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Published: March 28th 2019
What is the connection between a welsh prince, , a marchog of Wales , Led Zepplin and a chevalier of France? This is another of those strange connections that come to light when you accidently fall on them on your travels. The sort of questions that might just come up one day in a quiz league night. That sort of obscure fact that you never imagine you will need anytime soon and you wonder just how they come into being.
Gabby spent the night on the car park in Machynlleth. It was surprisingly quiet for a large car park. A few lorries were parked up but even they were quiet. We were even fortunate to park under the street light which illuminated Gabby all through the night. We had had no sun for days so the batteries were a little lower than we had hoped but we knew we would be fine parked here. We woke early to birds singing . We wanted to make sure that we got away before we had to pay parking. Our destination would be the tiny village of Pennal.
Now you know we are going to Pennal have you worked out the connection
of what seem like random facts?. Princes and a rock band. Chevaliers and marchog . I bet you are wondering what that is all about.
Glenn had sourced out a parking spot just behind the small church of Pennal. We parked Gabby up and walked to the churchyard. The iron gates of the church were closed and locked . It was early , very early so we didn't expect to get inside the building. The church was built of slate grey stone. A church typical of Wales without steeple nor tower. Single or doubled naved simple buildings. We walked round the graveyard to the memorial garden to the rear. What did we find?
We were here to see where Owain Glyndwr was reported to have written his Pennal letter. A letter the welsh ruler who was the last Welshman to hold the title of Prince of Wales wrote to the King of France asking for his help. Owain instigated a fierce and long running yet unsuccessful war of independence with the aim of ending English rule in Wales. With his death Owain acquired a sort of mystical status as a hero awaiting the call to arms to return
and liberate his people.
The garden behind the church was designed and commisioned in the form of a herb garden. At its centre was a statue of Owain. We were not fond of the statue it was tiny and out of character. We felt Owain would have been larger than life and this statue was far from it. So here comes the first connection Robert Plant of "Stairway to Heaven " Led Zepplin fame paid for the work on the statue .
Round the garden were slate flattened stones set into the earth. Each had a message in Welsh which I had to translate. One of the stones commemorated Owain Lawgoch - in English : Owain of the Red Hand, in French Yvain de Galles. Here is the second connection . Owain Lawgoch was a welsh mercenary who served in France, , Spain , Alsace and Switzerland. He led a Free company fighting for the French against the English in the Hundred Years War, He was the last politically active descendent from Llewellyn the Greats male line. He was a claimant to the title of Prince of Gwynedd and Wales. He was the marchog of Wales and the chevalier of France. We have actually had the pleasure of standing in front of his monument in the tiny town of Mortagne sur Gironde. Funny this world of connections.
Glenn set off for the open toilet in order to empty the toilet cassette. On his way back he bumped into a lovely man. He was the caretaker of the church. He had spotted us wandering round and had come over to open the church for us . We spoke in Welsh . I think he enjoyed speaking to me in the native language. We left him and went inside . A quiet plain church. It was a pleasure to just savour the quietness.
We felt sad to leave Wales and head home . We had been unlucky with the weather but blessed with the places we had been lucky to see.
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