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Peter Anderson




Location: Holland, USA
Joined: 22 Mar 2013

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Fri 22 Mar, 2013 4:50 pm    Post subject: On being distinctively Welsh in the 11th century         Reply with quote

Hello,

Shortly before the forums crashed, I had made a similar topic as this. In it, I asked after specifically Welsh weapons and armour from the 11th century or shortly previous. Replies mainly confirmed what I had already suspected: there is just not much to go on.

So I'm widening my search a little, here. Does anyone know of anything that, in the 11th century (or even the 10th or 12th, if that's what it comes to), would mark the wearer or user as being most likely Welsh? Any particularities in clothing, jewelry, hair styles? Might they prefer penannular brooches to disc brooches? At the risk of genericizing "celtic" culture, perhaps plaid would be appropriate? Perhaps plaid should be avoided, in light of Northumbrian border check? Is there a particular style of turnshoe or even sandal that has only been found in Wales?

I have read that Welshmen around that period were not known to wear trousers, hose, winingas, or indeed shoes. However, this seems likely to be an issue of low class than anything. I have also read somewhere that they kept to wearing rectangular, knee-length cloaks long after others had adopted newer styles, but unless I am mistaken such cloaks would still be normal for Saxons of the 11th century as well.

Barring that, are there any peculiarly Saxon or Viking styles or objects that one should avoid if trying to appear specifically Welsh? I should think that the seax would be one. Perhaps winingas, as well? Hose?

Any help would be most appreciated!

Regards,
Peter Anderson
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Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

Posts: 277

PostPosted: Fri 22 Mar, 2013 6:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is Gerald of wales description of the welsh. http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfi...;pageno=17 Note the early mention of greaves.
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Sat 23 Mar, 2013 7:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a mid wales/marshes inhabitant I'd say that apart from keeping it simple the most likely way of telling a welshman is by his language. But of course if you need to be that close it may already be too late....

Might be something of use in Wendy Davies' "Wales in the Early Middle Ages" (Leicester University Press, 1982).

One of the problems is the surviving descriptions are pretty vague. More often than not clothing is described just as that, 'gwisg' - a 'garment'.

There is the 'brychan' or rectangular cloak but Saxon sources have those too.
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Raymond Deancona





Joined: 04 Mar 2004

Posts: 429

PostPosted: Sun 24 Mar, 2013 4:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You may also want to check for Stuart Ivinson's book Anglo Welsh Wars 1050-1300. There are some descriptions of early Welsh warriors, with some black and white photos as well.
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Peter Anderson




Location: Holland, USA
Joined: 22 Mar 2013

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Fri 29 Mar, 2013 8:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Len Parker wrote:
Here is Gerald of wales description of the welsh. http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfi...;pageno=17 Note the early mention of greaves.


Interesting. I'd been recommended to Gerald of Wale previously but haven't had the time to read up on his works. That mention of greaves is fascinating. I know Gerald is a little past my period- 12th - 13th century rather than mid 11th. Also, most accounts seem to refer to Wales as somewhat isolated, and slow to catch up on new fashions. With that in mind, could greaves really be used in an 11th century context? And would "plated with iron" refer to splinted greaves here?

Alternately, since they are described as rare, maybe that should imply that they are more common outside Wales, the difference being that the Welsh used them less. The text is dated to the very late 12th century, I believe. Would greaves have been in common use by then? From my memory, limited limb armour started to appear in the 13th.

In any case, that's very helpful. Thank you!

Mark Griffin wrote:
As a mid wales/marshes inhabitant I'd say that apart from keeping it simple the most likely way of telling a welshman is by his language. But of course if you need to be that close it may already be too late....

Might be something of use in Wendy Davies' "Wales in the Early Middle Ages" (Leicester University Press, 1982).

One of the problems is the surviving descriptions are pretty vague. More often than not clothing is described just as that, 'gwisg' - a 'garment'.

There is the 'brychan' or rectangular cloak but Saxon sources have those too.


Indeed. Well, I'll do what I can to differentiate. If language is the best indicator, I'll use that.

Vague descriptions are definitely one of the problems I keep running into. I'll check out that book though.

Raymond Deancona wrote:
You may also want to check for Stuart Ivinson's book Anglo Welsh Wars 1050-1300. There are some descriptions of early Welsh warriors, with some black and white photos as well.


I was hoping you'd return. With the forum crash, I lost track of your recommendation. I definitely plan on tracking that one down. Thanks Happy


Last edited by Peter Anderson on Sat 30 Mar, 2013 9:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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Len Parker





Joined: 15 Apr 2011

Posts: 277

PostPosted: Sat 30 Mar, 2013 9:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's hard to say when greaves were first used in the middle ages. Oakeshott writes they might have been worn under maille. The King's Mirror has plate being worn under the hauberk, so maybe this was true of greaves? Chretian de Troyes mentions polished greaves in his romances c. 1190's.
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