The Principality of Wales (Welsh: Tywysogaeth Cymru) existed between 1216 and 1536, encompassing two-thirds of modern Wales during its height between 1267 and 1277. For most of its history it was "annexed and united" to the English Crown except for its earliest few decades. However, for a few generations, specifically the period from its foundation in 1216 to Edward I's completion of the conquest of Wales in 1284, it was de facto independent under a Welsh Prince of Wales, albeit one who swore fealty to the King of England.
The Principality was formally founded in 1216 at the Council of Aberdyfi and later recognised by the 1218 Treaty of Worcester between Llywelyn the Great of Wales and Henry III of England. The treaty gave substance to the political reality of 13th-century Wales and England, and the relationship of the former with the Angevin Empire. The principality retained a great degree of autonomy, characterized by a separate legal jurisprudence based on the well established laws of Cyfraith Hywel, and by the increasingly sophisticated court of the House of Aberffraw. Although it owed fealty to the Angevin king of England, the principality was de facto independent, with a similar status in the empire to the Kingdom of Scotland. Its existence has been seen as proof that all the elements necessary for the growth of Welsh statehood were in place.
The period of de facto independence ended with Edward I's conquest of the Principality between 1277 and 1283. Under the Statute of Rhuddlan the Principality lost its independence and became effectively an annexed territory of the English crown. From 1301, the crown's lands in north and west Wales formed part of the appanage of England's heir apparent, with the title "Prince of Wales". On accession of the Prince to the English throne, the lands and title became merged with the Crown again. On two occasions Welsh claimants to the title rose up in rebellion during this period, although neither ultimately succeeded.
Since the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542, which formally incorporated all of Wales within the Kingdom of England, there has been no geographical or constitutional basis for describing any of the territory of Wales as a principality, although the term has occasionally been used in an informal sense to describe the country, and in relation to the honorary title of Prince of Wales.
Principality of Wales
|Status||Client state of England (1283–1294, 1295–1400, 1415–1542)|
|Capital||Abergwyngregyn (Aber Garth Celyn)|
|Common languages||Middle Welsh, Welsh|
|Government||Principality, Feudal monarchy|
|Llywelyn Fawr and descendants|
|Edward of Caernarvon and subsequent heirs to the English throne|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
• Statute of Rhuddlan
|3 March 1284|
|ISO 3166 code||GB-WLS|
|Today part of|
The 13th-century Principality of Wales was based on the historic lands ruled by the Aberffraw family, lands in north Wales traditionally including Ynys Môn, Gwynedd-Uwch-Conwy (Gwynedd above the Conwy, or Upper Gwynedd), and the Perfeddwlad (the Middle Country) also known as Gwynedd-Is-Conwy (Gwynedd below the Conwy, or Lower Gwynedd). Additional lands were acquired through vassalage or conquest, and by regaining lands lost to Marcher lords, particularly that of the Perfeddwlad, Powys Fadog, Powys Wenwynwyn, and Ceredigion.
Previous Welsh rulers had styled themselves in a variety of ways, usually in relation to a certain patrimony like "Lord of Ceredigion" or "King of Builth". The most powerful were often referred to (by others at least) as "King of the Britons". As Wales was a defined geographical area with agreed borders, yet outside the bounds of England, anyone bestowed with the title Prince of Wales would have suzerainty over any local Welsh ruler but without the territorial ambitions on England of a King of the Britons – which implied "liberating" the Britons who still resided in places long considered a part of England such as Devon, Cornwall, Cumberland and other places, albeit in fewer and fewer numbers.
The Aberffraw family had long claimed primacy over all other Welsh lords, including over those rulers of Powys and of Deheubarth. In The History of Gruffydd ap Cynan, written in the late 12th century, the family asserted its rights as the senior line of descendants from Rhodri the Great, who had ruled most of Wales between 820–870, and whose sons came to rule in Gwynedd, Deheubarth, and Powys. Gruffudd ap Cynan's biography was first written in Latin and intended for a wider audience outside Wales. The significance of this claim was that the Aberffraw family owed nothing to the English king for its position in Wales, and that they held authority in Wales "by absolute right through descent," wrote historian John Davies.
The Principality of Wales was created in 1216 at the Council of Aberdyfi, when it was agreed between Llywelyn the Great and the other sovereign princes among the Welsh that he was the paramount ruler amongst them, and they would pay homage to him. Later he obtained recognition, at least in part, of this agreement from the King of England, who agreed that Llywelyn's heirs and successors would enjoy the title "Prince of Wales" but with certain limitations to his realm and other conditions, including homage to the King of England as vassal, and adherence to rules regarding a legitimate succession. Llywelyn had been at pains to ensure that his heirs and successors would follow the "approved" (by the Pope at least) system of inheritance which excluded illegitimate sons. In so doing he excluded his elder bastard son Gruffydd ap Llywelyn from the inheritance, a decision which would have later ramifications. In 1240 Llywelyn died and Henry III of England (who succeeded John) promptly invaded large areas of his former realm, usurping them from him. However, the two sides came to peace and Henry honoured at least part of the agreement and bestowed upon Dafydd ap Llywelyn the title 'Prince of Wales'. This title would be granted to his successor Llywelyn in 1267 (after a campaign by him to achieve it) and was later claimed by his brother Dafydd and other members of the princely House of Aberffraw.
The traditional numbering of the Princes of Wales (according to Welsh sources) begins with Owain Gwynedd who ruled from 1137 until 1170. He was never acknowledged as Prince of Wales, and in fact never used that title; however he was considered by later chroniclers to have been the first Welsh prince to unite Wales. This was demonstrated when Owain Glyndŵr was explicitly crowned as Owain IV of Wales in 1404. The English viewed it very differently and considered the title to be bestowed by them and with their grace on only Dafydd ap Llywelyn in 1240 and Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1267. After 1301 the title was granted to the eldest son and heir of an English sovereign.
The prodigious Owain Gwynedd succeeded in retaining for his family the primary position in Wales which his father had achieved. In 1154 he defeated an English and Powysian invasion, but was forced to give up some territory bordering the River Dee. In later years he recaptured these areas and achieved a dominant position for Gwynedd in Wales which had not been seen for centuries. During Owain's reign he changed his title from "King of Gwynedd" to "Prince of the Welsh" (J. B. Smith, Owain Gwynedd, 14–16).
Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd had usurped the crown from his siblings in a debilitating civil war within Gwynedd. He married the half-sister of king Henry II of England in 1174. He was eventually ousted in 1195 from his much reduced domain by his nephew Llywelyn.
By 1200 Owain Gwynedd's grandson Llywelyn Fawr (the Great) ap Iorwerth ruled over all of Gwynedd, with England endorsing all of Llywelyn's holdings that year. England's endorsement was part of a larger strategy of reducing the influence of Powys Wenwynwyn, as King John had given William de Breos licence in 1200 to "seize as much as he could" from the native Welsh. However, de Breos was in disgrace by 1208, and Llywelyn seized both Powys Wenwynwyn and northern Ceredigon.
In his expansion, the Prince was careful not to antagonise King John, his father-in-law. Llywelyn had married Joan, King John's illegitimate daughter, in 1204. In 1209 Prince Llywelyn joined King John on his campaign in Scotland. However, by 1211 King John recognised the growing influence of Prince Llywelyn as a threat to English authority in Wales. King John invaded Gwynedd and reached the banks of the Menai, and Llywelyn was forced to cede the Perfeddwlad, and recognize John as his heir presumptive if Llywelyn's marriage to Joan did not produce any legitimate successors. Succession was a complicated matter given that Welsh law recognized children born out of wedlock as equal to those in born in wedlock and sometimes accepted claims through the female line. By then, Llywelyn had several illegitimate children. Many of Llywelyn's Welsh allies had abandoned him during England's invasion of Gwynedd, preferring an overlord far away rather than one nearby. These Welsh lords expected an unobtrusive English crown; but King John had a castle built at Aberystwyth, and his direct interference in Powys and the Perfeddwlad caused many of these Welsh lords to rethink their position. Llywelyn capitalised on Welsh resentment against King John, and led a church-sanctioned revolt against him. As King John was an enemy of the church, Pope Innocent III gave his blessing to Llywelyn's revolt.
Early in 1212 Llywelyn had regained the Perfeddwlad and burned the castle at Aberystwyth. Llywelyn's revolt caused John to postpone his invasion of France, and Philip Augustus, the King of France, was so moved as to contact Llywelyn and propose that they ally against the English king King John ordered the execution by hanging of his Welsh hostages, the sons of many of Llywelyn's supporters Llywelyn I was the first prince to receive the fealty of other Welsh lords at the 1216 Council of Aberdyfi, thus becoming the de facto Prince of Wales and giving substance to the Aberffraw claims.
On succeeding his father, Dafydd immediately had to contend with the claims of his half-brother, Gruffudd, to the throne. Having imprisoned Gruffudd, his ambitions were curbed by an invasion of Wales led by Henry III in league with a number of the captive Gruffudd's supporters. In August 1241, Dafydd capitulated and signed the Treaty of Gwerneigron, further restricting his powers. By 1244, however, Gruffudd was dead, and Dafydd seems to have benefited from the backing of many of his brother's erstwhile supporters. He was acknowledged by the Pope as Prince of Wales for a time, and defeated Henry III in battle in 1245 during the English king's second invasion of Wales. A truce was agreed in the autumn, and Henry withdrew; but Dafydd died unexpectedly in 1246 without issue. His wife, Isabella de Braose, returned to England; she was dead by 1248.
Dafydd married Isabella de Braose in 1231. Their marriage produced no children, and there is no contemporary evidence that Dafydd sired any heirs. According to late genealogical sources collected by Bartrum (1973), Dafydd had two children by an unknown woman (or women), a daughter, Annes, and a son, Llywelyn ap Dafydd, who apparently later became Constable of Rhuddlan and was succeeded in that post by his son Cynwrig ap Llywelyn.
Following Dafydd's death, Gwynedd was divided between Owain Goch and his younger brother Llywelyn. This situation lasted until 1252 when their younger brother Dafydd ap Gruffudd reached his majority. Disagreement about how to further divide the realm led to conflict in 1253 in which Llywelyn was victorious. Owain spent the remainder of his days a prisoner of his brother.
After achieving victory over his brothers, Llywelyn went on to reconquer the areas of Gwynedd occupied by England (the Perfeddwlad and others). His alliance with Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, in 1265 against King Henry III of England allowed him to reconquer large areas of mid Wales from the English Marcher Lords. At the Treaty of Montgomery between England and Wales in 1267 Llywelyn was granted the title "Prince of Wales" for his heirs and successors and allowed to keep the lands he had conquered as well as the homage of lesser Welsh princes in return for his own homage to the King of England and payment of a substantial fee. Disputes between him, his brother Dafydd and English lords bordering his own led to renewed conflict with England (now ruled by Edward I) in 1277. Following the Treaty of Aberconwy Llywelyn was confined to Gwynedd-uwch-Conwy. He joined a revolt instigated by his brother Dafydd in 1282 in which he died in battle.
Dafydd assumed his elder brother's title in 1282 and led a brief period of continued resistance against England. He was captured and executed in 1283.
The political maturation of the principality's government fostered a more defined relationship between prince and the people. Emphasis was placed on the territorial integrity of the principality, with the prince as lord of all the land, and other Welsh lords swearing fealty to the prince directly, a distinction with which the Prince of Wales paid yearly tribute to the King of England. By treaty the principality was obliged to pay the kingdom large annual sums. Between 1267 and 1272 Wales made a total payment of £11,500, "proof of a growing money economy... and testimony of the effectiveness of the principality's financial administration," wrote historian Dr. John Davies. Additionally, modifications and amendments to the Law Codes of Hywel Dda encouraged the declined of the galanas (blood-fine) and the use of the jury system. The Aberffraw dynasty maintained vigorous diplomatic and domestic policies; and patronized the Church in Wales, particularly that of the Cistercian Order.
At the end of the twelfth century, beginning of the thirteenth century, Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (Llywelyn Fawr or Llywelyn the Great), built a royal home at Abergwyngregyn, known as Tŷ Hir, the Long House, in later documents. To the east was the newly endowed Cistercian Monastery of Aberconwy; to the west the cathedral city of Bangor. In 1211, King John of England brought an army across the river Conwy, and occupied the royal home for a brief period; his troops went on to burn Bangor. Llywelyn's wife, John's daughter Joan, also known as Joanna, negotiated between the two men, and John withdrew. Joan died at Abergwyngregyn in 1237; Dafydd ap Llywelyn died there in 1246; Eleanor de Montfort, Lady of Wales, wife of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, died there on 19 June 1282, giving birth to a baby, Gwenllian of Wales
The 13th-century Principality of Wales encompassed three-quarters of the surface area of modern Wales; "from Anglesey to Machen, from the outskirts of Chester to the outskirts of Cydweli," wrote Davies. By 1271, Prince Llywelyn II could claim a growing population of about 200,000 people, or a little less than three-quarters of the total Welsh population. The population increase was common throughout Europe in the 13th century, but in Wales it was more pronounced. By Llywelyn II's reign as much as 10 percent of the population were town-dwellers. Additionally, "unfree slaves... had long disappeared" from within the territory of the principality, wrote Davies. The increase in men allowed the prince to call on and field a far more substantial army.
A more stable social and political environment provided by the Aberffraw administration allowed for the natural development of Welsh culture, particularly in literature, law, and religion. Tradition originating from The History of Gruffydd ap Cynan attributes Gruffydd I as reforming the orders of bards and musicians; Welsh literature demonstrated "vigor and a sense of commitment" as new ideas reached Wales, even in "the wake of the invaders", according to historian John Davies. Contacts with continental Europe "sharpened Welsh pride", wrote Davies in his History of Wales.
The increase in the Welsh population, especially in the lands of the principality, allowed for a greater diversification of the economy. The Meirionnydd tax rolls give evidence to the thirty-seven various professions present in Meirionnydd directly before the conquest. Of these professions, there were eight goldsmiths, four bards (poets) by trade, 26 shoemakers, a doctor in Cynwyd and a hotel keeper in Maentwrog, and 28 priests; two of whom were university graduates. Also present were a significant number of fishermen, administrators, professional men and craftsmen.
With the average temperature of Wales a degree or two higher than it is today, more Welsh lands were arable for agriculture, "a crucial bonus for a country like Wales," wrote the historian John Davies. Of significant importance for the principality included more developed trade routes, which allowed for the introduction of new energy sources such as the windmill, the fulling mill and the horse collar (which doubled the efficiency of horse-power).
The principality traded cattle, skins, cheese, timber, horses, wax, dogs, hawks, and fleeces, but also flannel (with the growth of fulling mills). Flannel was second only to cattle among the principality's exports. In exchange, the principality imported salt, wine, wheat, and other luxuries from London and Paris. But most importantly for the defence of the principality, iron and specialised weaponry were also imported. Welsh dependence on foreign imports was a tool that England used to wear down the principality during times of conflict between the two countries.
The governance and constitutional position of the principality after its conquest was set out in the Statute of Rhuddlan of 1284. In the words of the Statute, the principality was "annexed and united" to the English crown, It was the king's personal fief. In 1301, this modified principality was bestowed on the English monarch's heir apparent and thereafter became the territorial endowment of the heir to the throne. The rest of Wales continued to be constituted as the "March of Wales" which remained outside of the Principality under the rule of Anglo-Norman Marcher Lords.
The Principality's administration was overseen by the Prince of Wales's Council comprising between 8 and 15 councillors sitting in London or, later, Ludlow in Shropshire. The Council acted as the Principality's final Court of Appeal. By 1476, the Council, which became known as the Council of Wales and the Marches, began taking responsibility not only for the Principality itself but its authority was extended over the whole of Wales.
The territory of the principality fell into two distinct areas: the lands under direct royal control and lands which Edward I had distributed by feudal grants.
For lands under royal control, the administration, under the Statute of Rhuddlan, was divided into the two territories: North Wales based at Caernarfon and West Wales based at Camarthen. The Statute organized the Principality into shire counties. Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire were administered by the Justiciar of South Wales (or "of West Wales") at Carmarthen. In the North, the counties of Anglesey, Merionethshire, and Caernarfonshire were created under the control of Justiciar of North Wales and a provincial exchequer at Caernarfon, run by the Chamberlain of North Wales, who accounted for the revenues he collected to the Exchequer at Westminster. Under them were royal officials such as sheriffs, coroners, and bailiffs to collect taxes and administer justice. Another county, Flintshire, was created out of the lordships of Tegeingl, Hopedale and Maelor Saesneg, and was administered with the Palatinate of Cheshire by the Justiciar of Chester.
The remainder of the principality comprised lands which Edward I had granted to supporters shortly after the completion of the conquest in 1284, and which, in practice, became Marcher lordships: for example, the lordship of Denbigh granted to the Earl of Lincoln and the lordship of Powys granted to Owain ap Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, who became Owen de la Pole. These lands after 1301 were held as tenants-in-chief of the Principality of Wales, rather than from the Crown directly, but were, for all practical purposes, not part of the principality.
The Statute of Rhuddlan introduced English common law to the principality, albeit with some local variation. Criminal law became entirely based on common law: the Statute stated that "in thefts, larcenies, burnings, murders, manslaughters and manifest and notorious robberies — we will that they shall use the laws of England". However, Welsh law continued to be used in civil cases such as land inheritance, contracts, sureties and similar matters, though with changes, for example illegitimate sons could no longer claim part of the inheritance, which Welsh law had allowed them to do.
From 1301, the Plantagenet (and later, Tudor) English kings gave their heir apparent, if he was the king's son or grandson, the lands and title of "Prince of Wales". The one exception was Edward II's son, Edward of Windsor, who later became Edward III. Upon the heir's accession to the throne, the lands and title merged in the Crown.
The first "English" Prince of Wales was Edward I's son, Edward of Caernarfon. A late 16th-century story claimed that Edward I gave him the title following his declaration to the Welsh that there would be a Prince of Wales "that was borne in Wales and could speake never a word of English": Edward was born at Caernarfon Castle and, in common with rest of the English ruling elite, spoke French. However, there seems to be no basis for the story. On 7 February 1301, the king granted to Edward all the lands under royal control in Wales, mainly the territory of the former Principality. Although the documents granting the land made no reference to the title "Prince of Wales", it seems likely that Edward was invested with it at the same time, since, within a month of the grant, he was referred to as the "Prince of Wales" in official documents.
The following received the title while the Principality was in existence:
Two rebellions occurred during the period in support of Welsh claimants to the title of Prince of Wales.
Owain was the great-nephew of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd and Dafydd ap Gruffudd. He claimed the title in exile in France and loyalists revolted in his name across Wales. He was assassinated before being able to return to Wales to lead them.
Glyndŵr was crowned at Machynlleth in 1404 during a revolt against Henry IV of England. He claimed descent from Rhodri Mawr through the House of Powys Fadog. He went on to establish diplomatic relations with foreign powers and liberated Wales from English rule. He was ultimately unsuccessful and was driven to the mountains where he led a guerrilla war. When and where he died is not known, but it is believed he died disguised as a friar in the company of his daughter, Alys, at Monnington Straddle in Herefordshire.
The Principality of Wales came to an end as a legally defined territory with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542.
The Encyclopaedia of Wales notes that the Council of Wales and the Marches was created by Edward IV in 1471 as a household institution to manage the Prince of Wales's lands and finances. In 1473 it was enlarged and given the additional duty of maintaining law and order in the Principality and the Marches of Wales. Its meetings appear to have been intermittent, but it was revived by Henry VII for his heir, Prince Arthur. The Council was placed on a statutory basis in 1543 and played a central role in co-ordinating law and administration. It declined in the early 17th century and was abolished by Parliament in 1641. It was revived at the Restoration before being finally abolished in 1689.
From 1689 to 1948 there was no differentiation between the government of England and government in Wales. All laws relating to England included Wales and Wales was considered by the British Government as an indivisible part of England within the United Kingdom. The first piece of legislation to relate specifically to Wales was the Sunday Closing (Wales) Act 1881. A further exception was the Welsh Church Act 1914, which disestablished the Church in Wales (which had formerly been part of the Church of England) in 1920.
In 1948 the practice was established that all laws passed in the Parliament of the United Kingdom were designated as applicable to either "England and Wales" or "Scotland", thus returning a legal identity to Wales which had not existed for hundreds of years following the Act of Union with Scotland in 1707. Also in 1948 a new Council for Wales was established as a parliamentary committee. In 1964 the Welsh Office was established, based in London, to oversee and recommend improvements to the application of laws in Wales. This situation would continue until the devolution of government in Wales and the establishment of the autonomous National Assembly for Wales in 1998.
Although no principality has ever been created that covers Wales as a whole, the term "Principality" has been occasionally used since the sixteenth century as a synonym for Wales. For instance, the first atlas of Wales, by Thomas Taylor in 1718, was titled The Principality of Wales exactly described ..., and the term is still used by such publications as Burke's Landed Gentry. However, The Guardian style guide advises writers to "avoid the word 'principality'" in relation to Wales. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has defined Wales as a "country" rather than a "principality" since 2011, following a recommendation by the British Standards Institute and the Welsh Government.
The use of the term to refer to the territory of Wales should be distinguished from its use to refer to the title of Prince of Wales, which has been traditionally granted (together with the title Duke of Cornwall and various Scottish titles) to the heir apparent of the reigning monarch. It confers no responsibility for government in Wales, and has no constitutional meaning. Plaid Cymru are in favour of scrapping the title altogether. The Honours of the Principality of Wales are the Crown Jewels used at the investiture of Princes of Wales.
The Chamberlain of North Wales was a financial official of the Principality of Wales during the medieval period. He controlled the provincial Exchequer located at Caernarfon.Conquest of Wales by Edward I of England
The conquest of Wales by Edward I, sometimes referred to as the Edwardian Conquest of Wales, took place between 1277 and 1283. It resulted in the defeat and annexation of the Principality of Wales, and the other last remaining independent Welsh principalities, by Edward I, King of England.
By the 13th century Wales was divided between native Welsh principalities and the territories of the Anglo-Norman Marcher lords. The leading principality was Gwynedd whose princes had gained control of the greater part of the country, making the other remaining Welsh princes their vassals, and had taken the title Prince of Wales. Although English monarchs had made several attempts to seize control of the native Welsh territories, it was not until Edward's war of conquest against Llywelyn ap Gruffudd ("Llywelyn the Last") of 1277 to 1283 that this was achieved on a lasting basis.
In two campaigns, in 1277 and 1282/1283 respectively, Edward first significantly reduced the territory of the Principality of Wales and then completely overran it, as well as the other remaining Welsh principalities. Most of the conquered territory was retained as a royal fief, and these lands subsequently became, by custom, the territorial endowment of the heir to the English throne with the title Prince of Wales. The remainder would be granted to Edward's supporters as new Marcher lordships. Although the territories would not be effectively incorporated into the Kingdom of England until the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542, Edward's conquest marked the end of Welsh independence.Council of Wales and the Marches
The Court of the Council in the Dominion and Principality of Wales, and the Marches of the same, commonly called the Council of Wales and the Marches (Welsh: Cyngor Cymru a'r Gororau) was a regional administrative body based in Ludlow Castle within the Kingdom of England between the 15th and 17th centuries, similar to the Council of the North. Its area of responsibility varied but generally covered all of modern Wales and the Welsh Marches (Welsh Lost Lands) of Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Cheshire and Gloucestershire/Bristol.Cross of Neith
The Cross of Neith (Welsh Y Groes Naid or Y Groes Nawdd) was a sacred relic believed to be a fragment of the True Cross which had been kept at Aberconwy by the kings and princes of Gwynedd, members of the Aberffraw dynasty who established the Principality of Wales. They believed it afforded them and their people divine protection. It is not known when it first arrived in Gwynedd or how they had inherited it, but it is possible that it was brought back from Rome by king Hywel Dda following his pilgrimage in about 928. According to tradition it was handed down from prince to prince until the time of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd and his brother Dafydd. A representation of Y Groes Naid came to be used as a Battle Flag.
Following the complete defeat of Gwynedd and the subjugation of the Principality, following the death of Llywelyn and the execution of Dafydd in 1283, this holy relic was ready for English expropriation alongside the other spiritual and temporal artefacts (see Llywelyn's coronet) of the Principality. The Alms Roll of 1283 records that a cleric named Huw ab Ithel presented this "part of the most holy wood of the True Cross" to Edward I of England at Aberconwy. It then accompanied the king as he finished his campaign in north Wales before being brought to London and paraded through the streets at the head of a procession in May 1285 which included the king, the queen, his children, magnates of the realm and fourteen bishops.
What happened to the Cross of Neith after this is unknown. It has been speculated that it was destroyed, along with other relics, by Oliver Cromwell and fellow Puritans during the revolution of 1649, but other theories have also been put forward.Earl of Ashburnham
The title Baron Ashburnham (pronounced "Ash-burn-am"), of Ashburnham in the County of Sussex, was created in the Peerage of England in 1689 for John Ashburnham, grandson of the John Ashburnham who helped King Charles I escape from Oxford and Hampton Court Palace. He obtained from the King, for his London seat, the Westminster Abbey Prior's House, which had been seized by the Crown during the dissolution of the monasteries. He rebuilt it and renamed it Ashburnham House; it now stands as one of the central buildings of Westminster School, and has given the family name to one of the co-ed day houses.
The 3rd Baron was created Earl of Ashburnham in the Peerage of Great Britain and Viscount St Asaph, in the Principality of Wales, in 1730. The titles all became extinct in 1924, with the death of the
6th Earl. The surviving member of the family was Lady Mary Catherine Charlotte Ashburnham (1890–1953), daughter of the 5th Earl.
The family's wealth was substantially drawn from the Welsh village of Pembrey; as late as 1873 the earls owned 7,568 acres in Wales. They also carried on the iron industry at their extensive landholdings across Sussex.
The 2nd and 3rd Earls of Ashburnham were successful courtiers. The 4th Earl bought a famous collection of Illuminated manuscripts, which was sold by the 5th Earl, mostly to the British Library, although the Ashburnham Pentateuch is in Paris. The 5th Earl sold off most of the painting collection, including one of Rembrandt's self-portraits. He was a supporter of the Spanish Carlist claimant, Juan, Count of Montizón.The country seat of the Earls of Ashburnham was Ashburnham Place in Sussex. It was occupied by the 6th earl's niece, Lady Catherine Ashburnham (1890–1953), until her death in 1953, and subsequently the contents were sold in 1953 and the land in 1953-1957. The estate was inherited by the Reverend John Bickersteth (1926-1991). The house was reduced in size and turned into a Christian conference centre, which caters to both individuals and groups.Earl of Chester
The Earldom of Chester (Welsh: Iarllaeth Caer) was one of the most powerful earldoms in medieval England, extending principally over the counties of Cheshire and Flintshire. Since 1301 the title has generally been granted to heirs-apparent to the English throne, and from the late 14th century it has been given only in conjunction with that of Prince of Wales.Edeirnion
Edeirnion or Edeyrnion is an area of the county of Denbighshire and an ancient commote of medieval Wales in the cantref of Penllyn. According to tradition, it was named after its eponymous founder Edern or Edeyrn. It was included as a Welsh territory of Shropshire in the Domesday Book.
Edeirnion was nominally a part of the Kingdom of Powys but was often subject to border intrusions by the neighbouring Kingdom of Gwynedd. It was the patrimony of Owain Brogyntyn. These rumbling border disputes caused a great deal of friction between the two realms. Edeirnion was occupied and annexed by Gwynedd in the reign of Llywelyn the Great but briefly returned to Powys following a treaty forced on Gwynedd by England after Llywelyn's death in 1240. The territory was again occupied by Gwynedd after 1267 before being returned again to Powys. This continuing dispute and the appeal by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd to Edward I of England to see the resolution of this dispute settled by Welsh Law was one of the reasons the principalities in the north of Wales were unable to unite in opposition to English hegemony and was a contributing factor to the final war between the Principality of Wales and England, which ultimately saw the end of Welsh independence.
Edeirnion still exists as a bro, or region, in Denbighshire, located around Corwen and near the Berwyn Range.Honours of the Principality of Wales
The Honours of the Principality of Wales are the regalia used at the investiture of Princes of Wales, made up of a coronet, a ring, a rod, a sword, a girdle, and a mantle. All but the coronet date from the investiture of Prince Edward (later Edward VIII then Duke of Windsor) in 1911 when most of the Honours of Wales were redesigned.The present coronet takes the form laid down in a royal warrant issued by Charles II in 1677, which states, "The son and heir apparent of the Crown shall use and bear his coronet of crosses and fleurs-de-lis with one arch and a ball and cross". Within the frame, which is made of gold, is a velvet cap lined with ermine. The present coronet was made for the investiture of Charles, Prince of Wales in 1969 as the Coronet of George was still in the possession of the Duke of Windsor who was living in exile in France. The defunct coronet and its predecessor the Coronet of Frederick are now a part of the Crown Jewels in the Jewel House at the Tower of London. The original coronets as worn by the Welsh rulers of the Kingdom of Gwynedd and other Welsh principalities have been lost. Llywelyn's coronet was seized by the king of England in 1284 and is known only to history. The fates of the coronets of the rulers of the other princely states, if they ever had them, are not known.
The regalia were on display at the National Museum of Wales from 1974 until 2011 when they were put into storage at St James's Palace, London.Justiciar
In Medieval England and Scotland the Chief Justiciar (later known simply as the Justiciar) was roughly equivalent to a modern Prime Minister as the monarch's chief minister. Similar positions existed in Continental Europe, particularly in Norman Italy and in the Carolingian empire. The term is the English form of the medieval Latin justiciarius or justitiarius ("man of justice", i.e. judge).
A similar office was formed in Scotland, though there were usually two or three: the Justiciar of Scotia, the Justiciar of Lothian and, in the 13th century, the Justiciar of Galloway. These offices later evolved into a national one called Lord Justice-General. The Justiciar of Ireland was an office established during English rule.
Following the conquest of the Principality of Wales in the 13th century, the areas that became personal fiefs of the English monarchs were placed under the control of the Justiciar of North Wales and the Justiciar of South Wales.Justiciar of South Wales
The Justiciar of South Wales, sometimes referred to as the Justiciar of West Wales was a royal official of the Principality of Wales during the medieval period. He controlled the southern half of the principality.Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England (Anglo-Norman and French: Royaume d'Angleterre) was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
In 927, the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were united by Æthelstan (r. 927–939). In 1016, the kingdom became part of the North Sea Empire of Cnut the Great, a personal union between England, Denmark and Norway. The Norman conquest of England in 1066 led to the transfer of the English capital city and chief royal residence from the Anglo-Saxon one at Winchester to Westminster, and the City of London quickly established itself as England's largest and principal commercial centre.Histories of the kingdom of England from the Norman conquest of 1066 conventionally distinguish periods named after successive ruling dynasties: Norman 1066–1154, Plantagenet 1154–1485, Tudor 1485–1603 and Stuart 1603–1714 (interrupted by the Interregnum (England) of 1649–1660).
Dynastically, all English monarchs after 1066 ultimately claim descent from the Normans; the distinction of the Plantagenets is merely conventional, beginning with Henry II (reigned 1154–1189) as from that time, the Angevin kings became "more English in nature"; the houses of Lancaster and York are both Plantagenet cadet branches, the Tudor dynasty claimed descent from Edward III via John Beaufort and James VI and I of the House of Stuart claimed descent from Henry VII via Margaret Tudor.
The completion of the conquest of Wales by Edward I in 1284 put Wales under the control of the English crown. Edward III (reigned 1327–1377) transformed the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe; his reign also saw vital developments in legislation and government—in particular the evolution of the English parliament. From the 1340s the kings of England also laid claim to the crown of France, but after the Hundred Years' War and the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses in 1455, the English were no longer in any position to pursue their French claims and lost all their land on the continent, except for Calais. After the turmoils of the Wars of the Roses, the Tudor dynasty ruled during the English Renaissance and again extended English monarchical power beyond England proper, achieving the full union of England and the Principality of Wales in 1542. Henry VIII oversaw the English Reformation, and his daughter Elizabeth I (reigned 1558–1603) the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, meanwhile establishing England as a great power and laying the foundations of the British Empire by claiming possessions in the New World.
From the accession of James VI and I in 1603, the Stuart dynasty ruled England in personal union with Scotland and Ireland. Under the Stuarts, the kingdom plunged into civil war, which culminated in the execution of Charles I in 1649. The monarchy returned in 1660, but the Civil War had established the precedent that an English monarch cannot govern without the consent of Parliament. This concept became legally established as part of the Glorious Revolution of 1688.
From this time the kingdom of England, as well as its successor state the United Kingdom, functioned in effect as a constitutional monarchy. On 1 May 1707, under the terms of the Acts of Union 1707, the kingdoms of England and Scotland united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542
The Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 (Welsh: Y Deddfau Cyfreithiau yng Nghymru 1535 a 1542) were parliamentary measures by which Wales became a full and equal part of the Kingdom of England and the legal system of England was extended to Wales and the norms of English administration introduced. The intention was to create a single state and legal jurisdiction. The Acts were passed during the reign of King Henry VIII of England, who came from the Welsh Tudor dynasty.
Before these Acts, Wales was excluded from Parliamentary representation and divided between the Principality of Wales, and a large number of feudal statelets; the marcher Lordships.
The Act declared King Henry's intentions, that because of differences in law and language:
"(4) some rude and ignorant People have made Distinction and Diversity between the King's Subjects of this Realm, and his Subjects of the said Dominion and Principality of Wales, whereby great Discord, Variance, Debate, Division, Murmur and Sedition hath grown between his said Subjects;(5) His Highness therefore of a singular Zeal, Love and Favour that he beareth towards his Subjects of his said Dominion of Wales, minding and intending to reduce them to the perfect Order, Notice and Knowledge of his Laws of this Realm, and utterly to extirp all and singular the sinister Usages and Customs differing from the same, and to bring the said Subjects of this his Realm, and of his said Dominion of Wales, to an amicable Concord and Unity..."- and therefore:
"That his said Country or Dominion of Wales shall be, stand and continue for ever from henceforth incorporated, united and annexed to and with this his Realm of England;"List of monarchs in Britain by length of reign
The following is a list, ordered by length of reign, of the monarchs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1927–present), the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801–1927), the Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1801), the Kingdom of England (871–1707), the Kingdom of Scotland (878–1707), the Kingdom of Ireland (1542–1800), and the Principality of Wales (1216–1542).
Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning British monarch on 9 September 2015 when she surpassed the reign of her great-great-grandmother Victoria. On 6 February 2017 she became the first British monarch to celebrate a Sapphire Jubilee, commemorating 65 years on the throne.Royal Badge of Wales
A Royal Badge for Wales was approved in May 2008. It is based on the arms borne by the thirteenth-century Welsh prince Llywelyn the Great (blazoned quarterly Or and gules, four lions passant guardant counterchanged), with the addition of St Edward's Crown atop a continuous scroll which, together with a wreath consisting of the plant emblems of the four countries of the United Kingdom, surrounds the shield. The motto which appears on the scroll, PLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD ("I am true to my country"), is taken from the National Anthem of Wales and is also found on the Welsh designs for £1 coins minted from 1985 until 2000. The badge formerly appeared on the covers of Assembly Measures; since the 2011 referendum, it now appears on the cover of Acts passed by the National Assembly for Wales and its escutcheon, ribbon and motto are depicted on the Welsh Seal.
The current badge follows in a long line of heraldic devices representing Wales. Its predecessors have all been variations on either the Red Dragon, an ancient emblem revived by Henry VII, or the arms of Llywelyn. Whereas the arms of England, Scotland and Ireland are represented in the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom, Wales has no such representation due to it having been annexed and incorporated into the Kingdom of England; therefore Wales had no status as a nation within the Kingdom of England, and the succeeding United Kingdom. The device introduced in 2008 is accordingly a heraldic badge, rather than a coat of arms; Wales currently has no official coat of arms.Statute of Rhuddlan
The Statute of Rhuddlan (Welsh: Statud Rhuddlan [ˈr̥ɨðlan]), also known as the Statutes of Wales (Latin: Statuta Vallie) or as the Statute of Wales (Statutum Vallie or Statutum Valliae), provided the constitutional basis for the government of the Principality of Wales from 1284 until 1536. The Statute introduced English common law to Wales but also permitted the continuance of Welsh legal practices within the Principality. The Statute was superseded by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 when Henry VIII made Wales unequivocally part of the "realm of England".The statute, which was enacted on 3 March 1284 after careful consideration by Edward I, takes its name from Rhuddlan Castle in North Wales where it was first promulgated on 19 March 1284.The Cambrian
The Cambrian, a weekly newspaper started by George Haynes and L. W. Dillwyn in 1804, was the first newspaper published in Wales. Its original publisher was Thomas Jenkins. The full masthead proclaimed The Cambrian and Weekly General Advertiser for Swansea and the Principality of Wales. By 1906 it was acquired by South Wales Post Newspapers Co. and, in 1930, merged with Herald of Wales.The Welshman (newspaper)
The Welshman (established in 1835) was a weekly 'radical' English language newspaper, reporting local and national news and information. It was published in Carmarthen and distributed in the Cardiganshire area and through much of South Wales. From 1840 to 1942 it was known as The Welshman and general advertiser for the Principality of Wales, reverting to its original name in 1942.In the late 1940s the paper was bought by the owners of the Carmarthen Journal and it ceased publication in 1984.There are 2,032 issues of the paper (from 1835 to 1910) free online at the National Library of Wales.Welsh Marches
The Welsh Marches (Welsh: Y Mers) is an imprecisely defined area along the border between England and Wales in the United Kingdom. The precise meaning of the term has varied at different periods.
The English term Welsh March (in Medieval Latin Marchia Walliae) was originally used in the Middle Ages to denote the marches between England and the Principality of Wales, in which Marcher lords had specific rights, exercised to some extent independently of the king of England. In modern usage, "the Marches" is often used to describe those English counties which lie along the border with Wales, particularly Shropshire and Herefordshire, and sometimes adjoining areas of Wales. However, at one time the Marches included all of the historic counties of Cheshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.Welsh peers and baronets
This is an index of Welsh peers and baronets whose primary peerage, life peerage, and baronetcy titles include a Welsh place-name origin or its territorial qualification is within the historic counties of Wales.
Welsh-titled peers derive their titles from a variety of sources. After Llywelyn ap Gruffudd of the House of Aberffraw, the last Welsh Prince of Wales, was killed during the Edwardian Conquest in 1282, the Principality of Wales was divided into English-style counties. Many of the former native titles were abolished, but some of the native Welsh lords were given English titles in exchange for their loyalty. Welsh Law remained in force in the Principality for civil cases, including for inheritance. However, Edward I did reform Welsh succession to introduce male preference primogeniture, a reform which facilitated the inheritance by English marcher lords of Welsh lands.
With the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542, Wales was formally annexed by England, with the full implementation of English Common Law for civil cases. Both native Welsh and Marcher lordships were fully incorporated into the English Peerage. Eventually, succeeding peerage divisions emerged. Wales does not have a separate peerage, but Welsh peers are included in the English, Great Britain, and finally the United Kingdom peerages. In 1793 the title "Earl of the Town and County of Carnarvon in the Principality of Wales" was created, the only mention of the "Principality of Wales" in a title. After the deposition by the English parliament in February 1689 of King James II and VII from the thrones of England and Ireland (the Scottish Estates followed suit on 11 April 1689), he and his successors continued to create peers and baronets, which became known as the Jacobite Peerage.
Some lords, the Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor, and the Marquess of Anglesey, make their principal seat within Wales, while others, such as the Marquess of Abergavenny have their seat outside Wales.