Biography of Owen Glendower

Drawing of 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 becomes Squire to the Earl of Arundel and is a witness for Grosvenor in the Scrope and Grosvenor lawsuit. Afterwards Glendower serves in the military forces of Henry Bolingbroke (Later King Henry the Fourth).

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

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

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

1403: This coalition is ended when Glendower is 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 holds a Welsh parliament at Machynleth.

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

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

1408: Henry captures 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 is also recaptured and Glendower’s wife, daughter and grandchildren are taken prisoner.

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

1415: Gilbert Talbot holds 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 and others that say it was due to bubonic plague.

Age at Death:



To an unknown Welsh girl.

Site of Grave:

Monnington on Wye, Herefordshire. (Theoretical).

Places of Interest:




Aberystwyth and Harlech.