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RHUDDLAN MARSH, ALLEGED SITE OF BATTLE IN 795 A D; MORFA RHUDDLAN, TOWYN

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 404808

Map Reference SH97NE

Grid Reference SH97707880

Unitary (Local) Authority Conwy

Old County Denbighshire

Community Kinmel Bay and Towyn

Type of Site BATTLE SITE

Broad Class DEFENCE

Period Early Medieval

Site Description Alleged site of the battle of Rhuddlan Marsh in 795 AD. There seems to be confusion between possible battles at Rhuddlan Marsh (Denbighshire) in 795 and Rhuddlan (Flintshire) in 796 (nprn 404839):
"This is a spot between the farms of Gors and Towyn which the Ordnance Survey authorities mark as the 'Site of Battle between Saxons and Welsh, A.D. 795'. A disastrous defeat of the Welsh is the subject of the well-known lament 'Morfa Rhuddlan.' There may have been a more than usually sanguinary encounter between the Northumbrian Angles and the Welsh within a year or two of the year 795, but there is no historical or archaeological justification for fixing upon any particular spot in the wide-stretching flat land around Rhuddlan as the scene of the battle. It is simply described in the Annales Cambriae, under the year 796, as 'bellum Rudglann' [=battle [at or of] Rhuddlan]. Visited, 2nd August, 1912."
Source: RCAHMW, Denbighs Inventory, 1914, p.6, no.13.
The Ordnance Survey 6in map of 1878 shows the site as: "Morfa-Rhuddlan Site of Battle (between the Saxons and Welsh fought in 795)" at National Grid Reference SH 9830 7830. Later editions of both 6in and 25in maps show the annotation centred at SH 9770 7880. The source for either location is unknown. There is no map indication of a battle at or near Rhuddlan.
In 796, the year of the death of Offa, a battle was fought at Rhuddlan, between the Mercians and the Welsh in which it may be conjectured the English sought to defend their new frontier in Tegeingl.
Source: J.E.Lloyd, A History of Wales, vol I, 1912, p.201.
796: "And king Offa and Maredydd, king of Dyfed, died. And there was a battle at Rhuddlan."
Source: Thomas Jones, The Chronicle of the Princes, 1955, p.5.
The Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust records that 'Cae Coch Red Field' (No. 102010) (at Morfa Rhuddlan, where the Ordnance Survey annotation appears) is the alleged site of the retreat of Welsh forces after the battle of Rhuddlan Marsh Field, but nothing is visible or has ever been found in the area to confirm this; and also that 'the battle of Morva Rhuddlan where King Offa defeated the Welsh' took place to the south of Rhuddlan castle in 796 (no.70790).
B.A.Malaws, RCAHMW, 30 August 2006.