"Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon"-"A nation without a language is a nation without a heart" Welsh Proverb

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Dafydd Gam and Owain Glyyndwr

25th October
On 25th October 1415, Dafydd Gam was Killed on the field of The Battle of Agincourt, reportedly saving the life of King Henry V
Sir Dafydd ap Llewelyn ap Hywel (c. 1380 – October 25, 1415), better known as Dafydd Gam or Davy Gam, (The name "Gam" is a Welsh word meaining "crooked" or "bent", as it is recorded that Gam had a characteristic squint), was a member of one of the most prominent Welsh families in Breconshire, from Pen-pont on the river Usk, where his fa...mily's power base had developed from their consistent support for the marcher Lords of Brecon of the de Bohun family. So when Henry Bolingbroke (the future Henry IV) married the de Bohun hieress Mary and became Lord of Brecon, Dafydd Gam's family's allegiance transferred to him. Dafydd himself was in Henry's service, being paid the substantial annuity of 40 marks by Henry’s estate in 1399,
Dafydd Gam is regarded as a traitor by many Welsh people as he was a prominent opponent of Owain Glyndwr. When the Glyndwr rebellion broke out in 1400, Gam played a leading role in its opposition in the area and his lands in and around Brecon became a target for Glyndŵr's attacks. In 1404, according to legend Gam tried to assassinate Glyndŵr at his parliament at Machynlleth, but was released soon after the Parliament. If true this generous gesture would come back to haunt Glyndwr, as in 1905, Dafydd is named as a leader in the crushing defeat of Glyndŵr's men at the Battle of Pwll Melyn, near Usk, at which 300 of Glyndŵr's men were executed . His loyalty being rewarded with the gift of some of Glyndŵr's supporters' confiscated estates in Cardiganshire. In 1412 Gam was captured by Glyndŵr’s men and his ransom was paid directly and speedily from the King’s estates in Wales, indicating the esteem in which Gam was held by Henry. Glyndŵr had made Gam swear an oath to never bear arms against him again or oppose him in any other way, but on his release Gam immediately reneged on this oath, which resulted in Glyndŵr having Gam's Brecon estates attacked and burned in retaliation.
When Henry IV died in 1413, Henry V became ruler and Gam again was a loyal servent to the new king. Gam went with Henry V on campaign to France in 1415 and met his death on the field of Agincourt. Many reports of the battle suggest that in the late stages of the battle, with the result in the balance, Henry V was engaged in hand to hand fighting with the Duke of Alençon, who supposedly cut an ornament from Henry’s crown with a sword blow. Gam is said to have personally intervened to save Henry's life, only to have been struck a fatal blow in doing so and that as he lay dying on the field, he was knighted by King Henry.
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