The main focus of this issue is on Edward I’s conquest of Wales, and the defeat of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, also known as Llywelyn the Last, the generally recognised independent native Prince of Wales. Five articles cover this theme, starting with an overview of the clash between the English and the Welsh. We then move onto a look at the very varied career of Edward I, and in particular his early life during the not terribly impressive reign of his father Henry III. Next is a look at Dafydd ap Gruffudd, Llywelyn’s brother, and a very controversial figure whose erratic behaviour helped trigger the disastrous final wars. Next comes a look at Edward’s famous castle building programme, which built up to the four most famous castles - Harlech, Conwy, Caernarvon and Beaumaris. Finally there is an overview of Edward’s eventual conquest of Wales. These five articles provide a useful snapshot of this bitter conflict.
Away from the theme there is an impressive range of articles. Perhaps the most unusual is a look at peasant resistance to the Japanese during the Imjin War, the medieval Japanese invasion of Korea, where the main Korean armies were overshadowed by the resistance that rose up behind the Japanese lines. One of more disastrous Byzantines wars is also covered, with a look a the reasons for the failure of their attempt to re-conquer Sicily in 1038. Next comes a series of Anglo-Saxon riddles, mainly based around weapons. Finally there is a look at a 15th century poem celebrating a buckler, a small shield used by ‘sword and buckler’ men, one particular type of infantry soldier. The range of topics is good, and the individual articles of great interest.
One island, one king? The English and Welsh struggle
The rise of Edward I - Prince, pawn and prodigal son
The path for Dafydd ap Gruffudd - Hostage, traitor, patriot, hero
The castles of Edward I in Wales - Defence-spending, medieval style
Edward’s conquest - ‘All Wales was cast to the ground’
The invasion of Sicily in 1038 - Maniakes’ great misadventure
Anglo-Saxon riddles - Can you answer these?
The buckler - a gift for a poet
Guerillas in the mist - Peasant resistance in the Imjin War