2014 is Shakespeare’s 450th birthday and as a universal poet – its not surprising that events in the Welsh borderlands inspired his work…so here are some more historical events to think about as you cycle and walk through the borderlands of England and & Wales.
1402 – Owain Glyndwr sacks Knighton and defeats the English at Pilleth,near Whitton. Cycle through this landscape on the Welsh Border Tour, and visualise the big battle at Pilleth. The big Wellingtonia trees on the hillside are planted over a mass burial pit. It was a a significant battle – Shakespeare wote about it in Henry IV Part 1
“ the noble Mortimer,
Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight,
Against the wild and irregular Glendower,
Was by the rude hand of that Welshman taken,
A thousand of his people butchered”
1461 – The Battle of Mortimers Cross -won by Edward duke of York (from Mortimer Castle, was very nearly scuppered at the outset,when troops saw a Sundog (The Parhelion), rise in the morning of the battle – it looked like 3 suns were rising – a bad omen. But Edward of York convinced them it was the sign of the Trinity, and they went on to win the battle and the throne for Edward. You can look out for this & other astrological signs in our clear starry skies, on the Easy Cycle Tour to Wales.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York.
1527 – Birth of John Dee, astrologer, magician, spy at Whitton. Shakespeare again – John Dee was the model for Prospero in The Tempest. He probably visited another Elizabethan courtier who lived at the Radnorshire arms, where you stay on The Easy Tour to Wales. He is also reputed to have drafted the Abracadabra Charm at Cascob church (which you can also visit on this tour) .