Our parish of Hanmer is closely connected with the man most often given as the greatest son of Wales. Here in St Chad’s Church, Owain Glyndwr was married to Margaret Hanmer.
At the Inns of Court in Westminster, Owain courted Margaret the glamorous daughter of Sir David Hanmer, a distinguished lawyer and Justice of the King’s Bench, who had served with distinction under Edward III and Richard II.
In 1383 Sir David escorted his daughter up the aisle of St. Chad’s to give her away in marriage to this greatest son of Wales. What a gathering there must have been of aristocrats, lawyers from London, and fierce Welsh warriors from the hills.
Margaret (Marged) Hanmer is described by the bard Iolo Goch (Red Iolo) as ‘honourable, generous and noble’. She was descended from Sir Thomas de Macclesfield, who had served King Edward I in the invasion of Wales, was given lands in Hanmer in 1277 and settled here. His younger son John de Hanmer was the first to take the name of Hanmer, and was the grandfather of Sir David Hanmer, the father of Margaret.
On the 16th September 1400 a large number of men gathered at Owain Glyndwr’s second mansion at Glyndyfrdwy, by the river Dee, on the present A5 from Llangollen to Corwen. Gruffydd and Phillip Hanmer, Margaret’s brothers, were present. Another of her brothers, John Hanmer, was later sent as Owain’s ambassador to the king of France.
Owain and Margaret had eleven children. Iolo Goch calls the sons, ‘a beautiful nest of chieftains’. In 1409 Margaret, two of her daughters, and several grandchildren were captured at Harlech Castle and taken as prisoners to the Tower of London. Catherine Mortimer, her small son and two of her daughters died there in 1413. It is possible that Margaret was pardoned, as were her brother John and son Maredydd, and returned to Hanmer.
The great Welsh poet R S Thomas was curate of Hanmer 1940-42 and here wrote his poem ‘The Rising of Glyndwr.
17th October 2018 by Bill