Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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MADOG ap LLYWELYN , rebel of 1294 .

It has been conclusively shown that he was the son of Llywelyn ap Maredudd , the last vassal lord of Meirionydd , who had been deprived of his patrimony for opposing Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1256 (see Llywelyn Fawr and Llywelyn Fychan lords of Meirionydd ). Llywelyn lived in England as a royal pensioner , and after his death in 1263 , Madog continued in favour at the English court . During the year 1277 he was the recipient of two substantial monetary ‘gifts’ from the king's ‘wardrobe,’ his claim to Meirionydd being tacitly recognized by the Crown ; in 1278 he actually sued Llywelyn ap Gruffydd before the king's justices for the recovery of the cantref . After 1282 he appears to have returned to Wales and to have received lands in Anglesey . His kinship with the old reigning house of Aberffraw (he was fifth-cousin to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd ) now inspired him to assume the role of patriot leader . When, hard-pressed by a combination of grievances, the people of Wales rose against their oppressors in 1294 , Madog placed himself at the head of the North Wales insurgents and claimed to be ‘ Prince of Wales .’ The revolt began well for the rebels, and during the winter of 1294-5 they kept Edward on the defensive in the neighbourhood of Conway . In March, however, Madog led a force into Powys , where, being taken unawares by the earl of Warwick , he was defeated with heavy losses on the field of Maes Meidog (or Moydog) in Caereinion . He barely escaped with his life into the hills of Snowdonia where he remained a fugitive until his unconditional surrender to John de Havering late in July or in early Aug. 1295 . He was taken to London , and though he did not suffer the supreme penalty, his subsequent fate is unknown.


  • J. E. Morris , The Welsh Wars of Edward I a contribution to mediaeval military history, based on original documents (Oxford, 1901) ;
  • J. Goronwy Edwards in English Historical Review , xxxix, xlvi;
  • Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies , xiii, 4;
  • J. Griffiths , ‘The Revolt of 1294’ (unpublished thesis, University of Liverpool).


Professor Thomas Jones Pierce, M.A., F.S.A., (1905-1964), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959