On this day October 3, 1283

Dafydd ap Gruffydd the Prince of Wales, the last native ruler of Wales to resist English domination, was executed by drawing and quartering.

Prince Charles, current Prince of Wales

Prince Charles, current Prince of Wales

On 30 September, Dafydd ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, was condemned to death, the first person known to have been tried and executed for what from that time onwards would be described as high treason against the King.

Edward ensured that Dafydd’s death was to be slow and agonising, and also historic; he became the first prominent person in recorded history to have been hanged, drawn and quartered, preceded by a number of minor knights earlier in the thirteenth century.

Dafydd was dragged through the streets of Shrewsbury attached to a horse’s tail then hanged alive, revived, then disembowelled and his entrails burned before him for ‘his sacrilege in committing his crimes in the week of Christ’s passion,’ and then his body cut into four quarters ‘for plotting the king’s death’.

Geoffrey of Shrewsbury was paid 20s. for carrying out the gruesome task on 3 October 1283 (though some sources give the date as 2 October).

Dafydd’s daughter Gwladys, like her cousin Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn, was sent to a convent in Lincolnshire — Gwenllian to Sempringham and Gwladys to Sixhills, where she died in 1336. Their sons were both imprisoned at Bristol Castle; Llywelyn ap Dafydd died at Bristol Castle in mysterious circumstances in 1287 or 1288, while Owain ap Dafydd is last found living in August 1325. Dafydd had another (illegitimate) son, Dafydd Goch, who survived.

One cadet member of the ruling House of Cunedda also survived, Madog ap Llywelyn, who later rallied the people of Wales to the banner of Gwynedd one last time.

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