Powys Wenwynwyn

Powys Wenwynwyn

Powys Wenwynwyn or Powys Cyfeiliog was the southern portion of the former princely state of Powys which split following the death of Madog ap Maredudd of Powys in 1160. The realm had been split, with the northern portion (Maelor) going to Gruffydd Maelor I and becoming known, eventually, as Powys Fadog and the southern portion (Cyfeiliog) going to Owain Cyfeiliog and becoming known, eventually, as Powys Wenwynwyn after Prince Gwenwynwyn ab Owain, its second ruler.

Powys Wenwynwyn and Gwynedd became bitter rivals in the years that followed with the former frequently allying itself with England to further its own aims in weakening the latter.

Princes of Powys Wenwynwyn

* 1160–1195 Owain Cyfeiliog married dau. of Owain Gwynedd and abdicated in 1195.
* 1195–1216 Gwenwynwyn ab Owain

Gwenwynwyn seized Arwystli in 1197 when he was aligned with England. Following the marriage of Llywelyn the Great and Joan of England in 1208, warfare broke out once more between Gwenwynwyn and Llywelyn. In 1212 Gwenwynwyn's ancient royal seat at Mathrafal was destroyed and he was evicted from his territories. He changed allegiances again and was restored to his realm in 1215 making a new capital at Welshpool. In 1216 he was defeated in battle with the forces of Llywelyn and fled to England, where he died shortly afterwards. He was succeeded by his son.

* 1216–1286 Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn

Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn was forced to submit to Llywelyn Fawr in 1216. Like his father he repeatedly switched allegiances and was invested with the lordships of Arwystli, Cyfeiliog, Mawddwy, Caereinion, Y Tair Swydd and Upper Mochnant by Henry III of England in 1241.

Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn married Hawise daughter of John Le Strange of Salop in 1241. He transferred his allegiance back to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1263 before returning to England's protection again after 1277 where he plotted the murder of Prince Llywelyn with his rival's own brother, Dafydd ap Gruffydd. His forces commanded by his son Owen mobilised during the Welsh War of 1282–1283 with those of John Le Strange and Hugh le Despenser and it was their soldiers who ambushed and killed the last native Prince of Wales near Builth on that fateful day in 1282.

End of the Principality

Owain ap Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn alias "de la Pole" (ie. of Welshpool); allegedly surrendered the principality of Powys to Edward I at the Parliament of Shrewsbury in 1283 (his rival in Powys Fadog had already been deposed for fighting on the wrong side). In return for surrendering the principality he received it again from the king as a free Baron of England "sub nomine et tenura liberi Baronagii Angliæ, resignando Domino Regi heredibus suis et Coronæ Angliæ nomen et circulum principatus." The date should be accepted with reserve because Owen did not succeed his father in possession till 1286 - it is possible that Owen was acting on his father's behalf who was by now an old man. It is from about this time that the former princely family began using the Normanized surname "de la Pole" in favour of Welsh patronymics. The name derives from Pool (now called Welshpool), his principal town.

The Lordship of Powys

After the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284 all of the other old princely titles in Wales also ceased to exist and henceforth, with the exception of the Kingdom of Scotland after 1344, the English Crown did not recognise the title of "prince" or "king" in any native dynasty other than their own. However, the principality continued as a marcher lordship.

The ruling family of Powys did survive in the children and future descendants of Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, henceforth known as the "de la Pole" family who dwelt at the newly built Powis Castle. In 1293 Owen died and was succeeded by his son Griffith de la Pole who died without heirs in 1309. Following this the lordship was inherited (according to English law) by his sister Hawise "Gadarn" (often simply referred to as "The Lady of Powis") and on her death in 1353 the lordship passed to her descendants, the "de Cherleton" family and thenceforth out of native Welsh hands, rather than to the heirs male (according to Welsh law).

Marcher Lords of Powys

* Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn also known as Gruffydd de la Pole (d.1286 or 1287)
* Owen de la Pole, his son (d.1293) (see also: William de la Pole (of Mawddwy))
* Gruffydd de la Pole, his son (d. 1309)
* Hawise Gadarn, Lady of Powys married John Charleton, 1st Baron Cherleton, (1268--1353)
* John Charleton, 2nd Baron Cherleton (died 1360)
* John Charleton, 3rd Baron Cherleton (1334--13 Jul 1374)
* John Charleton, 4th Baron Cherleton (1362-1401)
* Edward Charleton, 5th Baron Cherleton K.G. (1371-1421), his brother.

His heiresses were:
*Joan de Cherleton (c.1400-1425) married John Grey or Gray of Heaton in Norham, Northumberland, created Count of *Tancarville (1384-1421), whose son was
**Henry Grey of Welshpool (1418-1450), 2nd Count of Tancarville married Antigone of Gloucester, an illegitimate daughter of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. Her paternal grandparents were Henry IV of England and Mary de Bohun.
**Their son was called Richard Grey, Baron Grey of Powis, [Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families By Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham (2005), 181-4. ]
**John Grey, 2nd Baron Grey of Powis (1460–1497) was summoned to Parliament on 15 November 1482, shortly after attaining his majority.
**John Grey, 3rd Baron Grey of Powis (1485–1504)
**Edward Grey, 4th Baron Grey of Powis (died 1551)
*Joyce wife of John Tiptoft, 1st Baron Tiptoft.

Beyond the Marcher Lordship

The Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 abolished the feudal rights of the lord of Powis and saw the territory of the "Lordship of Powis" almost entirely incorporated within the new county of Montgomeryshire. However the lordship continued to exist as a great landed estate.
*Edward Grey, 4th Baron Grey of Powis (died 1551).
* Edward Grey, his illegitimate son, sold the lordship (no longer a marcher lordship) in 1587. [ [http://yba.llgc.org.uk/en/s-POWY-GRE-1400.html Dictionary of Welsh Biography, Powis, Lords of Grey] ]
* Sir Edward Herbert.
*Sir William Herbert was created Baron Powis in 1629. The estate then descended to successive holders of the titles, Baron Powis, Marquess of Powis, and Earl of Powis (q.v.). [ [http://yba.llgc.org.uk/en/s-POWY-HER-1674.html?query=Powis&field=content Dictionary of Welsh Biography, Powis, Earls of Herbert] ]

Progeny of the Princely House

Owen de la Pole (ap Gruffydd) had several brothers, whom he enfeoffed as his feudal tenants with lordships within his own lordship. However none of them left issue except William de la Pole (of Mawddwy), who had the lordship of Mawddwy, comprising that parish and most of Mallwyd. There descendants of the ancient princes of Powys were lords for several generations, until the lordship passed to an heiress and then was divided between four coheiresses.

Certain genealogical sources have claimed (though apparently without reliable sources) that Owen de la Pole had other sons, including an alleged William de la Pole (rather than the historical Gruffydd de la Pole), who succeeded to the lordship on Owen's death in 1293. They have sought to identify him with the father of William de la Pole (of Hull), [ [http://www.welshicons.org.uk/html/powys_wenwynwyn.php Welsh icons] ] [ [http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/DeLaPOLE.htm Tudor Place] ] who may possibly also have been called William, but whose name is not certainly known. [GEC, "Complete Peerage", s.v Suffolk, Earl. ] William de la Pole and his brother Richard were successful merchants from Hull, who rose to become royal financiers under Edward II and Edward III, William's son Michael being created 1st Earl of Suffolk.



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