Text: Owain’s Letter to Robert III of Scotland

The Chronicle of Adam of Usk records that the following letter was sent by Owain Glyndwr of Wales to Robert (III) Stewart, King of Scots, in November 1401.

The following text was adapted by Michael Newton from Sir Edward Maunde Thompson, Chronicon Adæ de Usk. London: Henry Frowde, 1904, 239-40.

Most high and mighty and redoubted lord and cousin, I commend myself to your most high and royal majesty, humbly as beseemth me, with all honour and reverence. Most redoubted lord and right sovereign cousin, please it you and your most high majesty to know that Brutus, your most noble ancestor and mine, was the first crowned king who dwelt in this realm of England, which of old times was called Great Britain. This said Brutus begat three sons, namely Albanact, Locrine and Camber.

From which same Albanact you are descended in direct line. And the descendants of the same Camber reigned royally down to Cadwalladar, who was the last crowned king of my people, and from whom I, your simple cousin, am descended in direct line; and after whose decease I and my ancestors and all my said people have been, and still are, under the tyranny and bondage of mine and your mortal foes the Saxons; you, most redoubted lord and right sovereign cousin, are well acquainted with them. And from this tyranny and bondage the prophecy saith that I shall be delivered by the aid and assistance of your royal majesty.

But, most redoubted lord and sovereign cousin, I make grievous plaint to your royal majesty and right sovereign cousinship, that it fails me much in men at arms. Wherefore, most redoubted lord and right sovereign cousin, I humbly beseech you, kneeling upon my knees, that it may please your royal majesty to send unto me a certain number of men at arms who may aid me and may withstand, with God’s help, mine and your foes aforesaid; having regard, most redoubted lord and right sovereign cousin, to the chastisement of this mischief and of all the many past mischiefs which I and my said ancestors of Wales have suffered at the hands of mine and your mortal foes aforesaid. Being well assured, most redoubted lord and right sovereign cousin, that it shall be that, all the days of my life, I shall be bounden to do service and pleasure to your said royal majesty and to repay you. And in that I cannot send unto you all my businesses in writing, I despatch these present bearers fully informed in all things, to whom it may please you to give faith and credence in what they shall say unto you by word of mouth. From my court. Most redoubted lord and right sovereign cousin, may the Almighty Lord have you in his keeping.

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