Mayhem, Murder and Marriage Full programme
This programme is correct at 16 February but there may be some small late changes
9.15 Registration and Refreshments
10.00 Welcome Introduction10.05 Dr Euryn Roberts Competition and conquest: native Welsh society and the early Norman inroads
10.50 Dr David Stephenson ‘The Land between Wye and Severn: a Mortimer obsession’
12.15 Dr Rhun Emlyn Conflict and coexistence: Llywelyn ab Iorwerth and the Mortimers.
13.00 Questions and discussion: Panel of all three speakers
13.15 Lunch Lunch
14.25 Philip Hume Cousins at War: Roger Mortimer and Llywelyn ap Gruffudd
14.40 Dr Sophie Ambler Simon de Montfort, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd and the War in the Marches, 1263-5
15.25 Professor Gruffydd Aled Williams A “notorious association”: Owain Glyndŵr and Sir Edmund Mortimer
16.10 Questions and discussion: Panel of all five speakers
Titles, Synopsis and Speaker Biographies
(This section is currently incomplete and is being added to as information becomes available.)
Dr Euryn Rhys Roberts
Competition and conquest: native Welsh society and the early Norman inroads
The advent of the Normans arguably marks more of a break in the history of Wales than
any other event between the collapse of the Roman imperial system and the profound
changes set in train at the end of the eighteenth century by large-scale industrialization.
Unlike the recently unified kingdom of England, Wales at the turn of the second millennium
was a land of many kings, many dynasties and many kingdoms; as it would continue to
be, to a greater or lesser extent, up until the Edwardian conquest of 1282-3. Power hinged
on military prowess rather than on jurisdictional authority, and was exercised, in practical
terms at least, through gift-giving, imposing tribute, plundering and alliances. As an arena
for competing ambitions and as a land of opportunity, Wales in the eleventh century
offered men, both native and foreign, the prospect of power and prestige.
Dr Euryn Rhys Roberts is a Lecturer in Medieval and Welsh History at Bangor
University. He specializes in the history of Wales during the Middle Ages and is also
interested in how the medieval Welsh past has been used and commemorated in the
modern period. He teaches on various aspects of medieval British and European history.
Dr David Stephenson
‘The Land between Wye and Severn: a Mortimer obsession’
For some two hundred years, from the late eleventh century onwards, the Mortimer family
struggled to assert mastery over much of the land between Wye and Severn. – which
consists of modern Radnorshire and parts of Brecknock. This brought them into collision
with the native dynasty, descendants of the shadowy figure of Elystan Glodrydd, as well
as with those Welsh princes who aspired to control over a polity of Wales. The eventual
triumph of the Mortimers was the backdrop for the control of much of Wales which they
achieved in the early decades of the fourteenth century.
Dr David Stephenson is a former Senior Research Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford,
and Kathleen Hughes Memorial Lecturer at Hughes Hall, Cambridge, Dr Stephenson is
now Honorary Research Fellow in Welsh History at Bangor University. He is the author of
many books, including Political Power in Medieval Gwynedd (2014), Medieval Powys:
Kingdom, Principality and Lordships 1132-1293 (2016), and most recently, Medieval
Wales c.1050-1332 (2019).
Dr Rhun Emlyn
Conflict and coexistence: Llywelyn ab Iorwerth and the Mortimers’
Dr Rhun Emlyn is a lecturer in medieval history at the Department of History and Welsh
History at Aberystwyth University. His research interests include the history of universities
and education, clerical careers, travel, and the connections that existed between Wales
and continental Europe. He has published on the migration of Welsh clergy to England
and the way that university education provided Welsh students with opportunities to
advance their careers. He is currently completing a monograph on Wales’ relationship with
the medieval universities which considers the Welsh students who studied in England and
on the continent and the effect their education had on their careers.
Cousins at War: Roger Mortimer and Llywelyn ap Gruffudd
First cousins, both grandchildren of Llywelyn Fawr (the Great). One a Marcher baron; the
other Prince of Gwynedd, Prince of Wales. This short talk explores the conflicts between
the two men which shaped the events that led to the end of native rule in Wales and the
death of Llywelyn in an ambush in which Roger’s sons had a leading role.
Philip Hume is the secretary of the Mortimer History Society and author of ‘On the Trail of
the Mortimers’ (published by Logaston Press). Philip is a co-author of the book on the
Ludlow Castle Heraldic Roll and has written a history of the Marcher Lordships in the
central and northern Welsh Marches, due to be published in September 2020. Having
gained a degree in history at University College, London, Philip had a successful career in
senior management of corporate policy and governance in local government.
Dr Sophie Ambler
Simon de Montfort, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd and the War in the Marches,1263-5.
This talk considers the revolutionary period 1263-5, when Simon de Montfort led his forces
against King Henry III of England, seizing power in order to establish a council to
govern England with the help of parliament. In particular, it examines the Montfortian
campaigns in the Marches that saw an alliance with Llewelyn ap Gruffudd and would lead
to the Battle of Evesham in 1265, in which the Montfortian army, including its Welsh
contingent, was as good as wiped out.
Dr Sophie Thérèse Ambler is Deputy Director of the Centre for War and Diplomacy and
Lecturer in Later Medieval British and European History at Lancaster University, and a
Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She is the author of The Song of Simon de
Montfort: England’s First Revolutionary and the Death of Chivalry (Picador/OUP, 2019)
and Bishops in the Political Community of England, 1213-1272 (OUP, 2017).
Professor Gruffydd Aled Williams
‘A “notorious association”: Owain Glyndŵr and Sir Edmund Mortimer’
The chronicler Thomas Walsingham characterized the relationship between Owain
Glyndŵr and Sir Edmund Mortimer consequent on the former’s victory at the battle of Bryn
Glas (Pilleth) in 1402 as a ‘notorious association’ (infamis conuersacio) The lecture will
investigate the dynamics of the association, its grounding in late fourteenth-century Welsh
perceptions of the Mortimers, and its practical consequences during the Glyndŵr revolt,
particularly as displayed in the Tripartite Indenture of 1405. Apart from the battle of Bryn
Glas, specific topics visited will include the attitudes of Welsh genealogists to the marriage
of Mortimer to Catherine, Glyndŵr’s daughter, the possible interaction between Mortimer
and the chronicler Adam Usk, the siege of Harlech (1408-9) where Mortimer perished, and
the fate in captivity of Mortimer’s wife Catherine and her children.
Gruffydd Aled Williams is Professor Emeritus of Welsh at Aberystwyth University.
Though primarily a specialist in Welsh medieval poetry, much of his work since his
retirement in 2008 has concentrated on Owain Glyndŵr, an interest inspired by his
upbringing in Glyndyfrdwy, Merioneth, the area which gave Glyndŵr his name. In 2010 he
delivered the British Academy’s Sir John Rhŷs Memorial Lecture on medieval poetry
associated with Glyndŵr. He contributed to Owain Glyndŵr: A Casebook (2013) and his
Dyddiau Olaf Owain Glyndŵr |(2015) won Literature Wales’s Welsh language ‘Creative
non-fiction’ prize, being later published in English as The Last Days of Owain Glyndŵr
(2017). He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and President of the Merioneth
Historical and Record Society