1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wales

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

WALES (Cymru, Gwalia, Cambria), a Principality occupying the extreme middle-west of the southern part of the island of Great Britain, bounded E. by the English counties of Cheshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire; S. by the Bristol Channel; W. by St George's Channel; and N. by the Irish Sea. (For map see England, V.) Its area is 7467 sq. m. Its greatest length from N. to S. (from the Point of Air in Flint to Barry Island on the Glamorgan coast) is 136 m., while its breadth varies from 92 m. (from St Davids Head to the English border beyond Crickhowell) to 37 m. (the distance between Aberystwyth and the Shropshire boundary at Clun Forest). Its total circuit is about 540 m., of which 390 consist of coastline. The principal headlands are Great Ormes Head in Carnarvonshire; Braich-y-Pwll, the most westerly point of Carnarvonshire; St Davids Head, the most westerly point of South Wales; Worms Head, the western extremity of Gower; and Lavernock Point to the W. of Cardiff. The principal islands are Holy Island, off the W. coast of Anglesea; Bardsey (Ynys Enlli), near Braich-y-Pwll; and the islands of Ramsey, Grassholm, Skomer, Skokholm and Caldy (Ynys Pyr) off the Pembrokeshire coast. The chief inlets are the mouth of the Dee, dividing Flint from Cheshire; the Menai Straits, separating Anglesea from the mainland; Carnarvon Bay; Cardigan Bay, stretching from Braich-y-Pwll to St Davids Head; St Brides Bay; Milford Haven; Carmarthen Bay; and Swansea Bay.

In common parlance, as well as for judicial purposes of circuits, the Principality is divided into North Wales and South Wales, each of which consists of six counties.

North Wales.

Acreage. Population
 Anglesea (Ynys Fôn) 176,630 50,606
 Carnarvon (Sîr Arfon) 361,156 126,883
 Denbigh (Sîr Dinbych) 423,499 129,942
 Flint (Sîr Fflint) 164,744 81,700
 Merioneth (Sîr Feirîonydd) 427,810 49,149
 Montgomery (Sîr Drefaldwyn)   510,111 54,901

South Wales

Acreage. Population
 Brecon or Brecknock (Sîr Frycheiniog)   475,224 59,907
 Cardigan (Sîr Aberteifi) 440,630 60,240
 Carmarthen (Sîr Gaerfyrddin) 587,816 135,328
 Glamorgan (Sîr Forganwg) 518,863 859,931
 Pembroke (Sîr Benfro) 395,151 88,732
 Radnor (Sîr Faesyfed) 301,164 23,281

Mountains.—Almost the whole surface of Wales is mountainous or undulating. The most important hill system is that of the North Wales mountains, covering the county of Carnarvon and parts of Merioneth and Denbigh, wherein the Snowdonian range reaches the height of 3571 ft. in Snowdon itself; of 3484 ft. in Carnedd Llywelyn; and of 3426 ft. in Carnedd Dafydd. South of this system, and separated from it by the upper valley of the Dee, the Berwyn range extends from N.E. to S.E., and is itself adjacent to Aran-fawddy (2970 ft.), the highest point in the Cader Idris group. The system of Mid-Wales or Powys stretches from Cardigan Bay to the English border, and contains Plinlimmon (2462 ft.) in north Cardigan; Drygarn Fawr (2115 ft.) in north Brecon; and Radnor Forest (2163 ft.) in mid-Radnor. From Plinlimmon a range of hills runs in a south-westerly direction towards St Davids, terminating in the Preselly range of north Pembroke (1760 ft.) and dividing the broad valleys of the Teifi and Towy. The three combined ranges of the Black Mountains, the Brecknock Beacons and the Black Forest sweep across south Brecon from W. to E., the chief elevations being the Carmarthen Van (2632 ft.), the Brecon Beacon (2862 ft.) and Pen-y-gader fawr (2660 ft.) near the English border.

Lakes and Rivers.—Small lakes, such as Llyn Ogwen, Llyn Safaddan (Llangorse Lake), Talyllyn, the Teifi Pools, &c., are fairly numerous in the mountainous districts, but the only natural lake of importance is Bala Lake, or Llyn Tegid, in Merionethshire, 4 m. long and about 1 m. wide. But the great reservoir known as Lake Vyrnwy, which supplies Liverpool with water, is equal in size to Bala; and the chain of four artificial lakes constructed by the Birmingham corporation in the valleys of the Elan and Claerwen covers a large area in west Radnorshire. The longest river in Wales is the Severn (180 m.), in Welsh Hafren, which rises in Plinlimmon, and takes a north-easterly direction through Montgomeryshire before reaching the English border. The Wye (130 m.) also rises in Plinlimmon, and forms for some 30 m. the boundary between the counties of Radnor and Brecon before encountering English soil near Hay. The Usk (56 m.) flows through Breconshire, and joins the Bristol Channel at Newport in Monmouthshire. The Dee (70 m.) traverses Bala Lake, and drains parts of the counties of Merioneth, Denbigh and Flint. The Towy (68 m.) flows through Carmarthenshire, entering Carmarthen Bay at Llanstephan; the Teifi (50 m.) rises near Tregaron and falls into Cardigan Bay below the town of Cardigan. The Taff (40 m.), rising amongst the Brecon Beacons, enters the Bristol Channel at Cardiff. Other rivers are the Dovey (30 m.), falling into Cardigan Bay at Aberdovey; the Tâf (25 m.), entering Carmarthen Bay at Laugharne; and the broad navigable Conway (24 m.), dividing the counties of Carnarvon and Denbigh.

Welsh Place-Names.—The place-names throughout the Principality may be said to group themselves roughly into four divisions: (i.) Pure and unaltered Celtic names; (ii.) Corrupted or abbreviated Celtic names; (iii.) English names; (iv.) Scandinavian and foreign names. To the first division belong the vast majority of place-names throughout the whole of Wales and Monmouthshire. Except in some districts of the Marches and in certain tracts lying along the South Wales coast, nearly all parishes, villages, hamlets, farms, houses, woods, fields, streams and valleys possess native appellations, which in most cases are descriptive of natural situation, e.g. Nantyffin, the boundary brook; Aberporth, mouth of the harbour; Talybont, end of the bridge; Troedyrhiw, foot of the hill; Dyffryn, a valley, &c. Other place-names imply a personal connexion in addition to natural features, e.g. Nantygôf, the blacksmith's brook; Trefecca, the house of Rebecca; Llwyn Madoc, Madoc's grove; Pantsaeson, the Saxons' glen, &c. An historical origin is frequently commemorated, notably in the many foundations of the Celtic missionaries of the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries, wherein the word llan (church) precedes a proper name; thus every Llanddewi recalls the early labours of Dewi Sant (St David); every Llandeilo, those of St Teilo; and such names as Llandudno, Llanafan, Llanbadarn and the like commemorate SS. Tudno, Afan, Padarn, &c. To the second division—those place-names which have been corrupted by English usage—belong most of the older historic towns, in striking contrast with the rural villages and parishes, which in nearly all cases have retained unaltered their original Celtic names. Anglicized in spelling and even to some extent changed in sound are Carmarthen (Caerfyrddin); Pembroke (Penfro); Kidwelly (Cydweli); Cardiff (Caerdydd); Llandovery (Llanymddyfri); while Lampeter, in Welsh Llanbedrpont-Stephan, affords an example of a Celtic place-name both Anglicized and abbreviated. In not a few instances modern English nomenclature has supplanted the old Welsh place-names in popular usage, although the town's original appellation is retained in Welsh literature and conversation, e.g. Holyhead is Caergybi (fort of Cybi, a Celtic missionary of the 6th century); Presteign is Llanandras (church of St Andrew, or Andras); St Asaph is Llanelwy; the English name commemorating the reputed founder of the see, and the Welsh name recalling the church's original foundation on the banks of the Elwy. Cardigan, in Welsh Aberteifi, from its situation near the mouth of the Teifi, and Brecon, in Welsh Abcrhonddu, from its site near the confluence of the Usk and Honddu, are examples of corrupted Welsh names in common use—Ceredigion, Brychan—which possess in addition pure Celtic forms. In the third division, English place-names are tolerably frequent everywhere and predominate in the Marches and on the South Wales coast. Even in so thoroughly Welsh a county as Cardiganshire, English place-names are often to be encountered, e.g. New Quay, High Mead, Oakford, &c.; but many of such names are of modern invention, dating chiefly from the 18th and 19th centuries. Of the many English names occurring in south Pembroke and south Glamorgan, some are exact or fanciful translations of the original Welsh, e.g. Cowbridge (Pontyfon) and Ludchurch (Eglwys Llwyd), others are of direct external origin, as Bishopstone, Flemingstone, Butter Hill, Briton Ferry, Manselfield, &c. Names derived straight from an Anglo-Norman source are rare; Beaupré, Beaumaris, Beaufort, Fleur-de-Lis, Roche, may be cited as examples of such. Scandinavian influence can easily be traced at various points of the coast-line, but particularly in south Pembrokeshire, wherein occur such place-names as Caldy, Tenby, Goodwick, Dale, Skokholm, Hakin and Milford Haven. Specimens of Latinized names in connexion with ecclesiastical foundations are preserved in Strata Florida and Valle Crucis Abbeys. Hybrid place-names are occasionally to be met with in the colonized portions of Wales, as in Gelliswick (a combination of the Celtic gelli, a hazel grove, and the Norse wick, a haven), and in Fletherhill, where the English suffix hill is practically a translation of the Celtic prefix. A striking peculiarity of the Principality is the prevalence of Scriptural place-names; a circumstance due undoubtedly to the popular religious movements of the 10th century. Not only are such names as Horeb, Zion, Penuel, Siloh, &c., bestowed on Nonconformist chapels, but these Biblical terms have likewise been applied to their surrounding houses, and in not a few instances to growing towns and villages. A notable example of this curious nomenclature occurs in Bethesda, Carnarvonshire, where the name of the Congregational chapel erected early in the 19th century has altogether supplanted the original Celtic place-name of Cilfoden. But although English and foreign place-names are fairly numerous throughout Wales, yet the vast majority remain Celtic either in a pure or in a corrupted form, so that some knowledge of the Celtic language is essential to interpret their meaning.

A small glossary of some of the more common component words is appended below.

Aber, the mouth or estuary of a river—Aberystwyth, Abergwili.

Ach, water—Clydach, Clarach.

Afon, a river—a word which retains its primitive meaning in Wales, whilst it has become a proper name in England—Glanafon, Manorafon.

Bettws, a corrupt form of the English “bead-house,” or possibly of the Latin “beatus”—Bettws-y-coed, Bettws Ifan.

Blaen, the top—Blaendyffryn, Blaencwm.

Bod, house or abode—Bodfuan, Hafod.

Bron, the human breast, hence breast of hill—Brongest, Cilbronnau.

Bryn, a hill—Brynmawr, Penbryn.

Bwlch, a gap—Bwlchbychan, Tanybwlch.

Cae, a field—Caeglas, Tynycae.

Caer, a fortress or fortified camp—Caerlleon, Caersws.

Capel, a corrupt form of the Latin “capella” applied to chapels, ancient and recent—Capel Dewi, Capel-issaf, Parc-y-capel.

Carn, a cairn or heap of stones—Moel-trigarn.

Carnedd, a tumulus—Carnedd Llywelyn.

Cefn, a ridge—Cefn-Mably, Cefn-y-bedd.

Cil, a retreat, said to be akin to the Goidelic kil—Ciliau-Aeron, Cilcennin.

Cnwc, a knoll or mound — Cnwcglas (Anglicized into Knucklas, in Radnorshire).

Coed, a wood—Coedmawr, Penycoed.

Craig, a rock or crag—Pen-y-graig.

Crûg, a heap or barrow—Crûg Mawr, Trichrûg.

Cwm, a low valley, Anglicized into “coomb”— Cwm Gwendraeth, Blaencwm.

Din, a fortified hill, hence Dinas, a fortified town—Dinefawr, Pen Dinas.

Dol, a meadow—Dolwilym, Dolau.

Dwr, Dwfr, water—Glyndwrdu, the patrimony of the celebrated Owen Glendower, of which his Anglicized name is a corruption.

Eglwys, a corruption of the Latin “ecclesia,” a church—Eglwyswrw, Tanyreglwys.

Gallt, in North Wales a steep slope; in South Wales a hanging wood—Galltyfyrddin, Penyrallt.

Gelli, a grove—Gellideg, Pengelly Forest.

Glan, a bank—Glanymôr, Glandofan.

Glyn, a glen or narrow valley—Glyncothi, Tyglyn.

Llan, a sacred enclosure, hence a church—a most interesting and important Celtic prefix—Llandeilo, Llansaint.

Llech, a stone—Llechryd, Trellech.

Llwyn, a grove—Penllwyn, Llwynybrân.

Llys, a court or palace—Henllys, Llysowen.

Maes, open land, or battlefield—Maesyfed (the Welsh name for Radnorshire), Maesllwch.

Moel, bald, hence a bare hill-top—Moelfre.

Môr, the sea—Brynmôr, Glanymôr.

Mynydd, mountain—Llanfynydd, Mynydd Dû.

Nant, a ravine, hence also a brook— Nantgwyllt, Nannau, Nantgaredig.

Pant, a glen or hollow—Pantycelyn, Blaenpant.

Parc, an enclosed field—Parc-y-Marw, Penparc.

Pen, a summit—Penmaenmawr, Penmark.

Pont, a bridge, a corruption of the Latin “pons”—Ponthirwen, Talybont.

Porth, a gate or harbour—perhaps a corrupt form of the Latin “porta”—Aberporth, Pump Porth (“the Five Gates”).

Rhiw, ascent or slope—Troedyrhiw, Rhiwlas.

Rhos, a moor—Rhosllyn, Tyr'hos.

Rhyd, a ford—Rhydyfuwch, Glanrhyd.

Sarn, a causeway, generally descriptive of the old Roman paved roads—Talsarn, Sarnau, Sarn Badrig.

Tal, an end, also head—Taliaris, Talyllyn.

Tref, a homestead, hence cantref, a hundred—Hendref, Cantref-y-gwaelod.

Troed, a base—Troed-y-bryn.

Ty, a house, a cottage—Tynewydd, Mynachty.

Wy, or gwy, an obsolete Celtic word for water, preserved in the names of many Welsh rivers—Elwy, Gwili, Wye or Gwy.

Ynys, an island, or hill in the midst of a bog—Ynys Enlli (the Welsh name for Bardsey Islands), Ynyshir, Clynrynys.

Yspytty, spite, a corrupt form of the Latin “hospitium,” often used of the guest-house of an abbey—Yspytty Ystwyth, Tafarn Spite.

Ystrad, a meadow or rich lowland—Ystrad Mynach, Llanfihangel Ystrad.

Population.—The total population of the twelve counties of the Principality was: 1,360,513 (1881), 1,519,035 (1891), 1,720,600 (1901). These figures prove a steady upward tendency, but the increase itself is confined entirely to the industrial districts of the Principality, and in a special degree to Glamorganshire; while the agricultural counties, such as Pembroke, Merioneth, Cardigan or Montgomery, present a continuous though slight decrease owing to local emigration to the centres of industry. The whole population of Wales in Tudor, Stuart and early Georgian times can scarcely have exceeded 500,000 souls, and was probably less. But with the systematic development of the vast mineral resources of the South Wales coalfield, the population of Glamorganshire has increased at a more rapid rate than that of any other county of the United Kingdom, so that at present this county contains about half the population of all Wales. It will be noted, therefore, that the vast mass of the inhabitants of Wales are settled in the industrial area which covers the northern districts of Glamorganshire and the south-eastern corner of Carmarthenshire; whilst central Wales, comprising the four counties of Cardigan, Radnor, Merioneth and Montgomery, forms the least populous portion of the Principality. The following towns had each in 1901 a population exceeding 10,000: Cardiff, Ystradyfodwg, Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil, Aberdare, Pontypridd, Llanelly, Ogmore and Garw, Pembroke, Caerphilly, Maesteg, Wrexham, Penarth, Neath, Festiniog, Bangor, Holyhead, Carmarthen. Only four towns in North Wales are included in these eighteen, and the combined populations of these four—Wrexham (14,966), Festiniog (11,435), Bangor (11,269) and Holyhead (10,079)—fall far below that of Merthyr Tydfil (69,228), the fourth largest town in Glamorganshire.

Industries.—The chief mineral product of the Principality is coal, of which the output amounts to over 23,000,000 tons annually. The great South Wales coalfield, one of the largest in the kingdom, covers the greater part of Monmouthshire and Glamorganshire, the south-eastern corner of Carmarthenshire, and a small portion of south Pembrokeshire, and the quality of its coal is especially suitable for smelting purposes and for use in steamships. The supply of limestone and ironstone in Glamorganshire is said to be practically unlimited. About 400,000 tons of pig iron are produced yearly, and some of the largest iron-works in the world are situated at Merthyr Tydfil and Dowlais. Copper, tin and lead works are everywhere numerous in the busy valleys of north Glamorgan and in the neighbourhoods of Swansea, Neath, Cardiff and Llanelly. In North Wales, Wrexham, Ruabon and Chirk are centres of coal-mining industry. There are valuable copper mines in Anglesea, and lead mines in Flint and in north Cardiganshire, which also yield a certain deposit of silver ore. Gold has been discovered and worked, though only to a small extent, in Merionethshire and Carmarthenshire. Slate quarries are very numerous throughout the Principality, the finest quality of slate being obtained in the neighbourhood of Bangor and Carnarvon, where the Penrhyn and Bethesda quarries give employment to many thousands of workmen.

By far the larger portion of Wales is purely agricultural in character, and much of the valley land is particularly fertile, notably the Vale of Glamorgan, the Vale of Clwyd and the valleys of the Towy, the Teifi, the Usk and the Wye, which have long been celebrated for their rich pastures. The holdings throughout Wales are for the most part smaller in extent than the average farms of England. Stock-raising is generally preferred to the growing of cereals, and in western Wales the oat crops exceed in size those of wheat and barley. The extensive tracts of unenclosed and often improvable land, which still cover a large area in the Principality, especially in the five counties of Cardigan, Radnor, Brecon, Montgomery and Merioneth, support numerous flocks of the small mountain sheep, the flesh of which supplies the highly prized Welsh mutton. The wool of the sheep is manufactured into flannel at numberless factories in the various country towns, and the supply meets an important local demand. The upland tracts also afford good pasturage for a number of cobs and ponies, which obtain high prices at the local fairs, and Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire have long been famous for their breed of horses and ponies. The cattle of Wales present all varieties of race, the Hereford breed prevailing in the eastern counties, and Shorthorns and the black Castlemartins in the south-western parts. The great herds of goats, which in medieval times subsisted on the Welsh hills, have entirely disappeared since the general adoption of the sheep-farming industry.

The deep-sea fisheries on the south-western coasts are of some importance; the Mumbles, Tenby and Milford Haven being the chief centres of this industry. Lobsters and crabs are caught in Cardigan Bay, and oysters are found at various points of the Pembrokeshire coast. The large rivers produce salmon, which are usually sent to the great towns for sale. The Wye, the Usk, the Dee, the Dovey, the Teifi, the Towy and most of the Welsh rivers and lakes are frequented by anglers for salmon and trout.

Communications.—The two principal railways serving the Principality are the London & North-Western, which passes along the North Wales coast-line by way of Conway and Bangor, crosses the Menai Strait and has its terminus at Holyhead; and the Great Western, which traverses South Wales by way of Cardiff, Landore, Llanelly and Carmarthen, and has its principal terminal station at Fishguard Harbour. The lines of the Cambrian railway serve North and Mid-Wales, and branches of the London & North-Western and the Midland penetrate into South Wales as far as Swansea. A network of lines connects the great industrial districts of Glamorganshire with the main line of the Great Western railway. There are steamship services between Holyhead and Dublin in connexion with the trains of the London & North-Western railway, and an important traffic for dairy produce, live-stock and passengers between Fishguard and Rosslare on the Irish coast was opened in 1906 in connexion with the Great Western railway. There is also a boat service between Holyhead and Greenore on the Ulster coast. Steamboats likewise ply between Milford, Tenby, Swansea and Cardiff and Bristol; also between Swansea and Cardiff and Dublin, and there is a regular service between Swansea and Ilfracombe. The principal canals are the Swansea, the Neath, the Aberdare & Glamorgan, and the Brecon & Abergavenny, all worked in connexion with the industrial districts of north Glamorganshire.

Government.—In all acts of parliament Wales is invariably included under the term of “England and Wales,” and whenever an act, or any section of an act, is intended to apply to the Principality alone, then Wales is always coupled with Monmouthshire. The extinction of the Welsh Court of Great Sessions in 1830 served to remove the last relic of separate jurisdiction in Wales itself, but in 1881 special legislation was once more inaugurated by the Welsh Sunday Closing Act (46 Victoria), forbidding the sale of spirituous liquors by all inn-keepers on Sundays to any but bona fide travellers throughout Wales and Monmouthshire. A separate act on behalf of Welsh education was likewise passed in 18S9, when the Welsh Intermediate Education Act made special provision for intermediate and technical education throughout the Principality and Monmouthshire. Except for the administration of these two special acts, the system of government in Wales is identical in every respect with that of England (see England and United Kingdom). Royal commissions dealing with questions peculiar to Wales have been issued from time to time, notably of recent years, in the Welsh Land Tenure Commission of 1893, and the Welsh Church Commission of 1906 (see History).

Religion.—Ecclesiastically, the whole of Wales lies within the province of Canterbury. The four Welsh sees, however, extend beyond the borders of the twelve counties, for they include the whole of Monmouthshire and some portions of the English border shires; on the other hand, the sees of Hereford and Chester encroach upon the existing Welsh counties. The diocese of St Davids (Tyddewi), the largest, oldest and poorest of the four Cambrian sees, consists of the counties of Pembroke, Carmarthen and Cardigan, almost the whole of Brecon, the greater part of Radnor, and west Glamorgan with Swansea and Gower. The cathedral church of St Davids is situated near the remote headland of St Davids in Pembrokeshire, but the episcopal residence has been fixed ever since the Reformation at Abergwili near Carmarthen, the most central spot in this vast diocese. The see of Llandaff comprises Monmouthshire, all Glamorganshire as far west as the Tawe, and some parishes in Brecon and Hereford. The diocese of Bangor consists of the counties of Anglesea, Carnarvon and large portions of Merioneth and Montgomery. The diocese of St Asaph (Llanelwy) consists of the county of Denbigh, nearly the whole of Flint, with portions of Montgomery, Merioneth and Shropshire.

Since the beginning of the 19th century dissent has been strongly represented in the Principality, the combined numbers of the various Nonconformist bodies far outstripping the adherents of the Church. Universally accepted statistics as to the various religious bodies it has, been found impossible to obtain, but the Report (1910) of the Welsh Church Commission stated that, exclusive of Roman Catholics, there were 743,361 communicants or fully admitted members of some denomination, of whom 193,081 were Churchmen and 530,280 Nonconformists. The gentry and landowners are all, broadly speaking, members of the established Church, but it is impossible to name any other class of society as belonging definitely either to “Church” or “Chapel.” According to the above Report, the three most powerful dissenting bodies in Wales are the Congregationalists or Independents, whose members number 175,147 throughout Wales and Monmouthshire; the Calvinistic Methodists—a direct offshoot of the Church since the schism of 1811—with a membership of 170,617; and the Baptists, 143,835. Wesleyan and Presbyterian chapels are likewise numerous, and the Unitarian or Socinian body has long been powerful in the valley of the Teifi. Nearly every existing sect is represented in Wales, including Swedenborgians and Moravians. The Roman Catholic Church has many followers amongst the labouring population of Irish descent in the industrial districts. The diocese of Newport (known till 1896 as Newport and Menevia) consists of the counties of Monmouth, Glamorgan and Hereford; whilst the remaining eleven counties were in 1895 formed into the Vicariate of Wales, which in 1898 was erected into a diocese under a bishop with the title of Menevia. Since the expulsion of the religious orders from France in 1903 several communities of French monks and nuns have taken up their abode in the Principality.

History.—At the time of the Roman invasion of Britain, 55 B.C., four distinct dominant tribes, or families, are enumerated west of the Severn, viz. the Decangi, owning the island of Anglesea (Ynys Fôn) and the Snowdonian district; the Ordovices, inhabiting the modern counties of Denbigh, Flint and Montgomery; the Dimetae, in the counties of Cardigan, Carmarthen and Pembroke; and the Silures, occupying the counties of Glamorgan, Brecknock, Radnor and Monmouth. It is interesting to note that the existing four Welsh sees of Bangor, St Asaph, St Davids and Llandaff correspond in the main with the limits of these four tribal divisions. On the advance of Ostorius into western Britain, he met with considerable resistance from Caractacus (Caradog), king of the Silures, but after some encounters this prince was eventually captured and sent in chains to Rome. The partial conquest by Ostorius was completed under Julius Frontinus by the year 78, after which the Romans set to work in order to pacify and develop their newly annexed territory. At this period the copper mines of Mona or Anglesea, the silver mines near Plinlimmon and the gold mines in the valley of the Cothi in Carmarthenshire were exploited and worked with some success by the conquerors. In spite of the mountainous and boggy character of the country, roads were now constructed in all directions. Of these the most important are the military road leading S. from Deva (Chester) by way of Uriconium (Wroxeter) and Gobannium (Abergavenny) to Isca Silurum (Caerleon-on-Usk) and Venta Silurum (Caerwent); another from Deva to Conovium (Conway), whence a road, the Sarn Helen, extended due S. to Carmarthen (Maridunum), by way of Loventium (Pont Llanio), which was also connected with Gobannium; from Maridunum a road led E. through the modern county of Glamorgan by way of Leucarum (Loughor) and Nidum (Neath) to Venta Silurum. With the accession of Constantine, Christianity was introduced by the Romans into the parts of Wales already colonized, and the efforts of the Roman priests were later supplemented during the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries by the devoted labours of Celtic missionaries, of whom nearly five hundred names still remain on record. Foremost in the work of preaching and educating were SS. David, Teilo, Illtyd and Cadoc in Dyfed, Morganwg, Gwent and Brycheiniog, comprising South Wales; Cynllo, Afan and Padarn in Ceredigion and Maesyfed, or Mid-Wales; and Deiniol, Dunawd, Beuno, Kentigern and Asaph in North Wales. To this period succeeding the fall of the Roman power is also ascribed the foundation of the many great Celtic monasteries, of which Bangor-Iscoed on the Dee, Bardsey Island, Llancarvan and Llantwit Major in the Vale of Glamorgan, Caerleon-on-Usk and St Davids are amongst the most celebrated in early Welsh ecclesiastical annals. With the withdrawal of the Roman legions, the recognized powers of the Dux Britanniarum, the Roman official who governed the upper province of Britain, were in the 5th century assumed by the Celtic prince Cunedda under the title of Gwledig (the Supreme), who fixed his court and residence at Deganwy, near the modern Llandudno. During the 6th century the battle of Deorham gained by the West Saxons in 577 cut off communication with Cornwall, and in 613 the great battle of Chester, won by King Ethelfrith, prevented the descendants of Cunedda from ever again asserting their sovereignty over Strathclyde; the joint effect, therefore, of these two important Saxon victories was to isolate Wales and at the same time to put an end to all pretensions of its rulers as the inheritors of the ancient political claims of the Roman governors of the northern province of Britain. The 8th century saw a further curtailment of the Welsh territories under Offa, king of Mercia, who annexed Shrewsbury (Amwythig) and Hereford (Henfordd) with their surrounding districts, and constructed the artificial boundary known as Offa’s Dyke running due N. and S. from the mouth of the Dee to that of the Wye. It was during these disastrous Mercian wars that there first appeared on the Welsh coasts the Norse and Danish pirates, who harried and burnt the small towns and flourishing monasteries on the shores of Cardigan Bay and the Bristol Channel. In the 9th century, however, the Welsh, attacked by land and sea, by Saxons and by Danes, at length obtained a prince capable of bringing the turbulent chieftains of his country into obedience, and of opposing the two sets of invaders of his realm. This was Rhodri Mawr, or Roderick the Great, a name always cherished in Cymric annals. Like Alfred of Wessex, Rhodri also built a fleet in order to protect Anglesea, “the mother of Wales,” so called on account of its extensive cornfields which supplied barren Gwynedd with provisions. In 877 Rhodri, after many vicissitudes, was slain in battle, and his dominions of Gwynedd (North Wales), Deheubarth (South Wales) and Powys (Mid Wales) were divided amongst his three sons, Anarawd, Cadell and Mervyn. Consolidation of Cambro-British territory was found impossible; there was no settled capital; and the three princes fixed their courts respectively at Aberffraw in Anglesea, at Dynevor (Dinefawr) near Llandilo in Deheubarth, and at Mathrafal in Powys. Howel, son of Cadell, commonly known as Howel Dda the Good, is ever celebrated in Welsh history as the framer, or rather the codifier, of the ancient laws of his country, which were promulgated to the people at his hunting lodge, Ty Gwyn ar Tâf, near the modern Whitland. In Howel’s code the prince of Gwynedd with his court at Aberffraw is recognized as the leading monarch in Wales; next to him ranks the prince of Deheubarth, and third in estimation is the prince of Powys. The laws of Howel Dda throw a flood of interesting light upon the ancient customs and ideas of early medieval Wales, but as their standard of justice is founded on a tribal and not a territorial system of society, it is easy to understand the antipathy with which the Normans subsequently came to regard this famous code. The dissensions of the turbulent princes of Gwynedd, Powys and Deheubarth, and of their no less quarrelsome chieftains, now rent the country, which was continually also a prey to Saxon incursions by land and to Scandinavian attacks by sea. Some degree of peace was, however, given to the distracted country during the reign of Llewelyn ap Seissyllt, the husband of Angharad, heiress of Gwynedd, who at length secured the overlordship or sovereignty of all Wales, and reigned till 1022. His son, Griffith ap Llewelyn, who, after having been driven into exile, recovered his father’s realm in the battle of Pencader, Carmarthenshire, in 1041, for many years waged a war of varying success against Harold, earl of Wessex, but in 1062 he was treacherously slain, and Harold placed Wales under the old king’s half-brothers, Bleddyn and Rhiwallon.

With the advent of the Normans, William the Conqueror, with the object of placing a firm feudal barrier between Wales and the earldom of Mercia, erected three palatine counties along the Cymric frontier. Thus Hugh the Wolf was placed in Chester (Caer), Roger de Montgomery at Shrewsbury and William Fitz-Osbern at Hereford. In 1081 William himself visited the Principality, and even penetrated as far west as St Davids. But the most important result of this first Norman invasion was to be found in the marvellous and rapid success of Robert Fitz-Hamon, earl of Gloucester, who, accompanied by a number of knightly adventurers, quickly overran South Wales, and erected a chain of castles stretching from the Wye to Milford Haven. The rich low-lying lands of Morganwg and Gwent were thus firmly occupied, nor were they ever permanently recovered by the Welsh princes; and such natives as remained were kept in subjection by the almost impregnable fortresses of stone erected at Caerphilly, Cardiff, Cowbridge, Neath, Kidwelly and other places. The important castles of Carmarthen and Pembroke were likewise built at this period. At the accession of William Rufus the domain of Gwynedd had been reduced to Anglesea and the Snowdonian district, and that of South Wales, or Deheubarth, to the lands contained in the basins of the rivers Towy and Teifi, known as Ystrad Tywi and Ceredigion. Griffith ap Cynan, of the royal house of Gwynedd, who had been first an exile in Ireland, and later a prisoner at Chester, once more returned to his native land, and defied the Norman barons with success, whilst Henry I. vainly endeavoured to make his liege and follower, Owen of Powys, ruling prince in Wales. Meanwhile the house of Dynevor once more rose to some degree of power under Griffith ap Rhys, whose father, Rhys ap Tudor, had been slain in 1093. The confused reign of Stephen was naturally favourable to the development of Cymric liberty, and with such strong princes as Owen, son of Griffith ap Cynan, heir to the throne of Gwynedd, and with Griffith ap Rhys ruling at Dynevor, the prospects of the Cymry grew brighter. In 1136 the army of Griffith ap Rhys met with a large English force near Cardigan, composed of the denizens of the South Wales castles and of the hated Flemish colonists, who had been lately planted by Henry I. in Dyfed. A fierce engagement took place wherein the Norman and Flemish troops were utterly routed, and the victorious Cymry slew thousands of their fugitives at the fords of the Teifi close to the town of Cardigan. The following year (1137) saw the deaths of the two powerful princes, Griffith ap Cynan, “the sovereign and protector and peacemaker of all Wales,” and Griffith ap Rhys, “the light and the strength and the gentleness of the men of the south.” With the accession of Henry II. peace was made with Owen of Gwynedd, the successor of Griffith ap Cynan, and with Rhys ap Griffith of South Wales. In 1169 Owen Gwynedd died and was buried in Bangor cathedral after a reign of 33 years, wherein he had successfully defended his own realm and had done much to bring about that union of all Wales which his grandson was destined to complete. On the other hand, “The Lord Rhys,” as he is usually termed, did homage to Henry II. at Pembroke in 1171, and was appointed the royal justiciar of all South Wales. At the castle of Cardigan in 1176, Prince Rhys held a historic bardic entertainment, or eisteddfod, wherein the poets and harpists of Gwynedd and Deheubarth contended in amicable rivalry. This enlightened prince died in 1196, and as at his death the house of Dynevor ceased to be of any further political importance, the overlordship of all Wales became vested indisputably in the house of Gwynedd, which from this point onwards may be considered as representing in itself alone the independent principality of Wales. The prince of Gwynedd henceforth considered himself as a sovereign, independent, but owing a personal allegiance to the king of England, and it was to obtain a recognition of his rights as such that Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, “the Great,” consistently strove under three English kings, and though his resources were small, it seemed for a time as though he might be able by uniting his countrymen to place the recognized autonomy of Gwynedd on a firm and enduring basis. By first connecting himself with John through his marriage with the English king’s daughter Joan, by straining every nerve to repress dissensions and enforce obedience amongst the Welsh chieftains, and later by allying himself with the English barons against his suzerain, this prince during a reign of 44 years was enabled to give a considerable amount of peace and prosperity to his country, which he persistently sought to rule as an independent sovereign, although acknowledging a personal vassalage to the king of England.

The close of the 12th century saw the final and complete subjection of the ancient Cambro-British Church to the supremacy of Canterbury. As part of the Roman Upper Province of Britain, Wales would naturally have fallen under the primacy of York, but the Welsh sees had continued practically independent of outside control during Saxon times. The bishops of St Davids had from time to time claimed metropolitan rights over the remaining sees, but in 1115 St Anselme's appointment of the monk Bernard (d. 1147) to St Davids, in spite of the opposition of the native clergy, definitely marked the end of former Welsh ecclesiastical independence. In 1188 Archbishop Baldwin with a distinguished train, whilst preaching the Third Crusade, made an itinerary of the Welsh sees and visited the four cathedral churches, thereby formally asserting the supremacy of Canterbury throughout all Wales. But in 1199 the celebrated Gerald de Barri (Giraldus Cambrensis), archdeacon of Brecon and a member of the famous Norman baronial house of de Barri, and also through his grandmother Nesta a great-grandson of Prince Rhys ap Tudor of Dcheubarth, was elected bishop by the chapter of St Davids. This enthusiastic priest at once began to re-assert the ancient metropolitan claims of the historic Welsh see, and between the years 1199-1203 paid three visits to Rome in order to obtain the support of Pope Innocent III. against John and Archbishop Hubert, who firmly refused to recognize Gerald's late election. Innocent was inclined to temporize, whilst the Welsh chieftains, and especially Gwenwynwyn of Powys, loudly applauded Gerald's action, but Llewelyn ap Iorwerth himself prudently held aloof from the controversy. Finally, in 1203, Gerald was compelled to make complete submission to the king and archbishop at Westminster, and henceforth Canterbury remained in undisputed possession of the Welsh sees, a circumstance that undoubtedly tended towards the later union of the two countries.

In 1238 Llewelyn, growing aged and infirm, summoned all his vassals to a conference at the famous Cistercian abbey of Strata Florida, whereat David, his son by the Princess Joan of England, was acknowledged his heir by all present. Two years later Llewelyn, the ablest and most successful of all the Welsh princes, expired and was buried in the monastery of his own foundation at Aberconway. He was succeeded by David II., at whose death without children in 1246 the sovereignty of Gwynedd, and consequently of Wales, reverted to his three nephews, sons of his half-brother Griffith, who had perished in 1244 whilst trying to escape from the Tower of London, where Henry III. was holding him as hostage for the good behaviour of Prince David. Of Griffith's three sons, Owen, Llewelyn and David, the most popular and influential was undoubtedly Llewelyn, whose deeds and qualities were celebrated in extravagant terms by the bards of his own day, and whose evil fate has ever been a favourite theme of Welsh poets. Though to this, the last prince of Wales, political sagacity and a firm desire for peace have often been ascribed, it must be admitted that he showed himself both turbulent and rash at a time when the most cautious diplomacy on his part was essential for his country's existence. For Edward, Henry III.'s son and heir, who had been created earl of Chester by his father and put in possession of all the royal claims in Wales, was generally credited with a strong determination to crush for ever Welsh independence, should a fitting opportunity to do so present itself. Nevertheless, the hostile policy of Llewelyn, who had closely associated himself with the cause of Simon de Montfort and the barons, was at first successful. For after the battle of Evesham a treaty was concluded between the English king and the Welsh prince at Montgomery, whereby the latter was confirmed in his principality of Gwynedd and was permitted to receive the homage of all the Welsh barons, save that of the head of the house of Dynevor, which the king reserved to himself; whilst the four fertile cantrefs of Perfeddwlad, lying between Gwynedd and the earldom of Chester, were granted to the prince. Llewelyn was, however, foolish enough to lose the results of this very favourable treaty by intriguing with the de Montfort family, and in 1273 he became betrothed to Eleanor de Montfort, the old Earl's only daughter, a piece of political folly which may possibly in some degree account for Edward's harsh treatment of the Welsh prince. In 1274 Llewelyn refused to attend at Edward's coronation, although the Scottish king was present. In 1276 Edward entered Wales from Chester, and after a short campaign brought his obstinate vassal to submit to the ignominious treaty of Conway, whereby Llewelyn lost almost all the benefits conferred on him by the compact of Montgomery ten years before. Llewelyn, utterly humbled, now behaved with such prudence that Edward at last sanctioned his marriage with Eleanor de Montfort (although such an alliance must originally have been highly distasteful to the English king), and the ceremony was performed with much pomp in Worcester Cathedral in 1278. In 1281 discontent with the king and his system of justice had again become rife in Wales, and at this point the treacherous Prince David, who had hitherto supported the king against his own brother, was the first to proclaim a national revolt. On Palm Sunday 1282, in a time of peace, David suddenly attacked and burnt Hawarden Castle, whereupon all Wales was up in arms. Edward, greatly angered and now bent on putting an end for ever to the independence of the Principality, hastened into Wales; but whilst the king was campaigning in Gwynedd, Prince Llewelyn himself was slain in an obscure skirmish on the 11th of December 1282 at Cefn-ybedd, near Builth on the Wye, whither he had gone to rouse the people of Brycheiniog. Llewelyn's head was brought to Edward at Conway Castle, who ordered it to be exhibited in the capital, surrounded by a wreath of ivy, in mocking allusion to an ancient Cymric prophecy concerning a Welsh prince being crowned in London. His body is said, on doubtful authority, to have been buried honourably by the monks of Abbey Cwm Hir, near Rhayader. Llewelyn's brother, now David III., designated by the English “the last survivor of that race of traitors,” for a few months defied the English forces amongst the fastnesses of Snowdon, but ere long he was captured, tried as a disloyal English baron by a parliament at Shrewsbury, and finally executed under circumstances of great barbarity on the 3rd of October 1283. With David's capture practically all serious Welsh resistance to the English arms ceased, if we except the unsuccessful attempt made to rouse the crushed nation in 1293 by Llewelyn's natural son, Madoc, who ended his days as a prisoner in the Tower of London.

Having suppressed the independence of Wales, Edward now took steps to keep Gwynedd itself in permanent subjection by building the castles of Conway, Carnarvon, Criccieth and Harlech within the ancient patrimony of the princes of North Wales, whose legitimate race was now extinct save for Llewelyn's daughter Gwenllian, who had entered the convent of Sempringham. In April 1284 Queen Eleanor, who had meanwhile joined her husband in Wales, gave birth to a son in the newly built castle of Carnarvon, and this infant the victorious king, half in earnest and half in jest, presented to the Welsh people for a prince who could speak no word of English. On the 7th of February 1301, Edward of Carnarvon was formally created “prince of Wales” by his father, and henceforward the title and honours of Prince of Wales became associated with the recognized heir of the English crown.

By the Statute, or rather Ordinance of Rhuddlan, promulgated in 1284, many important changes were effected in the civil administration of Wales. Glamorgan and the county palatine of Pembroke had hitherto been the only portions of the country subject to English shire law, but now Edward parcelled out the ancient territory of the princes of Gwynedd and of Deheubarth into six new counties, with sheriffs, coroners and bailiffs. Thus Anglesea, Carnarvon, Merioneth and Flint were erected in North Wales; whilst out of the districts of Ystrad Tywi and Ceredigion in South Wales, the old dominions of the house of Dynevor, the counties of Carmarthen and Cardigan were formed. The old Welsh land tenure by gavelkind was, however, still permitted to remain in force amongst the natives of all Wales, whilst it was henceforth arranged to administer justice in the eight counties by special royal judges, and in the Marches by the officers appointed by the various lords-marchers according to the terms of their tenure. Another distinguishing mark of Edward's policy towards Wales is to be found in the commercial and administrative powers given to the fortified towns, inhabited solely by people of English birth and by Welshmen who acquiesced in English rule. Municipal charters and market privileges were now granted to such towns as Cardiff, Carmarthen, Builth, Cardigan, Montgomery, Aberystwith, Newborough, &c., and this wise policy was continued under Edward II. and Edward III. Many of the turbulent Welsh warriors having now become mercenaries on the continent or else enlisted under the English king, and the whole of the land west of Severn at last enjoying internal peace, the commercial resources of Wales were developed in a manner that had hitherto not been possible. Coal, copper, timber, iron, and especially wool, were exported from the Principality, and by the Statute Staple of 1353 Carmarthen was declared the sole staple for the whole Welsh wool trade, every bale of wool having first to be sealed or “cocketed” at this important town, which during the 14th century may almost be accounted as the English capital of the Principality, so greatly was it favoured by the Plantagenet monarchs. A natural result of this partial treatment of the towns by the king and his vassals was that the English tongue and also English customs became prevalent if not universal in all the towns of Wales, whilst the rural districts remained strongly Cymric in character, language and sympathy.

After more than a century of enforced repose in the land and of prosperity in the towns, all Wales was suddenly convulsed by a wide-spread revolt against the English crown, which reads more like a tale of romance than a piece of sane history. The deposition of Richard II. and the usurpation of Henry IV., combined with the jealousy of the rural inhabitants of Wales against the privileged dwellers of the towns, seem to have rendered the country ripe for rebellion. Upon this troubled scene now appeared Owen Glendower (Owain Glyndwfrdwy: died? 1415), a descendant of the former princes of Powys and a favourite courtier of the late King Richard, smarting under the effect of personal wrongs received from Henry of Lancaster. With a success and speed that contemporary writers deemed miraculous, Owen stirred up his countrymen against the king, and by their aid succeeded in destroying castle after castle, and burning town after town throughout the whole length and breadth of the land between the years 1401 and 1406. In 1402 he routed the forces of the Mortimers at Bryn Glas near Knighton in Maesyfed, where he captured Sir Edmund Mortimer, the uncle and guardian of the legitimate heir to the English throne, the young earl of March. The aims of Owen were described by himself in a letter addressed to Charles VI., king of France, who had hastened to acknowledge the upstart as Prince of Wales and had sent 12,000 troops on his behalf to Milford Haven. In this letter Owen, who was holding his court in Llanbadarn near Aberystwith, demands his own acknowledgment as sovereign of Wales; the calling of a free Welsh parliament on the English model; the independence of the Welsh Church from the control of Canterbury; and the founding of national colleges in Wales itself. An assembly of Welsh nobles was actually summoned to meet in 1406 at Machynlleth in an ancient building still standing and known to this day as “Owen Glendower's Parliament House.” In vain did Henry and his lords-marchers endeavour to suppress the rebellion, and to capture, by fair means or foul, the person of Glendower himself; the princely adventurer seemed to bear a charmed existence, and for a few years Owen was practically master of all Wales. Nevertheless, his rule and power gradually declined, and by the year 1408 Owen himself had disappeared as suddenly and mysteriously as he had arisen, and the land once more fell into undisputed possession of the king and his chosen vassals. For Owen's brilliant but brief career and ruthless treatment of English settlers and Anglophil Welshmen, his countrymen had not unnaturally to pay a heavy penalty in the severe statutes which the affrighted parliaments of Henry IV. framed for the protection of the English dwellers in Wales and the border counties, and which were not repealed until the days of the Tudors. Of the part played by the Cymry during the wars of the Roses it is needless to speak, since the period forms a part of English rather than of Welsh history. The Yorkist faction seems to have been strongest in the eastern portion of the Principality, where the Mortimers were all-powerful, but later the close connexion of the house of Lancaster with Owen Tudor, a gentleman of Anglesea (beheaded in 1461) who had married Catherine of France, widow of Henry V., did much to invite Welsh sympathy on behalf of the claims of Henry Tudor his grandson, who claimed the English throne by right of his grandmother. Through the instrumentality of the celebrated Sir Rhys ap Thomas (1451-1527), the wealthiest and the most powerful personage in South Wales, Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond, on his landing at Milford Haven in 1485 found the Welsh, ready to rise in his behalf against the usurper Richard III. With an army largely composed of Sir Rhys's adherents, Henry was enabled to face Richard III. at Bosworth, and consequently to obtain the crown of England. Thus did a Welshman revenge the ignominious deaths of Prince Llewelyn and Prince David by becoming two centuries later king of England and prince of Wales.

With the Tudor dynasty firmly seated on the throne, a number of constitutional changes intended to place Welsh subjects on a complete social and political equality with Englishmen have to be recorded. The all-important Act of Union 1536 (27 Henry VIII.), converted the whole of the Marches of Wales into shire ground, and created five new counties: Denbigh, Montgomery, Radnor, Brecknock, or Brecon and Monmouth. At the same time the remaining lordships were added to the English border counties of Gloucester, Shropshire and Hereford, and also to the existing Welsh shires of Cardigan, Carmarthen, Glamorgan and Pembroke, all of which found their boundaries considerably enlarged under this statute. Clause 26 of the same act likewise enacted that the 12 Welsh counties should return 24 members to the English parliament: one for each county, one for the boroughs in each county (except Merioneth), and one for the town and county of Haverfordwest. It is probable that Welsh members attended the parliaments of 1536 and 1539, and certain it is that they were present at the parliament of 1541 and every parliament subsequently held. This act of union was followed in 1542 by an “Act for certain Ordinances in the King's Majesty's Dominion and Principality of Wales” (34 & 35 Henry VIII.), which placed the court of the president and council of Wales and the Marches on a legal footing. This court, with a jurisdiction somewhat similar to that of the Star Chamber, had originally been called into being under Edward IV. with the object of suppressing private feuds and other illegalities amongst the lords-marchers and their retainers. This council of Wales, the headquarters of which had been fixed at Ludlow, undoubtedly did good service on behalf of law and order under such capable presidents as Bishop Rowland Lee and William Herbert, earl of Pembroke; but it had long ceased to be of any practical use, and had in fact become an engine of oppression by the time of the Commonwealth, although it was hot definitely abolished till the revolution of 1688. The act of 1542 also enacted that courts of justice under the name of “The King's Great Sessions in Wales” should sit twice a year in every one of the counties of Wales, except Monmouth, which was thus formally declared an English shire. For this purpose four circuits, two for North and two for South Wales, each circuit containing a convenient group of three counties, were created; whilst justices of the peace and custodes rotulorum for each shire were likewise appointed. At the same time all ancient Welsh laws and customs, which were at variance with the recognized law of England, were now declared illegal, and Cymric land tenure by gavelkind, which had been respected by Edward I., was expressly abolished and its place taken by the ordinary practice of primogeniture. It was also particularly stated that all legal procedure must henceforth be conducted in the English tongue, an arrangement which fell very heavily on poor monoglot Welshmen and appears an especially harsh and ungracious enactment when coming from a sovereign who was himself a genuine Welshman by birth. Under the system of the Great Sessions justice was administered throughout the twelve counties of Wales for nearly three hundred years, and it was not until 1830 that this system of jurisdiction was abolished (not without some protest from Welsh members at Westminster), and the existing North and South Wales circuits were brought into being.

With the peaceful absorption of the Principality into the realm of the Tudor sovereigns, the subsequent course of Welsh history assumes mainly a religious and educational character. The influence of the Renaissance seems to have been tardy in penetrating into Wales itself, nor did the numerous ecclesiastical changes during the period of the Reformation cause any marked signs either of resentment or approval amongst the mass of the Welsh people, although some of the ancient Catholic customs lingered on obstinately. As early as the reign of Henry VIII. there were, however, to be found at court and in the universities a number of ardent and talented young Welshmen, adherents mostly of the reforming party in Church and State, who were destined to bring about a brilliant literary revival in their native land during the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. Of this distinguished band the most memorable names are those of Bishop Richard Davies (c. 1501–1581) and of William Salesbury, the squire-scholar of Llanrwst (c. 1520–c. 1600) in Denbighshire, who is commonly credited with the honour of having produced the first printed book in the Welsh language, a small volume of proverbs published in London about the year 1545. With the accession of Elizabeth a novel and vigorous ecclesiastical policy on truly national lines was now inaugurated in Wales itself, chiefly through the instrumentality of Richard Davies, nominated bishop of St Asaph in 1559 and translated thence to St Davids in 1561, who was mainly responsible for the act of parliament of 1563, commanding the bishops of St Davids, Llandaff, Bangor, St Asaph and Hereford to prepare with all speed for public use Welsh translations of the Scriptures and the Book of Common Prayer. Of the five prelates thus named, Davies alone was competent to undertake the task, and for assistance in the work of translation he called upon his old friend and former neighbour, William Salesbury, who like the bishop was an excellent Greek and Hebrew scholar. The pair laboured with such diligence that before the close of the year 1567 the required translations of the Liturgy and the New Testament were published in London; the former being the exclusive work of the bishop, whilst the latter was principally the product of Salesbury's pen, although some portions of it were contributed by Bishop Davies and by Thomas Huet, or Hewett, preceptor of St Davids (d. 1591). Having accomplished so much in so small a space of time, the two friends were next engaged upon a translation of the Old Testament, but owing to a quarrel, the cause of which remains obscure, this interesting literary partnership was brought to an abrupt ending about 1570. The honour of presenting his countrymen with a complete Welsh version of the Bible was reserved for William Morgan (c. 1547–1604), vicar of Llanrhayader, in Denbighshire, and afterwards bishop successively of Llandaff and of St Asaph. For eight years Morgan was busied with his self-imposed task, being greatly encouraged thereto by Archbishop Whitgift, by Bishop William Hughes (d. 1600) of St Asaph, and by other leading dignitaries of the Church both in England and in Wales. In December 1588 the first complete Welsh Bible, commonly known as “Bishop Morgan's Bible,” Was issued from the royal press at Westminster under the patronage of queen and primate, about 800 copies being supplied for distribution amongst the parish churches of Wales. This famous editio princeps of the Welsh Bible, first and foremost of Welsh classics, was further supplemented under James I. by the Authorized Version, produced by Richard Parry (1560–1623), bishop of St Asaph, with the help of Dr John Davies of Mallwyd (1570–1644), the first great Welsh lexicographer. At the tercentenary of “Bishop Morgan's Bible” in 1888 a national movement of appreciation was set on foot amongst Welshmen of all denominations both at home and abroad, with the result that a memorial cross was erected in the cathedral close of St Asaph in order to perpetuate the names and national services of the eight leading Welsh translators of the Scriptures:—Bishops Davies, Morgan and Parry; William Salesbury; Thomas Huet; Dr Davies of Mallwyd; Archdeacon Edmund Prys (1541–1624), author of a popular Welsh metrical version of the Psalter; and Gabriel Goodman, dean of Westminster (1528–1601), a native of Ruthin, who greatly assisted Bishop Morgan in his task. Two circumstances attending the production of these Welsh translations should be noted:—(1) That the leaders of this remarkable religious, literary and educational revival within the Principality were chiefly natives of North Wales, where for many years St Asaph was regarded as the chief centre of Cambro-British intellectual life; and (2) that all these important works in the Welsh tongue were published of necessity in London, owing to the absence of an acknowledged capital, or any central city of importance in Wales itself.

It would be well-nigh impossible to exaggerate the services rendered to the ancient British tongue, and consequently to the national spirit of Wales, by these Elizabethan and Jacobean translations, issued in 1567, 1588 and 1620, which were able definitely to fix the standard of classical Welsh, and to embody the contending dialects of Gwynedd, Dyfed and Gwent for all time in one literary storehouse. But for this sudden revival of Cymric literature under the patronage of Elizabeth (for the obtaining of which Wales must ever owe a deep debt of gratitude to Bishop Richard Davies, “her second St David”), there is every reason to believe that the ancient language of the Principality must either have drifted into a number of corrupt dialects, as it then showed symptoms of doing, or else have tended to ultimate extinction, much as the Cornish tongue perished in the 17th century.

The growth of Puritanism in Wales was neither strong nor speedy, although the year 1588, which witnessed the appearance of Bishop Morgan's Bible, also gave birth to two fierce appeals to the parliament, urging a drastic Puritanical policy in Wales, from the pen of the celebrated John Penry, a native of Brecknockshire (1559–1593). Far more influential than Penry amongst the Welsh were Rhys Prichard (? 1579–1644), the famous vicar of Llandovery,[1] Carmarthenshire, and William Wroth (d. 1642), rector of Llanfaches, Monmouthshire. Of these two Puritan divines. Vicar Prichard, who was essentially orthodox in his behaviour, forms an interesting connecting link between the learned Elizabethan translators of the Bible and the great revivalists of the 18th century, and his moral rhymes in the vernacular, collected and printed after his death under the title of The Welshman's Candle (Canwyll y Cymry), still retain some degree of popularity amongst his countrymen. Although a strong opponent of Laud's and Charles's ecclesiastical policy, Prichard lived unmolested, and even rose to be chancellor of St Davids; but the indiscreet Wroth, “the founder and father of nonconformity in Wales,” being suspended in 1638 by Bishop Murray of Llandaff, founded a small community of Independents at Llanfaches, which is thus commonly accounted the first Nonconformist chapel in Wales. During the years prior to the Great Rebellion, however, in spite of the preaching and writings of Vicar Prichard, Wroth and others, the vast mass of Welshmen of all classes remained friendly to the High Church policy of Laud and staunch supporters of the king's prerogative. Nor were the effects of the great literary revival in Elizabeth's reign by any means exhausted, for at this time Wales undoubtedly possessed a large number of native divines that were at once active parish priests and excellent scholars, many of whom had been educated at Jesus College, Oxford, the Welsh college endowed by Dr Hugh Price (d. 1574) and founded under Elizabeth's patronage in 1573. So striking was the devotion shown throughout the Principality to the king, who fought his last disastrous campaign in the friendly counties of Wales and the Marches, that on the final victory of the parliament there was passed within a month of Charles's execution in 1649 (perhaps as a special measure of punishment) an “Act for the better Propagation and Preaching of the Gospel in Wales,” by the terms of which a packed body of seventy commissioners was presented with powers that were practically unlimited to deal with all matters ecclesiastical in Wales. To assist these commissioners in their task, of inquiry and ejectment, a body of twenty-five “Approvers” was likewise constituted, with the object of selecting itinerant preachers to replace the dismissed incumbents; and amongst the Approvers are conspicuous the names of Walter Cradock (d. 1659), a suspended curate of St Mary’s, Cardiff, and a follower of Wroth’s; and of Vavasor Powell (1617–1670), an honest but injudicious zealot. Some 330 out of a possible total of 520 incumbents were now ejected in South Wales and Monmouthshire, and there is every reason to suppose that the benefices clergy of North Wales suffered equally under the new system. The greed and tyranny of several of the commissioners, and the bigotry and mismanagement of well-meaning fanatics such as Cradock and Powell, soon wrought dire confusion throughout the whole Principality, so that a monster petition, signed alike by moderate Puritans and by High Churchmen, was prepared for presentation to parliament in 1652 by Colonel Edward Freeman, attorney-general for South Wales. Despite the fierce efforts of Vavasor Powell and his brother itinerant preachers to thwart the reception of this South Wales petition at Westminster, Colonel Freeman was able to urge the claims of the petitioners, or “Anti-Propagators” as they were termed, at the bar of the House of Commons, openly declaring that by the late policy of ejectment and destruction “the light of the Gospel was almost extinguished in Wales.” A new commission was now appointed to inquire into alleged abuses in Wales, and the existing evidence clearly shows how harsh and unfair was the treatment meted out to the clergy under the act of 1649, and also how utterly subversive of all ancient custom and established order were the reforms suggested by the commissioners and approvers. At the Restoration all the ejected clergy who survived were reinstated in their old benefices under the Act of Uniformity of 1662, whilst certain Puritan incumbents were in their turn dismissed for refusing to comply with various requirements of that act. Amongst these Stephen Hughes of Carmarthen (1623–1688), a devoted follower of Vicar Prichard and an editor of his works, was ejected from the living of Mydrim in Carmarthenshire, whereby the valuable services of this eminent divine were lost to the Church and gained by the Nonconformists, who had increased considerably in numbers since the Civil Wars. The old ecclesiastical policy of Elizabeth, which had hitherto borne such good fruit in Wales, was now gradually relaxed under the later Stuarts and definitely abandoned under Anne, during whose reign only Englishmen were appointed to the vacant Welsh sees. From 1702 to 1870, a period of nearly 170 years, no Welsh-speaking native bishop was nominated (with the solitary exception of John Wynne, consecrated to St Asaph in 1715), and it is needless to point out that this selfish and unjust policy was largely responsible for the neglect and misrule which distinguished the latter half of the 18th and the early part of the 19th centuries. The Church, which had so long played a prominent and valuable part in the moral and literary education of the Welsh people, was now gradually forced out of touch with the nation through the action of alien and unsympathetic Whig prelates in Wales itself, which still remained mainly High Church and Jacobite in feeling.

All writers agree in stating that the mass of the Welsh people at the close of the 17th century were illiterate, and many divines of Cymric nationality charge their countrymen also with immorality and religious apathy. English was little spoken or understood amongst the peasant population, and there was a great dearth of Welsh educational works. Some efforts to remedy this dark condition of things had already been made by Thomas Gouge, with the assistance of Stephen Hughes, and also by the newly founded “Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge”; but it was Griffith Jones (1683–1761), rector of Llanddowror in south Carmarthenshire, who was destined to become the true pioneer of Welsh education, religious and secular. Early in the reign of George I. this excellent man, whose name and memory will ever be treasured so long as the Welsh tongue survives, began a system of catechizing in the vernacular amongst the children and adults of his own parish. With the cordial help of Sir John Philipps (d. 1736) of Picton Castle, the head of an ancient family in Dyfed, and of Mrs Bridget Bevan of Laugharne (d. 1779), who is still affectionately remembered in Wales as the donor of “Madam Bevan’s Charity,” Griffith Jones was enabled to extend his scheme of educating the people throughout South Wales, where numerous “circulating charily schools,” as they were called, were set up in many parishes with the approval of their incumbents. The results obtained by the growth of these schools were speedy and successful beyond the wildest hopes of their founder. This educational system, invented by Griffith Jones and supported by the purse of Mrs Bevan, in 1760 numbered 215 schools, with a total number of 8687 contemporary scholars; and by the date of Jones’s death in 1761 it has been proved that over 150,000 Welsh persons of every age and of either sex, nearly a third of the whole population of Wales at that time, were taught to read the Scriptures in their own language by means of these schools. With this newly acquired ability to read the Bible in their own tongue, the many persons so taught were not slow to express a general demand for Cymric literature, which was met by a supply from local presses in the small country towns; the marvellous success of the Welsh circulating charily schools caused in fact the birth of the Welsh vernacular press. In spite, however, of the marked improvement in the conditions and behaviour of the Welsh people, owing to this strictly orthodox revival within the pale of the Church, Griffith Jones and his system of education were regarded with indifference by the English prelates in Wales, who offered no preferment and gave little encouragement to the founder of the circulating schools. Meanwhile the writings and personal example of the pious rector of Llanddowror were stirring other Welshmen in the work of revival, chief amongst them being Howell Harris of Trevecca (1713–1773), a layman of brilliant abilities but erratic temperament; and Daniel Rowland (1713–1790), curate of Llangeitho in Mid-Cardiganshire, who became in time the most eloquent and popular preacher throughout all Wales. Two other clergymen, who figure prominently in the Methodist movement, and whose influence has proved lasting, were Peter Williams of Carmarthen (1722–1796), the Welsh Bible commentator, and William Williams of Pantycelyn (1717–1791), the celebrated Welsh hymn-writer. Incidentally, it will be noticed that this important Methodist revival had its origin and found its chief supporters and exponents in a restricted corner of South Wales, of which Carmarthen was the centre, in curious contrast with the literary movement in Ehzabeth’s reign, which was largely confined to the district round St Asaph.

During the lifetime of Griffith Jones the course of Welsh Methodism had run in orthodox channels and had been generally supported by the Welsh clergy and gentry; but after his death the tendency to exceed the bounds of conventional Church discipline grew so marked as to excite the alarm of the English bishops in Wales. Nevertheless, the bulk of the Methodists continued to attend the services of the Church, and to receive the sacraments from regularly ordained parish priests, although a schism was becoming inevitable. Towards the close of the 18th century the Methodist revival spread to North Wales under the influence of the celebrated Thomas Charles, commonly called Charles of Bala (1755–1814), formerly curate of Llanymowddwy and the founder of Welsh Sunday schools. So strained had the relations between the English rulers of the Church and the Methodists themselves now grown, that in 1811 the long-expected schism took place, much to the regret of Charles of Bala himself, who had ever been a devoted disciple of Griffith Jones. The great bulk of the farming and labouring members of the Church now definitely abandoned their “Ancient Mother,” to whom, however, the Welsh gentry still adhered. The Great Schism of 1811 marks in fact the lowest point to which the fortunes of the once powerful and popular Church in Wales had sunk,—in 1811 there were only English speaking prelates to be found, whilst the abuses of non-residence, pluralities and even nepotism were rampant everywhere. As instances of this clerical corruption then prevailing in Wales, mention may be made of the cases of Richard Watson (d. 1816), the non-resident bishop of Llandaff, who rarely visited his diocese during an episcopate of thirty years; and of another English divine who held the deanery, the chancellorship and nine livings in a North Welsh see, his curates-in-charge being paid out of Queen Anne's Bounty, a fund expressly intended for the benefit of impoverished livings. An honourable exception to the indolent and rapacious divines of this stamp was Thomas Burgess (bishop of St Davids), to whose exertions is mainly due the foundation of St David's College at Lampeter in 1822, an institution erected to provide a better and cheaper education for intending Welsh clergymen. The foundation of Lampeter College was one of the earliest signs of a new era of revived vigour and better government within the Church, although it was not till 1870 that, by Mr Gladstone's appointment of Dr Joshua Hughes to the see of St Asaph, the special claims of the Welsh Church were officially recognized, and the old Elizabethan policy was one more reverted to after a lapse of nearly two hundred years. After 1870 Welsh ecclesiastical appointments were made in a more truly national spirit, and this official acknowledgment of the peculiar duties and claims of the Church in Wales largely helped to win back no small amount of the strength and popularity that had been lost during Georgian times.

With the old national Church enthralled by English political prelates, and consequently hindered from ministering to the special needs of the people, the progress of dissent throughout the Principality was naturally rapid. Although primary education was largely supplied by the many Church schools in all parts of Wales, yet it was in the three most important denominations—the Congregationalists, the Baptists and the Calvinistic Methodists (that new-born sect of which the Church herself was the unwilling parent)—that almost all Welsh spiritual development was to be found during the first half of the 19th century. Thus between the year 1811 (the date of the Methodist secession) and 1832 (the year of the great Reform Bill), the number of dissenting chapels had risen from 945 to 1428: a truly marvellous increase even allowing for the speedy growth of population, since every chapel so built had of necessity to be well attended in order to render it self-supporting. From this religious guidance of the people by the well-organized forces of dissent, it was but a step to political ascendancy, and as the various constitutional changes from the Reform Bill onward began to lower the elective franchise, and thus to throw more and more power into the hands of the working classes, that spirit of radicalism, which is peculiarly associated with political dissent, began to assert itself powerfully throughout the country. As early as the reign of William IV. there appeared the weekly Times of Wales (Amserau Cymry), founded and edited by the able William Rees, who may be styled the father of the Welsh political press; and the success of Rees's venture was so marked that other journals, arranged to suit the special tenets of each sect, speedily sprang into existence. In the year 1870—a date that for many reasons marks the opening of an important era in modern Welsh history—the dissenting bodies of Wales were supporting two quarterly, sixteen monthly and ten weekly papers, all published in the vernacular and all read largely by peasants, colliers and artisans. With so powerful a press behind it, it is no wonder that Welsh political dissent was largely responsible for the changed attitude of the Imperial government in its treatment of the Principality—as evinced in the Sunday Closing Act of 1881, a measure which was very dear to the strong temperance party in Wales, and in the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, granted by Lord Salisbury's government in 1889. It was certainly owing to the pressure of Welsh political dissent that Lord Rosebery's cabinet issued the Welsh Land Tenure Commission in 1893—an inquiry which did much to exonerate the Welsh squirearchy from a number of vague charges of extortion and sectarian oppression, and that Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman's cabinet appointed the Welsh Church Commission (21st June 1906). This Commission was authorized to “inquire into the origin, nature, amount and application of the temporalities, endowments and other properties of the Church of England in Wales and Monmouthshire; and into the provision made and the work done by the Churches of all denominations in Wales and Monmouthshire for the spiritual welfare of the people, and the extent to which the people avail themselves of such provision.” The Report and Memoranda of the Commission were published on the 2nd of December 1910.

Mention must be made of the Rebecca riots in 1843-1844 in South Wales, wherein many toll gates were destroyed by mobs of countrymen dressed in female garb, “as the daughters of Rebecca about to possess the gates of their enemies”, and the Anti-Tithe agitation of 1885-1886—largely traceable to the inflammatory language used concerning clerical tithe by certain organs of the vernacular press—which led to some disorderly scenes between distraining parties of police and crowds of excited peasants in the more remote rural districts. There have been occasional strikes accompanied by acts of lawlessness in the industrial and mining districts of Glamorganshire, and also amongst the workmen employed in the quarries of Gwynedd.

The University College of Wales was founded at Aberystwyth in 1872; that of South Wales at Cardiff in 1883; and of North Wales at Bangor in 1884. In 1889 the system of intermediate schools, arranged to form an educational link between the primary schools and the colleges, was inaugurated. In November 1893 the University of Wales was incorporated by royal charter, with Lord Aberdare (d. 1895) as its first chancellor. All the religious bodies, including the Church, have been extremely active in educational and pastoral work; whilst the peculiar religious movement known as a revival (Diwygiad) has occurred from time to time throughout the Principality, notably in the years 1859 and 1904.

But the most remarkable phenomenon in modern Wales has been the evident growth of a strong national sentiment, the evolution of a new Welsh Renaissance, which demanded special recognition of the Principality's claims by the Imperial parliament. This revived spirit of nationalism was by outsiders sometimes associated, quite erroneously, with the aims and actions of the Welsh parliamentary party, the spokesmen of political dissent in Wales, yet in reality this sentiment was shared equally by the clergy of the Established Church, and by a large number of the laity within its fold. Nor is the question of the vernacular itself of necessity bound up with this new movement, for Wales is essentially a bi-lingual country, wherein every educated Cymro speaks and writes English with ease, and where also large towns and whole districts—such as Cardiff, south Monmouth, the Vale of Glamorgan, Gower, south Glamorgan, south Pembroke, east Flint, Radnorshire and Breconshire—remain practically monoglot English-speaking. Nor are the Welsh landowners and gentry devoid of this new spirit of nationalism, and although some generations ago they ceased as a body to speak the native tongue, they have shown a strong disposition to study once more the ancient language and literature of their country. It is true that a Young Wales party has arisen, which seeks to narrow this movement to the exclusion of English ideas and influences; and it is also true that there is a party which is abnormally suspicious of and hostile to this Welsh Renaissance; but in the main it is correct to say that the bulk of the Welsh nation remains content to assert its views and requirements in a reasonable manner. How wide-spread and enthusiastic is this true spirit of nationalism amongst all classes and sects of Welsh society to-day may be observed at the great meetings of the National Eisteddfod, which is held on alternate years in North and South Wales at some important centre, and at which the immense crowds collected and the interest displayed make a deep impression on the Anglo-Saxon or foreign visitors. The sincere, if somewhat narrow-minded religious feelings, the devotion manifested by all classes towards the land of their fathers, the extraordinary vitality of the Cambro-British tongue—these are the main characteristics of modern Wales, and they seem to verify the terms of Taliesin's ancient prophecy concerning the early dwellers of Gwalia:—

“Their Lord they shall praise;
Their Tongue they shall keep;
Their Land they shall lose
Except Wild Wales.”

 (H. M. V.) 

Welsh Literature.—The Welsh language possesses an extensive literature, ranging from the 9th century to the present day. A detailed account of it will be found in the article Celt: Celtic Literature, § iv.

Welsh Language.—Welsh, the Celtic language spoken by the ancient Britons (see Celt Language), is the domestic tongue of the majority of the inhabitants of the Principality. With the final destruction of Welsh independence under Edward I. the Cambro-British language, in spite of the disappearance of a court, continued to be spoken by Welshmen of all classes residing west of Severn, and the 14th and 15th centuries are remarkable for producing some of the finest Welsh bards and historians. With the union of Wales with England by the Act of 27 Henry VIII. (1536) the subsequent administration of all law and justice in the English tongue throughout the Principality threatened for a time the ancient language of the people with practical extinction. From such a fate it was largely preserved by the various translations of the Scriptures, undertaken at the command of Queen Elizabeth and performed by a number of native scholars and divines, amongst whom appear prominent the names of Bishops Davies, Morgan and Parry, and of William Salesbury of Llanrwst. Although the assertion of the celebrated Rhys Prichard of Llandovery that in his time (c. 1630) only 1% of the people of Wales could read the native language is probably an exaggeration, yet the number of persons who could read and write Welsh must have been extremely small outside the ranks of the clergy. During the earlier half of the 17th century the number of Welsh Bibles distributed throughout the Principality could hardly have exceeded 8000 in all, and except the Bible there was scarcely any Welsh work of importance in circulation. The system of the Welsh circulating charity schools, set up by Griffith Jones, rector of Llanddowror, in the 18th century, undoubtedly gave an immense impetus to the spread of popular education in Wales, for it has been stated on good authority that about one-third of the total population was taught to read and write Welsh by means of this system. As a result of Griffith Jones's efforts there quickly arose a vigorous demand for Welsh books of a pious and educational character, which was largely supplied by local Welsh printing-presses. The enthusiastic course of the Methodist movement under Howell Harris, Daniel Rowland and William Williams; the establishment of Welsh Sunday Schools; the founding of the Bible Society under Thomas Charles of Bala; and the revival early in the 19th century of the Eisteddfodau (the ancient bardic contests of music, poetry and learning), have all contributed to extend the use of the Welsh language and to strengthen its hold as a popular medium of education throughout the Principality. In 1841 the Welsh-speaking population was computed at 67% of the total, and in 1893 Welsh was understood or spoken by over 60% of the inhabitants in the twelve Welsh counties with the exception of the following districts, wherein English is the prevailing or the sole language employed:—viz. nearly the whole of Radnorshire; east Flint, including the neighbouring districts of Ruabon and Wrexham in Denbighshire; east Brecknock; east Montgomery; south Pembroke, with the adjoining district of Laugharne in Carmarthenshire; and the districts of Gower, Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff in south Glamorgan. In Monmouth, the eastern portion of the county is purely English-speaking, and in the western districts English also prevails (J. E. Southall, Linguistic Map of Wales).

Before tracing the history of Welsh sounds, it will be convenient to give the values of the letters in the modern alphabet:—

Tenues: p; t; c ( = Eng. k).

Mediae: b; d; g ( = Eng. hard g).

Voiceless spirants: ff or ph ( = Eng. f); th ( = Eng. th in thick); ch ( = Scottish ch in loch).

Voiced spirants: f ( = Eng. v); dd ( = Eng. th in this); the guttural voiced spirant (γ) disappeared early in Welsh.

Voiceless nasals: mh; nh; ngh.

Voiced nasals: m; n; ng.

Voiceless liquids: ll (unilateral voiceless l); rh (voiceless r).

Voiced liquids: l; r.

Sibilant: s (Welsh has no z).

Aspirate: k.

Semi-vowels: i ( = Eng. y in yard); w ( = Eng. w).

The sounds of t and d are more dental than in English, though they vary; the voiced spirants are very soft; the voiceless nasals are aspirated, thus nh is similar to Eng. nh in inhale; r is trilled as in Italian.

Vowels: a, e, i, o have the same values as in Italian; w as a vowel = north Eng. oo in book or Italian u; y has two sounds—(1) the clear sound resembling the Eng. i in bit, but pronounced farther back; (2) the obscure sound = Eng. i in fir; u in Med. Welsh had the sound of French u, but now has the clear sound of y described above, which is similar to the ear, and has the same pitch.

The Welsh language belongs to the Celtic branch of the Aryan or Indo-European family of languages. Primitive Celtic split up, as already shown, into two dialects, represented in modern times by two groups of languages—(1) the Goidelic group, comprising Irish, Scottish, Gaelic and Manx. (2) The Brythonic or Brittonic[2] group, comprising Welsh, Breton and Cornish. In the Goidelic group qu appears as c, thus Irish cethir, “four”; in the Brythonic group it is changed into p, as in Welsh pedwar, “four.” Gaulish, which was supplanted in France by Latin, had p, as in petor-ritum, “four-wheeled car,” and is thus allied to the Brythonic group; but it is believed that remains of a continental Celtic qu- dialect appear in such names as Sequani, and in some recently discovered inscriptions. The sounds of parent Aryan appeared in Primitive Celtic with the following modifications:—p disappeared, thus Aryan *peter, which gave Latin pater, Eng. father, gave in Irish athir; corresponding to Eng. floor, we have Irish lár, Welsh llawr. The velar tenuis q, when labialized, became qu, without labialization became k; the velar media g became b or g. The aspirated mediae bh, dh, gh, gh were treated as unaspirated b, d, g, g; probably also the rare aspirated tenues fell together with the unaspirated. The other Aryan consonants seem generally to have remained. Aryan ā, ī, ū remained. Aryan ē became î, as in Irish fír, Welsh gwîr, “true,” cognate with Latin vēr-us. Aryan ō became ā, as in Irish lár, cognate with Anglo-Saxon flōr, Eng. floor. The short vowels remained, except that Aryan ə became a, as in the other European branches.

In Brythonic, primitive Celtic qu became p, as above noted. Probably also Celtic ū was advancing or had advanced to a forward position, for it appears in Welsh as ī, as in dîn, “stronghold,” from Celtic *dūn-on, cognate with Eng. town, while Latin u, borrowed in the Brythonic period, gives u with its Welsh sound above described, as in mūr, “wall,” from Latin mur-us.

The Aryan system of inflexion was preserved in Celtic, as may be seen in Stokes's restoration of Celtic declension (Trans. Philol. Soc., 1885-1886, pp. 97-201); and Brythonic was probably as highly inflected as Latin. The development of Brythonic into Welsh is analogous to that of Latin into French. Unfortunately, the extant remains of Brythonic are scanty; but in the Roman period it borrowed a large number of Latin words, which, as we know their original forms, and as they underwent the same modifications as other words in the language, enable us to trace the phonetic changes by which Brythonic became Welsh.

These changes are briefly as follows:—

1. Loss of Syllables.—The last syllable of every word of more than one syllable was dropped; thus Latin termĭn-us gives in Welsh terfyn; the name Sabrĭn-a[3] “Severn” became Hafren. The loss extends to the stem-ending of the first element of a compound, thus the personal name Maglo-cŭnos became Maelgwn; and generally to unaccented syllables, thus episcopus became *epscop, whence esgob; trīnitāt-em gives trindod. The accusative is often the case represented in Welsh; but we have also the nominative, and sometimes both, as in ciwed from cīvit-as, and ciwdod from cīvitāt-em, now two words, not two cases of the same word. Aryan declension naturally disappeared with the loss of final syllables.

2. Consonant Changes.—(1) Between two vowels, or a vowel and a liquid, the seven consonants p, t, c, b, d, g, m, became respectively b, d, g, f, dd, -, f, where “-" represents the lost voiced spirant γ. Examples: Latin cupidus gave cybydd; Tacitus gave Tegyd; labōrem gave llafur; sagitta gave saeth; rēmus gave rhwyf. This change is called the “soft mutation.” (2) After nasals p, t, c, b, d, g became respectively mh, nh, ngh, m, n, ng; thus imperātor gave ymherawdr, and ambactos (evidently a Brythonic as well as a Gaulish word) gave amaeth (m, though etymologically double, is written single). This change is called the “nasal mutation.” (3) pp, tt, cc became respectively ph or ff, th, ch; thus peccātum gave pechawd, later pechod; and Brittones gave Brython. This change is called the “spirant mutation.” The tenuis becomes a spirant also after r or l, as in corff from corpus, and Elffin from Alpīnus, but lt gives llt or ll. The combinations act, ect, oct, uct gave aeth, aith, oeth, wyth, respectively; as in doeth, “wise,” from Lat. doctus, ffrwyth from fructus. (4) Original s between vowels (but not Latin s) became h, and disappeared; initially it generally appears as h, as in halen, “salt,” sometimes as s, as in saith, “seven." Initial l and r became ll and rh, as seen in examples in (1) above, but between vowels they remained. Similarly initial v became gw, as in gwîn, from Latin vīnum, remaining between vowels, though now written w, as in ciwed from cīvitas.

A consonant occurring medially is, generally speaking, invariable in the present language; thus the p and d of cupidus are b and dd in cybydd, but with the initial consonant the case is different. In one combination the initial may remain, thus *oinos cupidus gave un cybydd, “one miser”; in another combination it may have originally stood between vowels, and so is mutated, as in *duō cupidō, which gave dau gybydd, “two misers.” Thus arose the system of “initial mutation”: an initial consonant may retain its original form, or may undergo any of the changes to which it is subject. The names given above to these changes are those by which they are known when they occur initially the unchanged form being called the “radical.” The liquids l and r were brought into the system, the initial forms ll and rh being regarded as “radical.” The initial mutations, then, are as follows:—

Radical  p t c b d g  m   ll   rh 
Soft b d g f  dd  f l r
Nasal  mh   nh   ngh   m  n  ng   No change. 
Spirant ph th ch  No change.   No change. 

The initial mutation of any word depends upon its position in the sentence, and is determined by a grammatical rule which can ordinarily be traced to a generalization of the original phonetic conditions. Thus the second element of a compound word, even though written and accented as a separate word, has a soft initial, because in Brythonic the first element of a compound generally ended in a vowel, as in the name Maglo-cunos. The more important rules for initial mutation are the following: the soft mutation occurs in a feminine singular noun after the article, thus y fam, “the mother” (radical mam); in an adjective following a feminine singular noun, as in mam dda, “a good mother” (da, “good”); in a noun following a positive adjective, as in hên ddŷn, “old man,” because this order represents what was originally a compound; in a noun following dy, “thy,” and ei, “his,” thus dy ben, “thy head,” ei ben, “his head” (pen, “head”); in the object after a verb; in a noun after a simple preposition; in a verb after the relative a. The nasal mutation occurs after fy, “my,” and yn, “in”; thus fy mhen, “my head” (pen, “head”), yn Nhalgarth, “at Talgarth.” The spirant mutation occurs after a, “and,” “with,” ei, “her”; thus a phen, “and a head,” ei phen, “her head.”

3. Vowel Changes.—(1) Long ā, whether from Aryan ā or ō or from Latin ā, becomes aw in monosyllables, as in brawd, “brother” from *brāter; in the penult it is o, as in broder, “brothers,” in the ultima aw, later o, as in pechawd, now pechod, from peccātum. Long ī, whether from Aryan ē or ī, or from Latin ī, remains as i, see examples above. Latin ē was identified with a native diphthong ei, and becomes ŵy, as in rhwyf from rēmus. Latin ō and ū appear as u; see examples above. A long vowel when unaccented counts short, thus peccātórem treated as *peccătórem, gave pechadur. (2) Short ă, ĕ, ŏ remain; short ĭ became y; and ŭ became y (with its obscure sound) in the penult, remaining in the ultima, though now written w. But short vowels have been affected by vowels in succeeding syllables. These “affections” of vowels are as follows:—(α) I-affection, caused by i in a lost termination: ă becomes ai or ei, and ĕ, ŏ, ŭ became y, more rarely ai or ei. Thus *bardos gave bardd, but pl. *bardī gave beirdd; episcopī gave esgyb, “bishops.” This change is also caused by , as in lleidr, “thief,” from latrō. (β) A-affection, caused by a in a lost ending: ĭ becomes e (instead of y); ŭ becomes o. Thus cīvĭtas gave ciwed; colŭmna gave colofn. (γ) Penultimate affection: i or y in the ultima causes several changes in the penult, as arch, “order,” erchi, “to bid”; saer, “carpenter,” pl. seiri; caer, “fort,” pl. ceyrydd. (3) In the modern language other vowel changes occur by a change of position; thus ai, au, aw in the ultima become ei, eu, o respectively in the penult, as dail, “leaves,” deilen, “leaf”; haul, “sun,” heulog, “sunny”; brawd, “brother,” pl. broder or brodyr. The last is an old interchange of sounds, and probably the others are older than their first appearance in writing (15th century) suggests.

Accidence.—Welsh has a definite article yr, “the,” which becomes ’r after a vowel, and y before a consonant unless already reduced to ’r. Thus yr oen, “the lamb,” i’r ty, “into the house,” yn y ty, “in the house.”

The noun has two numbers, and two genders, masculine and feminine. A plural noun is formed from the singular by i-affection: thus bardd, “bard,” pl. beirdd; ffon, “stick,” pl. ffyn; or by adding a termination as ffenestr, “window,” pl. ffenestri, with any consequent vowel change, as brawd, “brother,” pl. brodyr; gwlad, “country,” pl. gwledydd. The terminations chiefly used are -au, -ion, -on, -i, -ydd, -oedd. These are old stem endings left after the loss of the original -es; thus latrō gives lleidr, latrones gives lladron; the forms having dd represent stems, becoming dd in certain positions.

In some cases the singular is formed from the plural by the addition of -yn or -en; thus sér, “stars,” seren, “star.”

Feminine names of living things are formed from the masculine by the addition of -es, as brenin, “king,” brenhines, “queen” ; llew, “lion,” llewes, “lioness.” It is difficult to lay down rules for the determination of the gender of names of inanimate objects.

Adjectives are inflected for number and gender. Plural adjectives are formed from the singular by i-affection or by adding the termination -ion or -on; thus hardd, “beautiful,” pl. heirdd; glas, “blue,” pl. gleision.

Adjectives having y or w are made feminine by a-affection, due to the lost feminine ending -a; thus gwyn, “white,” fem. gwen; trwm, “heavy,” fem. trom.

The adjective has four degrees of comparison—positive, equative, comparative, superlative; as glân, “clean,” glaned, “as clean (as),” glanach, “cleaner,” glanaf, “cleanest.” A few adjectives are compared irregularly.

The personal pronouns are: simple sing. 1. mi, 2. ti, 3. masc. ef, fem. hi; pl. 1. ni, 2. chwi, 3. hwy, hwynt; reduplicated, myfi, tydi, &c.; conjunctive, minnau, tithau, &c. Prefixed genitive: sing. 1. fy, “my,” 2. dy, 3. i, ei; pl. 1. yn, ein, 2. ych, eich, 3. eu. Infixed genitive and accusative: sing. 1. ’m, 2. ’th, 3. ’i; pl. 1. ’n, 2. ’ch, 3. ’u. Affixed: sing. 1. i, 2. di, 3. ef, &c., like the simple forms.

The demonstrative pronouns are hwn, “this,” hwnnw, “that,” fem. hon, honno, pl. hyn, hynny.

The relative pronouns are nominative and accusative a, oblique cases ydd, yr, y. The expressions yr hwn, y neb, “the one,” are mistaken for relatives by the old grammarians; the true relative follows: yr hwn a = “the one who.”

The interrogative pronouns are substantival pwy? = “who?” adjectival pa? Substantival “what?” is expressed by pa beth? “what thing?” or shortly beth?

The verb has four tenses in the indicative, one in the subjunctive, and one in the imperative. The old passive voice has become an impersonal active, each tense having one form only. The regular verb caraf, “I love,” is conjugated thus:—

Indicative—Pres. (and fut.) sing. 1. caraf, 2. ceri, 3. câr; pl. 1. carwn, 2. cerwch, 3. carant; impers. cerir. Imperfect sing. 1. carwn, 2. carit, 3. carai; pl. 1. carem, 2. carech, 3. cerynt, carent; impers. cerid. Aorist sing. 1. cerais, 2. ceraist, 3. carodd; pl. 1. carasom, 2. carasoch, 3. carasant; impers. carwyd. Pluperfect sing. 1. caraswn, 2. carasit, 3. carasai; pl. 1. carasem, 2. carasech, 3. caresynt, -asent; impers. caresid.

Subjunctive—Pres. sing. 1. carwyf, 2. cerych, 3. caro; pl. 1. carom, 2. caroch, 3. caront; impers. carer.

Imperative—Pres. sing. 2. câr, 3. cared; pl. 1. carwn, 2. cerwch, 3. 'carent; impers. carer.

Verbal noun, caru, “to love.” Verbal adjectives, caredig, “loved,” caradwy, “lovable.”

As in other languages the verb “to be” and its compounds are irregular; the number of other irregular verbs is comparatively small.

Prepositions also are “conjugated” in Welsh, their objects, if pronominal, being expressed by endings. Thus ar, “on,” arnaf, “on me,” arnat, “on thee,” arno, “on him,” arni, “on her,” arnom, “on us,” arnoch, “on you,” arnynt, “on them.” The second conjugation has for endings -of, -ot, -ddo, -ddi; -om, -och, -ddynt; the third -yf, -yt, -ddo, -ddi; -ym, -ych, -ddynt.

The negative adverbs are ni, nid, conjunctive na, nad. Interrogative particles: a, ai. Affirmative particles: yr, fe.

The commoner conjunctions are a, ac, “and”; ond, eithr, “but”; o, os, “if”; pan, “when” ; tra, “while.”

Syntax.—A qualifying adjective follows its noun, and agrees with it in gender and generally in number. It may, however, precede its noun, and a compared adjective generally does so.

In a simple sentence the usual order of words is the following:—verb, subject, object, adverb; as prynodd Dafydd lyfr yno, “David bought a book there.” The verb may be preceded by an affirmative, a negative, or an interrogative particle.

When a noun comes first, it is followed by a relative pronoun, thus, Dafydd a brynodd lyfr yno, which really means “(it is) David who bought a book there,” and is never used in any other sense in the spoken language, though in literary Welsh it is used rhetorically for the simple statement which is properly expressed by putting the verb first. In negative and interrogative sentences this rhetorical use does not occur.

In a simple interrogative sentence the introductory particle before the verb is a, and the positive answer consists in a repetition of the verb, a ddaw Dafydd? Daw. “Will David come? Yes.” If the verb is aorist the answer is do for all verbs. In negative answers na precedes the verb. In sentences in which a noun comes first, the interrogative particle is ai, and the answer is always, positive ïe, negative nage, as ai Dafydd a ddaw? ïe. “Is it David who will come? Yes.”

A relative pronoun immediately precedes its verb and can only be separated from it by an infixed pronoun, thus Dafydd a’i prynodd, “(it is) David who bought it,” yno y’m gweli, “(it is) there that thou wilt see me.” If the relative is the object of a preposition, the latter is put at the end of the clause, and has a personal ending, thus y ty y bûm ynddo, literally, “the house which I-was in-it.”

The verb does not agree with its subject unless the latter is a personal pronoun; when the subject is a noun the verb is put in the third person singular; thus carant, “they love,” can take a pronominal subject—carant hwy, “they love”; but “the men love” is câr y dynion (not carant y dynion, which can only mean “they love the men”). In relative clauses the verb is sometimes made to agree, but in the oldest poetry we generally find the singular verb, as in the oft-repeated Gododin phrase Gwyr a aeth Gatraeth, “men who went (to) Catraeth” (not Gwŷr a aethant).

Authorities.—J. D. Rhys, Cambrobrytannicae Cymraecaeve lingvae institvtiones (1592); John Davies, Antiqae lingvae Britannicae … dictionarium duplex (1632); Edward Lhuyd, Archaeologia Britannica (1707); W. O. Pughe, Grammar and Dictionary2 (1832), vitiated by absurd etymological theories; J. C. Zeuss, Grammatica Celtica (2nd ed. by H. Ebel, 1871)—an index to the O. Welsh glosses cited in this work was compiled by V. Tourneur in Archiv für celt. Lexikographie, iii. 109–137; T. Rowland, Grammar of the Welsh Language4 (1876), containing a large collection of facts about the modern language, badly arranged and wholly undigested; Rhys, Lectures on Welsh Philology2 (1879); J. Strachan, An Introduction to Early Welsh, with a Reader (Manchester, 1909); Stokes, “Urkeltischer Sprachschatz,” in Fick’s Vergleichendes Wörterbuch der idg. Sprachen4, ii. (1894); E. Anwyl, Welsh Grammar for Schools, i. (1898), ii. (1899); J. Morris Jones, Historical Welsh Grammar, i. (1911); W. Spurrek, Welsh-English and English-Welsh Dictionary (Carmarthen5, 1904); D. Silvan Evans, Welsh Dictionary, A-E (1888–1906). The last-named received a subsidy from the British government. Some corrections and additions to the early volumes, by J. Loth, will be found in Arch. f. celt. Lex. vol. i. See also H. Sweet, “Spoken N. Welsh,” in Trans. of the London Phil. Soc., 1882–1884; T. Darlington, “Some Dialectal Boundaries in Mid-Wales,” in Trans. of the Hon. Soc. of Cymmrodorion, 1900–1901; and M. Nettlau, Beiträge zur cymrischen Grammatik (Leipzig, 1887), also in Rev. celt. vol. ix.  (J. M. J.) 

  1. Sometimes known as vicar of Llandingat, his church being in that parish.
  2. The Bretons call their language Brezonek; the Welsh bards sometimes call Welsh Brythoneg: both forms imply an original *Brittonica.
  3. The i was short: Sabrīna would have given Hefrin in Welsh.