Tag Archive | 12th century

Meet Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, the National Heroine of Wales

“Cymraes ydw i. I have no need for English fashions,” in one simple line from chapter two of “Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, the Warrior Princess of Deheubarth” Princess Gwenllian summarizes her entire life and legacy, a legacy that has touched billions of lives.

But who was she and if she was really so influential, why have few people outside of Wales ever heard of her?

Born in 1097, Princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd was the daughter of King Gruffydd ap Cynan of the Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd.  Gwynedd’s rugged mountains empowered its rulers to remain independent longer than any other Welsh kingdoms in the country. Today the county of Gwynedd remains one of the largest and includes Snowdonia National Park. But historically Gwynedd the kingdom was much larger than its modern namesake. In medieval times Gwynedd’s capital was Aberffraw Castle on the island of Ynys Môn (English: Anglesey).  Readers of “Boudicca, Britain’s Queen of the Iceni” should recognize the name Ynys Môn because the island was the center of British druidry and therefore bore the brunt of Roman aggression towards Brythonic and ancient Celtic culture and religion.  Ynys Môn has a long tradition of being a historical hot spot (and one worthy of your next visit to the United Kingdom).


So it should be no surprise that Ynys Môn would be home to Wales’ most pivotal leaders.


Turn of the 12th century Wales was turbulent.  After his victory near Hastings in October 1066, William the Conqueror (now William I of England) set his sights on conquering the entire island of Britain.  Many of the Scottish nobles were bribed into vassalage. But the north of England and the Welsh kingdoms were different.  If William I and his new Angevin dynasty wanted to control these lands, he would have to take them by force!

William I began this task immediately.  In 1067 construction began on the first Norman castle, Chepstow in modern day Monmouthshire in southeast Wales. Located approximately 32 miles north of Cardiff, Chepstow’s location in the kingdom of Gwent made it the perfect fortress for attacking the southern kingdoms of Gwent, Morgannwg, and Deheubarth which in Gwenllian’s time had expanded to include most of south central Wales, including the kingdom of Ceredigion.

Standing in the way of this Norman Conquest of Wales were King Gruffydd ap Cynan of Gwynedd and King Rhys ap Tewdwr of Deheubarth.  Though often forced to retreat into exile in Ireland, both men blocked the outright and permanent conquest of their realms, passing on their fight to their sons and daughters.

It was in this environment that Princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd was born.  Like her famous brothers, she was raised in a kingdom constantly under attack. Everyone — including the king’s daughter — needed to be battle ready or risk losing life and home to William Rufus’ and King Henry I’s notoriously brutal soldiers.

Gwenllian’s life changed forever in 1113 when King Rhys ap Tewdwr’s two surviving sons sought sanctuary at Aberffraw after recently escaping exile, torture, and imprisonment at Norman hands. For Prince Gruffydd ap Rhys and Princess Gwenllian it was true love almost from the beginning of his time there.  In 1115 they married and Gwenllian moved to Gruffydd’s Dinefwr castle as its co-sovereign, beginning a twenty year war of resistance against the much stronger Normans thanks to their successful use of the Welsh longbow fired from the cover of forest, the same tactics used by the fictional Robin Hood and Maid Marion against similar Norman knights. Unlike Robin Hood and Marion, Gwenllian and Gruffydd’s stakes in these battles were far greater: if they failed, tens of thousands of Welsh would be enslaved by the Anglo-Normans.  Their kingdom was at stake and it was their job to defend it — at any price.

Gwenllian paid that price in February 1136 when Maurice de Londres captured her following a desperate winter battle.  Instead of ransoming her as the code of chilvary demanded, Maurice chopped off her head, making Gwenllian the first sovereign ever executed by the English.  It was an atrocity that could no be ignored.

To this day “revenge for Gwenllian” remains a Welsh battle cry of outrage, an execution that remains well remembered.  The Welsh have not forgotten Gwenllian and never will.  To truly understand the history and culture of the British people it is vital that you discover her story as well.

“Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, the Warrior Princess of Deheubarth” is available in English, Welsh, German, and Spanish on Amazon, iBooks, and a retailer near you.

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Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd Análisis De La Escena: Vestuario

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Ya disponible.

Traducido por Andrés Sotelo Soria:

Buen día y bienvenido seas a tu viaje como recreador, actor o productor de una de las Obras Teatrales de las Mujeres Legendarias de la Historia Mundial.
Como historiadora, me apasiona la historia. Adoro pocas cosas más que ver una obra de teatro del periodo correcto en la que se representan de forma exacta los vestuarios. Pero, ¿qué se puede hacer si tienes poco presupuesto o si vas a montar las obras de “Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd” o de “La Emperatriz Matilda”? ¿Qué pasa si no tienes años de experiencia en investigación de vestidos medievales?

La siguiente es una guía general para las producciones de “Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: Un obra en tres actos” y para la reconstrucción general de personajes del siglo XII:

ANÁLISIS DE LA ESCENA: VESTUARIO

A menos que se especifique en algún otro sitio, los personajes usan atuendos comunes del siglo XII

MUJERES: vestidos de túnica que llegan hasta el suelo y los primeros briales conocidos, ambos usados con cinturones largos que se ajustan fijamente alrededor de la cintura. Los briales (cuando se usen) se atan de lado. Las capas se usan en la noche y durante los meses de invierno.  Las galesas usan una continuación de la antigua capa envuelta y asegurada con un prendedor llamada “brat”.

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HOMBRES:  camisas de túnica que caen hasta la rodilla y pantalones sencillos. El cinturón está amarrado fijamente a la cintura. Las capas se usan en la noche y durante los meses de invierno.  Los galeses usan una continuación de la antigua capa envuelta y asegurada con un prendedor llamada “brat” La jerarquía tanto de los hombres como de las mujeres se muestra a través del tipo de tela y los adornos con bordados elaborados a lo largo del escote, las mangas y dobladillos en los dobladillos de la ropa usada por la realeza. La joyería también establece la jerarquía con anillos elaborados y gargantillas llevadas por los ricos y poderosos.  Nota:  los collares de librea (los cuales se posan de forma plana contra el cuerpo en vez de colgar libremente en el cuello) se usaron por primera vez en el siglo XIV y, por lo tanto, están fuera de este periodo.  Vestuario especialPrólogo: el fantasma de Gwenllian usa un brial de color azul pálido con rosas blancas y narcisos amarillos bordados a lo largo del dobladillo.  Es el mismo vestido que usa Gwenllian en el Acto I, Escena VIII.

Acto I, Escena II: El lodo cubre las capas y las botas de Hywel y el príncipe Gruffydd.

Acto I, Escena VII: Gwenllian usa un bello vestido y una capa bordada.  Su cabello pelirrojo está perfectamente trenzado y cae sobre su espalda.  Una diadema sencilla de nobleza oculta su verdadera posición social como la hija del rey.

Acto I, Escena VIII: Gwenllian usa un brial de color azul pálido con rosas blancas y narcisos amarillos bordados a lo largo del dobladillo.  Lleva sobre su cabeza la diadema real de una princesa de Gwynedd sobre su cabello trenzado descubierto.

Acto III, Escena I: la dama de compañía pone una capa gruesa sobre el vestido de túnica sencillo de Gwenllian. Los sirvientes colocan una armadura pesada sobre el príncipe Gruffydd sobre la cual atan una capa gruesa.

Acto III, Escena II: la armadura del príncipe Morgan, su ropa y su cara están cubiertos de sangre, lodo y hollín.

Acto III, Escena V: los granjeros usan túnicas y pantalones viejos y en su mayoría raídos. Gruffydd ap Llewellyn usa una armadura modesta y está armado con armas de calidad. Morgan y Maelgwn llevan una armadura y armas finas.

 

Twelfth Century Costuming: General Guidelines for “Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: A Play in Three Acts”

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Fit for a 12th century queen! Heavily embroidered bliaut, cloak, veil, coronet, and wimple.

Bore da! Good morning and welcome to your journey as a medieval re-enactor, actor, or producer of one of the Legendary Women of World History Dramas.

As a historian, history is my passion.  I love few things better than seeing a period-correct drama where the costumes are accurately rendered.  But what do you do if your budget is small or you are playing scenes from either “Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd” or “Empress Matilda of England” stage dramas? What if you don’t have years of expertise researching medieval gowns?

The following is a general guide for productions of “Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: A Play in Three Acts” and for general re-enactment of 12th century characters/personae:

WOMEN: Floor length tunic dresses and early stage bliauts, both worn with long belts that are knotted secure around the waist. Bliauts (when worn) are side-laced. Cloaks are worn at night and during the winter months.  A continuation of the ancient wrapped and pinned style of cloak called a “brat” is worn by the Welsh.

 

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A simple bliaut showing the side lacing.

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A simple bliaut pattern

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Anglo-Saxon veils and wimples (600-1154)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most adult Anglo-Saxon and  Anglo-Norman women in this period wear veils and wimples on their head, neck, and shoulders.

MEN:  Knee to floor length tunic shirts and simple trousers. Belt is knotted secure at the waist. Cloaks are worn at night and during the winter months.  A continuation of the ancient wrapped and pinned style of cloak called a “brat” is worn by the Welsh.

 

For both women and men rank is displayed through the type of fabrics worn and ornamentation with elaborate embroidery along the neckline, sleeve, and hemline on the hemline of clothing worn by the royals. Jewellery also establishes rank with elaborate rings and necklaces worn by the rich and powerful.

 

Note:  livery collars (which lay flat against the body instead of hanging freely from the neck) were first worn in the 14th century and therefore are out of period.

 

Special costuming suggestions for “Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd: A Play in Three Acts:”

Prologue: Gwenllian’s Ghost wears a pale blue bliaut with white roses and yellow daffodils embroidered along the hemline.  This is the same gown Gwenllian wears in Act I, Scene VIII.

Act I, Scene II:  Mud covers Hywel and Prince Gruffydd’s cloaks and boots.

Act I, Scene VII: Gwenllian wears a beautiful gown and embroidered cloak.  Her red hair is braided neatly down her back.  A simple circlet of nobility conceals her true status as the king’s daughter.

Act I, Scene VIII: Gwenllian wears a pale blue bliaut with white roses and yellow daffodils embroidered along the hemline.  On her head she wears the royal circlet of a princess of Gwynedd over her otherwise uncovered braided hair.

Act III, Scene: Lady in waiting puts a heavy cloak over Gwenllian’s simple tunic dress. Servants put heavy plate armour onto Prince Gruffydd over which they fasten a heavy cloak.

Act III, Scene II: Prince Morgan’s armour, clothing, and face are covered in blood, mud, and soot.

Act III, Scene V: Farmers wear old and mostly worn out tunics and trousers. Gruffydd ap Llewellyn wears modest armour and is armed with quality weapons. Morgan and Maelgwn wear very fine plate armour and weapons.