Urban Culture in Medieval Wales
|ISBN: 9780708323519 (0708323510)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Mai 2012 |
Cyhoeddwr: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press, CaerdyddFformat: Clawr Caled, 234x156 mm, 352 tudalen
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|Does dim Adolygiad Cwsmer i'r teitl hwn.
Y casgliad cynhwysfawr cyntaf o draethodau yn disgrifio agweddau ar fywyd a diwylliant trefol yng Nghymru rhwng y drydedd ganrif ar ddeg a'r unfed ganrif ar bymtheg.
From street brawls to street theatre, this is the first comprehensive collection of essays describing aspects of urban life and culture in Wales from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries.
Time was, as the editor indicates in her introduction to this volume, when the concept of an urban culture in medieval Wales would have been laughed out of court: the country was often viewed as a rural backwater on the very fringe of all that was important. Research in recent years has altered our view radically and for the better, and this excellent collection adds significantly to our understanding. The contributors show that even if the towns of Wales were small in comparison with their English neighbours, their culture was far more complex and sophisticated than the traditional concept of an English-Welsh divide. In the later Middle Ages the towns of Wales underwent a significant change, many of them growing in size and acquiring more diverse populations. As Ralph Griffiths and Llinos Smith show in their keynote essays, urban culture comprised many different facets and reflected a range of varied occupations and levels of wealth. Towns retained strong links with the surrounding countryside, and their populations were often more cosmopolitan than might be supposed.
Part of the difficulty in analysing the culture of Welsh towns is the lack of surviving evidence. Yet though the evidence of buildings is severely limited because so few have survived, Richard Suggett argues that notable examples such as Aberconwy House, the fifteenth-century merchant’s house in Conwy, can tell us much about the prosperity of individuals and help us to envisage the physical aspect of the more active commercial centres. In the same way, Helen Fulton teases out the significance of literary references to fairs, feast-days and carnivals in medieval Welsh poetry, and David Klausner is able to show that, although few civic records survive, it is clear that urban communities did spend time on music, dancing and games. Dafydd Johnston, Dylan Foster Evans and Catherine McKenna use literary evidence to analyse the poets’ perceptions of town life and the contrasts and tensions between town and country. Tension and conflict are also highlighted by Spencer Dimmock, who detects frequent legal disputes and widening social polarisation after the Black Death.
Detailed statistical analysis of population evidence enables Matthew Frank Stevens to detect different urban cultures according to the Welsh or English origins of the townsfolk, while Deborah Youngs considers the role of women and opens up interesting themes which will merit more research. In the final contribution, Peter Fleming offers a detailed analysis of the Welsh population over the border in five English towns of the early Tudor period, again offering a framework for further work.
The book has a detailed bibliography and a most welcome index, and is a valuable addition to the historiography of medieval Wales.
It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Introduction: The Impact of Urbanization in Medieval Wales, Helen Fulton
1 Who Were the Townsfolk of Medieval Wales?, Ralph A. Griffiths
2 In Search of an Urban Identity: Aspects of Urban Society in Late Medieval Wales, Llinos B. Smith
3 The Townscape, 1400 – 1600, Richard Suggett
4 Towns in Medieval Welsh Poetry, Dafydd Johnston
5 Social Conflict in Welsh Towns c. 1280 – 1530, Spencer Dimmock
6 Anglo-Welsh Towns of the Early Fourteenth Century: A Survey of Urban Origins, Property-Holding and Ethnicity, Matthew Frank Stevens
7 The Townswomen of Wales: Singlewomen, Work and Service, c. 1300 - c. 1550, Deborah Youngs
8 Castle and Town in Medieval Wales, Dylan Foster Evans
9 The City of Chester in Gruffudd ap Maredudd's Awdl i'r Grog o Gaer, Catherine McKenna
10 Fairs, Feast Days and Carnival in Medieval Wales: Some Poetic Evidence, Helen Fulton
11 Entertainment and Recreation in the Towns of Early Wales, David Klausner
12 The Welsh Diaspora in Early Tudor English Towns, Peter Fleming
Helen Fulton is Professor of Medieval Literature in the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York.
This collection of twelve essays describes aspects of town life in medieval Wales, from the way people lived and worked to how they spent their leisure time. Drawing on evidence from historical records, archaeology and literature, twelve leading scholars outline the diversity of town life and urban identity in medieval Wales. While urban histories of Wales have charted the economic growth of towns in post-Norman Wales, much less has been written about the nature of urban culture in Wales. This book fills in some of the gaps about how people lived in towns and the kinds of cultural experience which helped to construct a Welsh urban identity.
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