In the two and a half centuries before the Black Death of 1349, Wales underwent economic, social, and ecclesiastical changes arguably more profound and far-reaching than any it experienced prior to the Industrial Revolution and the rise of Methodism. The extent and character of those changes have tended to be underestimated for several reasons. One such reason is that the clatter of battle and conquest has so engaged the attention of the historian, as indeed it did that of contemporary annalists and chroniclers, that it diverts attention from the much less obtrusive and slow-moving changes within society. All medieval societies were localized; few more so than medieval Wales. Such hints of change as survive are, therefore, of their nature fragmentary and localized. No Domesday Book or foreign trade statistics survive, as in England.
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