Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

The Conquest of Wales

Edward's great ambition was to rule over the whole island, so he soon began to plan how he could get possession of Wales and of Scotland. Now, as you know, Wales is a mountainous country in the western part of Great Britain. Hither the ancient Britons had fled when driven out of the southeast by the Saxons, and here they still spoke the old Briton language, sang about Briton heroes, such as Arthur, and proudly kept their old liberty.

Llewellyn, one of the Welsh princes, had taken part in the barons' rebellion under Simon de Montfort, and had received the latter's permission to marry his daughter as soon as her education was finished. The young lady was then at school in France, but as soon as she was old enough to marry, she prepared to join her gallant lover.

Edward, knowing that she was coming over from France, had her captured and brought to his court, where he said that he would detain her until Llewellyn came and did homage to him as his lord. Llewellyn proudly refused, and a war ensued; but, for the sake of his betrothed, Llewellyn finally complied with Edward's conditions.

The Welsh were too proud, however, not to resent being under the English, and before very long they rebelled, under the leadership of Llewellyn and his brother David. The Welsh had been greatly encouraged by the heroic songs of their bards, and by an old prophecy, said to have been made by Merlin, in which it was foretold that a Welsh prince would be crowned king in London when all the money was round.

The Welsh seized the first good opportunity to make a raid into England, captured the Castle of Hawarden, and killed all the English in it. Edward collected an army and marched into Wales to avenge this attack, but he lost many men in crossing Menai Strait, and could not get at the Welsh, who had taken refuge upon Mount Snowdon, whence they came down for sudden raids.

It was owing to a traitor that Llewellyn's brave little troop was finally conquered. Llewellyn's head was cut off and sent to London, where, to make fun of the Welsh prophecy, it was set up on the Tower and crowned with ivy or willow, or, some say, with a silver circle to make it look like a coin.

Six months later David also was taken prisoner. He underwent terrible torture before he was hanged. Then, as if this brutal treatment were not enough, his insides were taken out, and his body cut into four pieces, which were sent to the four most important cities to be exposed there. It was thus that by King Edward's order David was hanged, drawn, and quartered.

Edward I and Edward II


The Welsh were too exhausted to resist any longer, so the principal lords promised to be faithful to Edward, if he would give them as governor a prince born in their own land. Edward readily promised this; and when he added that the prince whom he intended to set over them did not know a word of French or English, they set up a shout of joy and clamoured to see him. Edward then stepped into the next room; but he soon came back, carefully carrying his infant son Edward, who had been born in the Castle of Carnarvon a few days before, and who was thus a native Welshman.

Of course the babe could not speak a word of French or English, but neither could he speak any Welsh. He was gladly welcomed, however, as "Prince of Wales." His elder brother soon died, so he became heir to the English crown, and ever since then the eldest son of an English monarch has borne the title of "Prince of Wales."

Some writers say that Edward ordered the massacre of all the Welsh bards, because he feared their exciting the people to new rebellion; but others deny this, and certainly some of these musicians must have escaped, for many of their songs have come down to us. The Welsh became loyal subjects, and it was a hundred years or more before they again rose up to fight against the English.