Richard II was childless, and intrigues for the succession were afoot among Edward III 's other descendants. The king took an important step in 1385 , when he acknowledged Roger de Mortimer as his heir, knighting him in 1390 , and appointing him in 1397 deputy ruler of all Ireland . Probably this was the occasion which moved Iolo Goch (q.v.) , a man of Denbighland and therefore a tenant of Roger 's, to compose a cywydd to him. The bard extols Roger 's wealth and virtues. And he lays great stress on Roger 's connections with Wales . Not only is he heir to the English crown, ‘grandson of Sir Lionel …second after Richard ,’ but also, when the time comes ‘ a kinsman of Gwynedd shall wear the crown ’; his is the right to ‘ the diadem of Aberffraw ,’ and it is time he came to Wales , where ‘honour is his due.’ True, it required some imagination to see in Roger the ‘ heir to Aberffraw ,’ on the strength of the farback marriage ( 1230 ) between Llywelyn ap Iorwerth 's daughter and a Mortimer , but this slender strand could be woven into propaganda of stouter texture. For it is important to remember that in this cywydd we are still in a period far earlier than the accident which associated the house of Penmynydd (the Tudors — patrons of Iolo 's, by the way) with the fortunes of the house of Lancaster . At this time ( 1385 ), the Penmynydd clan could have no quarrel with Mortimer , and the declared heir to Richard (a former prince of Wales ) might well expect the loyalty of the house of Ednyfed Fychan (q.v.) , leaders of the Welsh official hierarchy of the Principality .
But nothing was to come of Roger 's dreams — or of Iolo Goch 's. The king 's feelings towards him cooled — it is difficult to see where he stood in the confused intriguing of Richard 's court. In any case, he fell in battle at Kells , 15 Aug. 1398 ; his corpse was quartered, but it was reassembled for burial at Wigmore with his family. Yet, even later we find an expectation in Wales that a Mortimer would succeed Richard , and the disappointment when this expectation was thwarted may well have been one of the causes of the Glyndŵr rebellion . Once more, Owain Glyndŵr 's Penmynydd supporters had no quarrel with a Mortimer , and no cause to love a family which had usurped Mortimer ‘rights.’ Indeed, many in Wales believed ( E.H.R. , xxxii, 560; Lloyd , Owen Glendower , 28, 53, 69) that Richard II was still alive.
Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor
Published date: 1959