Powys, extending over north-east and central Wales, was one of three great medieval Welsh polities, along with Gwynedd to the north and Deheubarth (south-west), occupying nearly a quarter of the country. However, it has been somewhat neglected by historians, who have tended to dismiss it as a satellite realm of England, and viewed its leaders as obstacles to the efforts of Gwynedd leaders to construct a principality of Wales. This book provides the first full, authoritative history of Powys in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It argues in particular that the Powysian rulers were dogged and resourceful survivors in the face of pressure from Welsh rivals and the problems of internal fragmentation; and that, paradoxically, co-operation with the English and intermarriage with marcher families underlay a desire to regain lands to the east lost in earlier centuries. Dr David Stephenson is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History, Welsh History and Archaeology, Bangor University.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The problem of medieval Powys: Historiography and sources.The re-emergence of Powys The age of eminence: Madog ap Maredudd.Crisis and renewal: 1160 and its aftermath The ascendancy and fall of Gwenwynwyn Eclipse: the supremacy of Gwynedd Survival: the case of Gruffudd, lord of Bromfield Survival: the case of Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn The persistence of Powysian lordship: Owain ap Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn and the descendants of Madog ap Maredudd Powysian Polities I: aspects of governance Powysian Polities II: secular dynamics; fragmentation and integration Powysian Polities III: the ecclesiastical dimension Some Powysian perspectives: fears and aspirations Appendix I. The Combermere charters: a new analysis and some implications Appendix II. Two alleged charters of Elise ap Madog Appendix III. 'Powys Fadog' and 'Powys Wenwynwyn'Appendix IV. The date of composition of Breuddwyd Rhonabwy Select Bibliography