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Cymdeithas y Dywysoges Gwenllian

The Princess Gwenllian Society

I gofio am y Dywysoges Gwenllian (1282 -1337), unig blentyn Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, (ein Llyw Olaf) Tywysog Cymru, ag Eleanor de Montfort. Carcharwyd hi mewn lleiandy yn Sempringham (Swydd Lincoln) am 54 o flynyddoedd, dan orchymyn y Brenin Edward I, hyn i sicrhau diddymu Ilinach Tywysogion Cymru.

To the memory of Princess Gwenllian (1282 - 1337), only child of Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (Llywelyn the Last) and Eleanor de Montfort. She was held prisoner in a nunnery at Sempringham (Lincs.) for 54 years, on the orders of King Edward I, to ensure the abolition of the line of the Welsh Princes.

Er fod yna ddefodau sifairi a chanu cerddi yn y Brydain Ganol oesol yr oedd yn gyfaod o greulondeb dwys a chaledi mawr, Yr oedd Lloegr benben a Chymru a'r rhamiau Celtaidd eraill o Brydain. Erbyn 1282, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (ein Llyw Olaf) oedd Tywysog Cymru, yr oedd o hen linach Tywysogion Gwynedd. Yn 1287 priododd Llywelyn ag Eleanor de Montfort mewn seremoni ar risiau allanol Eglwys Gadeiriol Caerwrangon mewn briodas frenhinol. 'Roedd Brenin Alec sander yr Alban yno, a Brenin Lloegr, y Norman Edward I, a roddodd anrhegion cymwys i ddathlu'r amgylchiad. Ond nid oedd parhad i'r cyfeillgarwch yma.

 

Ym Mehefin 1282, yng Ngarth Celyn, Aber ger Bangor (mae'r lle'n dal i fod) ganwyd merch i Eleanor a'r Tywysog Liywelyn Y Dywysoges Gwenllian. Tristwch fu marw Eleanor o achosion rhoi genedigaeth. Fel unig blentyn Llywelyn yr oedd i Gwenllian Ie pwysig iawn yn olyniaeth teulu Tywysogion Cymru, oherwydd hyn yr oedd Edward I yn ei gweld yn fygythiad i Goron Lloegr. Pan oedd Gwenllian yn 6 mis oed trefnodd Edward i Lywelyn gael ei lofruddio ger Llanfair-ym-Muallt, ac yna gorchmynnodd y Brenin i'r ferch fach amddifad gael ei chipio oddiwrth ei theulu. Er mwyn sicrhau na chai Gwenllian eni plant fe'i hanfonwyd i Briordy o Urdd Gilbert ar dir Abaty Sempringham ynghanol corsdiroedd Swydd Lincoln, taith hirfaith o Gymru.

 

Bu'n byw yno am 54 o flynyddoedd yn lleian; yn ddi-urddas, di-wrogaeth hyd ei marw yn 1337. A oedd hi'n gwybod pwy oedd hi? Pwy ŵyr? Yr oedd Edward yn benderfynol y dylid anghofio am Gwenllian, i ni, fuodd hi'n ddim mwy nag is-nodyn bach ar waelod tudalen mewn llyfrau hanes. 'Does fawr ddim o'i hanes ar gael ar wahn i ddyddiad ac amser ei marw.

 

Ond yn 1991 ysgrifennodd Byron Rogers y newyddiadurwr a'r hanesydd erthygl am Wenllian yn y 'Guardian'. Darllenodd Capten Richard Turner, Caemarfon, hen longwr bywiog a phenderfynol yr erthygl, a theimlodd i'r byw fod y rhan yma o'n hanes wedi ei gadw oddi wrthym. Aeth y Capten ati i godi cofeb fach i Wenllian ar dir ger safle'r Priordy ger Abaty Sempringham. Mae mur gogleddol a chorff eglwys Sant Andreas heddiw yn rhan o'r hen Abaty. Yn 1996 adeg marw Capten Turner, gweithredwyd ar y syniad o sefydlu Cymdeithas y Dywysoges Gwenllian; gyda'r nd o ofalu am y Gofeb ac i gadw'r cofamdani yn fyw.

 

Erbyn 2001 'roedd y gofeb yn dadfeilio a chodwyd cofeb newydd iddi ar yr un safle, dam hardd o Wenithfaen gadam Gwynedd. Mae hi i'w gweld ychydig i'r de o Billingborough ar y In gul sy'n arwain o'r B1177 at Eglwys Sant Andreas sy'n dal i ddwyn yr enw 'Abaty Sempringham' ar lafar gwlad. Gwaith leuan Rees y cain-lythrennwr byd-enwog yw'r Gofeb newydd, fe'i codwyd mewn ymateb i haelioni pobi o bob rhan o'r byd; pobi sydd yn teimlo colli hanes ein 'Tywysoges Goll' a fu mor agos cael ei llwyr angofio.

 

Os am fwy o wybodaeth ac i gefnogi nod y Gymdeithas am isafwm o 5.00 y flwyddyn cysylltwch 'r Ysg. Mrs Mallt Anderson, 158, Lake Road East, Pare y Rhath, Caerdydd, CF23 5NQ. Ffn: 029 20753695 Ffacs: 029 20754669 neu E-bost: donald@andz.freeserve.co.uk

Although there was chivalry and poetry in medieval Britain, times were cruel and hard. England was at loggerheads with Wales and the other Celtic parts of this island. By 1282 the undoubted Prince of Wales, whose royal lineage went back many generations, was Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (Llywelyn the Last). He had married Eleanor de Montfort on the steps of Worcester Cathedral at a glittering ceremony in 1278. Many 'Royals' were there, including the Scottish King Alexander and England's Norman monarch, Edward I, who gave the couple gifts to suit the occasion. But King Edward's show of friendship was not to last.

 

In June 1282, at Garth Celyn, Aber, near Bangor in North Wales, (a house inhabited to this day) a daughter was bom to Llywelyn and Eleanor and named Gwenllian. She was their only child and, sadly, Eleanor died 'in childbirth'. Princess Gwenllian held the key to the Welsh Royal succession and was perceived as a threat to the English Crown. When she was six months old Edward arranged for her father, Llywelyn, to be murdered, near Builth Wells, and subsequently had the orphaned Princess abducted. To ensure that she should remain childless he spirited her away to a lonely Priory attached to the Gilbertine Abbey at Sempringham, lost in the flat vastness of the Lincolnshire Fens - an endless journey away from the mountains of her native Wales.

 

There she remained for 54 years as a nun, deprived of all her royal status, until she died in 1337. Was she ever fully aware other origins? No one really knows, for Edward was determined that she should be forgotten and she became a mere footnote in the history books. Virtually no records survive of her existence save for the noting of her death.

 

But, following an article in 'The Guardian' by journalist Byron Rogers in 1991, an old seadog, Capt. Richard Turner of Caernarfon - a genial rough diamond became aggrieved that this piece of our history was denied to us. He determined that Gwenllian should be remembered and arranged for a small memorial cairn to be erected in a 'comer of a foreign field that is forever' Wales, at Sempringham near the site of the Priory and Abbey much of which have long since disappeared. The Princess Gwenllian Society was formed on Capt. Turner's death in 1996 to ensure that the memorial be cared for and to provide a continuing memory of the 'lost Princess'.

 

By the year 2001 the original cairn was disintegrating and the Society has replaced it with the fine Welsh granite boulder which stands on the site today - half way along a narrow lane that leads from the B1177 just south of Billingborough to the isolated tiny Abbey Church of St. Andrew, still incorporating some of the structure of the original building. The memorial is the work of the internationally acclaimed calligrapher and artist in stone, leuan Rees, and has been erected in response to the great generosity of men and women from all over the world who have been touched by this little cameo of history which was so nearly lost in the archives of time.

 

If you wish further information and to support the Society's aims with a minimum annual subscription of 5.00 please contact the Secretary, Mrs Mallt Anderson, 158, Lake Road East, Roath Park, Cardiff, CF23 5NQ. Tel: 029 20753695 Fax: 029 20754669 or E-mail: donald@andz.freeserve.co.uk

Cyfrinach y Garreg

The Secret in the Stone

Pan godwyd y garreg o'i gwely yn y gloddfa, a'i rhoi i sefyll ar ei thraed, daeth yr arnlinell ryfeddol o leian yn plygu ei phen i'r amlwg.

When the boulder was raised from its quarry bed and put to stand for the first time, the silhouette of a nun, head bowed, amazingly revealed itself.

Memorial Stone

 
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