Last Welsh Prince of Wales Hanged, Drawn and Quartered
The history of England’s subjugation of Wales in the 13th century is highly complex, involving frequent changes of allegiance and alliance, betrayals, and disputes. It is also bloody, such violence reaching its height with the execution in 1283 of Dafydd ap Gruffydd.
Dafydd’s career gave little hope of any prolonged loyalty to any side: he thrice opposed his brother Llywelyn, in 1255, 1263, and 1274. At one time a hostage held by Henry III , he fought for the latter, as he did for Edward I , against Llywelyn. When yet again the brothers had been reconciled Llywelyn was killed, lured to his death by the English on December 11 1282. Dafydd became Prince of Wales. His tenure would be short.
Edward’s forces hunted Dafydd down: he escaped a siege at Castell y Bere; fled to the mountains of Snowdonia ; and was captured hiding in a desolate bog. Spirited to Rhuddlan , then Chester , and finally Shrewsbury , Dafydd was condemned to death by a Parliament specially summoned there by Edward. Found guilty of high treason (the first such verdict) Dafydd’s death was designed to demonstrate England’s power, and the fate of its enemies: tied to a horse’s tail he was paraded through Shrewsbury; hanged until near death; then cut down, stomach sliced open and his innards pulled out and burned before his eyes. Even in death his humiliation continued, Dafydd’s body cut into four.
The last Welsh Prince of Wales was the first person of note in Britain to suffer that protracted method of execution. Our history is full of others who met the same grisly end.
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