Almost from the moment the Normans took England in 1066 and attempted to subdue the whole of the British Isles, they faced resistance in the west from people who would not be subdued: the Welsh. After 1070, a series of Anglo-Norman castles rose along the English-Welsh border, which for centuries had long been the setting of numerous Welsh battles with the Anglo-Saxons. The frontier came under the lordship of men whom the Welsh despised. The names of Earl Hugh Lupus of Chester and Earl Roger de Montgomery of Shrewsbury were synonymous with cruelty and treachery. Their motte-and-bailey castles in the Welsh Marches represented symbols of oppression; more of them rose across the landscape of Wales than in any other territory the Anglo-Normans sought to control. The Marcher lords of these medieval strongholds pushed the borders of their king’s newly conquered country as far into Wales as they could, but not without resistance from the native people. They refused to accept the conquest of their lands.
|Map of medieval Wales|
|Monument at Maes Gwenllian|
|Llywelyn the Great|
Sources: The Battles of Wales by Dilys Gater, Gwenllian: The Welsh Warrior Princess by Peter Newton, The Scottish and Welsh Wars 1250-1400 by Christopher Rothero, and Owain Glyndwr by Terry Breverton.
Images: Wikimedia Commons, public domain.