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Title: Royal government in the southern counties of the Principality of Wales, 1422-1485
Author: Griffiths, Ralph Alan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 2064
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 1962
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Both Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire had existed as counties well before Edward I's reign and throughout the later Middle Ages their administrative framework was dictated by this early development and its climax, the Edwardian Conquest. Even in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, however, the counties were not directly governed in their entirety by the king, for certain lordships continued as semi-independent jurisdictions. (Chapter 1) The justiciar of South Wales, as the king's representative, was the head of royal government in the two counties. His judicial authority came to be exercised in the great sessions which met in each county once every year. In the early fourteenth century the jurisdiction of these sessions was wide indeed, but with theg~rowing sophistication of the judicial system and the emergence of more specialised courts, their business declined. (Chapter II) Financial administration was in the hands of the chamberlain of South Wales, to whom the local commotal and county officials accounted, and who was himself responsible to the Exchequer at Westminster, or when there was a prince of Wales, to his Household. (Chapter Ill) As for the county and commote officials, there were probably more than the needs of the administration required, but this was a legacy of pre-Conquest days as well as a result of innovation by later English kings. (Chapters IV and V) Outside the towns and demesne areas, the bulk of the population lived in small farmsteads, the product of a peculiar pattern of tenurial settlement, and paid a congeries of rents founded on earlier food renders and Edwardian modification. (Chapters VI and VII). These were the basis of royal revenue in the two counties, a revenue which was disastrously affected by the growing civil strife in mid-century, and whose later recovery was only partial. (Chapters VIII, IX and X) Events in fifteenth-centnry Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire pointed to the emergence of a local hierarchy that dominated the machinery of government, preyed upon the weaker of its members, and built a position of economic, social and political strength upon the weaknesses of royal government. The most prominent among them, Gruffydd ap Nicholas, could even defy the king. (Chapter XI)
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Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available