The Welsh Civil War
Welsh Civil War

31 August 1845


17th January 1848


Kingdom of Wales


Royal Government Victory

Major battles:

Llanelli, Carmarthen 1 & 2, Machynlleth, Harlech, Caernarfon Rhudllan, Conwy, Church Stretton, Ross of Wye


Golden Dragon of Wales Flag
Kingdom of Wales

Coat of Arms of the Principality of Gwynedd
Principality of Gwynedd


Rhisiart III
Prince Dafydd of Wales
Lord Pritchard of Abergaveny

Prince Rhys of Gwynedd
Prince Meurig of Gwynedd, Lord of Snowdonia


30,000 Troops

15,000 Troops

Casualties and Losses

6500 Troops (dead)

11,200 Troops (injured)

3800 Troops (dead)

5600 Troops (injured)

The Welsh Civil War began with the death of King Cystennin on the 31st August 1845, killed by troops of the Kings Infantry Guard, a new regiment created as a Royal Bodyguard regiment. The origins of the war however were lay back further than the actions of the men and officers of the 1st Battalion.


The origins of the war date all the way back to the fall of the House of Deheubarth. With the death of the childless King Rhys in 1750, Welsh politics entered a Regency era, with the exiled nobility opting for a Regency Council with the Dukes of Gwent and Dyfed heading the council in their turn. Under Meurig Tomos-Seislyg, Duke of Dyfed, a convocation of the exiled nobility was held to elect a new king of Wales from within their number. All three Princes threw their hats into the ring, with both Powys and Gwynedd claiming male line descent from Owain Glyndwr, whilst Morgannwg could only claim female line descent. In the end the result was decided when the Prince of Powys, 39 year old Maredudd, withdrew from the race for the throne. The nobles were then faced with the abrasive, 40 year old Prince of Gwynedd, or the more confident but concilitory 23 year old Prince of Morgannwg. Youth won the argument, Rhisiart was young, brash, full of ideas, had heirs already, Owain was 40, his heir was five years old and an only child. Rhisiart had one son and Maria was pregnant with another child at the time of the Convocation. Owain did not take this rejection well and worked at cross purposes with Rhisiart and Rhisiart II until his death at the siege of Caerodor in 1778. Owain's son and heir, Gruffud was the same generation as Rhisiart II, being 3 years elder than the future king. Both young men grew up together first in France and then in Harlech when the Royal Court returned to Wales. Both boys grew up with the biases of their fathers clouding their relationship, then as grown men they competed often as warriors in the fight for Welsh independence, before Gruffud died during the skirmishes of the 1780'a in the Glamorgan/Gwent borders.

The feud continued however with the next two Princes. Rhys II of Gwynedd was the same generation as his cousin Gruffud I and Rhisiart II. Rhys outlived his rival Rhisiart, dying in 1808 and having seen Arthur ascend the throne. Rhys was the Prince who ordered the wholesale renovation of Plas Garth Celyn and Ty Sycharth, the ancient Manor house of Owain Glyndwr which had remained in the control of the Princes of Gwynedd following the death of the last Deheubarthian kings. Rhys it was too who developed the stronger anti-southern tendencies. With the Royal Court fixed to the south, the Princely court in Garth Celyn assumed a greater significance in the North.

Maredudd, Rhys's son, ascended to the North Walian throne in 1808. A severe man he had little time for Arthur or the Royal Court in Caerfilli. Whilst Arthur remained on the throne however a balance was maintained. That balance fell apart with Arthur's death in 1831.

Prelude to War: 1830-1843

During the 1st Ricardian and then the 1st Arthurian periods, the balance between De & Gogledd Cymru was maintained, albeit precariously. With the ascension of Cystennin and the birth of the Constantinian era that balance fell apart. The Royal Court, ever since the re-conquest of Caerfilli had been in the south. Now though, this was made official. The Royal Court at Palas Caerdydd (the Court of St Tewdrig) was now fixed in location. Caerdydd was made the kingdom's official capital. Court positions were being snapped up by the Southern and Western lords at the expense of the increasingly stay-away Northern lords. Then came the high handed bequests of Plas Harlech and Plas Caernarfon to the North Wales Prince. These palaces (Harlech's was a new build with the Castle as a converted plas, Caernarfon had converted the castle into a palace) were prize possessions of the Welsh Crown, but they were prize possessions of the old order. Cystennin had no love of these northern palaces. The bequests infuriated the old Prince who left Wales for the Patagonian colony (Y Wladfa). His son and heir, Rhys III was cut from the same cloth as ancestors, but with one difference. In Cystennin he was up against a king who could be brought down.

For most of Cystennin's reign Rhys could do little. He moved his chess pieces slowly, but was hampered by Cystennin's distrust of him, and his distaste for the North. In 1843 though Rhys finally had his chance. Cystennin was struck down with disease and was confined to his bed. Under Wales' autocratic government, without the king the government was paralysed. Rhys moved rapidly into the vacuum. Rhys's man, the Earl of Mon was Chancellor and as such Rhys quickly gained control of the political machinery. What he lacked though, and could not gain control of was the army. This was controlled by Dug Edmund IX am Y Mers (Duke Edmund IX of March) who whilst only in political control (he was 26 in 1843) was still in control of the Army apparatus. Long rivalry between the Houses of FitzGerald-Glyndwr, Powys-Fadog and the House of Mortimer-Grey ensured that the young Dug was not ready to bow to the Gwyneddian Prince. It was this rivalry and the fact that the young Dug owed his seat to the generosity of Arthur following the Rebellion of March that saved the throne for Cystennin at this point. As he recovered and retook the royal reins, Rhys' chance for a relatively peaceful Palace coup passed him by. The lessons however of the aborted coup stood out in Rhys' mind.

Preparation for War: 1843-1845. The birth of the Royal Snowdonian Army

The primary lesson for Rhys from his attempt at a peaceful palace coup was that without an army, Gwynedd would not be able to stand against the king and the Royal Army. Whilst the control of the Army and Navy remained in the hands of men traditionally set against his house (Mortimer-Grey and the House of Powys-Fadog) any political control of the government would be weak.

December 1843 sees Rhys order his brother, Meurig, to form the core of what would become the Royal Snowdonian Army or the Byddin Frenhiniol Eryri. Whilst Meurig would busy himself with the raising of men and arms, the Prince concentrated on trying to subvert men and officers of the Royal Army. Progress with both aims was slow. To create and form an army in secret tasked Meurig's ability to form units, whilst many southerners in the Army were unwilling to turn traitor for a northern prince. Rhys was however successful enough. The key breakthrough coming when the Colonel of the 1st Batt Kings Infantry Guard enters into Rhys' payroll, bringing with him the entire 1st Battalion.

March 1844 almost brought ruin to the plan however. Men from the Grey Regiment reported infantry and artillery training in the Snowdon mountain range. The Army High Command investigate and the Duke of March warns the king, giving voice to the suspicion. Cystennin however sees no danger, dismissing the warnings of both the Duke of March and the professional soldiers in the High Command. Enboldened by this, Rhys ups the rate of preparation in the north.

National Divisions

The war would see Wales divided, with the bulk of the Southern lords siding with the King, and the northern lords siding with Gwynedd. The earls who sided with Rhys were

  • Mon
  • Ceredigion
  • Ystrad Trywy
  • Northern Powysian lords

The remainder of the nobles remained with the king, though some wavered in their loyalty when it looked like Rhys would win the war

  • Penfro - Wavered
    Civil War Wales

    Civil War Wales

  • Brycheiniog - Wavered
  • Henfford - Wavered
  • Dyfnaint Glan Hafren - Wavered
  • Powys - Wavered
  • St Davids - Firm Royalist
  • Kidwelly - Firm Royalist
  • Seisyllwg - Firm Royalist
  • Gower - Firm Royalist
  • Y Mers - Firm Royalist
  • Dean - Firm Royalist
  • Ergyng - Firm Royalist
  • Gwent - Firm Royalist
  • Gwlad yr Haf - Firm Royalist

First Phase of the War

The war opened with the death of the King, Cystennin, at the hands of the men and officers of the 1st Battalion, Kings Infantry Guard, whilst the king was visiting Aberteifi. With the Earl of Aberteifi in the Gwyneddian camp. With the end of summer (the king was killed on the 31st August 1845) Rhys is hoping to strike quickly and end the war before it has chance to begin. The northern lords of Powys seceed from Powys, joining the Principality of Gwynedd further emboldening the northern Prince.

Moving his forces south he advances to Llanelli, fortifying the town, whilst seeing what moves happen next. The Bishop of Llandaff, Bishop Dewi, quickly proclaims the Crown Prince as Rhisiart III of Wales, whilst the Archbishop of St Davids remains silent on the matter. Rhys announces his claim to the Welsh throne, whilst Rhisiart moves with an army from Caerfilli toward the Princes' position in Cydweli. The Royal Army, commanded by Prince Daffydd (Rhisiart's uncle) advances on Llanelli, Prince Rhys advances from the town and the two armies engage on the 16th September 1845. The result was a close fought battle, with the Royal Army defeated in the end by a mixture of weather and a tactical faux pax by the Royal Prince. Withdrawing to Abertawe, Rhisiart and his uncle regroup, whilst Rhys lacks the nerve to press his advantage.

Whilst the armies met and fought, Rhisiart opened a dialogue with Queen Victoria of UKES, asking for aid against the northern rebels. The response from the Westminster Government however carries too high a price, with Wales effectively becoming a protectorate of the British Crown, and Rhisiart decides to fight on alone against Rhys. With the onset of winter both sides settle down. Prince Meurig of Gwynedd does start to move southward with the 2nd Gwynedd Army, but halts at Amwythig. As 1846 opens, the nation is divided. Rhys lacking the nerve to press home his early advantage is still in control of large parts of the country, Rhisiart, (fighting as Prince of Morgannwg and not King) still controls the key southern heartlands and industrial centres.

Prince Rhys in the February sends envoys to the British, but again, receives the same offer given to Rhisiart. Rhys, to his credit also refuses British aid.

With the spring thaw, the Gwynedd forces break camp from Llanelli, moving back toward Caerfyrddin, Meurig starts his move south from Amwythig and it begins to look bleak for the Royalists. Rhisiart and Dafydd break camp at Abertawe and tail the Snowdonian army to Caerfyrddin, where the first great battle of the war will take place.

1st Battle of Carmarthen

The first Battle of Carmarthen took place over the 9th to the 14th March 1846 and was an indication of how Rhisiart was preparing to press the war. Defeat in Llanelli the previous year had hurt the Royalist cause, and this time Rhisiart would be in command of the army rather than his uncle, Dafydd. The actual battle itself took place south of the town, which Rhys held, at Pensarn with the Snowdonian army forming up with their backs to the river. Both sides dug trenches and built temporay defensive measures and the first day of the battle (9th) saw little actual fighting. With dawn of the 10th, the Royal Army made its first offensive move north. The Yale Infantry Regiment of the RSA took the brunt of this first attack on the RSA's right flank, and with artillery support from the Penllyn Artillery Battery successfully repulsed the attack by the Earl of Brycheiniog's Grenadiers. For the rest of the 10th, there was an artillery tennis match, with both armies attempting to pummel the other into submission with artillery barrages. On the morning of the 11th, the RSA made a move south with the Maelor, Meirionnydd and Rhufoniog infantry regiments attacking the RWA's defensive positions. The RWA units holding the left flank and centre positions were the Hereford Rifles Regiment adn the Cardinal's Guard Regiment. They held the line for most of the day, suffering heavy losses in the process until late in the day the 3rd (The Queen's Royal) Hussars with the Queens Own (Alexandra's) Fusiliers attacked from the RWA's right flank onto the left flank of the Snowdonian attack. The Snowdonian army pulled back, having failed to gain its objective, but not knowing that the day had severely weakened the Royalist left flank.
Royal Welsh Army Sanger - Battle of Carmarthen

A Royal Welsh Army Sanger during the Battle of Carmarthen

Over night Rhisiart reinforced his left flank but this just weakened the entire front of his army. Deciding that aggression was the better way to cover his armies frailties he launched an attack on the 12th March. Much as the action had gone on the 11th, the RWA's units (Earl of Brycheiniog's Grenadiers, Hereford Rifles and the Queens Own (Alexandra's) Fusiliers) made ground against the RSA's defensive lines, until late in the afternoon a devastating artillery barrage decimated the Royalist lines allowing the Snowdonians to counterattack, pushing the Royalists back to their lines.

The 13th opened to heavy cloudy skies, Rhisiart, battered and bloodied by the battle chose to hold his defensive line, whilst Rhys was again too nervy to press home his advantage. Rhy's second in command however, had no such doubts and in the afternoon of the 13th launched an all out assault on the entire RWA's lines. The fighting continued into the night, only subsiding after 9pm. The RWA had held, but only just. The Snowdonian commander, Lord Iestyn of Ial (Yale) realised just how close his troops had gotten and launched an assault with the sunrise on the 14th. The RWA's left flank colapsed first, with the trenches there being overrun by 9am. With the left flank gone, the centre was threatened with an enveloping maneuver and Rhisiart began moving his command position to the rear of the army. By lunchtime, the Snowdonian's had overrun the central trenches. With the left and centre lost, Rhisiart sounded the retreat and the battered Royal Army began to disengage.

Here Rhys made another fatal error. Believing his own army to be too weak to risk on a sweeping attack on the fleeing Royalists, he ordered the halt against the wishes of Iestyn. This allowed Rhisiart to withdraw most of his army including his precious artillery south toward Llanelli. The first Battle of Carmarthen had given the Royalist cause another bloody nose, but again the nervous Gwynedd Prince had helped conspire to dilute the victory for the Snowdonian's. The battle however did leave Rhys largely in control of West Wales, with only a few places holding out against his rule.

2nd Phase of the War: Opening of the Eastern Front

Civil War Wales Gwynedd Advance

Meurig's Advance

Whilst the two Prince's dueled in the west of Wales, the Lord of Snowdon, Prince Meurig advanced down the east flank with the 2nd Royal Snowdonian Army. Meurig had two simple objectives. To eliminate both Amwythig and Ludlow as centres of resistance to Gwynedd. Amwythig fell quickly, its defenses antiquated in Victorian era warfare. But the advance into Y Mers was hampered by the Duke of March. With the Royal Army having a major base in Ludlow, the Duke had resources at hand to resist the North Walian Prince. So with Amwythig falling on the 12th September, Meurig had a choice. He could either advance on Ludlow or circumvent it. He chose the later. Striking inland, Meurig advanced through Powys, taking the capital Pool on the 14th September and the Princely seat at Montgomery on the 19th September. Striking southward, he wrong footed the Duke of March, reaching the outskirts of Ross on Wye by the 3rd October. As the winter closed in, Y Mers was isolated from the rest of Royalist Wales, with the encircling North Walians controlling the major routes in and out of the Duchy. With the opening of the Spring season in 1846, the Duke launched an assault from Ludlow. Meeting Meurig's army outside Clehanger in Herefordshire, the two armies matched up. Edmund IX of March launched his assault at dawn on the 2nd March 1846. Meurig, caught out of position fought a mobile battle with the North Wales Cavalry sweeping up and around the Marchers left flank. The Duke was caught without much cavalry and only had parity in his artillery, which he ordered to fire at 9am. The barrage was misdirected. Decimating his own troops, Edmund quickly realised his mistake. Sounding the withdrawal at 9.45am his infantry began to disengage from the Gwynedd infantry. Meurig, blessing his luck turned from defence to attack, and ordered his infantry to advance, whist his cavalry began to attack the Marcher army from the flanks. The withdrawal was rapidly turning into a rout and at 10.30am the Marcher Army broke, scattering. Most of the Marcher army was either captured or killed as it attempted to escape with the Duke captured by his command tent by men of the Maelor Infantry. With the capture of the Duke, resistance in Y Mers fell and with the 1st Battle of Carmarthen resulting in a Gwynedd victory it looked like the House of Fitzgerald-Glyndwr would soon retake the thone.
Civil War Gwynedd Conquest

Extent of Gwynedd Conquest Mrach 1846

Remainder of 1846

Following the capture of Edmund Grey, and the defeat of Rhisiart, Rhys held court in Dinefwr Castle, home of the Lords of Ystrad Tywi. Here he summoned his Parliament, which met in nearby Llandeilo during June and July. The Parliament, unsurprisingly voted to recognise Rhys as king of Wales, and Rhys was crowned by the Bishop of Bangor in the ancient Church of St Teilo in Llandeilo itself. The rest of the year was spent in preparing the defences of Carmarthen and preparing for the final assault on the South.

For Rhisiart, 1846 was spent huddled in Caerfilli Castle, planning the retaking of his kingdom. Ensconced with his uncle and his distant cousin, Lord Pritchard of Abergaveny, plans were laid for the retaking of the strategically important Carmarthen. Rhisiart also had to deal with the political fragmentation of his allies as well. The lords of Ty Dewi, Cydweli, Seisyllwg, Gwyr, Y Mers, Dean, Ergyng, Gwent and Gwlad yr Haf all remained loyal to Rhisiart, even though some were now prisoners of Rhys (such as Y Mers, Cydwelli and Seisyllwg. Other nobles during 1846, if not fully crossing over to Rhys were now cool toward Rhisiart, withholding men and materials from him (Penfro, Brycheiniog, Henffordd, Dyfnaint Glan Hafren and most vital of all, Powys. The Royalist Parliament, meeting in Cardiff, in similar moves to the Llandeilo Parliament, voted to recognise Rhisiart as king and that Rhys was a rank traitor to the crown, sanctioning the death penalty for his actions.

By the end of the year, both sides were more prepared for the battles to come. It would soon be decided who would wear the ancient crown of Maredudd on his head.

1847 & The Advance North

With the turning of the year, Rhisiart gave the command of the Eastern Front to Lord Pritchard. Moving his forces toward Caerwent he prepared to strike against Meurig who had wintered his forces in the Ross on Wye area of Northern Dean/Ergyng. Knowing that Pritchard was advancing, Meurig decided to retain the initiative and moved his forces south of Ross on Wye, taking up positions just north of the village of Crow Hill (just to the NE of Ross)

Crossing the Severn and moving toward the Snowdonian positions at Crow Hill, Pritchard prepared his army for the coming battle. On the 15th February, the Battle of Ross on Wye commenced, with a Royalist artillery barrage on the Snowdonian positions. Safely behind defensive structures and making use of trenches, the Snowdonian's survived the initial artillery barrage, with the Royalist infantry advancing after noon on the 15th. A long afternoon of fighting resulted in little change. The Snowdonian's still held their positions, whilst Pritchard was left licking his wounds and trying to devise a way of moving the Snowdonians to engage them in mobile warfare.

Lord Pritchard spent another two days engaged in an infantry slog at Crow Hill until on the 17th February he pulled his troops back. The tide was turned with the arrival of troops from Gwlad yr Haf, arriving in Newent late on the 17th February. Distracted by battle and the movement of Pritchard's regular forces, Meurig's screen force had missed the arrival of the southerners.

Utilizing these fresh men, Pritchard moved them north, attacking Crow Hill in a pincer movement, and on the 19th February 1847 launched his third assault on the Snowdonian positions. By 3pm Meurig had sounded the retreat, his army broken as they raced northward toward Hereford. Pausing to reconnect his army, Pritchard missed the chance to deal a decisive blow to Meurig, and for the next six months, battles on the eastern front would indeed be mobile affairs, with cavalry and light infantry seeing most of the action.
Battle of Church Stretton

Royalist troops at the Battle of Church Stretton

By late August 1847, Meurig had been fighting a general retreat since the Battle of Ross on Wye, and laid plans for a grand assault on Pritchard at Church Stretton deep in Y Mers. Lord Pritchard advanced slowly through Henffordd and southern Y Mers, fearful of a Snowdonian attack, when his scouts reported a concentration of Snowdonian troops at Church Stretton. On the 3rd September, Pritchard launched an assault on the Snowdonian positions there. Fighting was long and hard, with neither side gaining an advantage for the first 3 days of fighting, with the line of action moving fluidly north and south. Here the industry of the south came to the rescue. For the previous decade railway lines had been laid in Wales, mainly along the Severn Valley and South Wales. Along with the industrial centre's forming in the Morgannwg valleys these formed the bedrock of the South's resistance to the North. Men and material came flowing north to Lord Pritchard allowing him to reinforce quicker than the Snowdonian's. At the Battle of Church Stretton, this came to a decisive conclusion. On the fourth day, reinforcements from the South arrived allowing Lord Pritchard to finally out manoeuver the North's cavalry screen which had up until now proved to be Prince Meurig's most formidable weapon. On the 8th September, Lord Pritchard launced another assault on the North Wales Army's line. This time the line broke. With fresh troops pouring through the gap, Meurig was forced again to order a general retreat. Pulling his army back within the borders of Gywnedd, Lord Pritchard had secured East Wales for his king and now faced the daunting invasion of the North.

The Western Front

Whilst Lord Pritchard attacked in the east, Rhisiart finally launched his assault on Rhys in the west. It was vital that he be seen as successful, at this point, before Lord Pritchard's victories in the east, many nobles and the influential industry magnates were wavering in their support for the Crown. The British too were nervous, war on their western borders made trade difficult and there was always the potential for the conflict crossing the border. Therefore, Rhisiart needed a strong start to 1847. Marching from the Royal Fortress and Palace of Caerfilli, Rhisiart quickly crossed his ancient Principality marching toward the Ystrad Towi principal town of Carmarthen. Rhys had not been idle and had errected defences and had been reinforced with more troops from the North and on the 27th February 1847 battle was re-commenced. Rhisiart had spent the winter studying his northern rival, and felt that he had the upper hand, however, the early battles again favoured Rhys. With lines established to the east of the town, the two armies sniped at each other, the Royal Army not being able to breach Rhys' defences, the Snowdonian's not able to vanquish the Royalists. Then on the 3rd March came the breakthrough that Rhisiart needed. Assaulting the western fringe of Rhys' defences, men from the 4th (Prince Cystennin's) Lancers regiment overran the Snowdonian defences, taking the position. With Rhys unaware that his flank was now under threat continued to act in passive defence against Rhisiart. Rhisiart however began to funnel men toward the hole in Rhys' lines. Once enough men were through Rhisiart ordered a general advance on the centre of Rhys' line. With the Snowdonian's intent on repulsing the Royal Army they were ambushed from behind their lines by men from the Prince Cystennin Lancers and the Earl of Penfro Grenadiers, with the trenches now exposed from the rear the Northern Army quickly fell into disary. The local commanders ordered a fall back to the town of Carmarthen itself, but Rhys, panicking, ordered a further fall back to Aberteifi. As a result Rhisiart was able to enter Carmarthen in triumph having reversed the first battle of Carmarthen. The importance of this could not be understated. Rhisiart now controlled all of Southern Wales including still the Cathedral in St Davids. Moreover, with Prince Dafydd guarding his right flank Rhisiart was now able to pursue Rhys northward.
Trenches after the Battle of Machynlleth

The Battle of Machynlleth

With the 1st and 3rd Armies advancing on Aberteifi, Rhys again pulled out, force marching his forces to the border town of Machynlleth. Garisoning the town, he waited for Rhisiart to advance. With Rhisiart advancing up the coast and Dafydd ensuring control of the interior a month later Rhisiart advanced on Machynlleth. Here Rhys finally made a stand. His local commander, Lord Tomas ap Vaughan commanded the 1st Snowdonian Army at Machynlleth. On the 23rd May the artillery bombardment of Machynlleth's defences begun and on the 24th the general advance was sounded. For two days the cavalry and infantry screens of both armies fought fleeting engagements with the Snowdonian's faring the better of the two armies. On the 26th it appeared as if they had won the battle with Rhisiart forced to withdraw his forces further south. This however opened up the battles right flank to Prince Dafydd who arrived with the 5th Army. As his forces arrived Rhisiart again ordered the advance and on the 28th Rhisiart had taken the town and castle. At this point the advance faltered. Needing to resupply the Royal Armies halted at Machynlleth, whilst Rhys fell back to Harlech, ensconsing himself in the Castle whilst his troops garrisoned the City. Halting for the summer, garrisoning the town of Machynlleth and waiting on the advance of Lord Pritchard, Rhisiart stil sent feints into Gywnedd, testing the defences on the road to Harlech. Finally in the September news reached him that Pritchard was now camped on the eastern border of Gwynedd and the Royal Army began its march northward again.

It was Lord Pritchard who first struck the blow on Gwynedd meeting Prince Meurig in battle at Rhudllan. In pitched battle over the the 12th October 1847 Pritchard broke Meurig's army. Scattering it, Pritchard took the fortress of Rhudllan while Meurig fled to Garth Celyn with the remainder of his army.

Prince Dafydd, split from Rhisiart and led his army toward the Gywnedd interior. Navigating the mountain passes, his army advanced on the town of Conwy. On the 22nd October, the local commander there, the Earl of Ynys Mon, surrendered the garrison after an afternoon's fighting in the shaddow of the town. Slowly Gywnedd was falling away from Rhys, with Lord Pritchard meeting up with Dafydd to advance on Garth Celyn.

The Battle of Garth Celyn took place on the 18th November, amid the bitter cold of winter. Many troops died from exposure and the the old Palace was partially destroyed by fire. By the 19th November however, Meurig was again fleeing. This time toward the fortress of Caernarfon with the remnants of his army.

British Reactions

During the war, the Anglo-Scottish were carefully neutral. Hostile to the idea of the war, they were nonetheless neutral to who won the conflict. For the British the main concern was the distruption to trade and the threat of the conflict escalating across the border. The Celtic region of England (Cornwall) had long aggitated for increased rights and the Civil War seemed to intensify these demands, whilst the Irish, long a troublesome part of the Anglo-Scottish Empire also began more militant as the Civil War went on, sensing a distruption to normal London control during this period. Therefore it made sense that the Anglo-Scottish kept an army on the Welsh borders even if the political will to invade Wales again was lacking in London.

Battle of Harlech Gates


Snowdonian troops at Harlech

Whilst his other commanders advanced into Gwynedd, Rhisiart sought out Rhys. Marching on Harlech, he arrived outside the City Walls on the 16th October. Rhys had planned well for a siege in the time he had been in Harlech and Rhisiart found no easy way to breach the City Walls. Settling down to a siege, the Prince of Morgannwg decided to starve the Prince of Gwynedd out. As November approached the food situation in Harlech grew more desperate, and finally on the 29th November, the Snowdonian forces advanced from the city for battle with the Royal Army. Taking up pre-prepared positions outside the city walls the RSA initially had the advantage over the RA. For two days the battle hung in the balance, and then news came through of the conquest of eastern Gwynedd, the fall of Conwy and the fall of Garth Celyn. Whilst Rhys tried to keep such news from the men, it soon trickled through the ranks. With morale and food at an all time low, there was little resistance as Rhisiart ordered another assault. On the 3rd December, as early snow began to fall across the region, the city fell to the king in waiting. Realising that his cause is lost, Rhys abandons his men, fleeing toward the Llyn Peninsula, hoping to escape to Ireland. Captured by his own men however he is brought to Rhisiart on Christmas Eve 1847, leaving just one fortress to take to crush the North once and for all.

End of the war and its aftermath

With only Meurig left, Rhisiart moved his army to the south and west of Caernarfon, whilst Dafydd and Lord Pritchard advanced from the east and Northeast. Surrounding the city with the assembled power of the South and parading the captured Northern Prince before the City Walls, his brother, Meurig quickly ordered first a ceasefire and then surrender. The Surrender was signed on the 17th January 1848. With both Princes taken into custody, the Welsh Civil War was now over.

However, Rhisiart now had to face the aftermath of the conflict. Nobles unhappy under his potential reign, harvest failure, the threat of famine, a devasted countryside, a hostile British neighbour. These were some of the tasks waiting for him as King

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