Gwladus FERCH DAFYDD 1 2 3 4
- Born: Abt 1385, Peutun, Llan Ddew, Breconshire, Wales
- Married (2): After 1415
- Died: 1454
Compiler's 14/15/16/17/18 x great-grandmother
The bard laments the death of Gwladus, who he styles the star of Abergavenny,the daughter of Sir David Gam,the strength and support of Gwent and the land of Brychan. So much was she beloved, that no less than three thousand attended her funeral. Her attention to religious duties is described as most exemplary; and she is said to have descended from an ancient and noble family. She is compared to both Marsia, queen of Cuhelyn, who was a discreet and and an influential person; and also to Gwladus Dhu, a great supporter and promoter of the Welsh language. The bard concludes by giving a description of her monument.
Y SEREN o y Venni,
At Duw a'r saint y troes hi;
GWLADUS, lwyddiannus ddinam,
Oedd o gorf syr Dafydd Gam. 5
"Dafydd's daughter, Gwladus, married into two of the most prominent families in fifteenth-century South Wales. Her first husband was Roger Fychan (or Vaughan) of Bredwardine (Herefs.), who supposedly died with his father-in-law at Agincourt having served as an archer in his retinue.... The three sons of Gwladus and Roger Fychan - Walter (or Watcyn), Thomas and Roger (d. 1471) - became staunch supporters of the House of York and great patrons of Welsh poets later in the century. Gwladus' second husband was Sir William ap Thomas of Raglan, progenitor of the Herbert family and another man who is supposed to have served at Agincourt. Though it should be remembered that the surviving musters for the 1415 campaign are far from complete, there is no mention of either Roger Fychan or William ap Thomas in any of the extant musters or financial documentation. Moreover, there are several factors which should give us pause in taking at face value the story that Roger Fychan died at Agincourt. First, we find, drawing on muster rolls for Henry V's invasion of Normandy in 1417, a man named Roger Fychan, a man-at-arms in the retinue of the earl of Warwick. While his origins are not specified, Roger was a sufficiently unusual name in a Welsh context for this at least to be noteworthy. If this is a reference to the same man it is unlikely that Roger lived much longer, but no alternative date of death has been suggested. Secondly, there is the survival of a memorial effigy said to be Roger's in the church at Bredwardine. Memorials present several difficulties as sources, not the least of which is that such effigies could have been supplied either some time before, or some time after, the death of the recipient. It is also the case that very little is known of the fates of the bodies of those on the English side killed at Agincourt, including that of Dafydd Gam. What is evident is that the style of armor on this effigy is rather later than that contemporary with Agincourt and is likely to date from around 1450. It has much in common, for example, with that of Sir William ap Thomas (d. 1445), which survives in Abergavenny Priory. Both effigies bear the Lancastrian SS collar, customarily worn by those in royal service. In Roger's case, such a tomb would hardly be in keeping with the status of an archer, but such a fine alabaster tomb would well reflect the status of his widow and, particularly, their children, who were so prominent in the "Herbert decades" of the 1450s and 1460s. Finally, the first written account suggesting that Roger Fychan died at Agincourt appears in Powell's Historie, demonstrating that it was current in the second half of the sixteenth century but was unknown before this time. It was later recited in Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick's editions of Dwnn's genealogies, published in the nineteenth century, and it is from there that Nicholas and Wylie took this detail, which has subsequently be taken at face value.
.... What is remarkable about fifteenth-century poetic references to the descendants of Dafydd Gam and Roger Fychan is that their service in France (and their definite or apparent deaths) is never recorded. Two generations after 1415 one of Dafydd's grandsons, Philip Fychan, was killed by a cannon ball at the siege of Harlech in 1468; the poet Huw Cae Llwyd in an elegy mentions both Philip's illustrious grandfather and Philip's own service in France. What Huw failed to do, however, was to commemorate Dafydd's death in more noble circumstances at Agincourt. Perhaps this is not surprising given the proximity of Agincourt to the end of a failed national rebellion. Equally, since the majority of their descendants took the Yorkist side in the domestic wars of the fifteenth century, the memory of Dafydd's consistent support of the Lancastrian regime during the rebellion might have been uncomfortable. Even so, Agincourt remains perhaps the only battle of the Hundred Years War not recorded in Welsh poetry. In light of the evidence discussed above, however, it seems that, for Watcyn Llwyd and Roger Fychan, no grandiose commemoration of their deaths at Agincourt was appropriate: they did not die there." 6
Gwladus married Sir Roger VAUGHAN of Bredwardine, son of Roger VAUGHAN of Bredwardine and Anne (Jane) DEVEREUX. (Sir Roger VAUGHAN of Bredwardine was born about 1377 in Bredwardine, Hay, Herefordshire, England and died after 1415.
Gwladus also married William AP THOMAS, son of Thomas AP GWILYM of Perth-Hir and Mawd MORLEY Heiress of Llansantffraed, after 1415. (William AP THOMAS was born in Plas yn-y-berth-hir (Perth-hir), Monmouthshire, Wales and died in 1446.)