The Saga Of Owain of Bangor – An Extract From The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

Whilst conducting research at the Bodleian Library I stumbled upon the following extract. It was found in a loose-leaf manuscript with the hand-written title ‘The Bangor Chronicle’ but I think it should more properly find its home with the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and so I have titled it ‘Chronicle J’.

It is a single, short, entry and I quote it here in full…

1070 – In this year there was a poor harvest. Such was the upset and worry this caused that many men did steal from their neighbour. The Norman lord, De Gislebert, sought loot and plunder rather than fair exchange and he took from the gentle people of Bangor their harvest so they would have no bread and would starve. It did happen that Owain of Bangor, upset by the distress this caused his people, took himself into the lands of Gislebert and took back the grains and chattels that had been taken from them. De Gislebert, learning of this daring raid, fell upon Owain and his men as they led their carts back to the lands of their fathers.

But Owain had his war banner, Wolf Tamer, with him and this did raise the spirits of his men. Despite the pitiful rain of Norman arrows the men of Bangor prevailed and they in turn did find their mark with their javelins and spear points. The field of battle did belong to Owain on that day.

And Owain took back the grain to his people and he passed it out to them. And they were grateful to him for this and they hailed him as Owain the Great. In his humility Owain did give prayers and thanks unto the Lord at Bangor cathedral and he thanked the Lord that he was able to give food and succour to his people though it did cost him the lives of his men and did cost him coin to do so.

Author: Brigadier Tony

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