Exact reproductions of the letter in which uprising leader Owain Glyndwr set out his vision of an independent Wales have been displayed in 6 locations around the country. Glyndwr instigated a long-running popular revolt against English rule of Wales resulting in the liberation of most of the country and the establishment of short lived Welsh Parliament in Machynlleth. Glyndwr was the last ever Prince of Wales.
The Pennal Letter of 1406 – was a direct appeal for a military alliance sent to the King of France, Charles VI. In return for French assistance in his fight against English rule.
The letter is a rare artefact from Glyndwr’s campaign and gives the reader a picture of the Wales he hoped to found. However, anyone wanting to inspect the original has had to travel to the Archives Nationales in Paris. Glyndwr University
Glyndwr’s University Plan
The most interesting aspect of the letter, he said, was his plans to found universities according to Arwel Jones, director of public services at the National Library of Wales.
Wrexham’s Glyndwr University gained full university status in 2008, Mr Jones said: “Glyndwr’s prophecy is coming true.” These reproductions will be held by at the Owain Glyndwr Centre in Machynlleth, the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, Glyndwr University in Wrexham, the National Museum. the National Assembly and Pennal village church (near Machynlleth).
The letter, written on March 31, 1406, during a synod of the Welsh Church at Pennal, was dispatched at a time when the French king was striving to win the allegiance of his allies to the Pope of Avignon. Glyndwr was prepared to give his allegiance in return for the establishment of a Welsh church, independent of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Bishop of St Davids would have become archbishop, presiding over a province including Lichfield, Worcester, Hereford, Bath and Exeter. He also wanted his rebellion to be recognised as a crusade against the usurpation and other “crimes” of Henry of Lancaster.
In the letter Glyndwr sets out his plans to found a university in the north and the south of Wales.
Despite his vision of nation-building with French assistance he failed to secure Wales as an independent entity.
Adrien Jones of the Owain Glyndwr Society said the letter was as culturally important to Wales as the Stone of Scone was to the Scottish. He compared it to the Elgin Marbles – the statues from the Parthenon still held at the British Museum despite Greek protests.
Heritage Minister Mr Alun Ffred Jones said: “The Pennal Letter is seen as one of the few enduring relics relating to Owain Glyndwr. It is one of our greatest historical treasures and as such should be viewed and appreciated by the people of Wales. “It gives me great pleasure to present these facsimile copies of the Pennal Letter to six Welsh institutions as recognition of the importance of Owain Glyndwr to our heritage.”
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