Biography of Owen Glendower

Owen Glendower

Owen Glendower was a fifteenth century Welsh patriot and leader.

When and Where was he Born?

Born Owain ab Gruffydd, 1359, Merioneth, Montgomeryshire, Wales.

Family Background:

Owen Glendower claimed descent from Llywelyn ap Gruffyd. His father was Gruffydd Vychan and his mother Helen.


Studied law in Westminster, London.

Timeline of Owen Glendower:

1386: Glendower became Squire to the Earl of Arundel and was a witness for Grosvenor in the Scrope and Grosvenor lawsuit. Afterwards Glendower served in the military forces of Henry Bolingbroke (Later King Henry the Fourth).

1400: Owen Glendower charged with treason by Reginald Grey for failing to appear for the Scottish Expedition even though he had never summoned him. His estates were declared forfeit.

1401: Quarreled with Lord Grey over the rights to some lands and unable to seek redress from the English King Henry the Fourth he decided to fight the other English Lords of the Welsh Marches borderlands. He proclaimed himself the Prince of Wales and Head of the Welsh Rebellion.

1402: Glendower captured Lord Grey and later Sir Edmund Mortimer at Pilleth, near Brynglas in Radnorshire, Wales. Both where to marry one of Glendower’s daughters and joined in a coalition with Henry Percy (Known as Hotspur) against the English. In the Autumn the English were driven back from Wales for the third time.

1403: This coalition was ended When Glendower was defeated near Carmarthen on the 12th July and Percy crushed at the Battle of Shrewsbury ten days later by King Henry the Fourth. Undaunted Glendower held a Welsh parliament at Machynleth.

1404: By now Glendower had gained overall control of Wales. He entered into a treaty with King Charles the Sixth of France. He also took control of the castles at Harlech and Aberystwyth.

1405: The King of France sent a small army to assist him. (March) However after several defeats at the hands of Prince Henry (later the English King Henry V) such as at Grosmont. His powers were curbed. (May) Glendower’s son Griffith and his Chancellor were captured by the English.

1408: Henry captured Owen Glendower’s strongholds of Aberystwyth after a long siege. The plots of the Earl of Northumberland and the French armies had come to nothing and this was effectively the end of the armed struggle.

1409: Harlech was also recaptured and Glendower’s wife, daughter and grandchildren were taken prisoner.

1409-1412: However undeterred, Glendower was still active and kept on fighting against the English but the force of the rebellion by then was effectively crushed.

1415: Gilbert Talbot held a treaty with Owen Glendower and his supporters to grant them a pardon from the English King.

When and Where did he Die?

1416: (Welsh legend says of old age in Monington amongst his sons-in-law. English legend says he died of starvation in the mountains).

Age at Death:



To an unknown Welsh girl.

Site of Grave:

Monington, Herefordshire.

Places of Interest:




Aberystwyth and Harlech.