Llywelyn the Great (1173 – 1240) was a prince of Gynedd in North Wales in the days of King John of England who was his liege lord. He was a major figure in the power struggles of Wales and also involved with the politics of England, allying himself with the Barons who forced King John to sign the Magna Carta. Over a period of forty years through war, diplomacy and strategic planning, he came to be regarded as acting leader and principle power over most of Wales. He was one of only two Welsh princes to earn the title ‘Great.’ His ancestor, Rhodri was the other. Although Llywelyn had sided with the Barons over the Magna Carta there had been times when he had been an ally of King John. In thanks, John had given is daughter, Joan, to be Prince Llywelyn’s wife, possibly to cement their alliance.
The legend of Gelert
The Prince was a great huntsman and as a wedding gift King John had given him a most magnificent and massive Irish wolfhound who was named Gelert. Around people the dog was gentle, friendly and obedient. In the hunt Gelert was a tireless and fearless hunter and soon rose to be leader of Llywelyn’s hunting pack. He was also loyal and faithful to his master and soon became a great favourite of Llywelyn’s. Read more