If you believed that the end of the 1300s would bring Oswestry’s history of violent conflict to an end, then you are mistaken. The year of 1400 saw the beginning of a war between the Welsh and the English that would be known as the ‘Glyndwr Rising’, or the ‘Last War of Welsh Independence’.

Following the death of King Richard II, relations between the different parts of England began to crumble, ultimately resulting in the Epiphany Rising. Contrary to the process of appointing the title of ‘Prince of Wales’ to a ruler of one of the Welsh kingdoms, a band of early Welsh Nationalists, including the Dean of St. Asaph, appointed Glyndwr as Prince on the 16th of September, despite only holding the pretending title of Hereditary Prince of Powys Fadog.

Six days later, on the 22nd of September, Glyndwr’s armies viciously attacked Oswestry, burning it to the ground. As a consequence, the area was temporarily renamed ‘Pentrepoeth’ [or ‘Hot Village’] to denote the damage caused. The Castle also suffered some damage, but not nearly to the extent it would suffer a few centuries later.

By 1407, the Lordship of Oswestry was under the authority of the rebel Prince, although it would appear that the FitzAlan’s continued as de-jure rulers of their Lordship throughout this period. By July, the Lordship surrendered to the forces of King Henry IV following the effective policy of economic blockading to areas loyal to Glyndwr.

The Earl of Arundel and Lord of Oswestry, Thomas FitzAlan, was finally restored by the English as the de-facto ruler of the Lordship. Upon restoration, the Earl granted Oswestry a new Charter. The Glyndwr Rising would continue until 1415 when, following the disappearance of Glyndwr and the gradual reclaiming of English lordships, the Rising began to slowly fizzle out.

By the end of the year, the whole of England would return to the rule of King Henry IV’s son, Henry V, who had been ruling since 1413. Hefty fines were placed on the areas which had submitted to Glyndwr, resulting in near economic ruin: Oswestry saw Welsh market trade grind to a halt; places of commerce became barren wastelands; and ruling families with money would go bankrupt.

Incidentally, 1407 was also the year that the Oswestry Grammar School was established by the M.P. for Shropshire, David Holbache, and his wife, Guinevere. Ironically, although Holbache was a close associate of the Earl of Arundel, many of the first trustees appointed to the School board were, in fact, close associates of the rebel Prince Glyndwr. Furthermore, the FitzAlan’s sided with the Lancastrians during the Wars of the Roses, but the Lordship was not affected by any of the conflict so would see out the conflict with relative peace.

Next time, Hidden Oswestry looks at Oswestry during the Sixteenth Century.


- ‘Oswestry through the ages’ [Page 9], by John Pryce-Jones (1991); and

- Wikipedia:

– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owain_Glynd%C5%B5r,

– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glynd%C5%B5r_Rising, and

– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oswestry#The_Conquest