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Response to Review of Welsh Soldiers in the Later Middle Ages

I am pleased that the reviewer (Dr Allmand) found much of use and interest in my book and has expressed that in a welcome and complementary review and I thank him for it.

The reviewer is right to express some regret that the book was not able to explore the careers of Welshmen in Lancastrian Normandy between c.1420 and up until 1453. There is a degree to which I share it. There are several reasons for this omission, however, primarily the scale of the task. This reflects the variety and quality of the available sources. Resources – both archival and, especially, literary – are especially rich and deserve a full length study in their own right. The ongoing work of the University of Wales’s project examining the career and works of the 15th-century soldier and poet, Guto’r Glyn, an extension of the Beirdd yr Uchelwyr/Poets of the Nobility project goes some way towards addressing the cultural context of those who fought in these wars.(1) There is much more that could be done, however, but a fuller account of the historical and political context in which this poetry was produced would have doubled the length of the book!

Secondly, the wars in France that followed the death of Henry V had a rather different character so far as the Welsh were concerned. What is evident in these sources is the extent to which the wars in France were both a military training ground and financial foundation for the decades of the Wars of the Roses that followed. Most notable of these, of course, were William ap Thomas of Raglan and his son, William, lord Herbert (cr. Earl of Pembroke 1468, d. 1469). They were, however, the most prominent tip of the wave and the role of the Welsh squireachy is an important area of enquiry that I have written about elsewhere.(1) The wars in France were, I believe, essential to understanding the way in which Wales experienced the second half of the 15th century. This period and beyond, of course, was described by H. T. Evans in his Wales and the Wars of the Roses.(3) Such are the continuities between the wars in France and the Wars of the Roses that this is a theme that I would like to pursue in the future.

Notes

  1. Guto’r Glyn project <http://www.gutorglyn.net/gutorglyn/index/> [accessed 1 February 2016]; Poets of the nobility <http://www.wales.ac.uk/en/CentreforAdvancedWelshCelticStudies/Publications/Project3/SeriesProject3.aspx> [accessed 1 February 2016].Back to (1)
  2. A. Chapman, '”He took me to the duke of York” : Henry Griffith, a “Man of War” in Gwalch Cywyddau Gwŷr' : Ysgrifau ar Guto'r Glyn a Chymru'r Bymthegfed Ganrif = Essays on Guto'r Glyn and Fifteenth-Century Wales, golygwyd gan = edited by Dylan Foster Evans, Barry J. Lewis, Ann Parry Owen (Aberystwyth, 2013).Back to (2)
  3. H. T. Evans, Wales and the Wars of the Roses (1915, repub. 1992).Back to (3)