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The Battle of Gower 1136

 by Helen Nathaniel-Fulton                       


A pitched battle won by the Welsh was rare, as the Normans were so experienced at battle & incredibly tough to beat, like the Romans before them.

The Battle of Llwchwr 1136

Welsh & Normans Fight Near Tesco!

At the Battle of Llwchwr (or Battle of Gower) Welsh & Norman forces clashed on Garngoch Common between Loughor & Swansea on New Year's Day 1136.

In 1135–1136 an opportunity had arisen for the Welsh to recover lands lost: Stephen de Blois had displaced his cousin Matilda of England from succeeding her father Henry I to the English throne, sparking the Civil Wars (the so called 'Anarchy') in England.

It's believed more than 500 Normans were killed or wounded at the battle by a mixed group of allies led to victory by Prince Hywel ap Maredudd of Brecon.

By this time the Normans thought they had firmly established themselves. The Beaumonts had controlled the area for 80 years & had made the Welsh strangers in their own land, converting large areas into deer parks for their personal hunting pleasure, as at Parc Clyne and Parc le Breos.

Roger Beaumont especially was described as a handsome waster, and he actually mortgaged the whole of Gower to fund his lifestyle so that it eventually became a property of the English Crown.

It seemed important to the Welsh that they try to regain some lost ground while, over the border in England, there was uncertainty & turmoil.

The Normans were angry at this show of resistance - like the Romans, they thought conquered peoples should be grateful for the peace and benefits of 'civilisation' their conquerors brought ... They had also not expected several Welsh groups to join together.

The fighting was fierce & bloody & about 516 Normans are reputed to have died in the mud of Garngoch Common. The battle didn't regain South Wales for the Welsh, but it seemed to give heart back to the Welsh leaders. They kept on rebelling & trying to take back some lands over the next 150 years.

The victory of the Welsh army inspired more rebellions around Wales including a battle near Kidwelly Castle fought by an army led by Gwenllian, Princess of Deheubarth & the Battle of Crug Mawr.

Today, near the sprawling Tesco & Fforestfach Shopping areas, there is a stand of trees on Bryn Dafydd Farm where the Welsh had their command post & on the B4620 off Hospital Road is a stone memorial, hard to find and hard to get to through especially if its muddy ...

One of the reasons why such an important battle is all but forgotten, perhaps?

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