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Ruthin Castle - A Short History

1282 to 1507

In 1282, war flared again as a result of the English barons seizing Welsh land, and at Easter 1282, the previously mentioned Dafydd ap Gruffydd of Ruthin Castle, attacked Hawarden Castle, starting the final conflict with the English monarchy that led to the loss of Welsh independence. That year Dafydd succeeded his brother Llyweln as Prince of Wales, the very last independent ruler of Wales but Edward I enlisted the services of Reginald de Grey, a noted military leader, to quell the rebellion.

De Grey was a descendant of the Norman knight, Anchetil de Greye who accompanied William the Conqueror during the conquest of England. Some suggest that Reginald de Grey had previously been tasked with raising the ‘finest army in the land’ to deal with the followers of the outlaw Robin Hood.

In a strange twist of fate, Dafydd ap Gruffydd was captured and found guilty of High Treason by Edward I who had him executed in the cruellest possible fashion including being hung, drawn & quartered, with the quarters dispatched to the four corners of the country and his head ‘spiked atop the Tower of London’. For his services and loyalty to the King, Reginald de Grey was granted the Cantref of Dyffryn Clwyd (Cantref is a mediaeval Welsh land division, particularly important in the administration of Welsh Law), which included its stronghold of Ruthin Castle.

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