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A NOTE ON GRUFFYDD AP LLYWELYN (1039-63) THE impact of the Normans on Wales, which was scarcely less momentous than their impact on England, came at a time when the country was weaker than it had been for a generation or was to be again in the succeeding generation. The death of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn in 1063 removed the one outstanding ruler in Wales. He offered a promise of strength, but his reign also demonstrates the factors which made Wales weak in the last decades of the eleventh century. This is the justification for the claim which Sir John Lloyd made in a classic paper on 'Wales and the Coming of the Normans'.1 For him the career of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn was 'a preparation for the struggle with the Normans'. It is a claim which can hardly be denied. It is not so easy to agree with the reason he gave for making it. 'It cannot be doubted', he wrote, 'that his vigorous personality and independent attitude did much to infuse into his fellow country- men a greater confidence in themselves and so helped them after his death to offer a united resistance to the invaders'.2 There is no contemporary evidence to show that Gruffydd made such an impres- sion in his own day, nor was there at any time 'a united resistance to the invaders'. The revolts of 1094 may perhaps be considered as the nearest approach to a 'united resistance', but they were local and contagious rather than national and co-ordinated in character. We may question Lloyd's assumptions but we cannot deny that Gruffydd was a distinguished figure. He deserves to be called a 'national' figure. His distinction is not that with which he has been endowed by modern Welsh historians. His ambitions lay in Wales and his distinction arises from the fact that after a long struggle he achieved the control which he sought over North and South Wales. The difficulties and dissensions which he overcame and which he used, when occasion offered, to further his own designs were those which made possible the Norman advance into Wales in the last decades of the eleventh century. The ambition which he had of creating for himself a predominant position in Wales offered the one hope of a successful defence of the Welsh principalities against Norman attacks. 1 Transactions of the Cymmrodorion, 1899-1900 pp. 122-179 (cited here as Lloyd, Cymmrodorion). With this essay Lloyd published a valuable text of versions B and C of the Annales Cambriae for the period 1035-93. All references to the Annales Cambriae are to this edition. Lloyd covered much the same ground in ch. xi of his History of Wales (cited as Lloyd, History), first published in 1911 (3rd edition. 1939). Lloyd, Cymmrodorion. pp. 122. 123. Cf. his History, II. 357.