia National Park. To the n
of the mountains lie the Lleyn Peninsula and the island of Anglesey. Industries: slate quarrying, hydroelectric power
, tourism. Area: 3866sq km (1493sq mi). Pop. (2000) 116,800.
Gwynedd (gwĬn´ĕŧħ, gwŭn´–), county, 984 sq mi (2,548 sq km), NW Wales. Established as a county in 1974 through the union of Anglesey, Caernarvonshire, and parts of Denbighshire and Merionethshire, Gwynedd was reduced in 1996 by the separation of Anglesey and the loss of its northeastern section to Conwy. Caernarvon, the administrative center, is where the Prince of Wales is invested; Bangor is an educational center with a university. Much of the county, excepting the Lleyn Peninsula, lies within Snowdonia National Park.
a former principality of North Wales. Powerful in the mid 13th century under Llewelyn, it was finally subjugated by the English forces of Edward I
in 1282, following Llewelyn's death.