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Nest of Deheubarth
Author: Susan M. Johns

The book is an account of noblewomen in Wales in the high middle ages, focusing on one particular case-study, Nest of Deheubarth. Object of one of the most notorious and portentous abductions of the middle ages, this ‘Helen of Wales’ was both mistress of Henry I and ancestress of a dynasty which dominated the Anglo-Norman conquests of Ireland. The book fills a significant gap in the historiography - while women’s power has been one of the most vibrant areas of historical scholarship for thirty years, Welsh medieval studies has not yet responded. It develops understandings of the interactions of gender with conquest, imperialism, and with the social and cultural transformations of the middle ages, from a new perspective. Many studies have recently appeared reconsidering these relationships, but few if any have women and gender as a core theme. Gender, Nation and Conquest will therefore be of interest to all researching, teaching and studying the high middle ages in Britain and Ireland, and to a wider audience for which medieval women’s history women is a growing fascination. Hitherto Nest has been seen as the pawn of powerful men. A more general discussion of ideals concerning beauty, love, sex and marriage and an analysis of the interconnecting identities of Nest throws light on her role as wife/concubine/mistress. A unique feature of the book is its examination of the story of Nest in its many forms over succeeding centuries, during which it has formed part of significant narratives of gender and nation.

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H. V. Bowen

just indifferent. As is the case for the long eighteenth century, there is a need for a full assessment to be made of Welsh attitudes towards the empire that is sensitive to the different contexts provided by region, class, gender and language. It is evident, then, that much work remains to be done if Wales is to be fully integrated into the British imperial historiography and the empire is to be afforded a central role in the writing of Welsh history. Certainly as a next step it is important that research on the post-1830

in Wales and the British overseas empire
Interactions and influences, 1650–1830
Editor: H. V. Bowen

Written by leading specialists in the field, this book is a collection of essays that explore economic, social, cultural, political, and religious interactions between Wales and the empire. It discusses the many relationships that developed between Wales and the British overseas empire between 1650 and 1830. The book looks at Welsh influences on the emergence of 'British' imperialism, as well as the impact that the empire had upon the development of Wales itself. Using the West Indian and East Indian connection, the book quantifies different interactions that occurred between Wales and the overseas empire. It highlights how expansion in Asia served to draw Wales and the Welsh into the domestic and overseas worlds of the London-based East India Company. The book also explores the aspects of the impact that expansion had upon the development of the Welsh economy. The focus then turns to the Atlantic-facing parts of the Welsh economy. How British expansion in the Atlantic basin opened up opportunities for people from Wales to take a prominent place in international communities of religious thought and belief is shown. Participation in an expanding spiritual empire brought like-minded individuals together in transoceanic networks and this engagement helped to shape the emergence of Welsh evangelical identities. Finally, Welsh interactions with the nascent British empire in India are analysed. Much work remains to be done if Wales is to be fully integrated into the British imperial historiography and the empire is to be afforded a central role in the writing of Welsh history.

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Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century views
Susan M. Johns

This chapter will consider the narratives of Nest, and other medieval women, during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Key sources include contemporary accounts of Welsh history and travel writing by authors such as Thomas Pennant and George Nicholson. This will include a discussion of the ways in which narratives of medieval women were replicated and how, and crucially if, they formed part of a narrative of Wales, in a number of texts that have been selected since they are useful for illustrating key themes. These writings

in Gender, nation and conquest in the high Middle Ages
Susan M. Johns

Wales and the role of prominent women from the Welsh medieval past exert a fascination on the popular imagination within contemporary Wales. For example, in a recent edition of its membership magazine, Cadw, the Welsh Assembly government’s historic environment service, informed its readers of the launch of public consultation on an initiative to create a battlefields register for Wales. The article stated that ‘battles are iconic events in Welsh history’, citing examples of battles including those involving Owain Glyndwˆr at the start of the fifteenth century and the

in Gender, nation and conquest in the high Middle Ages
Abstract only
H. V. Bowen

Britain have next to nothing to say about Wales. 2 On the other side of the coin, few general historical studies of Wales have ever devoted much space to the imperial or international dimensions of the Welsh historical experience, and readers will usually search Welsh history book indexes in vain for the words ‘empire’ or ‘British Empire’, which is somewhat ironic in view of the fact that it was a London Welshman, the polymath John Dee, who was the first to use the term ‘British Empire’ in 1577. 3 There is in fact

in Wales and the British overseas empire
Rhetoric, fragments – and beyond?
Neil Evans

three broad periods since the emergence of history as a professional subject in Wales – which means from the early twentieth century. This will be set against the broader trends in imperial historiography which emerged at the same time, to assess what chances there were of any meeting of minds in these three eras. The first period runs from 1890 to 1950, and embraces the work of historians mainly born between 1850 and 1900. This was the era in which Welsh history was established as a grounded academic subject. But this was

in Wales and the British overseas empire
Abstract only
Susan M. Johns

. These themes of the activism of women, and of beauty and passion as expressive of social relations in a time of rapid change, are integral to the presentation of Welsh history in contemporary Wales. The importance of war as an agent of change and reaction are thus central to Nest’s narrative, which also serves to remind that women, and gender, were contested sites of interpretation in contemporary texts. The narrative of her sister-in-law is dramatic and shocking, Nest’s sums up a subtler but still more dramatic confrontation. The construction of Nest, and other women

in Gender, nation and conquest in the high Middle Ages
Abstract only
Susan M. Johns

women in medieval society. Writings on medieval Welsh history in general have begun to take on these themes; for example, Louise Wilkinson’s article on Joan (d. 1237), wife of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth. 25 There is still a lack of published scholarship on women and gender in medieval Wales when compared with medieval English or European women. The Welsh lawbooks have been analysed for the information they contain concerning medieval women. The publication in 1980 of a volume entitled The Welsh Law of Women marked a significant step forward for the subject and suggests

in Gender, nation and conquest in the high Middle Ages
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Alun Withey

‘New British History’ originated in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it is still 8 WITHEY 9780719085468 PRINT.indd 8 20/10/2011 16:28 Introduction comparatively underused, especially in terms of medical history. The implicit assimilation of the various constituent regions of the British Isles into a wider English nation surely has implications for medical history and for Welsh history. The opportunity now exists to fully question Wales’s role in this wider structure, taking into account its own history and indigenous elements. Dingwall notes the problems for

in Physick and the family