Gwenllian of Wales (fl. 1137)

views updated

Gwenllian of Wales (fl. 1137)

Welsh princess and heroine. Flourished around 1137 in Gwynedd, Wales; daughter of Gruffydd ap Cynan, king of Gwynedd; married Gruffydd ap Rhys, king of Deheubarth; children: Maredudd and Rhys.

Gwenllian, the daughter of King Gruffydd ap Cynan, of Gwynedd, was a Welsh patriot and warrior. She married the Welsh warrior Gruffydd ap Rhys, king of Deheubarth. In the 1130s, England and Wales were involved in constant warfare, with King Henry III's English forces determined to gain the submission of the Welsh princes and make Wales part of their kingdom, and the Welsh people equally determined to create their own autonomous state. Gwenllian served as a link between her royal brothers and Gruffydd, leading to their alliance against England. Gwenllian was by no means a passive witness to this conflict; she led her own army into battle in southern Wales. Eventually, Gwenllian was killed on the battlefield. Her sons Maredudd and Rhys both became Welsh kings. Gwenllian's name lived on as a symbol of Welsh spirit and patriotism in legends for many years.

Laura York , Riverside, California

About this article

Gwenllian of Wales (fl. 1137)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article