Battle of Crug Mawr 1136

At about this time of year (September / October) the battle of Crug Mawr should be commemorated when the British Princes, my ancestral cousins Owain Gwynedd, Cadwaladr ap Rhys and Gruffudd ap Rhys ap Tewdwr Mawr heavily defeated Normans and mercenaries from all over the place led by Robert Fitz Martin, Robert Fitz Stephen and Maurice Fitz Gerald. The Normans were in a position on top of Crug Mawr with Flemish mercenaries in the vanguard, then Norman levies, then heavy cavalry in the rear. The British had longbowmen in the vanguard, followed by spearmen followed by experienced soldiers, with light cavalry on both flanks. Prince Gruffudd ap Rhys was the son of Prince Rhys ap Tewdwr killed at the Battle of Brecon (Aberhonddu) in 1093 along with Prince Bleddyn ap Maenarch. The British attacked uphill after a march from Aberystwyth and fired their longbows about 200 metres from the Norman vanguard. The arrows went straight through the armour of the Flemish mercenaries and caused heavy casualties among the unarmoured Norman levies. The arrows often transfixed them, being so powerful. The Normans deployed their heavy cavalry as they saw their infantry beginning to break, but the British longbowmen simply shot the cavalry to pieces and brought its momentum to a halt. It was then engaged by the skillful British light cavalry, the longbowmen having retreated behind the spearmen. The entire Norman army broke and ran, some dumped their armour to try to get across the Teifi to Aberteifi (Cardigan) castle. No quarter was given in those days and there was a slaughter by the British. After all they were desperately defending their way of life, their laws, their language and customs and the Normans were not known for gentility. The term “Welsh” was unknown, the British were the ancient British. The Normans suffered heavy casualties, the British virtually none. The only negative factor is that the British did not cross upstream in a flanking movement to take the undefended castle. This shows that something was badly wrong at Brecon, because Bernard de Neufmarche had a only a few knights. I think that the British fought bravely at Brecon but the Norman weapons and tactics were too advanced. Also, Rhys ap Tewdwr was well in to his eighties. Prince Iestyn ap Gwrgant of Morganwg had gone over to the Normans. At Crug Mawr the British had the ferocious longbow, which was unknown to the Normans and Saxons, and Gwynedd and Deheubarth fought together and not each other. The Normans had about 9,000 men, the British about 8,000.


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