Huw Llywelyn Rees


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18th March

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By: Huw Llywelyn Rees
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Monastery 6

On this day in 1536, Henry VIII commenced the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The  process which occurred between 1536 and 1541 and saw Henry disband the monasteries, convents, friaries and priories of England, Wales and Ireland.  The buildings were stripped and their lands sold off mainly to the landed gentry to increase their estates. 

Protestantism became the national religion, relics, colourful icons and pilgrimages were all banned and most Welsh Catholics seem to have reluctantly accepted these changes, however, those who resisted were fined and those who protested openly faced execution.  

  Dardanelles_map2        Dardanelles_WWI_collage

The Allies failed attack on the Dardanelles, which commenced on 18th March 1915 during World War I, was instrumental in David Lloyd George becoming Prime Minister. 

The Ottoman Empire was originally a state founded by Turkish tribes in 1299 and when it conquered Constantinople in 1453, it became an empire in control of a large area around the Mediterranean basin.  By 1590, the empire also included parts of Africa, Asia and Europe and lasted until 1922, when the monarchy in Turkey was abolished and the Republic of Turkey was established. 

The Dardanelles is an extremely narrow strait in the northwest Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara and is considered to be one of the most crowded and dangerous waterways in the world due to the tides caused by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.

During the First World War an Anglo-French operation against Turkey was intended to force the Dardanelles channel in order to occupy Constantinople and secure a sea route to Russia.  On 18th March, the main attack  force entered the channel but was forced to retreat due to the ferocity of the Ottoman defence.

Further advances were attempted icluding vone on April 25 1915, where Australian and New Zealand troops took heavy losses and is remembered as ANZAC Day.   In January 1916, the campaign was halted, with the Allied casualties 213,980 causing serious political repercussions and giving the impression that the Allies were militarily inept.  

Both Churchill and  Prime Minister Asquith were forced to resign from government, which resulted in David Lloyd George becoming Prime Minister in December 1916.


Born this day, 1966 in Maidenhead, of Welsh descent 

Peter Jones - entrepreneur and businessman, who has appeared on the BBC television show Dragons Den (he refers to himself as the Welsh Dragon) and on the American television show American Inventor.  


Llywelyn Bren surrendered at Ystradfellte on March 18th 1316, after leading a revolt against the Anglo-Norman persecution of the people of Glamorgan.

In 1267 Llywelyn's father, Gruffudd ap Rhys, Lord of Senghenydd was dispossessed of his lordship by the powerful Anglo-Norman lord Gilbert de Clare, who then began the construction of Caerphilly Castle, the following year.

The death of Gilbert de Clare's son and heir at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 left a power vacuum in the region and in 1315, Edward II appointed an administrator, who proceeded to persecute the people of Glamorgan and in response Llywelyn appealed to Edward.  When his appeal was rebuffed and he himself was charged with treason,   Llywelyn laid siege to Caerphilly Castle on 28th January 1316 and burnt the town.  The revolt then quickly spread across South Wales forcing Edward to launch a two-pronged attack on Llywelyn from Cardiff and Hereford.

Llywelyn, at first, retreated, but realising that his position was now hopeless, he surrendered at Ystradfellte on March 18th and was imprisoned in the Tower of London.  His lands were seized by the crown and Hugh Despenser, reputedly King Edward's lover,  was given the Lordship of Glamorgan,

Then in 1318, in order to seize his estates, Despenser had Llywelyn executed without trial at Cardiff Castle and had the parts of his body exhibited in various part of the county, before burial in the Grey Friars at Cardiff. 

Further dissatisfaction with  Despenser led to  a revolt by an alliance of local Welsh and Marcher Lords which eventually led to the overthrow and death of Edward II and the execution of Despenser.  The estates in Senghenydd were restored to Llywelyn Bren's sons — Gruffydd, John, Meurig, Roger, William and Llywelyn in 1327. 

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