Category Archives: 15th Century

Llanrwst – Davydd ap Siencyn – Carreg y Gwalch – 1461

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Below is an excerpt from Archaeologia Cambrensis Volume 6 published in 1860 – The Journal of the Cambrian Archaeological Association.  It mentions the freebooter (outlaw) Davydd ap Siencyn and his hideout at the Llanrwst cave Carregygwalch – recently an ancient spear was unearthed at Carregygwalch with the story featuring in the North Wales Weekly News.


Llanrwst – Davydd ap Siencyn – Carreg y Gwalch – 1461

Owen Glyndwr’s wars, which continued during the first fifteen years of the fifteenth century, had so desolated the country that deer grazed in Llanrwst church-yard, and the marketplace was green with grass. Before the ravaged country could be restored, the wars of York and Lancaster occurred, when an outlaw, called Davydd ap Siencyn, had full sway over Nan Conwy. Several fruitless expeditions were directed against the stronghold of this freebooter, at Carregygwalch. “All the whole country,” says Sir J. Wynne, “was then but a forest, waste of inhabitants, and all overgrown with woods.”

What these locusts had left, the canker-worm at Yspytty Ifan was fast consuming, when Meredith ap Ifan removed his residence to the neighbourhood, saying he “should find elbow room in that vast country among the bondmen.” He picked out a hundred and forty of the strongest and bravest yeoman he could find, and armed them as bowmen, with sword, dagger, steel cap and armolet coat. Of these he placed one or two in each tenement of his, at convenient distances, for mutual assistance in case of alarm. They soon provided themselves with “chasing-slaves,” probably scouts on foot, to watch and harass their adversaries. By the aid of this active tenantry, thus judiciously posted, and devoted to his interests, Meredydd ap Ifan soon subdued the sanctuary of robbers at Yspytty, and gave rest to the troubled land.

It appears that there were above a hundred of these banditti at that place, well horsed and appointed. They had friends and accomplices to harbour them and their plunder in several of the adjoining counties. It is probable that, upon the expulsion of these villains, they, or some of them, fixed themselves at Dinas Mowddwy, which the depredations of a gang of robbers, called “gwylliaid cochion,” soon afterwards made as notorious as Yspytty had been. Their last act of violence was the murder of Baron Owen, when going to the assizes in 1555, which caused their speedy extirpation.

Excerpt from Archaeologia Cambrensis Volume 6 published in 1860 – The Journal of the Cambrian Archaeological Association.

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Further Reading and Useful Links

Ancient Spear found in Llanrwst – North Wales Weekly News Story

The Old Bridge at Mostar

The Old Bridge at Mostar

The Old Bridge at MostarMostar has long been celebrated for its beautiful bridge, “It is of a single arch, 95 feet 3 inches in span, and, when the Narenta is low, about 70 feet from the water, or, to the top of the parapet, 76 feet.  The river, at the season I visited it, being unusually high, it was only 44.9 from the water’s surface; but even then the beauty of its arch and the lightness of its proportions were not diminished, and I have seen none that can surpass it.  The depth of the water was said to be about 34 feet, and in summer not more than 10.  The breadth of the arch is only 14.2, the road over it 13.2, and, with the two parapets, 14.10.  

On its north side is a raised conduit of stone, looking like a footway, which conveys water over the bridge to the eastern part of the city, and is supplied from a source in the undulating valley to the west.  The bridge rises about 10 feet in the centre; but this does not appear to have been so originally; and, though the lightness of its appearance may have been increased by lowering the two ends, the convenience of the bridge is much diminished, as it abuts on the east against a rising ground.  On each bank is a tower, built to command it; and the passage may be closed by the gate of the guard-house at the west end, in case of need.  Tradition pretends that the towers are on Roman substructions, and that the one on the eastern side is the most ancient.  The building of the bridge is attributed to Trajan, or, according to some, to Adrian; and report speaks of an inscription that once existed upon it with the name of one of those emperors.  The Turks attribute its erection to Suleyman the Magnificent; but the Visir, in answer to my question respecting its date, said that, though they claim it as a work of that sultan, the truth is it was there long before his time, and was probably built by the Pagans.’

excerpt by Sir J Gardner Wilkinson from The Gentlemans Magazine Volume 31 1849

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The Old Bridge on Unesco World Heritage Site

Stari Most on Archnet

The Old Bridge – Stari Most – Location on Google Maps

The Biography of Henry VIII (1491-1547)

Henry VIII
Henry VIII

The Biography of Henry VIII (1491-1547) King of England
From The Dictionary of National Biography – Volume 9, 1908

Henry VIIIHENRY VIII (1491-1547), king of  England, was the second son of  Henry VII, by his queen, Elizabeth of York q. v. He was born at Greenwich on 28 June 1491. When little more than three years of age he was, 12 Sept. 1494, appointed lieutenant of Ireland, with Poynings as his deputy. On 31 Oct. following his father dubbed him knight of the Bath, and next day created him Duke of York. In 1495 he was admitted into the order of the Garter, and installed on 17 May. In 1501 a marriage was proposed between him and Eleanor, daughter of the Archduke Philip, but the project was soon dropped. After the death of his brother Arthur (1486-1502) q. v. he was created Prince of Wales on 18 Feb. 1503, and soon after contracted to his brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon q. v.  A dispensation was granted for the match by Julius II on 26 Dec. 1503, and was sent by Ferdinand of Spain to England in 1504. But on 27 June 1505, being then close upon the age of puberty, he protested that the contract made during his minority was against his mind, and that he would not ratify it (Collier, Exl Hist., ed. 1862, ix. 66). This, however, was merely a device of his father to keep himself free from any engagement to Ferdinand until the latter should send to England Catherine’s stipulated dowry, only part of which had been paid see under  Henry VII. Owing to the dispute on this subject,  Henry VII to the close of his reign would not allow his son to proceed to the completion of this marriage, and young Henry himself was not impatient for it. Rumours were even spread that his father intended to marry him to Margaret, sister of Francis, count d’Angouleme, afterwards Francis I, a match first suggested by Cardinal d’Amboise. In 1506 Philip, king of Castile, who was driven by storms to land in England on his way from the Netherlands to Spain, conferred upon young Henry the order of the Toison d’Or.

From his earliest boyhood he was carefully educated. Erasmus, who visited the royal household when he was nine (or more probably only eight) years old, was struck even then with a sort of royal precocity of intellect which he combined with a highly polished manner. Boy as he was, he wrote during dinner a note to the great scholar requesting to be favoured with some production of his pen, which Erasmus gave him three days after in the form of a Latin poem (Prefatory epistle to Botxheim, in Catalogo Erasmi Lucubrationum, Basle, 1523). Nor was he less devoted to bodily than to mental exercises. At seventeen he was daily to be seen tilting at the ring with friendly rivals. At twenty-nine, when he had been some years king, and was the handsomest prince in Europe, he could tire out eight or ten horses in the course of a day’s hunting, mounting each successively after one was exhausted. His tennis playing also excited the admiration of the Venetian ambassador Giustinian. Added to these gifts was a great delight in music, and a devout observance of religious ordinances.

On 22 April 1509 he was called to the throne by his father’s death, and on 11 June following he married Catherine of Arragon. They were both crowned together at Westminster on the 24th. His father had been on ill terms with his father-in-law for some time before his death. But now many things were changed. A general pardon had been proclaimed at his accession; many debtors of the crown were released from their engagements; Empson and Dudley were thrown into the Tower, and were next year beheaded. Young Henry was at peace with all the world, and the first two years of his reign went merrily in pageants and festivities.