The Welsh Dragon

For most of history, the Welsh dragon was not a very common symbol. In fact, it was flown by only one king, Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon, who reigned from 655-682 AD. It was so distinct that his flag came to be known as “the Red Dragon of Cadwaladr”.  Today, it is known as the ‘Welsh dragon’ and the the Welsh flag looks like this: (my The Last Pendragon Saga is about a mythic version of Cadwaladr) Within Welsh mythology, the story of the two dragons, one red (for the Welsh) and one white (for Read More…

The Kingdoms of France

You might ask, and reasonably so, why a blog about medieval Wales would be posting about the kingdoms of France in the Middle Ages. The main reason is that it’s hard to understand the Norman conquest of England (and Wales and Scotland), without reference to the fact that they were Norman.  That means, they came from the Kingdom of Normandy, a region on the north coast of France.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_of_Aquitaine ‘France’ wasn’t ‘France’ as we know it today until after the Edwardian period. As the map dating from 1154 to the Read More…

The Mortimers

The Mortimers were a powerful Marcher family that begin with Ranulf, who became lord of Wigmore after 1075.  He was Norman, naturally, and was the Seigneur of St. Victor-en-Caux in Normandy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralf_de_Mortimer Once in England, however, the family rose to power and as far as I can tell, did everything in their power to hold onto it, regardless of how many times they switched allegiances between the English crown, the Welsh crown, and outright rebellion. “In historical terms we can go back to the Domesday Book for the first clear reference to Wigmore Castle. The Read More…

The Normans in Wales (Chepstow Castle)

William the Bastard (William the Conquerer, William the Norman) won his first battle for the conquest of England at Hastings in October of 1066.  He defeated the army of King Harold Godwinson, who’d force-marched his men from Stamford Bridge after defeating an invasion by King Hardrada of Norway.  Harold’s forces almost held, but in the end, his discipline did not and he himself died on the battlefield.  http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/william-the-conqueror.htm That was only the beginning, however, and it would be another six years before England was truly conquered.  http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon22.html Wales, however, took a Read More…