A petition urging the Welsh Government to purchase Sycharth, Owain Glyndwr’s ancestral home in Montgomeryshire has been discussed in the Senedd today (Wednesday 13 September).
Earlier this year, a petition launched by Elfed Wyn ap Elwyn calling for the purchase of the site in order to safeguard it for future generations gained over 10,000 signatures – crossing the necessary threshold for a debate in the Senedd.
Nestled in countryside of north Montgomeryshire, south of the village of Llansilin, it was the manorial home of the princes of Powys Fadog and the home, and most probably the birthplace, of Owain Glyndŵr – the last native-born Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales, who led a led a 15 year-long Welsh War of Independence in the late Middle Ages.
The site, featured in Iolo Goch’s poem, ‘Llys Owain Glyndŵr’, was burned to the ground in May 1403 by the English prince, Henry, during Glyndŵr’s Uprising.
Sycharth is a scheduled monument protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, and currently in private ownership with visitor access by agreement with the Llangedwyn Estate. The site has previously received funding from the Welsh Government’s historical environmental service, Cadw.
However, recent years have seen increased criticism of the condition and lack of historical interpretation at the site, and earlier this year, Penri Roberts, founder of Cwmni Theatr Maldwyn, called for a public takeover of Sycharth by the Welsh Government.
A prominent supporter of the petition’s aims has been Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru’s Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales, who spoke in favour of the petition during the debate.
Commenting, Mr Campbell said:
“Sycharth has continued to fascinate and inspire the people of Wales throughout the centuries – as reflected by the significant support this petition has gained over recent months. Indeed, this often overlooked ruin in this quite corner of Montgomeryshire is as important – if not even more so - to our nation's history as the mighty fortifications of Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech Castles.
“As part of the Co-Operation Agreement, Plaid Cymru secured that Welsh history would be a mandatory part of the school curriculum in Wales for the first time in living memory. However, if we are serious about promoting our history and heritage, it’s vital that sites of enormous historical significance, such as Sycharth, are purposefully safeguarded and promoted.
I do hope that the Welsh Government will look favourably upon this petition, and in the meantime work to improve Sycharth’s accessibility and historical interpretation for the benefit of future generations.”
In April this year, the Welsh Government announced that Cadw had taken ownership of Llys Rhosyr, situated near Newborough, on Ynys Mon. The court of the medieval princes of Gwynedd, who ruled Wales after the Romans was bought for £17,000 and has been designated as a scheduled monument.