The Last True Prince of Wales

Arms of Dafydd ap Gruffydd

A lot of people were executed in Britain in the middle ages, most of them hanged by the neck until dead. In those days, hanging was not the scientific calculated drop to break the neck; it was a gruesome business involving an often slow strangulation. But there was worse, much worse.

In the 13th century, the Brits developed a method of execution described as being hung, drawn, and quartered. Dragged behind a horse, the victim was hung, revived, castrated, disembowelled (with the guts being burned before their eyes if they were still alive), beheaded, and their bodies cut into quarters. It was a slow and agonizing death for anyone found guilty of high treason against the sovereign.  It is no surprise that the nobility swiftly excused themselves from this punishment (in most cases), agreeing that a swift beheading by ax or sword was a preferable end.

The new method of execution was inflicted on a few knights in earlier years but, 735 years ago, on this day in 1283, the vile and despicable Edward I insisted that this be the punishment meted out to Dafydd ap Gruffydd, the last genuine Prince of Wales, who had resisted Edwards’s incursions into the Principality. The execution took place in Shrewsbury to the evil king’s delight.

From then until now, Wales has been a captive province, the longest held colony of the nascent British Empire.


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