See also

Llywelyn ( - )

1. Llywelyn ap Hywel Fychan was the son of Hywel Fychan ap Hywel ( - ).


Llywelyn ap Hywel Fychan had the following children:



Dafydd Gam ( -1415)

Second Generation

2. Dafydd Gam, son of Llywelyn ap Hywel Fychan, appeared in the census. He died on 25 October 1415 in Agincourt.


Dafydd Gam, warrior, was descended lineally from the native Welsh rulers of Brycheiniog (Brecon); his own pedigree, which can be documentarily established from the mid-thirteenth century, runs as follows: Dafydd Gam ap Llywelyn ap Hywel Fychan ap Hywel ab Einion Sais. Every one of his forebears from Einion Sais (fl.1270) down to Dafydd's father, Llywelyn, had given distinguished service to the Bohun earls of Hereford as lords of Brecon. They had held some of the major offices in the lordship, notably those of sheriff, constable, and master-sergeant; they had stood loyally by the Bohun family during the political crises of 1297 and 1322; and they in turn had been well rewarded with leases, annuities, and gifts. They were clearly the premier and wealthiest Welsh family of the lordship and are a striking example of a native family that flourished under the rule of an English aristocratic family.

When the Bohun family failed in the male line in 1373, the lordship of Brecon eventually came into the possession of Henry Bolingbroke, earl of Derby, by his marriage to Mary, one of the two daughters and coheirs of the last Bohun earl of Hereford. Dafydd Gam - the nickname Gam probably refers to a squint or other sight defect - probably entered Bolingbroke's service in the 1380's, thus continuing his family's long tradition of service to the lords of Brecon. In 1399 he was already in receipt of a substantial annuity of 40 marks; with his lord's accession to the throne in September 1399 he could have looked forward to wider avenues of service and even greater rewards. He, his son Morgan, and his brother Gwilym (or William) were all described as king's esquires early in the new reign. Instead his career was to be dominated for the next twelve years by the revolt of Owain Glyndwr. In life and in legend Dafydd Gam became one of Owain's most die-hard opponents. He and his family received grants of lands confiscated from the Welsh rebels in Cardiganshire and in the lordship of Brecon, and the Scottish chronicler Walter Bower assigns a prominent place to Dafydd in the crushing defeat of Glyndwr at the battle of Pwll Melyn near Usk on 5 May 1405. The story that he was seized at the parliament held by Owain Glyndwr at Machynlleth in 1404 after plotting Glyndwr's death first appears in antiquarian writings in the seventeenth century; but is is clear that Dafydd's reputation as a mortal enemy of Glyndwr was established much earlier. He may indeed, as has been suggested, be the model for Shakespeare's Fluellen, the archetypal Welshman.

What is beyond doubt is that Dafydd Gam and his family paid heavily for its opposition to Glyndwr. In 1403-4 his father Llywelyn ap Hywel, was given an annuity of ?0 for his services and as a compensation for the losses he had suffered at the hands of Welsh rebels. The hounding of the family continued after the revolt began to wane. Llywelyn was given a comprehensive pardon in May 1411 in order to thwart the legal snares that his Welsh enemies were deliberately setting for him. But the greatest blow came in 1412 when Dafydd Gam himself was captured by the Welsh and ransomed for a sum variously estimated at 200 and 700 marks. He was given permission to raise a personal subsidy from the duchy of Lancaster estates in Wales in order to meet the ransom demand.

Dafydd Gam served with three foot archers at the battle of Agincourt (25 October 1415), where he was slain. By the sixteenth century legends of his bravado at the battle and claims that he was knighted there for his valour were circulating; but though his death is recorded in several chronicles, there is no contemporary substantiation in them, or in any other source, for the legends.

Dafydd is alleged by the genealogies to have married Gwladys, daughter of Gwilym ap Hywel Crach (who was certainly bailiff of Pencelli in the lordship of Brecon, 1374-6). His descendants in the male line eventually adopted the Anglicized surname Games. They were amont the most prominent patrons of Welsh poets in the fifteenth century. Gwladys, Dafydd Gam's daughter, married successively Sir Roger Fychan (Vaughan) of Tretower and Sir William ap Thomas of Raglan. Her son by the latter marriage was William, the first Herbert earl of Pembroke.

TF Tout, RR Davies.


Dafydd Gam - article by WSK Thomas "Brecknock Notabilities": Gomer Press 1994

Dafydd Gam, or Dafydd ap Llywelyn, a Welsh warrior of considerable renown, was the scion of a family which, in order to promote its own interests, identified itself with the ruling dynasty of the day. This perhaps, was an attitude which did not endear it to many of the local Welsh, who entertained feelings of deep anti-pathy towards the English colonial settlers. Dafydd's father was Llywelyn ap Hywel Fychan, a Brecknock landowner descended from Einion Sais. Einion had fought under Edward III at Crecy (1346) and Poitiers (1356) and, after a lengthy residence in England, had returned to Wales enriched by the spoils of war. He took as his wife the wealthy heiress of Hywel, lord of Miskin in Glamorgan. Einion now became a substantial landowner in his own right by purchasing the whole of what was later called the hundred of Defynnog, from Llywel on the border of Carmarthenshire to the river Tarell outside Brecon. He built as a home for himself a castellated mansion near the fall of a small brook into the river Usk at Penpont, some four miles to the west of Brecon on the road leading to Llandovery. It is quite possible that a fortress had been erected, there before the incursion of the Normans into Brecknock. Nothing now remains of this stronghold though Hugh Thomas, the Breconshire Herald, writing in 1698, recalls having seen the ruins, and Theophilus Jones, the renowned local antiquary, avers that there were people living in 1805 who remembered the rubbish, and the stones from the walls, being removed. Dafydd was born into a most uncertain world. Wales was suffering from the effects of the Black Death 1349 and the subsequent plagues which had resulted in the population being reduced by a third or even a half. There had followed in the wake of this dramatic fall in the demographic curve an agricultural and a trade depression, and since most people at that time were, in one way or another, engaged in agricultural pursuits, with the emphasis very much on pastoral farming, the extent of the hardship can readily be appreciated. Edward I's conquest of Wales in 1282-3 had effectively partitioned the country into two quite distinct and mutually exclusive, areas: on the one hand, located mainly in the west, was the Principality, consisting of the six shires of Anglesey, Caernarvon, Merioneth, Cardigan, Carmarthen and Flint; and on the other hand, situated to the east, were the Marcher Lordships. In the Principality, where the English system of law and administration had been introduced, there was a certain degree of law and order, but in the Marches there was nothing but 'prodigal anarchy', though the extent of the lawlessness has doubtless been grossly exaggerated by some historians. Here power lay in the hands of mighty marcher lords who had their own fortresses, their own private armies, their own systems of administration, their own coinage, and their own laws and law courts. The penetration of English influences accelerated the decay of native Welsh institutions and the dissolution of the traditional fabric of Welsh society. The resultant dislocation created resentment, and the discontent of the Welsh found expression in periodic revolts like those of Llywelyn Bren (1316), Owain Lawgoch (1372) and, more importantly, Owain Glyndwr (1400-15).

However, even in the midst of this chaos, there were some fortunate families that prospered, and Dafydd's was one of these. From Einion Sais he had inherited substantial estates in the vicinity of Brecon and Llywel, and this legacy had been greatly augmented by his father, Llywelyn, who, for 300 marks, had purchased the mansions and lands of Peyton-Peityn Gwyn, Peityn Du and Peityn Glas-in the parishes of Garthbrengy and Llanddew from William Peyton, the last of that Norman family to reside in Brecknock. Dafydd, in a fit of bucolic temper, was almost to throw all these advantages away when he became involved in a fierce family quarrel with Richard Fawr of Slwch. In the High Street of Brecon, then a small market town, and the administrative centre and hub of the economic life of the seignory of Brecknock, Dafydd, in a fit of passion, cut down his relative. For this gruesome deed he was declared an outlaw and was constrained to flee to England, where he placed himself under the protection of King Henry IV (1399-1413). It was no chance that took him to the court of the English monarch, since Henry was known to Dafydd in his capacity as lord of Brecknock, a status which he had acquired through his marriage to Mary of Bohun. Thereafter, Dafydd was to remain a loyal and staunch supporter of the Lancastrian dynasty.

It was in April 1400 that Dafydd made his first appearance in the official records as the King's esquire for which he received the rather handsome remuneration of forty marks a year. But his unswerving loyalty to the King was now to be demonstrated by his unceasing hostility to Owain Glyndwr who, in September 1400, had raised rebellion at Rhuthun. The immediate cause of the revolt was a landed dispute between Owain and Reginald Grey, lord of Rhuthun. However, what started as a local uprising by a disgruntled Welsh marcher lord came to embrace the whole country, since Owain struck deep chords in the national consciousness, and his cause was further fomented by the general distress consequent upon the rapid changes taking place in Welsh society and the Welsh economy.

The government, in November 1401, in accordance with accepted practice, rewarded Dafydd for his untiring efforts against Glyndwr, by conveying to him rebel lands. On 5 May 1405 he played a part in the royal victory over Owain at Pwll Melyn, near Usk. His presence at the battle makes highly improbable the story of his allegedly treacherous attempt to assassinate Glyndwr at the parliament which the latter held at Machynlleth in 1404.5 What is certain is that Dafydd did fall into the clutches of the Welsh leader, though his capture must have taken place at a much later date. It was only in June 1412, when the revolt was petering out, that the seneschal and receiver of Brecon, with the assent of Llywelyn ap Hywel, Dafydd's father, entered into negotiations with Glyndwr to secure the release of David Gamm, tenant in the lordship of Brecon'. Success accompanied these talks and Dafydd, apparently after the payment of a ransom of 700 marks, was freed. In the meantime Owain had destroyed Gam's paternal residence at Peytin Gwyn and, according to Hugh Thomas, 'presumably that of Einion Sais, which was never rebuilt'.
A condition of Dafydd's release was that he should not engage in any further actions against Glyndwr. Dafydd, however, on his return to Brecknock, was soon in breach of his parole since he vigorously persecuted those who remained loyal to Glyndwr. Indeed, he may well have been instrumental in securing the destruction of Edmund Mortimer's castle at Dinas in retaliation for the latter's close alliance with Glyndwr, which had been cemented by Mortimer's marriage to Glyndwr's daughter, Catherine. Leiand, who undertook his celebrated 'Itinerary' of Henry VIII's Kingdom in the 1530s, was to remark that 'the people about Dinas did burne Dinas Castel that oene Glindour shuld not kepe it for his forteres.' But the final act in the colourful life of this doughty warrior and semi-legendary figure was to be enacted not on his native heath, but on a foreign field. At Agincourt, now in the Pas-de- Calais, on 25 October 1415, in one of the major battles of the Hundred Years' War between England and France, Dafydd was slain. Prior to the action, he had been sent to reconnoitre the enemy lines. On his return he is said to have reported to his youthful royal master, Henry V, concerned at his lack of numbers when compared with those of the French host, that 'there were men enough to be killed; men enough to be taken; and men enough to run away'. Before meeting his own end, Dafydd,in the heat of the battle, slew the Duke of Nevers with his own hand, and bore away his arms which, ever after, were to be used by his descendants. After the battle, when Henry was informed that Dafydd was on the point of death, he hurried to his side and, according to tradition, knighted him on that bloodstained field. Gam, Shakespeare's 'Fluellen' in Henry IV, may well, like Fluellen, have been 'good natured, brave, choleric and pedantic' Certainly his exploits at home and abroad attested to his courage. That he had some physical deformity is indicated by his byname: 'Gam' signified that either he squinted or that he had lost an eye. A kind posterity has upheld his reputation, and for two centuries and a half the Games clan, from their great houses at Aberbran, Newton, Tregaer, Buckland and Penderyn were prominent in Brecknock affairs as sheriffs, recorders, parliamentary representatives, justices of the peace, bailiffs and mayors. Further, through the marriage of his daughter Gwladus to Sir William ap Thomas of Raglan, Dafydd was to be the ancestor of all the Herberts. Sadly, the male line was to die out with Hoo Games in1657.


Dafydd Gam had the following children:



Gwladys ( -1454)

Third Generation

3. Gwladys, daughter of Dafydd Gam, died in 1454. She married Roger Vaughan (Fychan) of Bredwardine. She married William ap Thomas.


Roger Vaughan (Fychan) of Bredwardine died in 1415.


Sir William ap Thomas of Raglan died in 1445. He and Gwladys had the following children:



William Herbert, first earl of Pembroke (1) (c. 1423-1469). William was born circa 1423. He died in 1469.