Huw Llywelyn Rees


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9th October

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By: Huw Llywelyn Rees
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On October 9th 1401 Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan, was gruesomely executed for thwarting the efforts of King Henry IV’s forces to capture Owain Glyndwr.

Owain Glyndwr had rebelled against English rule and declared himself Prince of Wales in 1400.  Then in the summer of 1401, on the slopes of Pumlumon, Glyndwr had crushed Henry IV’s army.  In reprisal, Henry sent a force into Wales to find Glyndwr and they tracked him down to Llandovery.  Henry, accompanied by his son (the future Henry V) followed with a huge army and on arriving in Llandovery, looked for local help in locating Glyndwr.  Local landowner, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan volunteered to help, however, the 60-year-old  Llywelyn, who had two sons in Glyndwr’s army, had no intetions of betraying Glyndwr.  For weeks, he led the king and his forces on a wild goose chase through the uplands of Deheubarth, which allowed Glyndwr and his men time to make their escape.

The king’s patience became taxed and he began to see that Llywelyn was not taking them to their man.  Angrily, Henry ordered that Llywelyn be dragged through the town of Llandovery and there, be executed in the town square, in front of the castle gates.  Firstly Llywelyn's stomach was cut out and cooked in front of him, then he was hanged, drawn and quartered, with his remains sent to other Welsh towns to deter them from opposing the king.  However, Glyndwr remained uncaptured and was never betrayed.  


The Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, was opened October 9th 1888.  Halfway up, there is a stone which was donated by the people of Wales.  Its inscription reads; Fy Iaith, Fy Ngwlad, Fy Nghenedl. WALES. Cymry am byth. (My Language, My Country, My People. WALES. The Welsh Forever)

The Washington Monument was built to commemorate George Washington, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the first American president, who once declared "good Welshman make good Americans".

Construction of the monument, made of marble, granite and bluestone gneiss, began in 1848 and was completed in 1884.  At the time, it became the world's tallest structure and it is still, both the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk.  A unique feature of the Washington Monument is the 193 memorial stones that adorn the east and west interior walls of the monument. The Washington National Monument Society invited countries, states, cities and patriotic societies to contribute Memorial Stones. to pay tribute to the character and achievements of George Washington. 


The first ever recorded sheepdog trial in the U.K. was Mr. R. J. Lloyd-Price's event at Garth Coch, about a mile from Bala on 9th of October, 1873.

Although the majority of competitors were Welsh, the trial was won by Scotsman James (Jimmy) Thomson with his dog, Tweed.  Jimmy had moved to Wales as a tenant on Mr. Lloyd-Price's estate in 1872.   

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Construction of the first major railway in Wales, the Main Line: Cardiff - Merthyr Tydfil by the Taff Vale Railway was started in 1836, with the stretch from Cardiff to Navigation House (later named Abercynon) officially opened on 9th October 1840. The stretch from Abercynon to Merthyr was later opened on 12th April 1841.

Both the coal and iron industries grew significantly during the industrial revolution and the availability of coal, iron ore and limestone at the heads of the South Wales valleys led to a number of ironworks being founded there between 1750 and 1800, including the Cyfarthfa, Plymouth and Dowlais works in the Merthyr Tydfil area.

Canals were built along several of the valleys, to transport the iron for shipping and the canal companies were authorised to build tramroads from the canal to connect with nearby industries. However congestion on the canal increased as traffic boomed, and the need for a quicker railway route emerged.

In 1835 Anthony Hill, owner of the Plymouth Iron Works, asked his friend Isambard Kingdom Brunel, to estimate the cost of building a railway from Merthyr to Cardiff and to Bute Docks. Brunel's estimate was £190,649. Local industrialists including John Josiah Guest, requested Parliamentary permission to form a company to build the railway. Subsequently, Royal Assent was given to The Taff Vale Railway Company's Act, allowing for the creation of the Taff Vale Railway Company and a railway from Merthyr to the Bute West Dock at Cardiff. Company profits were capped at 7% and the speed of the trains on the line was limited to 12 mph, with stiff penalties for any speeding.   


On 9th October 1217, Isabel Marshal (born at Pembroke Castle and daughter of William the Marshal, the "best knight that ever lived.") married Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, on her 17th birthday. They were to become the great grandparents of King Robert the Bruce of Scotland.

After Gilbert's death, Isabel married Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall (the son of King John of England and brother of King Henry III), she died of liver failure, contracted while in childbirth, on 17 January 1240 and when dying, asked to be buried next to her first husband at Tewkesbury Abbey. However, Richard had her interred at Beaulieu Abbey but did send her heart to Tewkesbury in a silver casket.

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