Chapter

Peoples and Power

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/9780198205081.003.0003
Peoples and Power

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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Wales in Owain Glyn Dŵr's day was a small and sparsely populated country; its total population, after the ravages of successive outbreaks of plague, is unlikely to have exceeded a quarter of a million, and it may have been even less. Yet, for all its smallness, Wales harboured a varied and complex society. If we are to understand the nature of the revolt which overwhelmed the country after 1400 and also the measure of resistance it met, we must make try to understand that society in all its complexity. Contemporary social and legal classifications may help us to do so. Two in particular stand out. The first was the almost universal distinction in medieval society between the free and the unfree. A second fundamental legal classification that was particular to Wales was that between the English and the Welsh. It was a distinction which, to a greater or lesser degree, prevailed throughout much of Wales.

Keywords: Owain Glyn Dŵr; Wales; Welsh; English; medieval society; free; unfree

Chapter.  14977 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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