Subject: Links: Medieval Wales
This week's Links list is, by request, about Medieval Wales. There is a good
number of pages out there on Medieval Wales, but not as many as other areas
of the UK. There do seem to be several published books on the subject, so a
jaunt over to Amazon.com , Barnes and Noble (BN.com) or Borders might be in
order. In addition, I have found reference to a booklet on Medieval Welsh
Clothing by Mistress Tangwystle (Heather Rose Jose) which she
self-published. She is an amazing resource on many subjects and a true
blessing to the SCA. If you are burning to know more about Welsh Costume it
might be worthwhile to find a way to contact her. I suggest that one person
per list volunteer to do the contacting to save her the hassle of responding
to everyone who might wish to know. This Links list is forwarded all over
the known world, thus some courtesy in requesting her attention would be a
good thing. I do not personally have her email address.
As always please share this list where it will find a ready audience.
Remember that not everyone wants to recieve multiple copies of this list,
Early Medieval Wales
(Site Excerpt) Towards the end of the 6th century the Angles and Saxons in
eastern Britain began to entertain designs on the western lands. The
inability of the independent western peoples to unify against this threat
left the most powerful kingdom, Gwynedd, as the center of cultural and
political resistance, a position it has retained until today. The weaker
groups were unable to hold the invaders and after the Battle of Dyrham, near
Gloucester in 577, the Britons in Cornwall were separated from those in
Wales who became similarly cut off from their northern kin in Cumbria after
the Battle of Chester in 616.
Money and Coins in Wales
Medieval to Modern Times
(Site Excerpt) Did any of the native rulers of Wales issue their own coins
and how does the experience of Wales compare with that of Ireland? There is
a half a chapter on numismatics in the book by Ian Jack: Jack, R. Ian.
Medieval Wales. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1972. ISBN 0 340 12694 9.
Jack has a couple of pages on the coin struck for Hywel Dda in the 10th
century and briefly discusses claims that other Welsh princes issued coins.
The only one of these that Jack attaches much credence to is a report by
Edward Lhuyd in 1698 that the Bishop of Bangor told him that one of his
relations had possessed a coin issued by Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, or Llywelyn
the Great, (who became Prince of Gwynedd in about 1197 and extended his rule
over much of the rest of Wales in the next two decades, his reign ending
with his death in 1240). Lhyud said that the Bishop (whose knowledge of Old
Welsh was claimed by Lhyud himself to be even greater than his own) had
shown the coin to many of his acquaintances who confirmed his story.
About.com : Geraldus Cambrensis
This site is a list of links on the life of this Important Welsh Personage.
A DECORATIVE MAP OF MEDIEVAL WALES (Retailer)
(Site Excerpt) The map of medieval Wales shows the distribution and spelling
of the place-names of Wales as they were in AD 1267, the year that Llewelyn
ap Griffith, also known as Llewelyn the Last, the grandson of Llewellyn the
Great, signed the Treaty of Montgomery with Henry III of England. The treaty
marked the apogee of Welsh power, just ten years before the conquest of
Wales by Edward 1. Showing the country as it was several centuries before it
was first mapped, this map it will bring Welsh history alive to you and your
CELTIC CHRISTIANITY IN EARLY MEDIEVAL WALES
The Origins of the Welsh Spiritual Tradition (Book Review)
(Site Excerpt) A study of sources from early medieval Wales, which offers
new and exciting insights into the phenomenon of Celtic Christianity. This
work examines the concept of Celtic Christianity and traces common Celtic
features in early Welsh religious literature, including poetry, prose and
hagiography. It adds significantly to our understanding of Celtic
Christianity, and of those early Welsh texts, while making many of the
latter available in English for the first time.
Harvard: Text-styles and Textiles in Medieval Wales (Call for Papers:
Acrobat Reader Required)
This site is a Call for Papers on any Celtic Subject. The Symposium will
occur in October 2003.
A Celtic Legend
Retold by Aaron Shepard
From the Mabinogion
(Site Excerpt) Lord Pwyll, King of Dyfed, sat feasting in his dining hall
with all his men around. And when the midday meal was done, he told them, "I
would go alone awhile, atop the Mount of Arberth."
"Lord," said one of his men, "there is a saying that whatever king sits upon
that mount will meet with an attack, or else a marvel."
"I do not fear attack," said Pwyll, smiling, "and I would welcome a marvel."
So on that spring day, Lord Pwyll rode up the Mount of Arberth, which rose
above the court. And there he sat and gazed on the farms and herds, forests
and streams of Dyfed.
"My realm is rich," he said. "If only now I had a queen to share it."
Castles of Wales
(Site Excerpt) Welcome! Croeso! My name is Jeffrey L. Thomas and I'm pleased
to be your host as we explore some of the most impressive monuments of the
Middle Ages, the medieval Castles of Wales. Along the way we hope to educate
and enlighten you about not only Welsh castles, but about the unique history
of the Welsh people and their centuries-old struggle to preserve their land,
their culture, and their ancient language.
Abbeys and Other Religious Sites in Wales
(Site Excerpt) Although holy wells and certain other religious sites
generally pre-date the grand medieval abbeys of Wales, like the surviving
Castles of Wales, medieval abbeys still dominate the Welsh landscape today.
The ruined abbeys of Wales have their own set of unique charms and special
histories, tempting visitors to learn more about Britain's medieval monastic
past. These structures often overwhelm us with their size and still fire the
imagination as we try to picture them in their former glory prior to the
Dissolution. But at the same time, they can invoke a sense of sadness as
well because of their purposeful destruction that resulted from the
political struggles between church and state during the reign of Henry VIII.
Medieval Castles & Fortifications
OF ENGLAND AND WALES 1000 to 1600
(Site Excerpt) This site is designed to be a comprehensive listing of the
medieval castles, castle sites, fortified houses, urban and coastal defences
and other fortifications of England and Wales built or in use from 1000 to
1600. This is an ambitious project and any such list is bound to have
omissions and errors. However, it is hoped that by using the flexible and
responsive media of the Internet that this list can be as comprehensive as
possible. Since I'm not an expert I've taken, as my standard for what is a
fortification, that which the various authors I draw my information from
consider to be a fortification. Sites which consist of entirely passive
defences such as moated houses and walled sites without wallwalks and
parapets are generally excluded.
The Kingdoms of Wales
(Site Excerpt) The Kingdoms of what is now modern Wales came about by
several means after Roman officialdom left the British shores. The Irish
began to immigrate on a grand scale. The sons of the Emperor Magnus Maximus
used them to keep control of Southern Wales. While North Wales was taken by
Cunedda Wledig who was intent on driving the Irish out. Eastern Wales and
the adjoining area of what became England was the homeland of the usurper,
Vortigern, and here his sons continued to hold sway.
Traditional Welsh Music
This site is a list of music for download form the web. many of these
include the lyrics in the Welsh or English Language.
A Brief History of Wales: Britannica.com
(Site Excerpt) The visitor to West Wales cannot help but notice that many of
the holy shrines lie in valleys, or hollows, often hidden from the sea. One
of them, at St. Govan's (left), is placed in a steep, narrow crevice in the
coastal rocks themselves, completely concealed. For the sea was the pathway
of the marauding Vikings, intent on voyages of plunder and easy pickings
from the poorly defended, but richly endowed monastic communities of the
Celtic Church. Despite its own hiding place, down in the lovely, sheltered
valley of the Glyn, St David's itself, perhaps the holiest spot in Wales,
was still plundered in 999 and its Bishop killed.
Cantrefs in Medieval Wales (Note: Slow to Load)
This site is a map of Medieval Wales divides into the Cantrefs
University of Bangor: NEWLY DISCOVERED BIOGRAPHY OF KING OF GWYNEDD AMONG
(Site Excerpt) An account of the exciting rediscovery of a medieval Latin
biography of Gruffudd ap Cynan, the powerful king of Gwynedd buried in
Bangor cathedral in 1137, will be among the highlights for Welsh
medievalists gathering at the University of Wales, Bangor over this week-end
(19-20 October) to discuss a great variety of exciting new research on
medieval Welsh history. Showcasing their research will be the leading
historians on medieval Wales, with participants from Oxford and Cambridge
universities, Germany and Ireland as well as historians from within Wales.
The research undertaken covers the scope of medieval life. Fresh light will
be thrown on the military history of Edward I's conquest of Wales in 1282-3,
and other aspects of political history reassessed in papers on the Vikings
and on the rise to power of Llywelyn the Great, while social and economic
topics are reflected in discussions of marriage and of the emergence of an
urban culture in late medieval south Wales. Dr Matthew Pearson of the
University of Wales, Bangor will offer a foretaste of his important
forthcoming volume on the bishops and cathedral clergy of the four medieval
This site is a list of links, books and newspaper articles on the subject of
Welsh Royalty. Do not be put off by the first few links (modern royals). If
you scroll down you will find plenty of information about medieval Welsh
Dead Virgins: Feminine sanctity in Medieval Wales. A Course at the Unversity
of Wales at Lampeter.
(Site Excerpt) This module introduces students to many of the female saints
of Wales including St Gwenfrewy (whose holy well is now reputed to be one of
the seven wonders of Wales); Dwynwen (the patron saint of lovers); Melangell
(the patron saint of hares) and Non (St David's mother). Although most
people are familiar with the cult of St David (the patron saint of Wales),
the legends and traditions associated with the sainted women of Wales are
generally less well known. The aim of this course is to explore the extant
literary and historical sources relating to these holy women and shed new
light on their medieval cults. In addition to the female saints already
mentioned, we will also consider the fragmentary evidence available for
other local Welsh saints (for example Gwenog, Eluned and Maches), and look
at the Welsh evidence for some of the important universal saints (such as St
Katherine of Alexandria) whose Lives were translated into Middle Welsh.
BBC Wales: Medieval church restoration excitement
(Site Excerpt) The restoration work has uncovered a series of wall paintings
dating from the 16th century.
"On the north wall there was a picture of St Catherine with the spiked wheel
with which the Romans tried to torture her to death and the spear with which
she was eventually killed," said historian Dr Madeleine Grey of the
University of Wales, Newport.
"And on the south wall was a picture of Christ, before the crucifixion,
roped and bound and sitting before the cross."
The painstaking restoration has caught the public's imagination too.
"We have already received over 1,000 inquiries about the church and
excitement is mounting among the public, academics and staff alike as the
buildings slowly take shape," said Ffion Gruffudd. a member of the project
A pause in the work was taken on Satruday to mark the patronal day of St
Teilo, the Welsh saint after whom the church is named.
St Teilo led a Christian community in south Wales in the sixth century.
According to legend, he fled with his followers to Brittany when yellow
fever broke out in Wales, before eventually returning to Llandaff in
Cardiff, where he died in 566AD.
City of Chester: Springboard into Wales
(Site Excerpt) The story of Chester in the medieval period is closely linked
with the English conquest of Wales and Ireland. Chester had been set up by
the Normans as an Earldom of the Marches - the disputed lands between the
English and the Welsh. Raiding and warfare in Cheshire and to the west had
been common until King Edward I decided to throw the full weight of the
English armies against Wales.
Chester was the base for his war of conquest which was complete by 1283.
Great castles were built in Wales at Conway, Caernarvon, Beaumaris and
Harlech to control the newly conquered lands. A constant stream of soldiers,
builders, engineers and their materials passed through Chester on their way
to Wales, and brought great prosperity to the city. English attempts to
conquer Ireland began at the end of the 12th century under King Henry II.
Chester was the main point of departure for the English armies and remained
so until the end of the 18th century.
24 Hour Museum
NEWPORT'S MEDIEVAL SHIP IS TO BE SAVED
(Site Excerpt) Archaeologists and protestors in Newport, South Wales are
celebrating after the remains of a medieval ship threatened by the building
of an arts centre were saved for the nation.
Newport City Council announced on Friday August 23, how they and the
National Assembly for Wales would put into place a £3.5 million scheme to
preserve and display the ship.
"The discovery of this rare national treasure on the banks of the River Usk
has brought Newport to the forefront of national and international
interest," explained Edwina Hart, Minister for Finance at the National
Assembly for Wales. The 25-metre ship has been described as a cross between
the later merchant 'Cog' boats and a Viking longship.
About.com Museums in Wales
A comoprehensive list of Museums in Wales, with descriptions of their
collections. Living History Museums are included.
The Society of Archer-Antiquaries: A Bibliography of Archery
With information on Welsh Archery
English Longbow a descendant of 14th Century Welsh Longbow?
(Site excerpt) ....But the one accomplishment Cambrensis is best remembered
for is his chronicle, The Itinery Triugh Wales.73 In his chronicle,
Cambrensis describes the archery of the Southern Welsh. He notes that a
tribe called the Venta were "more accustomed to war, more famous for valor,
and more expert in archery, than those of any other part of Wales".74 The
Venta were a stubborn people, unlike the Normans who followed the codes of
chivalry, their "mode of fighting consists in chasing the enemy or in
retreating.".75 They were guerrilla fighters, and the bow was perfectly
suited for them. Morris, reading about the Norman-Venta encounters,
misinterpreted a key passage of The Itinery Triugh Wales:
"Especially we get from Gerald (Gerald de Barri or Giraldus Cambrensis) a
valuable picture of the archers of Gwent, with their 'bows made of wild elm,
unpolished, rude and uncouth, not only calculated to shoot an arrow to a
great distance, but also to inflict very severe wounds in a close fight'."76
The correct translation of this passage according to Foster and Hoare, The
Historical Works of Giraldus Cambrensis, should be: "Yet the bows used by
these people (the Venta) are not made of horn, ivory, or yew, but of wild
elm; unpolished, rude and uncouth, but stout; not calculated to shoot an
arrow to a great distance, but to inflict very severe wounds in a close
DataWales: The Mediaeval Welsh Archer (A Costume/Armor Historical
Note this site also contains Names of Welsh Archers in the year 1327. (Site
Excerpt) The history of costume is a specialised study. The writer is not
equipped to answer your questions on specific aspects of Welsh costume over
the ages but it has been observed that styles in Wales generally followed
those of England - although poor communications ensured a delay in the
adoption of new fashions.
The accompanying Welsh archer is to be found in a 13th. century manuscript .
He wears a simple tunic with a cloak in thin material over his shoulders and
appears to have removed a shoe to aid his grip on the greensward. One must
assume that his strange hairstyle and miniature bow illustrate the
limitations of the artist!
Battle of Crecy Basic Facts (Many Welsh Cavalry and Archers participated at
(Site Excerpt) The English: Commander: Edward III
Army: Approx 20,000 soldiers
Left Wing: Count of Northampton and Count Arundel, Bishop of Durham with
1,000 armor-clad cavalrymen and 3,000 archers
Right Wing: Black Prince, Count of Warwick and Count of Oxford with 1,000
armor-clad cavalrymen, 1,000 Welsh light-armed cavalrymen and 3,000 archers
Reserve: King Edward with 700 armor-clad cavalrymen and 2,000 archers
Stefan's Florilegium: Articles/Messages on Welsh Medieval Clothing
1265 Society's Welsh Resources by Tony Westmancoat
This site is a series of translated quotes from historical sources that
detail Welsh Customs, clothing, warfare, etc.. at about the year 1265.