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Module HXW-1007:
Wales: Princes to Tudors

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Euryn Roberts

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of this module is to introduce students to some of the most momentous developments in the history of Wales from the ‘Age of the Princes’ to the early modern period. Its main focus is on the political struggles and achievements of the native royal families, including attempts to establish a principality of Wales, before examining the Owain Glyndŵr movement and then, the political, cultural and religious changes of the sixteenth century. The module thus provides an introduction to a key period in the pre-industrial history of Wales that also illuminates central issues in studying medieval and early modern societies generally.

Course content

Wales in the age of Owain Gwynedd and Lord Rhys; Gerald of Wales; rise of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth in Gwynedd and over much of the rest of Wales; the reign of Dafydd ap Llywelyn and succession to Gwynedd; the hegemony and downfall of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, prince of Wales; poetry and history writing in medieval Wales; Welsh political aspirations in l4th century; Owain Glyndŵr and his movement; Brutus, 1485 and political prophecy; Wales and the Reformation; Wales and the Renaissance; Wales and 16th-century politics – the Acts of Union.

Assessment Criteria


Good students (B-, B, B+ [60s]) will show a solid level of achievement in all the criteria listed.


Threshold students (D- [42%]) will demonstrate an appropriate depth of knowledge of at least parts of the relevant field, and will make at least partly-successful attempts to frame arguments which engage with historical controversies

C- to C+

C- to C+ (50s) lefel students will demonstrate a greater depth of knowledge, and an ability to present evidence-based and coherent arguments on a number of topics relevant to the field.


Excellent students (A-, A, A+, A* [70s and above]) will show this solid achievement across the criteria combined with particularly impressive depths of knowledge and/or subtlety of analysis.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of some of the major events, concepts and problems in medieval and early modern Welsh history from the age of the princes to the early modern period, particularly the attempts of native rulers to establish a principality of Wales and the external influences that bore upon Wales during the early modern period.

  2. Show awareness that history may be interpreted in different ways.

  3. Demonstrate a mastery of basic study skills, particularly the ability to follow a course of reading, make effective notes, and benefit from seminar discussions.

  4. Present historical arguments and evidence in essays, and back them with evidence.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Essay Plan and Bibliography 10
Essay 1 40
Essay 2 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Students are encouraged to drop-in for additional advice and guidance during the teaching team's weekly office hours (as advertised in the module handbook).


Lectures – approx. 2 hours per week


Seminars – 1 hour per week (if taught over a period of 10 weeks)

External visit

1 five-hour long field trip.

Private study

Private Study – reading time, preparing and taking assessments


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

Subject specific skills

  • problem solving to develop solutions to understand the past
  • understanding the complexity of change over time; in specific contexts and chronologies
  • being sensitive to the differences, or the "otherness" of the past, and the difficulty to using it as a guide to present or future action
  • producing logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence
  • marshalling and critically appraising other people's arguments, including listening and questioning
  • preparing effective written communications for different readerships
  • making effective and appropriate use of relevant information technology
  • making critical and effective use of information retrieval skills using paper-based and electronic resources
  • collaborating effectively in a team via experience of working in a group
  • appreciating and being sensitive to different cultures and dealing with unfamiliar situations
  • critical evaluation of one's own and others' opinions


Resource implications for students


Talis Reading list

Reading list


John Davies, A History of Wales (1994; new edn 2007). P. Morgan (ed.), The Tempus History of Wales (2001), Chap. 3 (H. Pryce, ‘Frontier Wales, c.1063–1282’); 4 (R. Griffiths, ‘Wales from conquest to union, 1282–1536’); 5 (G. H. Jenkins, ‘From reformation to Methodism, 1536–c.1750’). Between them these three chapters offer a concise introduction to the period as a whole. G. H. Jenkins, A Concise History of Wales (2007). John Davies, The Making of Wales (1998). G. A. Williams, When was Wales? A History of the Welsh (1985). E. Humphreys, The Taliesin Tradition: A quest for the Welsh Identity (1983). G. Williams, Religion, language and nationality in Wales (1979).

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004). Available in printed volumes in the Library and also on-line; contains articles on the major figures discussed in this module.


A. D. Carr, Medieval Wales 1064–1521 (1995). R. R. Davies, The Age of Conquest (1991; reissued with updated bibliography, 2000; originally published under the title, Conquest, Co existence, and Change: Wales 1063–1415 (1987)). D. Walker, Medieval Wales (1990). A. D. Carr, ‘Wales: economy and society’, in S. H. Rigby (ed.), A Companion to Britain in the Later Middle Ages (2003), Chap. 7. J. B. Smith & Ll. B. Smith, ‘Wales: politics, government and law’, in S. H. Rigby (ed.), Companion to Britain in the Later Middle Ages (2003), Chap. 16. R. Turvey, The Welsh Princes: The Native Rulers of Wales 1063–1283 (2002). K. Maund, The Welsh Kings: The Medieval Rulers of Wales (2000). D. Moore, The Welsh Wars of Independence, c.410–c.1415 (2005). H. Pryce, Tywysogion (2006). J. E. Lloyd, A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest, 2 vols (1911; 3rd edn, 1939). R. R. Davies, Domination and Conquest: The Experience of Ireland, Scotland and Wales 1100–1300 (1990). R. Frame, The Political Development of the British Isles, 1100–1400 (1990). R. R. Davies, The First English Empire: Power and Identities in the British Isles, 1093–1343 (2000). Max Lieberman, The March of Wales 1067–1300: A Borderland of Medieval Britain (2008). R. A. Griffiths, Conquerors and Conquered in Medieval Wales (1994). R. A. Griffiths, King and Country: England and Wales in the Fifteenth Century (1991). R. A. Griffiths & P. R. Schofield (eds), Wales and the Welsh in the Middle Ages (2011). G. Williams, Recovery, Reorientation and Reformation: Wales, c.1415–1642 (1987). [paperback edn, Renewal and Reformation: Wales c.1415–1642 (1993)]. H. Pryce, ‘Wales: religion and piety’, in S. H. Rigby (ed.), A Companion to Britain in the Later Middle Ages (2003), Chap. 21. G. Williams, The Welsh Church from Conquest to Reformation (1962; 21976). A. D. Carr, ‘Inside the tent looking out: the medieval Welsh world view’, in R. R. Davies & G. H. Jenkins (eds), From Medieval to Modern: essays in honour of K. O. Morgan and Ralph A. Griffiths (2004), 30–44. A. O. H. Jarman & Gwilym R. Hughes (eds), A Guide to Welsh Literature 1282–c.1530, revd edn, D. Johnston (1997).


G. Williams, Recovery, Reorientation and Reformation: Wales, c.1415–1642 (1987) [paperback edn: Renewal and Reformation: Wales c.1415–1642 (1993)]. J. G. Jones, Early Modern Wales, c.1535–1640 (1994). B. Bradshaw & B. Roberts (eds), British Consciousness and Identity: The Making of Britain 1533–1707 (1998). G. Williams, Wales and the Reformation (1997). R. G. Gruffydd (ed.), A Guide to Welsh Literature c.1530–1700 (1997). J. Hunter, Soffestri’r Saeson: Hanesyddiaeth a Hunaniaeth yn Oes y Tuduriaid (2000).


M. Salmon, Source Book of Welsh History (1927). Brut y Tywysogyon, or, The Chronicle of the Princes. Peniarth MS. 20 Version, trans. Thomas Jones (1952). Brut y Tywysogyon, or, The Chronicle of the Princes. Red Book of Hergest Version, ed. & trans. Thomas Jones (1955; 2nd edn 1973). H. Pryce (ed.), The Acts of Welsh Rulers, 1120–1283 (2005). The documents of the princes together with an introduction, notes and English summaries. J. P. Clancy (trans.), Medieval Welsh Poems (2003). J. G. Edwards (ed.), Calendar of Ancient Correspondence concerning Wales (1935). T. Herbert & G. E. Jones (eds.), Welsh History and its Sources: Edward I and Wales (1988). I. Bowen (ed.), The Statutes of Wales (1908); also online: Includes the Statute of Wales (1284), royal statutes in response to the Glyndŵr rising, and Henry VIII’s Acts of Union. T. Matthews, Welsh Records in Paris (1910; reissued 2010). Includes documents of Llywelyn the Great and, especially, Owain Glyndŵr. M. Livingston & J. Bollard, (eds) Owain Glyndŵr: A case book (2013). Ellis, H., Original Letters Illustrative of English History (1847). T. Herbert & G. E. Jones (eds.), Welsh History and its Sources: Tudor Wales (1988). Leland’s Itinerary in Wales, ed. L. T. Smith (1906). Humphrey Llwyd, Cronica Walliae, ed. I. M. Williams (2002). A history of Wales in English, 1559. Rice Merrick, Morganiae Archaiographia: A Book of the Antiquities of Glamorganshire, ed. B. Ll. James (1983). Sir John Wynn, History of the Gwydir Family and Memoirs, ed. J. G. Jones (1990). George Owen of Henllys, The Description of Pembrokeshire, ed. D. Miles (1994). George Owen, The Dialogue of the Government of Wales (1594): updated and commentary, ed. J. G. Jones (2010). The Oxford Book of Welsh Verse in English, ed. G. Jones (1977).

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: