|24 April 1197
|St. David's Cathedral
|circa 1132 /
|24 April 1197 / St. David's Cathedral
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Gruffydd, Rhys ap (Lord Rhys) (b.1132? - d.1197)
Rhys ap Gruffydd, also known as Lord Rhys, was a ruling prince of Deheubarth, an area of south Wales and lived during the reign of Henry II. He came to power after the death of his elder brothers, Anarwd, Cadell and Maredydd.
King Henry II forced several Welsh princes into submission including Lord Rhys who had to return captured castles to their previous owners and accept a truce.
After a period of peace, Lord Rhys began military activities against the Normans and captured the motte and bailey Llandovery Castle.
Henry II invaded Deheubarth taking Lord Rhys prisoner and confiscated his lands. Rhys was released a few weeks later. This prompted Lord Rhys to make an alliance with Owain Gwynedd, the Prince of Gwynedd to create an army to stand up to the Anglo-Normans.
In an attempt to finally bring the Welsh princes under control Henry II took a large army into north Wales. But the Welsh princes had combined their forces to create a single army of Welsh that matched the strength of the English. The Welsh had the advantage of terrain that they knew and this forced the English king to abandon his plans and return home.
Henry II granted territories of south Wales including Cardiganshire to Rhys, the Prince of Wales. ¹
King Henry II returned to England and visited Henry of Blois, the bishop of Winchester who was dying. He also met with Lord Rhys, the important prince of south Wales. A series of meetings took place during 1171 and 1172 where an agreement was reached whereby Lord Rhys could keep his land and was given the title justiciar of south Wales. ¹
Laugharne Castle was the location of one of a series of meetings between King Henry II and Lord Rhys, that confirmed the lands held by the Lord, and where he was given the title of justiciar.
Lord Rhys held the first eisteddfod at Cardigan Castle after rebuilding work at the fortress was completed.
In this year Rhys ap Gruffydd, The Lord Rhys captured the castle at Kidwelly from the Normans. It is possible that he repaired its structure at this time. ¹
After the death of Rhys ap Gruffydd, Lord Rhys, his eldest son Gruffydd ap Rhys was generally accepted as his successor, but not by his brother Maelgwn. With the help of Gwenwynwyn ap Owain, the ruler of the areas around mid Wales, Maelgwn invaded the lands of South Wales controlled by Gruffydd his brother. The invaders managed to capture the town and castle at Aberystwyth.
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