The Principality of Wales in the Later Middle Ages

The Structure and Personnel of Government: South Wales 1277-1536

Author(s) Ralph A. Griffiths

Language: English

Genre(s): Welsh Interest

  • May 2018 · 672 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Hardback - 9781786832641
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786832658
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786832665

About The Book

This is a study of royal government in the southern counties of the principality of Wales between the beginning of Edward I’s conquest in 1277 and Henry VIII’s ‘act of Union’. This reprinted edition of the book, first published in 1972, includes a new introduction to incorporate recent writings on the subject. Part I discusses the administrative framework of Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire and the way in which it evolved in response to the political needs and reactions of governors and governed. Part II is a comprehensive biographical calendar of the officers of English kings and princes in south Wales, based on a wide range of published and unpublished sources – their careers, experience and wealth. The book has been of great value to political and administrative historians, not only of Wales but of England too, and it also retains a value for students of Welsh society, and for literary and personal-name scholars. No comparable comprehensive study of the involvement of men (rarely of women) in public service in late-medieval Wales (or indeed England) exists for this level of society and government.


‘The reissue of this landmark publication is to be warmly welcomed. It remains the authoritative analysis of the structure of royal government in the southern counties of the principality of Wales as well as an invaluable work of reference, which illuminates a wealth of topics through its painstaking reconstruction of the careers of office-holders.’
-Professor Huw Pryce, Bangor University

‘This continues to be an indispensable source of information for the political and social history of medieval Wales. The documentary evidence presented here casts fascinating light on the careers and connections of the ruling classes and on the interactions between English overlords and the Welsh gentry who administered local government on their behalf.’

-Professor Dafydd Johnston, University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies

An essential guide for anybody exploring the culturally-complex society of late medieval south Wales. The new edition will also be welcomed by a wider readership, for Ralph Griffiths traces the careers of scores of individuals who also served in other dominions of the English crown.
-Professor Robin Frame, Durham University

‘It is difficult to overestimate the value of work of this kind’
- Welsh History Review.

‘This is a work of major scholarship presented with great clarity…It will be invaluable to historians.’
- English Historical Review.

‘This is an impressive piece of work…of great potential value, for historians of England as well as of Wales.’


1.The Royal Counties
2.The Justiciar and Judicial Administration
3.The Chamberlain and Financial Administration
4.Shire Government: Cantrefmawr and Cardiganshire
5.Commote Government
1.Justiciars of South Wales
2.Chamberlains of South Wales
3.The Castle-Constables
6.Beadles or Bailiffs Itinerant
8.The Local Officials of Carmarthenshire
9.The Local Offcials of Cardiganshire
10.Other Officers

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Ralph A. Griffiths

Ralph Griffiths, Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at Swansea University, is Hon. Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society, and formerly Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

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