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Sir Goronwy Edwards had said that two things in special had made the Welsh a nation: the language and the law. Utilising primary sources (namely medieval Welsh literature in the form of the law books), and secondary sources (in particular hi

Free essay example:

Sir Goronwy Edwards argued that in the Middle Ages, the Welsh law coupled with the Welsh language accomplished Wales as a strong, unified nation, which was distinctive from others. [1] Agreeing, Davies states: “Wales had an identity of its own and so did its people. Outsiders had no doubt about that.”[2]Davies continues: “The Welsh were, indeed, for all their differences, a very distinctive people.”[3]The first Norman Bishop of St Davids, Bernard, commented: “The Welsh are entirely different in nation, language, laws and habits, judgements and customs.”[4]It is clearly evident that Wales was an extraordinary nation during the Middle Ages, and it excelled due to the Welsh medieval laws. John Davies remarks: “The Law is among the most splendid creations of the Welsh. For centuries it was a powerful symbol of their unity and identity.”[5]The laws unified Wales and brought forth culture and sophistication, as Rhys and Brynmor-Jones observe: “We think that these ancient Welsh laws are truthful evidence of the condition of the society during the centuries in which they were in operation in Wales and that they represent a natural and spontaneous growth of civilisation.”[6]There is no doubting the significance of the Welsh medieval laws in shaping the nation. Utilising primary sources (namely medieval Welsh literature in the form of the law books), and secondary sources (in particular historical opinion), I will evaluate the distinctiveness of the Welsh medieval laws and their importance in the maintenance of a distinctive national consciousness.

It is necessary to briefly assess the historical context and look at the situation in Wales before any laws were codified. Following the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, Wales continued to be influenced by the Romans. Archaeological evidence produced in South-East Wales confirms this, as well as other remaining Roman customs such as the iron and lead industries, and the continued use of Roman titles, for example, Emrys Wledig. Latin remained influential; this can be seen on memorials, where Latin inscriptions are contained. Watkin describes the situation with regards to the Church: “The Church within Britain after the Romans left definitely maintained what can only be described as cultural Romanism.”[7]Jocelyn Toynbee concludes that following the Roman period, the Christian faith in Wales was “thoroughly Roman in creed and origin; Roman, too, initially, in its organisation and practice.”[8] Regarding the law in Wales, Carr comments that Rome was “the fount of all legitimate authority.”[9] It is very likely that the Romans did have an influence on the law; however evidence directs us to the fact that this was not the only influence. The native Welsh preserved some of their customs from before the Roman period and through the Romanisation of Britain, and the Irish and Christianity would have played a part. It is fair to assume that in this period, following the fall of the Romans and before the codification of the Welsh medieval laws, Wales was somewhat lacking in a common, distinctive national consciousness. Wade-Evans explains the situation in Wales: “From its earliest conscious beginnings in the fifth and sixth centuries, where we discern a number of small patriotic communities gradually cohering as they become more and more conscious of their common life.”[10] The question therefore is how did Wales unite and identify its national consciousness? The answer stems from Hywel Dda, with the codification of the medieval Welsh laws.

At the time when the Welsh laws were codified, there was not a clear political entity, as Dafydd Jenkins explains: “Wales was not a political unit in the Middle Ages. It was not a single ‘country’ under one ruler, but a collection of countries whose pattern was always changing.”[11] Hywel Dda was one such ruler, and he made a significant impact on Welsh law. By 942, Hywel became King of Dyfed, controlling all of Wales, except for the south-east. Hywel was well known for his calmness: “What is most striking about the reign of Hywel is its great peacefulness.” [12] He was therefore appropriately known as Howel the Good. It is common belief that he was responsible for codifying the medieval laws of Wales:  “It is during his reign on his initiative that the extant native laws of Wales are traditionally said to have been reduced to writing.”[13] Wade-Evans agrees: “Howel therefore between 943 and 950 was clearly in an excellent position to move with regard to the revision and codification of Welsh law and custom, if so minded; and the evidence that he was so minded is ample.”[14] The surviving law texts (which I will discuss later in the paper) state that six men from every cantref were summoned by Hywel Dda to assemble at Whitland. Here, the laws of the Welsh were examined, where they were amended, removed or added too. Chadwick[15] stated that the laws could only be changed in a similar assembly, and it is also said that the laws could not go against the emperor or the Church.[16]

The laws were to be followed throughout Wales;[17] this is the first sign of a distinct national consciousness, as every inhabitant of Wales had to adhere to the Welsh medieval laws, unifying the nation.  Davies however, argues that the Welsh medieval laws were too extravagant and could not effectively be implemented, their only purpose being to create an illusion of Welsh unity: “They doubtless protest too much and are to be interpreted as a deliberate attemptto manufacture an ideology of national unity.”[18]Despite this,Davies does not doubt its effectiveness in achieving that goal: “In that respect they succeeded.”[19] The people of Wales were very respectful towards the law: “He who will not give right (or law) has no place in a country.”[20]Carr agrees that the laws greatly helped in unifying Wales: “There can be no doubting that the laws of Hywel were regarded in later centuries as a major focus of unity for the Welsh people.”[21]Thus, in the politically distorted, fragile nation of Wales, the law assisted in binding the people, and unifying their national consciousness.

The medieval Welsh laws focussed more on reconciliation rather than punishing the wrongdoers, highlighting the distinctiveness of the laws. Many historians[22] have argued that the law would not be efficient in a complex Welsh society, because essentially, medieval Wales was very primitive. Disagreeing with these opinions, Dafydd Jenkins, who has admirable perspicacity, has illustrated that the medieval Welsh law “contained elements of mercy, common sense and respect for women and children which would be lacking in the Law of England until very recently.”[23] I agree with Dafydd Jenkins, the Welsh medieval laws were very advanced and practical, and therefore made the nation unique. Thomas Glyn Watkin agrees: “The detail the law books supply with regard to the judicial processes of the Welsh laws go far to revealing their sophistication.”[24]

As discussed, the medieval Welsh laws are believed to be codified by Hywel Dda. However, the only remaining sources of the Welsh law are known as the law books, and were written about 250 years after the death of Hywel Dda. Wade-Evans reinforces the idea that these law books were based on the codification by Hywel Dda: “These Welsh medieval law books bear so strong a general resemblance to one another that it can hardly be doubted but that they are all based on one ultimate original.”[25] Despite Hywel Dda being the main instrumental person in codifying the law, other iconic figures influenced the law, Maund, in his book of Welsh Kings[26], describes how Bleddyn ap Cynfyn was one such figure.

The laws were based on the customs of native Welsh people[27] (a Volksrecht). This illustrates the fact that Wales was distinctive, that native law was to be preserved and pleasing the Welsh people was at the forefront; a driving force behind the maintenance of its distinctive national consciousness. Dafydd Jenkins comments on how exceptional the Welsh law books are: “There seems to be nothing in medieval legal literature which is quite like these Welsh law books.”[28]Therefore, Wales was exclusive in its judiciary, and ahead of other nations, marking itself off as a “potent force”.[29]

The striking fact about these law books is that they display the evolving nature of Welsh law to fit with the changing customs, and political landscape, of the Welsh nation. If a contrast needs to be drawn between Wales and another nation; medieval Irish law was static: “sacred, unchanging, and obsolete canon.”[30] Whereas, Welsh medieval law was flexible: “responding (albeit slowly) to social changes and to legal ideas.”[31]

The ability for the Welsh jurists to update the law shows the capability and sophistication of the learned Welsh people. Edwards comments on how the jurists advanced the law from the time of Hywel: “They built on foundations which he had laid, and when they rebuilt, that they did so with stones which he had hewn.”[32]The intelligence of the jurists can be compared to the tradition of poetry, which is deep in Welsh history. This link furthers the distinctiveness of the Welsh people, and demonstrates their talent in literacy, ensuring the maintenance of national consciousness.

The law books therefore are pieces of legal literature which tie together historical traditions with modern customs, proof of the developing Welsh law through the Middle Ages. These compilations are evidence of the special ability that medieval Welsh law has in ensuring the distinctiveness of the Welsh. The fact that the Welsh people follow the laws, and the fact that the Welsh law evolves to suit the people is a perfect example of how Wales was united with a national consciousness. I will now look at different areas of the Welsh medieval law, discussing and paying most attention to the distinctive areas.

The first area which requires discussion are the laws of the King’s court. The law books emphasise the rights of the king, this is because: “for the consolidation of royal power was one of the main aims of those who compiled them.”[33]The king was the figure who would control the nation; his aims have a direct impact on the maintenance of a distinctive national consciousness, therefore, it is right that he is afforded such powers. In each law book, the law regarding the king is the first area to appear. An important law to mention relates to the queen; she has a higher status than the court officials and also receives one third of the king’s income which she is to use for personal matters.[34] This is an excellent example of one of the primary features of Welsh medieval law; the status of women. Welsh women in the Middle Ages are treated remarkably well, considering the time. The law of women will be examined further in the paper.  The king can choose his successor from his immediate male relations; however persons with a physical disability are not permitted.  This however is contradictory to native Welsh tradition, whereby succession would pass through the sons. This was the case with Rhodri Mawr and Cadell. Therefore, because the law books state that a successor can now be chosen, this is a clearly contrary to native tradition and hinders the ability for Wales to maintain a national consciousness.  This is further supported by the possibility that the law on succession may be mirroring Diocletian; the Roman Empire reforms, and also Irish Law.  The law of Hywel Dda was customary law, however, Davies suggests: “The first step towards public law has been taken when the state insists upon at least a portion of a fine.” The law books state that a third of the galanas belonged to the king; also he received the maerdred and the dawnbwyd. Does this represent a shift in customary law towards public law? If one agrees with Davies’s suggestion, then it would imply that the Welsh medieval laws relating to the King are going against tradition and national consciousness.

Social structure is an interesting area in the Welsh law books. The law books state that men were not equal; they were either free or unfree.  The free classification included the bonheddwyr and the relations of the king. The unfree included the taeogion (villains) and caethion (slaves). Over half[35] of the population of Wales were part of the free classification. In the Middle Ages, most of the other nations in Europe “lived in a degree of bondage”,[36]thusemphasising the distinctiveness of the Welsh laws.  However, recent research[37] by Leslie Alcock suggests that in reality, most were of the unfree status, and a note in the Domesday Book[38] confirms this. Therefore, the free and unfree classifications seem to produce conflicting arguments when determining their importance in the maintenance of a distinctive national consciousness, and thus they should not be relied upon.

Alcock, among other historians,[39] believes that the law relating to the cenedl originates from the ancient Celtic way of life.[40]Cenedl describes a tribal unit which has an agnatic descent. This shows that ancient Welsh traditions have remained strong, adding to the national consciousness of Wales.

The Welsh had always distinguished themselves from other nations, and this distinction was made official in the law books. This law ensured the unity of the Cymro (Welsh), and marked them off from the alltud (Alien). This is a great representation of a Welsh medieval law which ensures the maintenance of a distinctive national consciousness. Davies agrees: “That definition was a cardinal affirmation of the distinctiveness of Wales as a country and of the Welsh as a people.”[41] The alltud were given certain advantages when in Wales: “The custom of the Welsh was that such a visitor was not to be refused food and hospitality.”[42] Free assistance was given to the alltud during litigation, and if the alltud remained on the same land for four generations (provided it was under the commendation of a lord) they would become free Welsh. The treatment of the alltud is remarkable and shows the Welsh as a generous people, however I cannot say it makes the Welsh distinctive, because it is similar to the Irish, and the Burgundian laws of Gundobad[43].

The Welsh medieval laws relating to women and children are, in my opinion, the most distinctive and remarkable of all the laws.[44]  It is far superior to the law of other nations, where women were considered as the property of their men folk. Davies agrees: “The status of women under the Law of Wales was in many ways higher than it was under others of the legal systems of Europe.”[45] In England, a husband gained unrestricted access to the property of his wife; this was not the case in Wales.  Children were not without rights. Compensation was permitted if a husband was unfaithful to his wife,[46] or a woman was the victim of rape,[47] and divorce was justifiable: “Every woman is to go the way she willeth freely, for she is not to be home-returning.”[48] Rhys and Brynmor-Jones remark: “One of the most noticeable things about the status of women in these laws is the freedom accorded to her both before and after marriage.”[49]Dafydd Jenkins suggests that “The Law kept the Church in its place.”[50] This is totally different from other nations, marriage was seen as a contract, and the law realised that marriage could come to an end and so accounted for such a scenario. This is a very modern way of thinking, evidence that the Welsh Medieval laws were advanced and distinctive. The fact that women had such rights ensured that a distinct national consciousness was maintained. The law on martial separation is similar to Roman law; therefore, this indicates that the Romans could have possibly had an influence. Despite this, the Welsh law can still be compared to other nations where the Romans would have had an influence too, and yet the Welsh decided to continue giving rights to women rather than removing them. The law books gave guidance on areas such as division of property if a divorce was to occur, Jenkins and Owen comment: “The rules are no doubt meant to ensure that both parties are reasonably provided for.”[51] This furthers the argument that the law relating to women ensured the maintenance of a distinct national consciousness.

Much to the resentment of the Canon law, children did not have to be of a legitimate relation to their father in order to inherit property. As long as a father was prepared to acknowledge a child, that child would have rights.  The following passage from one of the law books describes the rule:

The law of the church says that no one is entitled to patrimony [tref tat] save the father’s eldest son by the proper wife [o’r wreyc pryaut]. The law of Hywel adjudges it to the youngest son as to the eldest, and judges that the father’s sin and his illegality should not be set against the son for his patrimony.”[52]

 Davies comments: “The chasm between legitimate and illegitimate children was foreign to the Law of Wales.[53]  The above two references highlight the advanced thinking of the Welsh medieval Law. In the majority of nations during the Middle Ages, giving an illegitimate son rights would be unthinkable. Yet in Wales it was practiced, and practiced successfully. It bears a slight resemblance to the modern day method of adoption, therefore it emphasises the distinctiveness of the Welsh medieval law.

Property law was governed by the practice of cyfran. The uchelwyr enjoyed land rights collectively. In charge of the household would be the penteulu, and the name of the family holding was gwely. When the penteulu died, the tir gwelya would pass to the deceased’s sons who would then own it jointly. This system is very similar to the practice under the Roman consortium, and also comparable to the medieval Irish practice. These similarities would lead one to believe that this was not a Welsh tradition, and thus did not add to the national consciousness of Wales. However, on closer inspection, Green and Howell in their text Celtic Wales[54] show that there is evidence that the roots of cyfran are buried deep in Welsh history; in the Iron Age. Therefore, cyfran is a native Welsh tradition which dates back countless years. This continuation of tradition demonstrates that parts of the Welsh Law are based on long-standing tradition, reiterating the maintenance of national consciousness. However, Roman influence continues to be seen in other areas of medieval Welsh property law. The Welsh laws regarding the separation of boundaries,[55] whereby they should be distinctly separated, mirrors Roman practice. Watkin comments on similarities with the Roman law on the acquisition of other property, most notably, the law that if a fish was caught using a trap or similar device, then the fish would be divided between the lord and the captor: “The law books also discuss the acquisition of other forms of property in a manner which is very reminiscent of the works of the Roman jurists.”[56]Another reflection of Roman Practice can be seen with succession. It has been shown that in South Wales daughters would take equal shares to sons when succeeding land from the deceased.[57]  These Roman influences therefore question the validity of the distinctiveness of the Welsh medieval law on property, the laws are not solely from the Welsh people, so it could be said that it does not even add to the maintenance of national consciousness.

The Welsh medieval law on contract heavily echoes the Roman contract law, so I will not discuss those areas as it clearly does not add to the distinctiveness of the Welsh Law. However, there is one major point which warrants a mention, the point of cyfnewid (sale and exchange). Watkin explains: “One major difference between the Welsh laws and Roman law was their refusal to differentiate between sale and exchange.”[58] The Welsh regarded sale as a form of exchange, one possible reason for this was the lack of a currency. The fact that all commercial transactions were completed by exchange emphasises the distinctiveness of cyfnewid. As a nation without a currency, the law books were able to maintain a national consciousness by expressing contract law whereby transactions were by way of exchange; a perfect example of the distinctiveness of the Welsh.

Within the Welsh medieval law of wrong-doing, there were three columns; homicide, theft and arson. The most characteristic feature about the laws of wrong-doing is the preference to compensate rather than harsh punishment. An example is the galanas, which is a fine paid to the kindred of a killed man. Davies comments: “It represented an attempt to tame the desire to shed blood in avenging a wrong.”[59]This illustrates the attitude of the Welsh people, they knew that bloodshed was not preferable, and so ensured that compensation was a viable alternative. This played a successful part in the maintenance of their national consciousness. Another intriguing law is that there was an honour-price for unborn children, protecting them, suggesting “ecclesiastical influence”.[60] This emphasises the advancement and benevolence of the Welsh laws. There is a link to the ancient tradition of the Druidic status in that a king, priest and a bard could escape punishment.  This highlights the fact that ancient Welsh customs impacted on the medieval Welsh laws, demonstrating the distinctiveness. If a person was subject to a verbal insult, they would receive a payment from the wrongdoer, this was known as sarhad, and has resemblances to the ancient Celtic customs. Again, proving the distinctiveness of Welsh law.  Jenkins appropriately concludes the situation relating to the law wrong-doing: “The medieval Welsh lawyers seem to have a clearer vision than their Englishcontemporaries (and indeed, a clearer vision than most twentieth-century English lawyers).”[61] I completely agree.

A thought-provoking area of the administration of Welsh law is iudex qui litem suam fecit (the wrong doing of a judge because of his own cause). This has striking similarities with Roman law. If it was found that a judge gave an incorrect judgement, the judge could be sued and disqualified from judging. In the modern day, this law would be very harsh, but in medieval Wales, it strengthened the nation. The realisation in the law books that a judge could be wrong and thus must be made answerable is further evidence of the distinctiveness of the law. The role of the judge was very different in medieval Wales to the present day, as Maitland explains: “in modern courts, trial precedes judgement; in medieval courts, judgement precedes proof.”[62] Therefore, the punishment of a judge was fitting, and helped maintain the national consciousness.

Several of the laws I have discussed have a Roman influence, so because of this, we must consider whether the Welsh medieval law was actually distinctly Welsh. It is not a unique Welsh trait if the law was influenced by the Romans; however, since the Romans were in Wales for many centuries and actually Romanised Wales, there is a counter argument. Because the Romans were such a big part of Welsh history, it could be said that they helped shape Wales into the nation it was in the Middle Ages, and the nation it is today. If there was no influence by the Romans, perhaps Wales would be far less sophisticated than it was when codifying and producing such laws. Consequently, I believe that the Roman influence did actually play a minor part in the distinctiveness of the Welsh laws, and the maintenance of a national consciousness. The Romans had a link to the sophistication of the Welsh, and this link had an impact on the fact that Wales was recognised as a potent force.

The Welsh medieval laws I have examined indicate how they were distinctive and unique, and how they were important in maintaining a distinctive national consciousness. However, there are several points which require discussion. Hywel Dda, who originally codified the laws, was a great admirer of Alfred of Wessex. Some argue that this admiration possibly influenced his law-making. Hywel Dda went on a pilgrimage to Rome to meet with the Pope, again possibly influencing the law-making. Therefore, there is a very minor argument that the Welsh laws were codified because of outside influences, this would lead to the Welsh laws not being as distinctive. Harding suggests that the story of Hywel codifying the law was myth,[63] created for political purposes. However, Jenkins dismisses that argument: “This certainly goes too far.”[64]I agree with Jenkins, as discussed earlier in the paper, all evidence suggests that Hywel was the person who codified the laws, and initiated the beginning of a distinctive national consciousness through the laws. We must also keep in mind that these law books may contain invalid or out of date information, Jenkins explains: “They may on the one hand be obsolete; on the other hand they may sometimes set out, not the actual practice of the time, but what the compiler thought ought to be the practice.”[65]Therefore, we should not place all our stones in one basket with regards to these Welsh law books; however, they are the only evidence we have, so we must appreciate their worth.

In the statement by Sir Goronwy Edwards, he observed that as well as the law, the Welsh language also marked the Welsh off from other nations and strengthened the national consciousness.  I will therefore briefly consider the extent to which the Welsh language impacted Wales as a nation, and a few other minor points regarding the Welsh.  Davies states “Language and a common literacy tradition were other important elements in creating an awareness of Welshness.”[66]The Welsh language was the symbol of being Welsh, unifying the nation and separating itself from others. If an individual could not speak Welsh, they would be branded as an alien. Davies goes on to state: “Language was becoming one of the badges of national identity.”[67]The Welsh language had a tremendous impact on the maintenance of a national consciousness, and since the law was written in Welsh, Wales marked itself off from other nations as a distinctive potent force: “Since Welsh was the language of the law, the Welsh language had a publicly-expressed dignity which English did not have in England.”[68]The Welsh also excelled in literacy during the middle ages and this helped distinguish Wales: “Literacy tradition also played its part in forging a sense of common Welsh identity.”[69]Koch explains: “Hywel’s period was marked by an outburst of literacy activity.”[70]This further distinguishes the Welsh from other nations, and is an excellent symbol of the sophistication, talent and intelligence of the Welsh people. Furthermore, the Welsh were known as the Cymry, Davies explains: “which highlighted their awareness of themselves as ‘compatriots’.”[71]Pryce comments on the significance of such names: “The names used to define countries and peoples have figured prominently in studies of how national identities were articulated in modern Europe.”[72] This emphasises the fact that by calling themselves the Cymry, the Welsh were forging a distinctive national identity, maintaining and improving their national consciousness. Pryce comments on how historians identify if national identity was present in the Middle Ages: This was based partly on a shared language and culture, often reinforced by a belief in common origins, and partly on a sense of belonging to a particular territory.” [73]Wales in the Middle Ages certainly had all of these traits, and therefore, in my eyes, certainly had a distinctive national identity.

I have thoroughly discussed the distinctive Welsh medieval laws, and how they contributed in maintaining a national consciousness. In the centuries following the fall of the Roman Empire, Hywel Dda made a significant milestone in Welsh history; the codification of the Welsh laws.  Around 250 years after the death of Hywel Dda, the first of the Welsh law books was written. The law books contain the customary medieval Welsh laws from the time of Hywel and most of Middle Ages. The law books spell out the law on many areas, including; the King’s court, social structure, family, property, contract, wrong-doing and the administration of law. Each of these areas I have examined in detail, and argued their impact on the distinctiveness of Welsh law. The law of women and children, for example, was well ahead of its time and a hallmark of the success of Welsh medieval law. It is clear that the medieval laws unified the Welsh people, and gave the nation a unique identity; Davies agrees with this: “Welsh law had been converted into a potent symbol of Welsh national identity.”[74]This statement concurs with Sir Goronwy Edwards, where he said that Wales was a ‘potent force’. Watkin also agrees: “The laws remained a focus of unity.”[75]Finally, Jenkins confidently asserts: “So we Welsh can show good reason for our pride in the native law of our country; and for us our old law is of special significance as one of the elements which made it possible for a politically fragmented people to attain a consciousness of nationhood.”[76] There is no doubt from myself, and the aforementioned historians, that the Welsh medieval laws were distinctive, sophisticated and advanced. They evolved through time to accommodate changing Welsh customs and outside influences, whilst continuing to accommodate the native Welsh traditions. The laws, coupled with the Welsh language and literacy talent truly established the Cymry as an extraordinary nation of people. All of this led to the unification of the Welsh, a unique national identity, and most importantly, a distinctive national consciousness, throughout the Middle Ages.

Word count: 4896

Bibliography

Books

A.D. Carr, Medieval Wales (New York : Macmillan 1995)

Chadwick, The Celts (Penguin History 1998)

Dafydd Jenkins, The Law of Hywel Dda, (Gomer 2000)

John Davies, A History of Wales (Penguin Publishing, 2007)

R. R. Davies, The age of conquest : Wales, 1063-1415  (Oxford University Press 2000)

A.W. Wade-Evans, Welsh Medieval Law: Being a text of the Laws of Howel The Good (OCP 1909)

Green and Howell, Celtic Wales (2007)

John Rhys and Brnmor-Jones, Welsh People, (AMC 2001)

John T Koch, Celtic Culture (2006)

Maund, Welsh Kings, (The History Press 2006)

Dafydd Jenkins and Morfydd E. Owen, The Welsh Law of Women  (1980)

Thomas G. Watkin, The Legal History of Wales, (University of Wales Press, 2007)

Articles

J.C.M. Toynbee ‘Christianity in Roman Britain’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association (3rd ser.), 16 (1963), 1-124

L. Alcock ‘Some reflections on early Welsh society and economy’, WHR, 2(1) (1964-5)

A. Harding, [1984] Judicial Review, 110; ct. A. D. Carr, A Look at Hywel’s Law, 10-12

Pryce, British or Welsh? National Identity in Twelfth Century Wales, English Historical Review, 2001

Other Materials

Huw Pryce, http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/welsh-history/articles/2010/09/17/a-new-history-of-wales-are-we-welsh-or-are-we-british-91466-27289240/, accessed on 20/01/2011


[1]Professor Dafydd Jenkins, The Law of Hywel Dda (1986), Introduction

[2] R. R. Davies, The Age of Conquest (2000), page 15

[3] Ibid.

[4]Episc. Acts, i, p. 259 (D. 121)

[5] John Davies, A History of Wales (1994), page 88

[6] John Rhys and Brynmor-Jones, Welsh People (2001), page 188

[7] Thomas Glyn Watkin, The Legal History of Wales, (2007), page 29

[8] J.C.M. Toynbee ‘Christianity in Roman Britain’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association (3rd ser.), 16 (1963), 1-124 at 24; Thomas, Christianity,pp. 274, 355

[9] Carr, Medieval Wales, page 4

[10] A.W. Wade-Evans, Welsh Medieval Law: Being a text of The Laws of Howel The Good (1909), page xli

[11] Dafydd Jenkins, The Law of Hywel Dda (1986), Introduction

[12] Dafydd Jenkins, The Law of Hywel Dda (1986), xii

[13] Thomas Glyn Watkin, The Legal History of Wales, (2007), page 44

[14] A.W. Wade-Evans, Welsh Medieval Law: Being a text of The Laws of Howel The Good (1909), page xxii

[15] Chadwick, Celts, page 110-11

[16] Ellis, I, 6; Jenkins, The Law, page 1; Llyfr Iorwerth, 1

[17]Llyfr Iorwerth, ed. A. R. William (Cardiff, 1960), 1

[18] R. R. Davies, The Age of Conquest (2000), page 18

[19] Ibid

[20] An ancient Welsh aphorism. Llyfr Colan, ed. D. Jenkins (Cardiff, 1963), 553

[21] Carr, Medieval Wales, page 67-8

[22] For example, Maitland

[23]  John Davies, A History of Wales (1994), page 88

[24] Thomas Glyn Watkin, The Legal History of Wales, (2007), page 74

[25] A.W. Wade-Evans, Welsh Medieval Law: Being a text of The Laws of Howel The Good (1909), page Introduction

[26] Maund, Welsh Kings, p.94

[27] Thomas Glyn Watkin, The Legal History of Wales, (2007), page 48, states:

“The native laws were essentially the customs of the people.”

[28] Dafydd Jenkins, The Law of Hywel Dda (1986), xxvi

[29] Sir Goronwy Edwards - Professor Dafydd Jenkins, The Law of Hywel Dda (1986), Introduction

[30] R. R. Davies, The Age of Conquest (2000), page 134

[31] Ibid

[32] J. G. Edwards, CLP 60

[33] John Davies, A History of Wales (1994), page 94

[34] Ellis, I, 31; Llyfr Blegywryd, 4/1-5

[35] Surveys prepared around 1300

[36] John Davies, A History of Wales (1994), page 90

[37] Alcock encountered great difficulty when attempting to identify a free classification among the Britons of the age of Arthur

[38]Domesday Book on the cantref of Tegeingl 1086

[39] Chadwick, Carr, Jenkins, Jones

[40] L. Alcock ‘Some reflections on early Welsh society and economy’, WHR, 2(1) (1964-5)

[41] Davies, The Age of Conquest (2000), page 19

[42] Thomas Glyn Watkin, The Legal History of Wales, (2007), page 53

[43] Ellis, I, 165, 168

[44] Dafydd Jenkins, The Law of Hywel Dda (1986), xxix, comments:

An observer coming to the Welsh law books for the first time is likely to be most sharply struck by the juxtaposition of crudity and sophistication in the texts: this is most obvious in the tractate on the law of women.”

[45] John Davies, A History of Wales (1994), page 92

[46] A fine of five shillings was payable for the first time of being unfaithful. Following that, a pound for the second.

[47] The Cyfnerth and Blegywyrd texts indicate that sarhaed should be payable to the victim of rape

[48] “Anc. Laws” i., p.97

[49] John Rhys and Brynmor-Jones, Welsh People (2001), page 209

[50] Ibid

[51] Dafydd Jenkins and Morfydd E. Owen, The Welsh Law of Women  (1980), page 84

[52] Ior 87/5, 6.

[53] John Davies, A History of Wales (1994), page 93

[54] Green and Howell, Celtic Wales, 2007

[55] Wade Evans, Welsh Law, page 206:

requiring two furrows between each erw, three or four feet between each rhandir, five feet or one-and-a-half fathoms between trefi, seven feet between each cwmwd and nine feet between neighbouring cantrefi.”

[56] Thomas Glyn Watkin, The Legal History of Wales, (2007), page 62

[57] Ellis, I, 389

[58] Thomas Glyn Watkin, The Legal History of Wales, (2007), page 50

[59] John Davies, A History of Wales (1994), page 92

[60] Thomas Glyn Watkin, The Legal History of Wales, (2007), page 54

[61] Dafydd Jenkins, The Law of Hywel Dda (1986), xxx

[62] Thomas Glyn Watkin, The Legal History of Wales, (2007), page 71

[63] A. Harding, [1984] Judicial Review, 110; ct. A. D. Carr, A Look at Hywel’s Law, 10-12

[64] Dafydd Jenkins, The Law of Hywel Dda (1986),page  xxx

[65] Ibid, page xxii

[66] Davies, The Age of Conquest (2000), page 17

[67] Ibid

[68] Dafydd Jenkins, The Law of Hywel Dda (1986), xxxvii

[69] Davies, The Age of Conquest  (2000) page 17

[70] John T Koch, Celtic Culture (2006), page 946

[71] Davies, The Age of Conquest (2000) page 19

[72] Pryce, British or Welsh? National Identity in Twelfth Century Wales, English Historical Review, 2001

[73] Huw Pryce, http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/welsh-history/articles/2010/09/17/a-new-history-of-wales-are-we-welsh-or-are-we-british-91466-27289240/, accessed on 20/01/2011

[74] Davies, The Age of Conquest (2000) page 18

[75] Thomas Glyn Watkin, The Legal History of Wales, (2007), page 48

[76] Dafydd Jenkins, The Law of Hywel Dda (1986), xxxvii

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