On October 3rd 1283, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, became the first person to be tried for what later would become high treason against a king, hewas also the first nobleman executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered.
On Palm Sunday 1282 Dafydd ap Gruffydd attacked Hawarden Castle, in so doing, thereby starting the final conflict with Plantagenet-ruled England,King Edward I(Edward the Longshanks), in the course of which Welsh independence was lost.
On 22 June, Dafydd and his younger son Owain ap Dafydd were captured at Nanhysglain, a secret hiding place in a bog by Bera Mountain to the south of Abergwyngregyn. Dafydd, who was seriously wounded in the struggle to arrest him, was conveyed that night to King Edward’s camp at Rhuddlan. Dafydd was taken from there to Chester. Dafydd’s wife Elizabeth de Ferrers, their seven daughters, and their infant niece, Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn, were also taken prisoner at the same time.
On 30 September, Dafydd ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, was condemned to death, the first person known to have been tried and executed for what from that time onwards would be described as high treason against the King. Edward ensured that Dafydd’s death was to be slow and agonising, and also historic; he became the first prominent person in recorded history to have been hanged, drawn and quartered, preceded by a number of minor knights earlier in the thirteenth century. Dafydd was dragged through the streets of Shrewsbury attached to a horse’s tail then hanged alive, revived, then disembowelled and his entrails burned before him for “his sacrilege in committing his crimes in the week of Christ’s passion”, and then his body cut into four-quarters “for plotting the king’s death”. Geoffrey of Shrewsbury was paid 20 shillings for carrying out the gruesome act on 3 October 1283.
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