For a long time, as one leading Welsh historian has said, the study of the history of Wales was ‘marginalized … even within Wales itself’.1 In some historical quarters its practitioners were often looked on with a kind of amused tolerance and a feeling that they ought to have been able to find something more useful to do. What awareness there was of Welsh history tended to be composed of stereotypes, ranging from fiercely-moustached medieval tribal chieftains to Mam scrubbing the doorstep in Llwynypia, while her menfolk sang hymns in four-part harmony as the cage descended the shaft. Various reasons can be suggested for this; the fact that political independence came to an end in 1282–3, so that the Welsh nation was never able to develop into a state, may have conditioned the view of some commentators, while British history has, until recently, been an essentially London-based history, its chronological bench-marks being largely associated with events in the history of England. This has been particularly true of the history of inedieval Wales, often relegated to a series of footnotes.
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A. D. Carr
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