By setting an example with his new towns and their civilised English inhabitants, Edward believed he was ultimately doing the Welsh a thumping great favour, dragging them into the 13th Century from their backward lifestyles and obsession with farming sheep.
But the Welsh didn’t see it that way. They hated the towns, seeing them as colossal markers of their subjugation and oppression by an unwelcome foreign ruler. And in 1294, unsurprisingly, this led to an uprising.
The nominal leader of this latest rebellion was one Madog ap Llywelyn, a distant relative of the deceased ap Gruffudd brothers, and a would-be successor to the title of Prince of Wales. Edward’s three new castles became the targets of well-planned attacks, and the jewel in his crown, Caernarfon, fell victim to the insurgents breaching and tearing down the still unfinished north walls, killing the burgesses and officials within and burning everything in sight.
Edward was incensed when he heard the news of this latest uprising against his rule; even more so as he was now busy planning a war with France. So he put his French campaign on the back burner to deal yet again with the unruly Welsh. He diverted a staggering thirty thousand men to the cause, more than either of the previous conflicts of 1277 and 1282, and for a third time he set out himself from Chester at the head of sixteen thousand men on a warpath across the North to recapture his castles.
Things started well and for a while were going according to plan, until they reached Conwy. It was then that things went horribly wrong…
… all will be revealed at Conwy tomorrow… See you then!