Parc le Breos takes its name from the Norman de Breos family, of whom there are various spellings such as Braose, Brewys, Breuse, and even Bruce on the sign by Giant’s Grave. The de Breos family came to
During the reign of King John in 1203 the Lordship of Gower was granted to a William de Breos who died in 1212. Of particular interest is his grandson, a William de Breos who was born in Brecon around 1197, and who succeeded his father Reginald de Breos (after whom Reynoldston is named) to the Lordship in 1227. This de Breos was particularly detested by the Welsh, being called Gwilym Ddu, or Black William. He was captured near
The entry in 1230 for the Chronicle of Ystrad Fflur (Strata Florida, the abbey in Cardiganshire) states: “In this year William de Breos the Younger, lord of Brycheiniog, was hanged by the Lord Llywelyn in Gwynedd, after he had been caught in Llywelyn's chamber with the king of England's daughter, Llywelyn's wife." This probably took place at Llywelyn’s residence at Abergwyngregyn in north-east Gwynedd. The Abbot of Vaundey recorded: “On 2nd of May…. he was hanged on a tree, and this not privily or in the night time, but openly and in the broad daylight, in the presence of more than 800 men assembled to behold the piteous and melancholy spectacle.” To hang a nobleman as if he were a common thief was a particular insult which threatened to bring the English king’s wrath down upon the Welsh. Siwan herself died seven years later and was buried in Llanfaes Friary, near present-day Beaumaris in
These events form the basis of “Siwan”, the major 1956 dramatic poem in Welsh by playwright Saunders Lewis, who lived in
Thankfully historians Gerald Gabb and Derek Draisey have studied the maze of persons named William de Breos, and are well equipped to handle enquiries about that family.