The Anglo-Norman Settlement of Wales and the Making of Marcher Society
By the end of the twelfth century, the Normans had left their imprint deeply on Wales. Their conquest of the country, it is true, was neither as rapid nor as complete as early promise had suggested, and the mid-twelfth century in particular had witnessed a major rebuff to their advance. By the end of the century, however, they had transformed Wales — in terms of political mastery, social configuration, and cultural influence — more profoundly than any other group or movement was to do so until the Industrial Revolution. The Norman barons, at whose instigation and under whose direction the conquest of Wales was undertaken, were a small group of men, rarely exceeding twenty in number at any given time. Many of the major Norman lordships in Wales passed through marriage or gift into new hands, yet by 1200 all these families (except the Fitzalans, descendants of Alan fitz Flaad) had failed in the direct male line and yet another ‘new’ Marcher aristocracy was, as in each generation, in the making.
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