Gwenllian - The Facts


Gwenllian was born around 12 June 1282 at Garth Celyn, Abergwyngregyn near Bangor. The exact date of her birth is uncertain. Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last ruling Price of Wales before the English conquest, was her father, and her mother was Eleanor de Montfort, daughter of the French baron Simon de Montfort who played a key role in English politics at that time. Eleanor died shortly after Gwenllian was born.

Llywelyn was killed on 11 December 1282. The circumstances of his death are disputed (see link below). About six months later the whole of Wales came under Norman control. Little Gwenllian was Llywelyn's heir, and Edward I, King of England, did not want her to have children who might rebel against him, so at the age of a little over one she was taken to the convent at Sempringham in Lincolnshire. She spent the rest of her life there. She died there on 7 June 1337 aged 54.


Historical Background
- More about Gwenllian and the age in which she lived:

Our Princess Gwenllian is sometimes confused with Gwenllian the daughter of Gruffudd ap Cynan (Gwenllian of Cydweli). This Gwenllian was a brave warrior, who fought against the Normans and was killed more than a century before the birth of our Princess.

Gwenllian's cousin Gwladus, the daughter of Dafydd ap Gruffudd, is buried at Sixhills in Lincolnshire, but we do not know the exact location of Gwenllian's own grave. On a recent visit to Sixhills, Dr John Davies was told that an attack of the plague prevented the Sempringham nuns from rescuing her body when the convent was dissolved by Henry VIII.

A booklet on sale at Plas Mawr, Conwy, North Wales claims that Llywelyn ap Gruffudd had a daughter called Katherine. This appears to be wholely unhistorical. Have you come across any evidence on this subject?

How did Llywelyn die? According to the official story, he died in a skirmish with King Edward's soldiers. There are some, however, who believe there was a plot against him. See the books by Anthony Edwards on our Books page.