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FIFTH SERIES-VOL. VIII, NO. XXIX.
BY T. B. DAVIES-COOKE, ESQ.
(Read at the Holywell Meeting, August 19th, 1890.)
AFTER the Norman Conquest the English seem to have been constantly at war with the Welsh. They had gained possession of some strong positions, and had castles at Hawarden and Mold, then called Mont'Alto, a translation of the British name Wyddgrug, still used by the Welsh. As the English tried to get into Wales by Caergwrle (an old Roman station), Hope, Mold, Hawarden, and along the banks of the Dee, fights were very frequent.
We find some of the Welsh princes at times siding with the English, while others were against them. It thus happened that in 1156, Cadwaladr, son of Gruffydd, and Madoc ap Meredydd, Prince of Powys, incited Henry II to devastate Gwynedd. Hearing of this, Owain Gwynedd assembled an army against him. In 1157 he sent his sons, Prince David and Prince Conan, to resist the King, who with his forces were allowed to become entangled in the woods and defiles of Ewloe, and in an action known as that of Coed Ewloe was utterly routed. At this battle were probably present Eustace Fitz-John and Robert de Courci,
5TH SER., VOL. VIII.
two of Henry's barons, also Henry de Essex, the standard-bearer, as we find all three, a few days after, named as certainly fighting at the battle of Coleshill. There Henry de Essex, in a panic, threw down the standard of England, and cried, "The King is dead!" The Welsh defeated a portion of the King's army, but Henry himself appearing, encouraged his men, and eventually gained the victory. A field in Caerfallwch township, not far from Sarn Galed, in Northop parish, is still known as "Cae Harri”. A king is said to have taken refuge among some trees there. Can this have been Henry II after the defeat at Coed Ewloe?
No mention seems to be made of Eustace Fitz-John; but Robert de Courci may have been a kinsman of John de Courci, one of Henry II's most successful and valiant soldiers, to whom in 1176 he granted " Ulidia", the present counties of Down and Antrim in Ireland, and whose wife, Affreca, founded (1193) Grey Abbey, Co. Down, for Cistercians. They had no children. Henry de Essex being accused of treason, six after the battle of Coleshill, by Robert de Montfort, they fought a duel on an island in the Thames, near Reading. The standard-bearer was left for dead, and his body was carried by the monks to their church, where, being stripped of his armour, he revived, and became a monk of the Abbey of Reading.
So far we have heard nothing of Ewloe Castle, for the very simple reason that no castle then existed.
In the 4th Edward II (1311) an inquisition was held upon a writ commanding the Justice of Chester to certify as to the King's right to the manor of Ewloe. From this we find that Owain Gwynedd, some time Prince of Wales, was seized of the manor of Ewloe, in his demesne, as of fee.
On his death (1169), David, his son, entered on the said manor as Prince of Wales, and held it till Llewelyn ap Iorwerth took from him the Principality together with the manor of Ewloe.
Llewelyn ap Iorwerth died seized of the manor, and