Chapter

The Country: A Tale of Two Travellers

R. R. Davies

in The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dŵr

Published in print November 1995 | ISBN: 9780198205081
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676499 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205081.003.0002
The Country: A Tale of Two Travellers

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Wales in Owain Glyn Dŵr's day was, to most outsiders, a largely unknown, inaccessible, and uninviting country. The character of its terrain — notably its ‘horrid and frightful’ mountains, rocks, and precipices — was one of the major reasons for its reputation, and remained so for centuries. Roads were poor and inadequate. At the very borders of Wales — whether in the forests of Ewloe in the north-east, the steep-sided valley of the Wye north of Chepstow in the south-east, or the daunting tracts of moorland and mountain that fell on the traveller's eye at Leominster or Shrewsbury — the prospect for the traveller seemed to be grim indeed. But the greatest deterrent of all to the traveller was the image which had been created in his mind of the Welsh themselves — hardy and brave certainly, even generous, hospitable, and devout; but also totally unreliable, ‘wild’, backward, and, in the words of a contemporary English abbot, ‘fierce and fickle’.

Keywords: Owain Glyn Dŵr; Wales; Welsh; terrain; roads

Chapter.  15111 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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