The Story of Usk - Glyndwr's Revolt

Glyndwr's revolt

1402: Henry IV overthrew Richard II, but faced revolts from Owain Glyndwr (who almost succeeded in unifying Wales as a separate kingdom), the Mortimers, and the Percys in Northumberland.

Usk Castle was sacked by Glyndwr and the town itself burned. Parts of the present Rural Life Museum may predate the burning.

1405: Battle of Pwll Melin: the Welsh (under Glyndwr’s son Gruffydd) were defeated just outside Usk with heavy losses. 300 prisoners were executed near the Castle. Glyndwr’s fortunes waned thereafter.

There was extensive rebuilding in Usk after the burning. The Nook and The Old Malsters near the Museum can be dated back to this period.

1430: Death of Adam of Usk, lawyer, cleric and contemporary of Glyndwr, who chronicled the revolt (and much else). He is buried in St Mary’s.

The Story of Usk - The Tudors 

The Wars of the Roses ended in 1485 when Henry Tudor, the Lancastrian claimant to the throne, gained massive Welsh support and defeated Richard III at Bosworth. He became Henry VII.

1536: Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. In Usk, the Priory was dissolved and the last Prioress, Eleanor Williams, was granted a pension of £9 a year (the other nuns had nothing).

Usk Priory Gatehouse (probably built shortly before the Dissolution) is a rare surviving example of a monastic gatehouse.

Henry VIII’s church reforms were briefly reversed under the Catholic Mary Tudor, but her sister Elizabeth re-established the reformed religion.

She was excommunicated by the Pope and Catholics in turn suffered financial and legal penalties. It was high treason to be a Catholic priest.