Symud i'r prif gynnwys

There is no question that the best-informed evidence available for Henry II's Welsh expedition of 1157 is contained in the four extant versions of the lost Welsh chronicle X. On that evidence the con- clusion seems inescapable that the scene of the ambush and fighting was in 'the wood which was called the wood of Hawarden'. Gerald of Wales's statement that the fighting took place in 'the wood of Coleshill' is rendered ambiguous by the consideration that 'Coleshill' may have referred either to the vill or to the commote of that name. If it was intended by Gerald to convey that the fighting occurred in a wood that was situated within the vill of Coleshill, it would locate the fighting some five or six miles from the wood of Hawarden, and would therefore be incompatible with the better-informed evidence of the Welsh chronicle. If, however, it was intended by Gerald to convey that the fighting occurred in a wood that was situated within the commote of Coleshill, it would not be altogether wide of the mark, especially in its context in the Itinerarium Kambriae. In that context, Gerald was not giving a consecutive account of the campaign of 1157, but was merely making an incidental reference to one particular episode in it, a reference prompted by his recollection of having seen the woods of Coleshill 'on the right-hand side' as he journeyed in 1188 from Basingwerk towards Chester. The area of the commote of Coleshill marched at its south-eastern end with the area of the vill of Hawarden at its north-western end. As Henry II in his fight with the Welsh flank-guard eventually forced his way through into the area of the commote of Coleshill, there may well have been something of a running fight, and a running fight could easily spill over from the Hawarden side to the Coleshill side of the common boundary. That possibility, however, does not affect the central point which is established by the best available evidence- that the place where the sons of Owain Gwynedd waited for Henry II, the place where they 'encountered' him and gave him 'hard battle', was in the wood called 'the wood of Hawarden'. Seventy years earlier the woodland appurtenant to the vill of Hawarden had been described in one of Domesday Book's con- ventional formulae as being 'two leagues long and one league wide'. 28 This statement indicates that Hawarden was estimated in 1086 as having a definitely greater amount of woodland than any of its immediately neighbouring vills.29 The formula itself, however, gives 28 Domesday Book, I, fol. 268b. Flints. Hist. Soc. Pub., XI. 14. The extent of woodland attributed to the neighbouring vills of Hawarden is as follows: Wepre. 1 league long and half a league wide; Golftyn. Leadbrook and Kelsterton, each 1 league long and 1 league wide; Soughton, t league long and 4 acres wide; Broughton and Aston, each 1 league long and 1 league wide.