HOME
The Info List - Welsh Marches


--- Advertisement ---



(i) (i) (i)

The WELSH MARCHES (Welsh : Y Mers) is an imprecisely defined area along and around the border between England and Wales
Wales
in the United Kingdom. The precise meaning of the term has varied at different periods.

Historically, the English term WELSH MARCH (in Medieval Latin MARCHIA WALLIAE) was originally used in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
to denote the marches between England and the Principality of Wales
Wales
, in which Marcher lords had specific rights, exercised to some extent independently of the king of England . In modern usage, "the Marches" is often used to describe those English counties which lie along the border with Wales, particularly Shropshire
Shropshire
and Herefordshire
Herefordshire
, and sometimes adjoining areas of Wales.

CONTENTS

* 1 Origins: Mercia
Mercia
and the Welsh * 2 The March of Wales
Wales
in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages

* 3 The end of Marcher powers

* 3.1 List of Marcher lordships and successor shires

* 4 The Marches
Marches
today * 5 See also * 6 Notes * 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links

ORIGINS: MERCIA AND THE WELSH

Offa\'s Dyke near Clun in Shropshire
Shropshire

After the decline and fall of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
which occupied Britain until about AD 410, the area which is now Wales
Wales
comprised a number of separate Romano-British kingdoms, including Powys in the east. Over the next few centuries, the Angles
Angles
, Saxons
Saxons
and others gradually conquered and settled in eastern and southern Britain. The kingdom of Mercia
Mercia
, under Penda , became established around Lichfield
Lichfield
, and initially established strong alliances with the Welsh kings . However, his successors sought to expand Mercia
Mercia
further westwards into what is now Cheshire
Cheshire
, Shropshire
Shropshire
and Herefordshire
Herefordshire
. Campaigns and raids from Powys then led, possibly around about AD 820, to the building of Wat\'s Dyke , a boundary earthwork extending from the Severn valley near Oswestry to the Dee estuary . As the power of Mercia
Mercia
grew, a string of garrisoned market towns such as Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury
and Hereford defined the borderlands as much as Offa\'s Dyke , a stronger and longer boundary earthwork erected by order of Offa of Mercia
Mercia
between AD 757 and 796. The Dyke still exists, and can best be seen at Knighton , close to the modern border between England and Wales.

In the centuries which followed, Offa's Dyke largely remained the frontier between the Welsh and English. Athelstan , often seen as the first king of a united England, summoned the British kings to a meeting at Hereford
Hereford
in AD 926, and according to William of Malmesbury laid down the boundary between Wales
Wales
and England, particularly the disputed southern stretch where he specified that the River Wye should form the boundary. By the mid-eleventh century, Wales
Wales
was united under Gruffudd ap Llywelyn of Gwynedd
Gwynedd
, until his death in 1063.

THE MARCH OF WALES IN THE MIDDLE AGES

Immediately after the Norman Conquest , King William of England installed three of his most trusted confidants, Hugh d\'Avranches , Roger de Montgomerie , and William FitzOsbern , as Earls of Chester, Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury
and Hereford
Hereford
respectively, with responsibilities for containing and subduing the Welsh . The process took a century and was never permanently effective. The term "March of Wales" was first used in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
of 1086. Over the next four centuries, Norman lords established mostly small marcher lordships between the Dee and Severn, and further west. Military adventurers went to Wales
Wales
from Normandy
Normandy
and elsewhere and after raiding an area of Wales, then fortified it and granted land to some of their supporters. One example was Bernard de Neufmarché , responsible for conquering and pacifying the Welsh kingdom of Brycheiniog . The precise dates and means of formation of the lordships varied, as did their size. Wales
Wales
1234 (Marchia Wallie and Pura Wallia)

Pura Wallia (independent Wales) Lands gained by Llywelyn the Great in 1234 Marchia Wallie (lands ruled by the Marcher barons)

The March, or Marchia Wallie, was to a greater or lesser extent independent of both the English monarchy and the Principality of Wales or Pura Wallia, which remained based in Gwynedd
Gwynedd
in the north west of the country. By about AD 1100 the March covered the areas which would later become Monmouthshire and much of Flintshire , Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire , Brecknockshire, Glamorgan
Glamorgan
, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire
and Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire
. Ultimately, this amounted to about two-thirds of Wales. During the period, the Marches
Marches
were a frontier society in every sense, and a stamp was set on the region that lasted into the time of the Industrial Revolution. Hundreds of small castles were built in the border area in the 12th and 13th centuries, predominantly by Norman lords as assertions of power as well as defences against Welsh raiders and rebels. The area still contains Britain's densest concentration of motte-and-bailey castles. The Marcher lords encouraged immigration from all the Norman-Angevin realms, and encouraged trade from "fair haven" ports like Cardiff
Cardiff
. Peasants went to Wales
Wales
in large numbers: Henry I encouraged Bretons , Flemings
Flemings
, Normans , and English settlers to move into the south of Wales. Many new towns were established, some such as Chepstow
Chepstow
, Monmouth
Monmouth
, Ludlow and Newtown becoming successful trading centres, and these tended also to be a focus of English settlement. At the same time, the Welsh continued to attack English soil and supported rebellions against the Normans.

The Norman lords each had similar rights to the Welsh princes. Each owed personal allegiance, as subjects, to the English king whom they were bound to support in times of war, but their lands were exempt from royal taxation and they possessed rights which elsewhere were reserved to the crown, such as the rights to create forests, markets and boroughs. The lordships were geographically compact and jurisdictionally separate one from another, and their privileges differentiated them from English lordships. Marcher lords ruled their lands by their own law—sicut regale ("like unto a king") as Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester
Gloucester
stated — whereas in England fief-holders were directly accountable to the king. The crown's powers in the Marches
Marches
were normally limited to those periods when the king held a lordship in its own hands, such as when it was forfeited for treason or on the death of the lord without a legitimate heir whereupon the title reverted to the Crown in escheat . At the top of a culturally diverse, intensely feudalised and local society, the Marcher barons combined the authority of feudal lord and vassal of the King among their Normans, and of supplanting the traditional tywysog among their conquered Welsh. However, Welsh law was sometimes used in the Marches
Marches
in preference to English law, and there were disputes as to which code should be used to decide a particular case.

The Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284 followed the conquest of the Principality by Edward I of England
Edward I of England
. It assumed the lands held by the Princes of Gwynedd
Gwynedd
under the title "Prince of Wales
Wales
" as legally part of the lands of the Crown, and established shire counties on the English model over those areas. The Marcher Lords were progressively tied to the English kings by the grants of lands and lordships in England, where control was stricter, and where many marcher lords spent most of their time, and through the English kings' dynastic alliances with the great magnates. The Council of Wales
Wales
and the Marches
Marches
, administered from Ludlow
Ludlow
Castle , was initially established in 1472 by Edward IV of England to govern the lands held under the Principality of Wales
Wales
which had become directly administered by the English crown following the Edwardian conquest of Wales
Wales
in the 13th century.

THE END OF MARCHER POWERS

By the 16th century, many marcher lordships had passed into the hands of the crown, as the result of the accessions of Henry IV , who was previously Duke of Lancaster , and Edward IV , the heir of the Earls of March ; of the attainder of other lords during the Wars of the Roses ; and of other events. The crown was also directly responsible for the government of the Principality of Wales, which had its own institutions and was, like England, divided into counties. The jurisdiction of the remaining marcher lords was therefore seen as an anomaly, and their independence from the crown enabled criminals from England to evade justice by moving into the area and claiming "marcher liberties".

Under the Laws in Wales
Wales
Acts 1535–1542 introduced under Henry VIII , the jurisdiction of the marcher lords was abolished in 1536. The Acts had the effect of annexing Wales
Wales
to England and creating a single state and legal jurisdiction , commonly referred to as England and Wales
Wales
. The powers of the marcher lordships were abolished, and their areas were organised into the new Welsh counties of Denbighshire
Denbighshire
, Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire , Brecknockshire, Monmouthshire , and Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire
. The counties of Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire
and Glamorgan
Glamorgan
were created by adding other districts to existing lordships. In place of assize courts of England, there were Courts of Great Sessions . These administered English law, in contrast with the marcher lordships, which had administered Welsh law for their Welsh subjects. Some lordships were added to adjoining English counties: Ludlow
Ludlow
, Clun , Caus and part of Montgomery were incorporated into Shropshire; Wigmore , Huntington , Clifford and most of Ewyas were included in Herefordshire; and that part of Chepstow
Chepstow
east of the River Wye was included in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
.

The Council of Wales, based at Ludlow
Ludlow
Castle , was reconstituted as the Council of Wales
Wales
and the Marches
Marches
, with statutory responsibilities for the whole of Wales
Wales
together with, initially, Cheshire
Cheshire
, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire
Worcestershire
and Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
. The City of Bristol was exempted in 1562, and Cheshire
Cheshire
in 1569. The Council was eventually abolished in 1689, following the "Glorious Revolution " which overthrew James II (VII of Scotland) and established William III (William of Orange ) as king.

LIST OF MARCHER LORDSHIPS AND SUCCESSOR SHIRES

● CHESTER ● SHREWSBURY ● OSWESTRY ● LUDLOW ● HEREFORD ● GLOUCESTER WREXHAM ● WELSHPOOL ● MONMOUTH ● MAP ILLUSTRATING THE TRADITIONAL COUNTIES CONSIDERED TO FORM THE "WELSH MARCHES" See also: List of Marcher lordships

List of Marcher lordships and successor shires:

* FLINTSHIRE

Flint Hawarden Hopedale Maelor
Maelor
Saesneg Mold

* DENBIGHSHIRE

Bromfield and Yale Chirk
Chirk
Denbigh
Denbigh
Ruthin
Ruthin
( Dyffryn Clwyd )

* MONTGOMERYSHIRE

Caus (part) Cedewain Ceri Montgomery (part) Powys

* RADNORSHIRE

Cwmwd Deuddor Elfael Glasbury Gwrtheyrnion Maelienydd Radnor Presteigne

* BRECKNOCKSHIRE

Blaenllyfni Brecon
Brecon
Builth Hay

* MONMOUTHSHIRE

Abergavenny
Abergavenny
Caerleon Chepstow
Chepstow
(part) Ewyas Lacy (part) Gwynllŵg (Wentloog) Monmouth
Monmouth
Usk
Usk

* GLAMORGAN

Glamorgan
Glamorgan
Gower

* CARMARTHENSHIRE

Cantref Bychan Cydweli Emlyn Llansteffan Laugharne
Laugharne
St. Clears Ystlwyl

* PEMBROKESHIRE

Cemais Cilgerran Haverford Llawhaden Narberth Pebidiog Pembroke

* TRANSFERRED TO ENGLISH SHIRES

Bishop\'s Castle (Shropshire) Caus (part) (Shropshire) Chepstow (part) (Gloucestershire) Clifford (Herefordshire) Clun (Shropshire) Ewyas Lacy (part) (Herefordshire) Huntington (Herefordshire) Knighton (part) (Shropshire) Montgomery (part) (Shropshire) Oswestry (Shropshire) Whittington (Shropshire) Wigmore (Herefordshire)

THE MARCHES TODAY

A Class 175 \'Coradia\' running through currently closed Dinmore railway station , Herefordshire
Herefordshire
on the Welsh Marches Line on an Arriva Trains Wales
Wales
service.

There is no modern legal or official definition of the extent of the Welsh Marches. However, the term the Welsh Marches
Marches
(or sometimes just the Marches) is commonly used to describe those English counties which lie along the border with Wales, particularly Shropshire
Shropshire
and Herefordshire. The term is also sometimes applied to parts of Powys, Monmouthshire and Wrexham.

The Welsh Marches Line is a railway line from Newport in South Wales to Shrewsbury, via Abergavenny, Hereford, and Craven Arms .

The Marches Way is a long distance footpath which connects Chester
Chester
in the north, via Whitchurch , Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury
, Leominster
Leominster
and Abergavenny
Abergavenny
to Cardiff
Cardiff
in South Wales
Wales
.

The Marches School is a secondary school in Oswestry, Shropshire. The school has several meeting rooms named in Welsh, and has students and staff from both sides of the border.

SEE ALSO

* Marches
Marches
– for other examples, including Scottish Marches
Marches
between England and Scotland. * Council of the Marches
Marches
* Earl of March
Earl of March
– some of the dynastic families controlling the Welsh Marches * Welsh Lost Lands * England– Wales
Wales
border * A49 – main road that runs north-south through the Marches * Honour of Richmond * History of Gwynedd
Gwynedd
during the High Middle Ages
Middle Ages
* Category:Towns of the Welsh Marches
Marches
* Category:Counties of the Welsh Marches
Marches

NOTES

* ^ Often rendered Marcia Wallie in documents. * ^ A B C D E John Davies, A History of Wales, Penguin, 1993, ISBN 0-14-028475-3 * ^ A B Trevor Rowley, The Welsh Border – archaeology, history and landscape, Tempus Publishing, 1986, ISBN 0-7524-1917-X * ^ David Hill and Margaret Worthington, Offa's Dyke – history and guide, Tempus Publishing, 2003, ISBN 0-7524-1958-7 * ^ Norman Castles * ^ A B Max Lieberman, The March of Wales, 1067–1300: a borderland of medieval Britain, University of Wales
Wales
Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7083-2115-7 * ^ Wrexham
Wrexham
County Borough Council: The Princes and the Marcher Lords * ^ Davies, R. R., The Age of Conquest: Wales
Wales
1063–1415 (Oxford 1987, 2000 edition), pp. 271–88. * ^ A B Paul Courtney, The Marcher Lordships: Origins, Descent and Organization, in The Gwent County History Vol.2, University of Wales Press, Cardiff, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7083-2072-3 * ^ A B Nelson, Lynn H., 1966. The Normans in South Wales, 1070–1171 (Austin and London: University of Texas Press) * ^ William Searle Holdsworth, "A History of English Law," Little, Brown, and Company, 1912, pg. 502 * ^ Welsh Joint Education Committee: The Council of Wales
Wales
and the Marches * ^ J. A. Ransome, This Realm of England * ^ P. Brown, P. King, and P. Remfry, 'Whittington Castle: The marcher fortress of the Fitz Warin family', Shropshire
Shropshire
Archaeology and History LXXIX (2004), 106–127. * ^ •"The Marches". The Marches
Marches
Local Enterprise Partnership. Retrieved 30 June 2016. • "The Welsh Marches". Ludlow.org.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2016. * ^ "The Autumn Epic, Welsh Marches, Powys". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved 30 June 2016. • "Discover Herefordshire
Herefordshire
and the Southern Marches". Countryfile.com. Retrieved 30 June 2016. • " Chirk
Chirk
Castle - Magnificent medieval fortress of the Welsh Marches". NationalTrust.org.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2016.

REFERENCES

Attribution

* This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "March, Earls of". Encyclopædia Britannica . 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 685–688.

FURTHER READING

* Freeman, Edward Augustus Freeman, 1871. The History of the Norman Conquest of England: Its Causes and Its Results, (Clarendon Press, London) * Davies, R. R., The Age of Conquest: Wales
Wales
1063–1415 (Oxford 1987, 2000 edition), pp. 271–88. * ---. Lordship and Society in the March of Wales, 1282–1400 (1978). * Froude, James Anthony, 1881. History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth (London, Published by C. Scribne