The Social and Economic Structure

Glanmor Williams

in The Foundations of Modern Wales

Published in print January 1993 | ISBN: 9780192852786
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670565 | DOI:

Series: History of Wales

The Social and Economic Structure

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter describes the social and economic structure of Wales which followed the Restoration in 1660. Welsh society attached considerable importance to rank, title, and birth. The social hierarchy was based on widely accepted social conventions, durable and extensive family ties, and, most important of all, wealth and the possession of land. It discusses significant social and economic changes in industry which acquired a greater degree of diversification. Entrepreneurs of wit and imagination had introduced advanced technical and scientific methods which helped to increase production. Internal and overseas trade also witnessed a period of modest expansion. The economy, bereft of large-scale capital, was still backward and underdeveloped. The majority of the population still lived at the subsistence level and was periodically burdened by harvest failures, local famines, and vicious assaults by infectious diseases.

Keywords: social and economic structure; Restoration in 1660; Welsh society; industry; economy; production; harvest failures; famines; infectious diseases

Chapter.  21094 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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