Early Norman attacks on Wales

Last updated: 26 August 2008

The Wales of 1066 was enfeebled as a result of the fall of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn three years earlier.

There was much feuding and blood-letting among those who claimed Gruffudd ap Llywelyn's power before any of the Welsh kingdoms gained widely acknowledged rulers.

William established earldoms at Chester, Shrewsbury and Hereford, all of which were held by men of strongly aggressive tendencies.

By 1086, the Earl of Hereford had brought about the extinction of the kingdom of Gwent, the earl of Shrewsbury had built a castle at Montgomery and had taken much of the Welsh borderland into his possession, and the earl of Chester had struck deeply into Gwynedd.

William, however, recognised the rule of Rhys ap Tewdwr in Deheubarth and accepted that of Iestyn ap Gwrgant in Morgannwg.

After William died in 1087, invasion gathered pace. Morgannwg - or at least its lowlands - fell to Robert Fitzhammon. Rhys ap Tewdwr was killed. Brycheiniog was seized. The Earls of Shrewsbury drove through Powys and Ceredigion to southern Dyfed where they established a castle at Pembroke.

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