Owl at Midnight
a story of Gwenllian the lost Princess of Wales
by Patricia Lennan
The story of the story …
Pen-y-Bryn, previously known as Garth Celyn, Abergwyngregyn
When some years ago Patricia visited her uncle’s house at Abergwyngregyn and discovered that this was where the last native Princess of Wales was born, she was intrigued.
Gwenllian’s birthplace, Pen-y-Bryn
Shortly after Gwenllian was born, her father, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, and her uncle, Dafydd, were cruelly killed by King Edward’s men, and her boy cousins, Llywelyn and Owain were incarcerated in prison for their remaining days. But the Norman king was determined be rid of any heir to the Welsh Principality, even a baby girl was a threat, and so he hunted down the infant Gwenllian and hid her away in a convent at Sempringham, Lincolnshire.
Records show that Gwenllian’s keep was paid for by the King, but she was only a baby when entering the convent and it is possible that she did not know until adulthood who she really was.
These are the bare bones of Gwenllian’s story from which in Owl at Midnight Patricia has brought to life a young woman raised in the ways of a 13th century Gilbertine Abbey.
Building on the premise that Gwenllian was schooled by the nuns in herbal medicine of the time, Patricia opens the possibility of her having contact with the people of the fens, which feeds her interest in the world outside of the abbey and leads her to push at the boundaries that confine her.
It is known that the Welsh people raged against the ruling Norman king, and Patricia develops a parallel plot line of a secret movement working towards restoring the Principality.
If you like historical fiction, you will love this book. It is well researched, with much detail and character development that captures the daily lives of people in Medieval times during the iron rule of Edward I, also known as ‘Longshanks’, then King of England and of a reluctant Wales.
In Patricia’s words:
Wales has a reputation for being a land of myths and legends. She harbours magic in the hollows and hills, in secret places, the rivers and valleys echo with ancient tales. I invite you to step into its narrated history and share an adventure.