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Module HPS-4008:
Age of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Huw Pryce

Overall aims and purpose

  1. This course will allow students to analyse a range of evidence for the history of Wales during the age of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (c.1170-1240), including detailed study of relevant documents.
  2. It will introduce them to changing ideas and current theories and debates about the interpretation of the evidence, allowing them to engage in discussion of these.
  3. It will show them how documentary and narrative sources can be used alongside literary works and legal texts produced by the native learned classes.

Course content

This course will deal with the history of Wales during the age of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) (c.1170-1240), focusing not only on Llywelyn himself but also on broader political, ecclesiastical, social and cultural developments in Wales during his lifetime. It will use a variety of sources in order to investigate Llywelyn's career as prince of Gwynedd within a wider context, both Welsh and European, and encourage critical evaluation of the ways that different genres of evidence offer differing perspectives. Attention will also be given to historiographical developments in the study of Wales in this period. Topics for discussion will include: Llywelyn's rise to power in Gwynedd, and his attempts to create a broader hegemony over other parts of Wales; relations with the English crown, especially John and Henry III; developments in other Welsh principalities and the Marcher lordships; Llywelyn's marriage to King John's daughter, Joan; the prince's acta; relations with the Church, including the patronage of religious houses; developments in native Welsh law; court poetry of the period.

Assessment Criteria

C- to C+

Students in this band, achieving Pass grades (C- to C+), will demonstrate a satisfactory range of achievement or depth of knowledge of most parts of the module, and will make successful, if occasionally inconsistent, attempts to develop those skills appropriate to the study of History at PGT level. In the case of the written assessments, the answers will attempt to focus on the question, although might drift into narrative, and will show some evidence of solid reading and research. The argument might lose direction and might not be adequately clear at the bottom of this category. Written work will be presented reasonably well with only limited errors in grammar, punctuation, and referencing, and not to the extent that they obscure meaning.


Good students achieving Merit grades (B- to B+) will demonstrate a solid level of achievement and depth of knowledge in all the criteria in the Pass (C- to C+) range, and will in addition exhibit constructive engagement with different types of historical writing and historiographical interpretation. Ideas will be communicated effectively and written work will include a good range of sources/reading and demonstrate a clear understanding of the issues and of the existing interpretations expressed in a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument. Students at the top end of this band will engage with and critique the ideas that they come across, and synthesise the various interpretations they find to reach their own considered conclusions. Written work will be correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.


Excellent students achieving Distinction grades (A- and above) will show strong achievement across all the criteria combined with particularly impressive depths of knowledge and/or subtlety of analysis. In written work, they will support their arguments with a wealth of relevant detail/examples. They will also demonstrate an acute awareness of the relevant historiography and give an account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular historical debate. They may show a particularly subtle approach to possible objections, nuancing their argument in the light of counter-examples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. Overall, the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently superior to top upper-second work. Standards of presentation will also be high.

Learning outcomes

  1. Students will be able understand the different types of evidence for the history of Wales in the age of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth and will be able to analyse their significance.

  2. They will understand changing ideas and current theories and debates about the interpretation of the evidence and will be able to make a judgement for themselves on the merits of these.

  3. They will understand the advantages and limitations of using documentary and narrative sources alongside literary works and legal texts and will be able to begin to combine the use of these diverse sources for themselves.

  4. Present clear, evidence-based historical arguments on aspects of the subject

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Essay 60
Source analysis 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

Private reading for seminars and assessments

One-to-one supervision

Discussion of essay topics and source(s) chosen for source analysis, including choice of topics and relevant reading.


11 x 2-hour seminars


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

The form does not recognize that there may be subject specific skills for historians.


Resource implications for students


Reading list

See the Talis list for the previous version of this module that this will replace in order to conform with revised requirements for MA courses in our school:

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: