The Dee Valley has become synonymous with Owain Glyndwr, for it is here that his fifteen-year war of independence began. Almost any town or village in the area you could choose to visit has some connection with Glyndwr. One could visit, for instance, ‘Glyndwr’s Mount’ at Llidiart y Parc, where he first called his followers to war, or Corwen, where the Church of St Sulien and St Mael bear the marks of his anger. Yet, it is this unassuming lump of stone, in a field by the side of a muddy little road, the Bwrdd y Tri Arglwydd, ‘The Table of the Three Lords’, that really gets to the root of Glyndwr’s war.
The Bwrdd y Tri Arglwydd is thought to originally have been a prehistoric burial chamber, a trybedd, with three erect stones supporting a capstone - essentially a Portal Dolmen, an extraordinary rarity in North East Wales. As is the way of things, it was effectively recycled, and became a medieval boundary stone, marking the meeting point of the lands of Glyndyfrdwy, Rhug and Ial (Yale). At one time, the stone was marked with the letters G, R and Y, but today only ‘R’ is still visible. It is the G and Y that for the purposes of Glyndwr’s rebellion are relevant, since it was the Norman Lord Reginald de Grey of Ruthin, whose lands of Yale here met Glyndwr’s lands of Glyndyfrdwy, that caused this, ‘most English of Welshmen’ to rise up against the Crown in a furious rage. Probably with the tacit support of Henry IV, de Grey created the circumstances of the revolt by taking some of Glyndwr’s land, or at least seizing some common land. Owain’s calls to the King fell on deaf ears, and with further slights to his name by de Grey, the rebellion began at Corwen and Llidiart y Parc in 1400.
An unassuming lump of rock hidden in a field in the heart of Denbighshire - It could be said that it was here that Glyndwr's fight for the heart of Wales began here.
If this rebellion was somehow designed by de Grey, perhaps in order to weaken Glyndwr to his own benefit, it spectacularly backfired, at least in the short term. Glyndwr’s rage consumed much of Wales for the next fifteen years, and lead to de Grey himself being captured in 1402 and held for over a year until ransomed by the King. It was not until 1415, with the mysterious disappearance of Glyndwr that the rebellion came to an end.
It is not unusual to be able to look upon a great building, a castle perhaps, and sense a past that stretches back hundreds of years, and know that great things happened there. Yet, there is something much more intimate in looking upon a stone, mostly forgotten, set in a field in the middle of nowhere and have the same understanding. The connection with the past just seems more vivid, closer, as if by placing your hand on the monument, you would ‘see’ the events it represents.
Situated in the field by a twist of minor roads, the monument is easy to miss. If driving, park up carefully by the side of the road, climb the stile into the field to view the stone. Be aware that only the monument has public access.