Date: Wed Jul 9, 2003 11:27 am
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.
I will attempt to keep this list running smoothly and regularly over the next 2 months, however no Links list will appear during Pennsic for several reasons, one being my attendance at Pennsic itself, and another being my trip out of the country to visit a terminally ill relative the first week of Pennsic. I trust you will understand if I need another week or two to recover :)
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, however.
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 friends.
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 RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS
(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 Welsh dioceses.
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 Royalty.
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 team.
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 fight."77
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 articipated at Crecy)
(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.