Just about every lake, rock and hill in Wales comes with its own legend attached. Many of the old stories go back for thousands of years, long before the idea of ‘Wales’ itself – back before the Normans, the Saxons, the Romans, deep into our Celtic past. Over the millennia, history and mythology have become impossible to separate – and that’s the way we like it.
Owain Glyndwr is still the most iconic Welsh prince, leading a spectacular rebellion that briefly united Wales in the early 15th century. Owain was probably born at Sycharth, near Oswestry, in the 1350s. He studied law in London, and fought for the English king before retiring to his Welsh estates to live out his life peacefully. However, he was drawn into land disputes with a neighbouring baron, which by 1400 had grown into full-scale rebellion. His supporters proclaimed him Prince of Wales, and in 1404 Owain held his first Welsh parliament at Machynlleth. It wasn’t to last. French support for the rebellion dried up, and Owain’s armies were squeezed by economic blockades and ruthless counterattacks. Owain Glyndwr was never betrayed or captured: he vanished in 1412, and is believed to have lived out his life in Herefordshire. Today, you can visit the Owain Glyndŵr Centre which is built on the site of the first Welsh parliament in Machynlleth.