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Title: Land, people and power in early medieval Wales : the cantref of Cemais in comparative perspective
Author: Comeau, Rhiannon
ISNI:       0000 0004 7965 1649
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This study examines the structure of the early medieval Welsh landscape. Using a cantref (hundred) in south-west Wales as a case study, it draws on a multidisciplinary, comparative analysis to overcome the limits imposed by restricted material culture survival and limited written sources. It examines the patterns of power and habitual activity that defined spaces and structured lives, and considers the temporal relationships, both seasonal and longue durée, that shaped them. Four key findings are presented. Firstly, that key areas of early medieval life - agriculture, tribute-payment, legal processes and hunting - were structured by a longstanding seasonal patterning that is preserved in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Welsh law, church and well dedications and fair dates. Secondly it presents, at cantref level, the first systematic survey of assembly site evidence in Wales, and sets it in comparative context. Thirdly, it demonstrates that, though poor material culture preservation and limited written records have hitherto restricted identification and characterisation of key locations in the early medieval Welsh landscape, a multidisciplinary dataset allows effective identification of focal zones through indicators known from other areas of north-west Europe. Fourthly, the widely-used 'multiple estate model' is found to be an inadequate descriptor of the early medieval Welsh landscape. An alternative approach is proposed. Methodologically, it demonstrates the value of a multidisciplinary approach, especially the systematic use of place-names which is novel in a Welsh context. It also provides key resources for other researchers by geolocating pre-1700 place-names from a previously published survey; creating GIS resources (polygons and geolocated databases) from the 1840s tithe map and schedules for parishes in its detailed case study areas; and providing a geolocated database of 16th-century demesne and Welsh-law landholdings in the cantref.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available