A Short History of Wales
Owen M. Edwards

Part 2 out of 2

Commonwealth remained: congregations of Independents still met;
Quaker ideals survived all persecution; and even the mysticism of
Morgan Lloyd permeated the slowly awakening thought of the peasants
whom, in his dreams, he saw welcoming the second advent of Christ.


Except to the reader who is of a legal or antiquarian turn of mind,
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are the least interesting in
the history of Wales--the very centuries that are the most glorious
and the most stirring in the history of England. The older
historians stop when they come to the year 1284, and sometimes give a
hasty outline of a few rebellions up to 1535. They then give the
Welsh a glowing testimonial as a law-abiding and loyal people, and
find them too uninteresting to write any more about them.

The history of Wales does, indeed, appear to be nothing more than the
gradual disappearance of Welsh institutions. The Court of Wales was
restored with the king in 1660; but its work had been done, and it
came to an end in 1689. The Great Sessions came to an end in 1830;
and, though we now see that their disappearance was a mistake, the
bill abolishing them passed through Parliament without a division.
The last difference between England and Wales was deleted; and if
Wales has no separate existence left, why should we write or read its

Because the two centuries of apparent settlement and sleep were the
period of a silent revolution, more important, if our aim is to
explain the living present rather than the dead past, than all the
exciting plots and battles of the House of Cunedda from the rise of
Maelgwn to the fall of the last Llywelyn. During these centuries,
the history of Wales ceases to be the history of princes and nobles,
it becomes the history of the people. Owen Glendower's few years of
power were a kind of prophecy; but Owen once appeared to the abbot of
Valle Crucis, so tradition says, to declare that he had come before
his time. We pass then, very gradually, from the history of a
privileged class, speaking literary Welsh, with a literature famous
for the wealth of its imagination and the artistic beauty of its
form--we pass on to the history of a peasantry, rude and ignorant at
first, retaining the servile traits of centuries of subjection, but
gradually becoming self-reliant, prosperous, and thoughtful.

The real history of a nation is shown by its literature. Its records
and its chronicles are but the notes and comments of various ages.
In the period of the princes and nobles, you can trace the rise and
decline of a great literature; watch how it gathers strength and
beauty from Cynddelw to Dafydd ap Gwilym, and how the strength begins
to fail and the beauty to wane, from Dafydd ap Gwilym to Tudur Aled.
In the period of the people, from Tudor times on, the peasants tried
at first to imitate the poetry of the past; then they began to write
and think in their own way. It is not my aim to explain the periods
of Welsh literature now; I am going to do that in another book. But,
as I have mentioned three typical poets in the period of the princes,
I will also mention three poets in the period of the people.

In 1579 Rees Prichard was born; in 1717, Williams Pant y Celyn; in
1832, Islwyn. We have, in these three, writers typical of the
seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries respectively. Rees
Prichard, still affectionately remembered in every Welsh home as the
"Old Vicar," wrote stanzas in the dialect of the Vale of Towy--rough,
full of peasant phrases and mangled English words; and he wrote them,
not in books, but on the memory of the people. In the same valley, a
century later, Williams Pant y Celyn wrote hymns, melodious and
inspiring, of great poetic beauty, though with a trace of dialect;
they were written and published, but they also haunted every ear that
heard them. Beyond the Black Mountains, in the hills of West
Monmouth, after another century, Islwyn wrote odes without a trace of
dialect; they were written and remained for some time in manuscript;
when published, they met with a welcome which shows clearly that
Islwyn is the typical poet of modern Welsh thought. If you wish to
see and realise the rise of the Welsh peasant, pass from the homely
stanzas of the good Old Vicar's Welshmen's Candle to the poetic
theology of Pant y Celyn, and from that to the poetic philosophy of
Islwyn, where concentrated intensity of thought is expressed in a
style that is, at any rate at its best, superior to the best work of
the poets of the princes.

If I were to tell you the reasons for this change, I would be
writing, in a slightly different form, what I have already written in
this book about early Welsh history. The fall of Llywelyn, the Black
Death, Owen Glendower's ideals and the Tudor legislation, all
prepared the way.

The long-bow and gunpowder, we have seen, made the peasant as
important as the noble in war. The long-bow made the coat of mail
useless, gunpowder made the castle useless--the defence of the
privileges of the Middle Ages departed.

Ideas of equality were advanced. They were looked upon at first as
truths applicable only to a perfect and impossible condition, and
their discoverers were ignored, if not hanged or burnt. But they
always became a reality, and were victorious in the end. Take the
truths discovered or championed by Welshmen. Walter Brute
rediscovered the theory of justification by faith--that all men are
equal in the sight of God, and that no lord could be responsible for
them. Bishop Pecock advocated the doctrine of toleration--that
reason, not persecution, should rule. John Penry claimed that the
people had a right to discuss publicly the questions that vitally
affected them. The history of the past shows that the apostles were
condemned, the life of the present shows that their ideas lived.

Industry and commerce became more free. In Tudor times piracy was
repressed, the march lordships were abolished, the privileges of the
towns ceased to fetter manufacture, trade with England became free.
In Stuart times roads were made, the industries depending on wool
revived, and the industries of Britain began to move westwards
towards the iron and the coal. In the Hanoverian period waste lands
were enclosed, the slate mines of the north and the coal pits of the
south were opened.

The Tudors succeeded in getting the upper classes to speak English,
and to turn their backs on Welsh life. The peasant was left supreme:
he knew not what to do at first, but light soon came.

Pass through Wales, and you will see the life of both periods--the
ruined castles and the ruined monasteries of the old; the quarries
and pits, the towns and ports, the churches and chapels, the schools
and colleges of the present.


It is difficult to write about religion without giving offence.
Religion will come into politics, and must come into history. It has
given much, perhaps most, of its strength to modern Wales; it has
given it many, if not most, of its political difficulties.

There are periods of religious calm and periods of religious fervour
in the life of every nation. I do not know whether it is necessary,
but it is certainly the fact--the two periods condemn each other with
great energy. With regard to creed--the life of religion--you will
find that the periods of energy tend to be Calvinistic--an intense
belief that man is a mere instrument in the hands of God, working out
plans he does not understand; while in periods of rest it tends to be
Arminian--a comfortable belief that man sees his future clearly, and
that he can guide it as he likes. With regard to the Church--the
body of religion--it is fortunate, in times of calm, if it is
established, to keep the spirit of religion alive; it is fortunate,
in times of fervour, if it is free, in order that the new life may
give it a more perfect shape.

Now we must remember that there can be no calm without a little
indifference, and that there can be no enthusiasm without a little
intolerance. So men call each other fanatics and bigots and
hypocrites, because they have not taken the trouble to realise that
there is much variety in human character and in the workings of the
human mind. Perhaps it is also worth remembering that an institution
is not placed at the mercy of a reformer, but gradually changed.

The eighteenth century was a century of indifference in religion in
Wales, the nineteenth century was a century of enthusiasm. The
Church at the beginning of the eighteenth century, at any rate as far
as the higher clergy were concerned, was apathetic to religion, and
alive only to selfish interests. The Whig bishops were appointed for
political reasons; they hated the Tory principles of the Welsh
squires, and they neglected and despised the Welsh people they had
never tried to understand. In England, the Defoes and the Swifts of
literature were encouraged and utilised by the political parties; in
Wales, where clergymen were the only writers, the Whig bishops
distrusted them, and silenced them where they could, because they
wrote Welsh. The Church did not show more misapplication of revenue
than the State, perhaps; but, while the people could not leave the
State as a protest against corruption, they could leave the Church.
And, during the middle of the eighteenth century, a great national
awakening began.

The trumpet blast of the awakening was Howel Harris. He was a
Breconshire peasant, of strong passion which became sanctified by a
life-long struggle, of devouring ambition which he nearly succeeded
in taming to a life of intense service to God. Many bitter things
have been said about him, but nothing more bitter than he has said
about himself in the volumes of prayers and recriminations he wrote
to torture his own soul, and to goad himself into harder work. The
fame of his eloquence filled the land, and districts expected his
appearance anxiously, as in old times they expected Owen Glendower.
Howel Harris was, however, no political agitator. He had an
imperious will, and he wished to rule his brethren; he was aggressive
and military in spirit; God to him was the Lord of Hosts; he preached
the gospel of peace in the uniform of an officer of the militia, and
he sent many of his converts to fight abroad in the battles of the
century. He had a love of organisation; he established at Trevecca
what was partly a religious community, and partly a co-operative
manufacturing company. But, wherever he stood to proclaim the wrath
of God, no shower of stones or condemnation of minister or justice
could make those who heard him forget him, or believe that what he
said was wrong.

If I were writing for antiquarians, and not for those who read
history in order to see why things are now as they are, I would write
details--important and instructive--about the Church of the
eighteenth century, and about the congregations of Dissenters which
the seventeenth century handed over to the eighteenth to persecute
and despise. The Independents and Baptists sturdily maintained their
principles of religious liberty, but they found the century a stiff-
necked one, and their congregations were content with merely
existing. The Quakers maintained that war was wrong while Britain
passed through war fever after war fever--the Seven Years' War and
the wars against Napoleon. Howel Harris' voice might have been a
voice crying in the wilderness, if it had not been for the spiritual
life of the existing congregations, conformist and dissenting.
Modern ideas in Wales have been profoundly affected by the Quakers,
and especially in districts from which, as a sect, they have long
passed away.

The voice of Howel Harris called all these to a new life; and it is
about that new life, in the variety given it by all the different
actors in it, that I want you to think now. It made preaching
necessary, for one thing; and it was followed by a century of great
pulpit oratory. It profoundly affected literature. It gave Wales,
to begin with, a hymn literature that no country in the world has
surpassed. The contrast between the Reformation and the Revival is
very striking--one gave the people a Church government established by
law and a literature of translations, the other gave it institutions
of its own making and original living thought. The Revival gave
literature in every branch a new strength and greater wealth.

It created a demand for education. Griffith Jones of Llanddowror
established a system of circulating schools, the teachers moving from
place to place as a room was offered them--sometimes a church and
sometimes a barn. Charles of Bala established a system of Sunday
Schools, and the whole nation gradually joined it. The Press became
active, newspapers appeared. It became quite clear that a new life
throbbed in the land.


The new life brought an inevitable demand for a share in the
government of the country, and this brought the old order and the new
face to face. The political power was entirely in the hands of the
squires, alienated from the peasants in many cases by a difference of
language, and in most cases by a difference of religion.

The Act of 1535 had, as we have seen, given Wales a representation in
Parliament. Each shire had one member only; except Monmouth, which
had two. Each shire town had one member, except that of Merioneth;
and Haverfordwest was given a member. The county franchise was the
forty shilling freehold; it therefore excluded not only those who had
no connection with the land, but the copyholder--who was really a
landowner, but whose tenure was regarded as base, on account of his
villein origin. This copyholder was undoubtedly the descendant of
the Welsh serf of mediaeval times.

The first Reform Act, that of 1832, was won for the great
manufacturing towns of England, but Wales benefited by it. It
extended the franchise to the copyholder, and to the farmer paying 50
pounds rent, in the counties; it gave the towns a uniform 10 pounds
household franchise. It also brought many of the towns into the
system of representation. It raised the number of members from
twenty-seven to thirty-two; the agricultural districts getting two,
and the mining districts two.

The slight change in representation is a recognition of the growing
industries of the country, especially in the coal and iron districts.
The coal of the great coalfield of South Wales had been worked as far
back as Norman times; but it was in the nineteenth century that the
coal and iron industries of South Wales, and the coal and slate
industries of North Wales became important. Cardiff, Swansea, and
Newport became important ports; and places that few had ever heard of
before--like Ystradyfodwg or Blaenau Ffestiniog--became the centres
of important industries. But, in 1832, Wales was still mainly
pastoral and agricultural; and the Act, though it did much for the
towns, left the representation of the counties in the hands of the
same class. Still, it was the towns that showed disappointment, as
was seen in the Chartism of the wool district of Llanidloes and of
the coal district of Newport.

The second Reform Act, of 1867, gave Merthyr Tydvil two
representatives instead of one, otherwise it left the distribution of
seats as it had been before. But the new extension of the franchise-
-to the borough householder, the borough 10 pounds lodger, and
especially the 12 pounds tenant farmer--gave new classes political
power. It was followed by a fierce struggle between the old landed
gentry and their tenants, a struggle which was moderated to a certain
extent by the Ballot Act of 1870, and by the great migration of the
country population to the slate and coal districts.

The rapid rise of the importance of the industrial districts is seen
in the third Reform Act of 1885. The country districts represented
by the small boroughs of the agricultural counties of Brecon,
Cardigan, Pembroke, and Anglesey, were wholly or partly
disfranchised. But the slate county of Carnarvonshire had an
additional member; and in the coal and iron country, Swansea and
Carmarthenshire and Monmouthshire had one additional member each, and
Glamorgan three.

The third Reform Act enfranchised the agricultural labourer and the
country artisan. In England many doubts were expressed about the
intelligence or the colour of the politics of the new voter; but, in
Wales, most would admit that he was as intelligent as any voter
enfranchised before him; all knew there could be no doubt about his

The character of the representation of Wales has entirely changed.
The squire gave place to the capitalist, and the capitalist to
popular leaders. Wales, whose people blindly followed the gentry in
the Great Civil War, is now the most democratic part of Britain.


The chief feature of the history of Wales during the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries is the growth of a system of education.

The most democratic, the most perfect, and the most efficient method
is still that of the Sunday School. It was well established before
the death of Charles of Bala, whose name is most closely connected
with it, in 1814. It soon became, and it still remains, a school for
the whole people, from children to patriarchs. Its language is that
of its district. Its teachers are selected for efficiency--they are
easily shifted to the classes which they can teach best; and, if not
successful, they go back willingly to the "teachers' class," where
all are equal. The reputation of a good Sunday School teacher is
still the highest degree that can be won in Wales. Plentiful text
books of high merit, and an elaborate system of oral and written
examinations, mark the last stage in its development.

The Literary Meeting is a kind of secular Sunday School. The rules
of alliterative poetry and the study of Welsh literature and history,
and sometimes of more general knowledge, take the place of the study
of Jewish history, and psalm, and gospel. The Literary Meetings feed
the Eisteddvod.

The Eisteddvod passed through the same phases as the nation. It was
an aspect of the court of the prince during the Middle Ages. In
Tudor times it was used partly to please the people, but chiefly to
regulate the bards by forcing them to qualify for a degree--a sure
method of moderating their patriotism and of diminishing their
number. In modern times the Eisteddvod is a great democratic
meeting, and it is the most characteristic of all Welsh institutions.
Its chairing of the bards is an ancient ceremony; its gorsedd of
bards is probably modern. But the people themselves still remain the
judges of poetry; they care very little whether a poet has won a
chair or not, while a gorsedd degree probably does him more harm than

Elementary education, in its modern sense, began with the circulating
schools of Griffith Jones of Llanddowror in 1730. They were
exceedingly successful because the instruction was given in Welsh,
and they stopped after teaching 150,000 to read not because there was
no demand for them, but on account of a dispute about their
endowments in 1779, eighteen years after Griffith Jones' death. They
were followed by voluntary schools, very often kept by illiterate

Between 1846 and 1848 two organisations--the Welsh Education
Committee and the Cambrian Society--were formed; and they developed,
respectively, the national schools and the British schools. After
the Education Act of 1870, the schools became voluntary or Board;
education gradually became compulsory and free; and in 1902 an
attempt was made to give the whole system a unity and to connect it
with the ordinary system of local government.

The training of teachers became a matter of the highest importance.
In 1846 a college for this purpose was established at Brecon, and
then removed to Swansea. From 1848 to 1862, colleges were
established at Carmarthen, Carnarvon, and Bangor.

The history of secondary education is longer. It was served, after
the dissolution of the monasteries, by endowed schools--like that of
the Friars at Bangor--and by proprietary schools. By the Education
Act of 1889, a complete system of secondary schools, under popular
control, was established. Two of the endowed schools still remain--
Brecon, founded by the religionists of the Reformation, and
Llandovery, the Welsh school founded by a patriot of modern times.

It was principally for the ministry of religion that secondary
schools and colleges were first established. Schools were founded in
many districts, and important colleges at Lampeter (degree-granting),
Carmarthen, Brecon, Bala, Trevecca, Pontypool, Llangollen,
Haverfordwest. Many of these have a long history.

Higher education had been the dream of many centuries. Owen
Glendower had thought of establishing two new universities at the
beginning of the period of the Revival of Letters; among his
supporters were many of the Welsh students who led in the great
faction fights of mediaeval Oxford. Oliver Cromwell and Richard
Baxter had thought of Welsh higher education. But nothing was done.
In the eighteenth century, and in the nineteenth until 1870, the Test
Act shut the doors of the old Universities to most Welshmen; the new
University of London did not teach, it only examined; the Scotch
Universities, to which Welsh students crowded, were very far. In
1872, chiefly through the exertions of Sir Hugh Owen, the University
College of Wales was opened at Aberystwyth, and maintained for ten
years by support from the people. The Government helped, and two new
colleges were added--the University College of South Wales at Cardiff
in 1883, and the University College of North Wales at Bangor in 1884.
In 1893 Queen Victoria gave a charter which formed the three colleges
into the University of Wales. Lord Aberdare, its first Chancellor,
lived to see it in thorough working order. On Lord Aberdare's death,
the Prince of Wales was elected Chancellor in 1896; and when he
ascended the throne in 1901, the present Prince of Wales became

The tendency of the whole system of Welsh education is towards
greater unity. There is a dual government of the secondary schools
and of the colleges, the one by the Central Board and the other by
the University Court--a historical accident which is now a blemish on
the system. The Training Colleges are still outside the University,
but they are gravitating rapidly towards it. The theological
colleges are necessarily independent, but the University offers their
students a course in arts, so that they can specialise on theology
and its kindred subjects. The ideal system is: an efficient and
patriotic University regulating the whole work of the secondary and
elementary schools, guided by the willingness of the County Councils,
or of an education authority appointed by them, to provide means.

The rise of the educational system is the most striking and the most
interesting chapter in Welsh history. But the facts are so numerous
and the development is so sudden that, in spite of one, it becomes a
mere list of acts and dates.


The French Revolution was condemned by Britain, and the voices raised
in its favour in Wales were few. The excesses of the Revolution, and
the widespread fear of a Napoleonic invasion, caused a strong
reaction against progress. The years immediately after were years of
great suffering, but the very suffering prepared the way for the
progress of the future, because it made men willing to leave their
own districts and to move into the coal and slate districts, where
wages were high enough to enable them to live.

The first demand was for political enfranchisement. In 1832, in
1867, and in 1884 the franchise was extended, and every interest
found a voice in Parliament. But, with the exception of the sharp
struggle between the tenant and landlord after the Reform Act of
1867, the effects of enfranchisement on Wales have been very few.
Two Acts alone have been passed as purely Welsh Acts--the Sunday
Closing Act, and the Intermediate Education Act. In Parliament, the
voice of Wales is weak even though unanimous; it can be outvoted by
the capital or by four English provincial towns. Until quite
recently its semi-independence--due to geography and past history--
was looked upon as a source of weakness to the Empire rather than of
strength. Its love for the past appeals to the one political party,
its desire for progress to the other, but its distinctive ideals and
its separate language are looked upon, at the very least, as
political misfortunes. Education and justice have suffered from
official want of toleration; the appointment of a County Court judge
who could not speak Welsh, within living memory, has been justified
by Government on the ground that Englishmen resident in Wales object
to being tried by a Welsh judge.

Far more important to Wales than the Reform Acts are the Local
Government Acts which followed them. When the Reform Act of 1884
added the agricultural labourer to the electors of representatives in
Parliament, every interest had a voice. A further extension of the
franchise would not affect the balance of parties, it was thought;
and a British Parliament has no time or desire to think of sentiment
or theoretical perfection. The Parliament found it had too much to
do, the multiplicity of interests made it impossible to pay effective
attention to them. The result has been that half a century of
extension of the franchise has been followed by half a century of
extension of local government. The County Council Act came in 1888,
and the Local Government Act in 1894.

Of all parts of Britain, Wales had least local government, and needed
most. Its justices of the peace were alien in religion, race, and
sympathy; they were either country squires who had lost touch with
the people, or English and Scotch capitalists who, with rare
exceptions, took no trouble to understand the people they governed,
or to learn their language. The vestry meeting had been active
enough during the early part of the eighteenth century; but religious
difficulties made it impossible for a semi-ecclesiastical institution
to represent a parish. The Tudor policy had separated the people
from the greater land-owners; the iron masters and coal-owners had
not yet become part of the people; there was not a single institution
except the Eisteddvod where all classes met.

In no part of the country was local government so warmly welcomed,
and no part of the country was more ready for it. One thing the
peasants had been allowed to do--they could build schools and
colleges, churches and chapels. They had filled the country with
these--their architecture, finance, government, are those of the
peasant. The religious revivals had left organisers and
institutions. Four or five religious bodies had a system of
institutions--parish, district, county, central. All these were
thoroughly democratic in character. When the Local Government Acts
were passed, there was hardly a Welshman of full age and average
ability who had not been a delegate or in authority; and those of
striking ability, if they could afford the time, continually sat in
some little council or other and watched over the interests of some

It was from among these trained men that the councillors for the new
county, district, and parish senates were elected. The work of the
councils, especially that of the County Council, has been very
difficult; and when the time comes to write their history, the
historian will have to set himself to explain why the first councils
were served by men who had extraordinary tact for government and
great skill in financial matters. In the lower councils the village
Hampden's eloquence is modified by the chilling responsibility for
the rates, but the Parish Councils have already, in many places, made
up for the negligence of generations of sleepy magistrates and

With a great difference, it is true, Wales under local government is
Wales back again in the times of the princes. The parish is roughly
the maenol, the district is the commote or the cantrev, the shire is
the little kingdom--like Ceredigion or Morgannwg--which fought so
sturdily against any attempt to subject it.

The local councils were fortunate in the time of their appearance.
They came at a period characterised by an intense desire for a better
system of education, and at a time of rapidly growing prosperity. A
heavy rate was possible, and the people were willing to bear it. The
County Councils were able to build over seventy intermediate schools
within a few years; and that at a time when both elementary and
higher education made heavy demands on what was still a comparatively
poor county. The District Councils were able to lower the amount of
outdoor relief considerably, and without causing any real hardship,
for they had knowledge of their districts as well as the philanthropy
that comes naturally to man when he grants other people's money. The
Parish Councils have become the guardians of public paths; they have
begun to provide parish libraries, and the little parish senate
educates its constituency and brings its wisdom to bear upon a number
of practical questions, such as cottage gardens and fairs.


The most striking characteristic of the Wales of to-day is its unity-
-self-conscious and self-reliant. The presence of this unity is felt
by all, though it may be explained in different ways. It cannot be
explained by race; for the population of the west midlands and the
north of England, possibly of the whole of it, have been made up of
the same elements. It cannot be explained by language--nearly one
half of the Welsh people speak no Welsh. Some attribute it to the
inexorable laws of geography and climate, others to the fatalism of
history. Others frivolously put it down to modern football. But no
one who knows Wales is ignorant of it.

The modern unity of the Welsh people--seen occasionally in a function
of the University, or at a national Eisteddvod, or in a conference of
the County Councils--has become a fact in spite of many difficulties.

One difficulty has been the absence of a capital. The office of the
University and the National Museum are at Cardiff, in the extreme
south; the National Library is at Aberystwyth, on the western sea.
The thriving industries, the densely populated districts, and the
frequent and active railways, are in the extreme south or in the
extreme north; and they are separated by five or six shires of
pastures and sheep-runs, without large towns, and with comparatively
few railways. In the three southern counties--Glamorgan, Monmouth,
and Carmarthen--the population is between two and six people to 10
acres, and the industrial population is from twelve to three times
the number of the agricultural. In the central counties--Brecon,
Radnor, Cardigan, Merioneth, Montgomery--the population is below one
for 10 acres; the industrial and agricultural population are about
equal, except in Radnor, where the agricultural is more than two to
one. Though Merioneth has more sheep even than Brecon--and each of
them has nearly 400,000--its industrial population, owing to the
slate districts, is double the agricultural. The population begins
to thicken again as we get nearer the slate, limestone, and coal
districts. In Denbigh it is two to the 10 acres, in Carnarvon it is
three, and in Flint it rises to four or five. In these northern
counties the industrial population is double or treble the
agricultural. The fertile western counties of Pembroke and Anglesey
come between the industrial and grazing counties in density of
population. {4}

Unity has arisen in spite of differences caused by the intensity of a
religious revival, an intensity that periodically renews its
strength. The Welsh are divided into sects, and the bitterness of
sectarian differences occasionally invades politics and education.
But there are two ever-present antidotes. One is the Welsh sense of
humour, the nearest relative or the best friend of toleration. The
other is the hymn--creed has been turned into song, and that is at
least half way to turning it into life; the heresy hunter is disarmed
by the poetry of the hymn, and its music has charms to soothe the
sectarian breast. The co-operation of all in the work of local
government has also enlarged sympathy.

Unity has arisen in spite of the bilingual difficulty. Rather more
than one half of the people now habitually speak English. For three
centuries an Act--a dead letter from the beginning--ordered all
Government officials to speak English; for many generations, until
recently, Welsh children were not taught Welsh in schools, and they
could not be taught English. The bilingual difficulty is now at an
end. The two languages are taught in the schools, and as living
languages. It is clear, on the one hand, that every one should learn
English, the language of the Empire and of commerce. It is also
clear that, on account of its own beauty as well as that of the great
literature it enshrines, Welsh should be taught in every school
throughout Wales.

Next to its unity, a characteristic of modern Wales is its democratic
feeling. It is a country with a thoughtful and intelligent
peasantry, and it is a country without a middle class. There is a
very small upper class--the old Welsh land-owning families who once,
before they turned their backs on Welsh literature, led the country.
They have never been hated or despised, they are simply ignored.
Their tendency now is to come into touch with the people, and they
are always welcomed. But a middle class, in the English sense, does
not exist. The wealthier industrial class is bound by the closest
ties of sympathy to the farmer and labourer. The farmer's holding is
generally small--from 50 to 250 acres--and he always treats his
servants and labourers as equals.

The three great levelling causes--religion, industry, {5} and
education--have been at work in Wales in recent years. Education
helps and is helped by equality. In town and country alike all Welsh
children attend the same schools--elementary and secondary; and they
proceed, those that do proceed, to the same University, and a
university is essentially a levelling institution. The dialects, as
well as the literary language, are recognised; and no dialect has a
stigma. In this respect Wales is more like Scotland than England.

There is one other characteristic of modern Wales--a certain pride,
not so much in what has been done, but in what is going to be done.
Wales is small, though not much smaller than Palestine, or Holland,
or Switzerland, and every part of it knows the other. There is a
healthy rivalry between its towns and between its colleges; each town
can show that it has done something for Wales in the past--by means
of its industries, or school, or press. In the strong feeling of
unity there is ambition to surpass, and each part lives in the light
of the action of the other parts.

The day is a day of incessant activity--industrial, educational,
literary, and political. What is true in the life of the individual
is true in the life of a nation--a day of hard work is a happy day
and a day of hope.



1. The nature of its rocks--Igneous, Cambrian, Silurian, Old Red
Sandstone, Limestone, Coal--all belonging to the Primary Period. Its

(a) explain its scenery;
(b) explain its wealth, the richest part of Britain in minerals.

2. The configuration of its surface.

(a) It is isolated, its mountains being surrounded by the sea, or
rising sharply from the plains. It is part of the range of mountains
which runs along the whole of the west coast of Britain; but the
range is broken at the mouth of the Severn and at the mouth of the

(b) It is divided, its valleys and roads radiating in all
directions. So we have in its history

A. Wars of Independence.
B. Civil War.


1. The Iberians--a general name for the short dark people who still
form the greater part of the nations. They had stone weapons, and
lived in tribes; they became subject to later invaders, but gradually
became free. Their language is lost.

2. The Celts--a tall fair-haired race, speaking an Aryan tongue. It
was their migration that was stopped by the rise of Rome. Four
groups of mountains, four nations (Celtic and Iberian), four
mediaeval kingdoms, and four modern dioceses can be remembered thus:

i. Snowdonia Decangi Gwynedd Bangor
ii. Berwyn Ordovices Powys St Asaph
iii. Plinlimmon Demetae Dyved St David's
iv. Black Mountains Silures Morgannwg Llandaff

3. The Romans. They made roads, built cities, worked mines.

50-78. The Conquest. The Silures were defeated in 50, the Decangi
in 58, the Ordovices in 78.
80-200. The Settlement. Wales part of a Roman province including
Chester and York.
200-450. The struggle against the new wandering nations. The
introduction of Christianity.
450- The House of Cunedda represents Roman rule.

4. The English.

577. Battle of Deorham. Wales separated from Cornwall.
613. Battle of Chester. Wales separated from Cumbria.


Isolated after the battles of Deorham and Chester, mediaeval Wales
begins to make its own history. The House of Cunedda represents
unity, the other princes represent independence. English, Danish,
Norman attacks from without.

1. 613-1063. The struggle between the Welsh princes and the English
provincial kings. From the battle of Chester to the fall of Griffith
ap Llywelyn.

(a) Between Wales and Northumbria, 613-700; for the sovereignty of
the north. Cadwallon, Cadwaladr v. Edwin, Oswald, Oswiu.

(b) Between Wales and Mercia, 700-815; for the valley of the Severn.
Rhodri Molwynog and his sons v. Ethelbald and Offa.

(c) Between Wales and the Danes, 815-1000. Rhodri the Great and
Howel the Good.

(d) Between Wales and Wessex, 1000-1063; for political influence.
Griffith ap Llywelyn v. Harold.

2. 1063-1284. The struggle between the Welsh princes and the
central English kings.

(a) 1066-1137. The Norman Conquest. Norman barons v. Griffith ap
Conan and Griffith ap Rees.
1063. Bleddyn of Powys tries to unite Wales.
1070. William the Conqueror at Chester. Advance of Norman barons
from Chester, Shrewsbury, Hereford, Gloucester.
1075. Death of Bleddyn; succeeded by Trahaiarn.
1077. Battle of Mynydd Carn. Restoration of House of Cunedda--
Griffith ap Conan in the north; Rees, followed by his son Griffith,
in the south.
1094. Norman castles dominate Powys, Gwent, Morgannwg, and Dyved.
Gwynedd and Deheubarth threatened.
1137. Death of Griffith ap Conan and Griffith ap Rees, after setting
bounds to the Norman Conquest.

(b) 1137-1197. The struggle against Henry II. and his sons.
1137. The accession of Owen Gwynedd and of the Lord Rees of the
1157. Henry II. interferes in the quarrel of Owen and Cadwaladr.
1564. The Cistercians at Strata Florida.
1164. Meeting of Owen Gwynedd, the Lord Rees, and Owen Cyveiliog at
Corwen, to oppose Henry II.
1170. Death of Owen Gwynedd.
1188. Preaching of the Crusades in Wales.
1189. Death of Henry II.
1197. Death of the Lord Rees.

(c) 1194-1240. The reign of Llywelyn the Great.
1194-1201. Securing the crown of Gwynedd.
1201-1208. Alliance with King John.
1208-1212. War with John.
1212-1218. Alliance with barons of Magna Carta.
1218-1226. Struggle with the Marshalls of Pembroke.
1226-1240. Unity of Wales: alliance with Marshalls.

(d) 1240-1284. The Wars of Independence.
1241. David II. does homage to Henry III.
1244. Death of Griffith, in trying to escape from the Tower of
1245. Fierce fighting on the Conway.
1254. Edward (afterwards Edward I.) Earl of Chester.
1255. Llywelyn ap Griffith supreme in Gwynedd.
1263. Alliance with the English barons.
1267. Treaty of Montgomery; Llywelyn Prince of Wales.
1274. Llywelyn refuses to do homage to Edward I.
1277. Treaty of Rhuddlan; Llywelyn keeps Gwynedd only.
1278. Llywelyn marries Eleanor de Montfort.
1282. Last war. Battle of Moel y Don. Llywelyn's death.
1284. Statute of Wales.

3. 1284-1535. The rule of sheriff and march lord.
1287. Revolt of Ceredigion.
1294. Revolts In Gwynedd, Dyved, Morgannwg.
1315. Revolt of Llywelyn Bren.
1349. The Black Death in Wales.
1400. Rise of Owen Glendower.
1402. Battles of the Vyrnwy and Bryn Glas.
1404. Anti-Welsh legislation.
1455. The Wars of the Roses.
1461. Battle of Mortimer's Cross.
1468. Siege of Harlech.
1469. Battle of Edgecote.
1478. Court of Wales at Ludlow.
1485. Battle of Bosworth and accession of Henry VII.
1535. Act of Union. All Wales governed by king through sheriffs.


In 1535 the march lordships were formed into shires, and a reign of
law began.

1535-1603. Period of loyalty to Tudor sovereigns--for equality
before law and political rights.
1536. The march lordships become shire ground. Wales given a
representation in Parliament, and its own system of law courts--the
Great Sessions of Wales.
1539. Welsh passive resistance to the Reformation.
1567. Sir Thomas Middleton opens silver mines of Cardiganshire.
1588. Bishop Morgan's Welsh Bible.
1593. Execution of John Penry.
Results 1. Destruction of power of barons.
2. Anglicising of gentry.
3. A Welsh Bible.

1603-1689. Struggle between new and old ideas.
1618. Coal of South Wales attracts attention.
1640. First Civil War.
1644. Brereton and Myddleton win North Wales, Laugharne and Poyer
win South Wales, for Parliament.
1648. Second Civil War: siege of Pembroke.
1650. Puritan "Act for the better Propagation of the Gospel in
1670. Vavasour Powell dies in prison.
1689. Abolition of the Court of Wales.

1689-1894. Rise of the Welsh democracy.
1719. Copper works at Swansea.
1730. Griffith Jones' circulating schools.
1750. Iron furnaces at Merthyr Tydvil.
1773. Death of Howel Harris.
1814. Death of Charles of Bala.
1830. Abolition of Great Sessions of Wales.
1832. First Reform Bill.
1839. Chartism at Llanidloes and Newport.
1867. Second Reform Bill.
1872, 1883, 1884. University Colleges.
1884. Third Reform Bill.
1888. County Council Act.
1889. Secondary Education Act.
1894. Local Government Act. University of Wales.



CUNEDDA WLEDIG (Dux Britanniae).
Rhodri Molwynog
Conan Tindaethwy
| | |
Anarawd Cadell Mervin
Idwal the GOOD
Bald |
| |
Iago Owen
| ? +-----------------------------+
Conan {6} Einion |
(See Table | Meredith
II.) Cadell |
Tewdwr {6} | |
(See Table +-----------+ +-----+-----+
III.) | | |
(See Table IV.)


| | |
OWEN GWYNEDD Cadwaladr Gwenllian=G. ap Rees
| |
Iorwerth DAVID I.
| |
Griffith DAVID II.
| | | |
Eleanor de=LLYWELYN Owen David Rhodri
Montfort | THE LAST the Red |
| Thomas
Gwenllian |
Owen of Wales


| |
| |
GRIFFITH Rees the Hoarse


| | |
| |
+----------------------+ Owen of Powys
| |
| |
Griffith Maelor GRIFFITH
| |
Griffith of Bromfield
| |
Madoc Griffith Vychan
Griffith Vychan


Gladys the Dark=Ralph Mortimer of Wigmore
Roger Mortimer=Matilda de Braose
| |
Edmund Roger of Chirk
Roger, first Earl of March EDWARD III.
| |
Edmund +-------------+----------------+
| | | |
Roger, second Earl Lionel of John of Edmund of
of March Clarence Gaunt York
| |
Edmund, third Earl of March=Philipa |
| |
+-------------------+------------------------+ |
| | |
Roger Edmund=d. of Glendower |
| |
+------------+ +-------------------------------------+
| | |
Edmund Anne=Richard, Earl of Cambridge
Richard, Duke of York
(killed at Wakefield, 1460)
| |
| (killed at Bosworth, 1485)
Henry VII.=Elizabeth


John of Gaunt
| |
HENRY IV. John Beaufort I.,
| Earl of Somerset
| |
Owen Tudor=Catherine of France=HENRY V. John Beaufort II.,
| | Duke of Somerset
Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond=Margaret Beaufort
| | |


By the Act of 1535. By the Act of 1832.
GLAMORGAN 1 County Member 2 County Members
1 Member for Cardiff 1 Member for Cardiff,
Cowbridge, and
1 Member for Swansea,
Loughor, Neath, Aberavon,
and Kenfig.
1 Member for Merthyr
MONMOUTH 2 County Members 2 County Members
1 Member for Monmouth 1 Member for Monmouth
CARMARTHEN 1 County Member 2 County Members
1 Member for Carmarthen 1 Member for Carmarthen
and Llanelly
PEMBROKE 1 County Member 1 County Member
1 Member for Pembroke 1 Member for Pembroke,
1 Member for Tenby, Wiston, Milford
Haverfordwest. 1 Member for Haverfordwest,
Narberth, Fishguard
CARDIGANSHIRE 1 County Member 1 County Member
1 Member for Cardigan 1 Member for Cardigan,
Aberystwyth, Adpar,
and Lampeter
BRECONSHIRE 1 County Member 1 County Member
1 Member for Brecon 1 Member for Brecon
RADNORSHIRE 1 County Member 1 County Member
1 Member for Radnor 1 Member for Radnor,
Knighton, Rhayadr,
Cefnllys, Knucklas,
MONTGOMERYSHIRE 1 County Member 1 County Member
1 Member for Montgomery 1 Member for Montgomery,
Llanidloes, Machynlleth,
Newtown, Welshpool,
MERIONETHSHIRE 1 County Member 1 County Member
DENBIGHSHIRE 1 County Member 2 County Members
1 Member for Denbigh 1 Member for Denbigh,
Ruthin, Holt, Wrexham
FLINTSHIRE 1 County Member 1 County Member
1 Member for Flint 1 Member for Flint,
Rhuddlan, St Asaph,
Mold, Holywell,
Caerwys, Caergwrle,
CARNARVONSHIRE 1 County Member 1 County Member
1 Member for Carnarvon 1 Member for Carnarvon,
Conway, Bangor, Nevin,
Pwllheli, Criccieth
ANGLESEY 1 County Member 1 County Member
1 Member for Beaumaris 1 Member for Beaumaris,
Llangefni, Amlwch,
and Holyhead


{1} Mihangel=Michael. Llan Fihangel = Si Michael's.

{2} Mair=Mary. Llan Fair=St Mary's.

{3} About 1291 the abbeys of Aberconway and Strata Marcella had over
a hundred cows each, Whitland over a thousand sheep, and Basingwerk
over two thousand.

{4} According to the census of 1901 the population per square mile
of Glamorgan is 758, Monmouth 427, Carmarthen 141, Brecon 73, Radnor
49, Cardigan 88, Montgomery 68, Merioneth 74, Denbigh 197, Carnarvon
217, Flint 319, Pembroke 143, Anglesey 183.

The rate of increase per cent. between 1891 and 1901 are--Wales 13.3;
England 12.1; Scotland 11.1; Ireland--5.2.

{5} In 1801 the population of Cardiff was 1870, and coal was brought
down from Merthyr on donkeys. In 1901 the three ports of Cardiff,
Newport, and Swansea exported nearly as much coal as all the great
English and Scotch ports put together.

{6} The links between the House of Cunedda and the three ruling
families after the Norman Conquest rest on the authority of tradition
rather than on that of records.


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