The monument commemorating the Battle of Mynydd Hyddgen
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The monument commemorating the Battle of Mynydd Hyddgen, near Pumlumon Fawr, Cambrian Mountains (August 2007).
The Pumlumon area in the northern Cambrian Mountains is the location of a significant event in Welsh History, the Battle of Mynydd Hyddgen, which took place in a valley just to the north of Pumlumon Fawr. The battle, which occurred in June 1401, was part of the Welsh revolt led by Owain Glyndwr (1359–c. 1416) against English rule between 1400 and 1415, and is considered to be the first victory in the field won by the Welsh leader.
The battle began when a large force of 1,500 English soldiers and Flemish mercenaries from Pembrokeshire attacked the army of Glyndŵr, which was encamped at the bottom of the Hyddgen Valley. They had marched north on the orders of King Henry IV in an attempt to quash the growing rebellion, Glydwr having raised the banner of Welsh independence the September before. Glyndwr had been marching south with a small force of some 120 mounted troops with the aim of pursuing a guerilla war in the English controlled south.
There is only one account of the battle, which can be found in the 'Annals of Owen Glyn Dwr' written by the poet Gruffydd Hiraethog many years later in 1550.
”The following summer Owen rose with 120 reckless men and robbers and he bought them in warlike fashion to the uplands of Ceredigion; and 1,500 men of the lowlands of Cerediogion and of Rhos and Penfro assembled there and came to the mountain with the intent to sieze Owen. The encounter between them was on Hyddgen Mountain, and no sooner did the English troops trurn their backs in flight than 200 of them were slain. Owen now won great fame, and a great number of youths and fighting men from every part of Wales rose and joined him, until he had a great host at his back.”
How the Welsh managed to defeat such a large force is unknown, however it may be related to the way the armies fought, the small, light and mobile force of the Welsh, probably armed with bows (the Welsh were famed for their skill as archers), probably outmanoeuvred the heavily laden English army which would have been burdened by the presence of women and children and hindered by the boggy valley floor.
A monument commemorating the event is located at the Nant y Moch dam, located several kilometres south of the probable site of the battle.