There was a good turnout for Dr David Stephenson’s fascinating talk on the turmoil in 12th century Arwystli, a tiny kingdom in the much larger realm of Powys. Arwystli included the village of Llandinam. At that time, Powys stretched from the present Llandindod Wells to Chester. Dr Stephenson’s meticulous research through legal documents of the time, in Latin, led him to names buried deep in the texts which enabled him to link Llandinam directly to the upheaval throughout the region in 1197.
The deaths in that year of Rhys ap Gruffydd (the ‘Prince of Wales’ who ruled the South Wales kingdom of Deheubarth from 1155 to 1197) and local ruler Owain ap Brithdyr, provided the opportunity for the kingdom of Powys to attempt to annex Arwystli. This move was encouraged by two local Llandinam residents, the Abbot of the abbey which stood where St Llonio’s Church is now, and the Archdeacon, a large landowner. In the midst of this confusion, Roger Mortimer of Wigmore (ca 1150s-1214) marched with his forces on Powys, taking it over for England.
Dr Stephenson’s humour and colourful descriptions brought these ancient figures to life, and he had his totally absorbed audience on the edge of their seats until the end.