Welsh up in arms over new estate named after an English warlord

Helena Horton
·2-min read
De Clare gardens -  WALES NEWS SERVICE
De Clare gardens - WALES NEWS SERVICE

The name of an English nobleman should be removed from a housing development because he led wars against the Welsh, nationalists have said.

A new development in Caerphilly, south Wales, will be named after Gilbert De Clare, who built a castle in the town to keep the Welsh under his control.

De Clare gardens will be built by Redrow homes who have said they used it because they are "proud of their Welsh heritage.

However, local residents have said the name is an "insult" as the man oppressed the Welsh.

Englishman Lord De Clare led wars against the Welsh - and the massacre of 500 Jews at Canterbury in 1265. He is also said to have insisted on leading an attack on South Wales during Edward I's invasion of the country in the 13th century.

However, he was stripped of his position of commander after a devastating defeat near Llandeilo, south Wales.

Caerphilly Councillor Lindsay Whittle said: "Gilbert De Clare built Caerphilly Castle in the 13th century. An ally of Henry III, he had the castle constructed to keep the unruly Welsh people down.

"He is also said to have led the massacre of the Jews at Canterbury, hardly the sort of person you should be naming a development after.

"I'm very surprised that a house-builder with its headquarters in Wales should show such insensitivity. Didn't someone at Redrow do some research on De Clare?

"To give this part of Caerphilly this name is also a total insult to the campaigners who fought Redrow. It gives an impression of Redrow showing contempt for local public opinion."

Cllr Whittle has called on Redrow to scrap the proposed name and discuss a more suitable one with the local community which better reflected modern Wales.

Penyrheol, Trecenydd and Energlyn Community Council has voted to lodge an official objection to the name De Clare Gardens, a Redrow scheme in Hendredenny, Caerphilly

Redrow insist the name is a temporary working name and the council will be consulted over the permanent naming of the site upon completion.

Beverley Wookey, sales director for Redrow in south Wales, said: "As a company headquarted in Wales, we are very proud of our Welsh heritage.

"We choose the temporary working names of our sites to reflect the history and landmarks of local communities.

"This site has been temporarily named after Gilbert De Clare as he built Caerphilly Castle in the 13th century, a fantastic asset for the local community and a popular heritage attraction.

"As with all of our developments, the local authority will have responsibility for naming streets once we have finished on-site, and the temporary development name no longer exists."

This is the latest objection to having a building named after a controversial historic figure. The Black Lives Matter movement has led to multiple places named after slave traders and other famous names with chequered pasts to be renamed.