LLYWELYN AP GRUFFUDD AND THE MARCH OF WALES By J. BEVERLEY SMITH THE death of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in the vicinity of Builth on 11 December 1282 has long been commemorated as the tragic event when all Wales was cast to the ground ,.1 He died upon the field of battle in a land where he had formerly exerted an unmistakable ascendancy, and the commemoration of his death in this neighbourhood in those dramatic circumstances provides an opportunity to consider the relationship between the event itself and the broad political movement with which his name is linked. This paper attempts to take account of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's objectives, to consider the manner by which the pursuit of those objectives brought him into this area, first to exert his power and ultimately to meet his death, and, finally, to look briefly at the events of the fateful day.2 Llywelyn ap Gruffudd has gone down in history as the last prince and there would be reason enough to remember the year 1282 if his death had simply marked the final extinction of a line of princes and kings extending back to the earliest centuries of our recorded history. But the significance of 1282 lies, most of all, in the fact that the man who died in conflict was not just the last of his line but the very first to complete an exceptionally notable politi- cal triumph which had two complementary aspects that he brought the greater part of Wales under a single governance and that, by ensuring that the king of England recognized his achievement, he was able to establish a new relationship between Wales and England.3 For centuries Wales had been ruled not by one king or prince but by several apart from brief periods in the ninth and tenth centuries when a large part of Wales was brought under the dominion of one man, and apart again a very brief period in the eleventh century, it had never been otherwise, and each of the several rulers of Wales owed allegiance directly to the king of England. With the progress of time the number of rulers tended to multiply, and the implications of their allegiance to the crown of England tended to be made more specific, and these two factors together further- ed a process which was likely to lead to the erosion and final extinction of Welsh political power. This process was reversed only by the determined action of two men. The first was Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) and the second was Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. Early in the thirteenth century Llywelyn ap Iorwerth established a supremacy by which he brought a wide area of Wales under his influence, but his achievement was limited in two ways and we ought to note these briefly. Wide though his hegemony might be, his power extended over an area a good deal less than the whole of Wales, for the lands which he dominated were mainly those which had previously constituted the three major