The Acts of Welsh Rulers, 1120-1283

The Acts of Welsh Rulers, 1120-1283

The Acts of Welsh Rulers, 1120-1283

The Acts of Welsh Rulers, 1120-1283


A comprehensive collection of acts, charters and letters issued by Welsh princes and rulers during the period 1120-1283, together with background information about the princes and a detailed analysis of the documents. 10 black-and-white illustrations and 2 maps.


This edition attempts to assemble the first comprehensive collection of acts issued by native rulers of Wales from the earliest extant twelfth-century documents to the death of Dafydd ap Gruffudd in 1283 during the Edwardian conquest that extinguished independent rule. It thereby aims to make more accessible than before a key body of source material for the study of medieval Wales during an era of struggles for power by native rulers both among themselves and with Marcher lords and the English crown, an era sometimes characterized as ‘the age of the princes’. Coverage is intentionally broad. The term ‘ruler’ has been applied to members not only of the dominant dynasties of Deheubarth, Powys and, above all, Gwynedd but also of minor dynasties such as those of Arwystli or Senghennydd; and, in a world where political power was often contested and fragmented, to individuals within each dynasty who exercised some measure of authority, however limited geographically or temporally. Likewise, the edition includes all known documents issued as expressions of a ruler’s will – both those extant as texts and those known only from mentions in other sources – even if, as is the case with petitions or some letters, these do not conform to acts in the strict sense of instruments, particularly charters, that create, modify or confirm a juridical action or situation. (Texts of agreements with the English crown and other third parties are included irrespective of whether they survive in ratifications issued by the Welsh ruler concerned, partly for the sake of completeness but also on the assumption that, where such ratifications are not extant, the terms were at least approved by the ruler, in some cases quite possibly in a written act now lost.)

Identification of the corpus of documents has been greatly facilitated by Kari Maund’s compilation of a handlist of acts in a project that prepared the ground for the present edition. In addition, much is owed to the efforts of previous editors of individual documents or collections of documents. As well as standard editions and calendars of royal

The latest known acts of Welsh rulers before 1120 are charters of the later eleventh century
preserved in the Book of Llandaff: Text of the Book of Llan Dâv, 267–75; cf. Davies, Llandaff
, 129; Crouch, ‘Earliest original charter’, 125–7.

See Lloyd, ‘Age of the native princes’; Jones Pierce, Medieval Welsh Society, Chap. I, ‘The Age of
the Princes’ (admittedly this essay applies the phrase only to the century that ended with the death of
Llywelyn ap Gruffudd of Gwynedd in 1282).

Cf. Guyotjeannin et al., Diplomatique médiévale, 104–5.

H. This edition contains most of the documents listed in H (see the concordance, below, pp.
816–23) together with further discoveries made since H went to press. Errors in H have normally been
corrected silently in the present work.

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