Patronage and Power in the Medieval Welsh March: One Family’s Story (November 2021), by David Stephenson, is the first full-length study of a Welsh family of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries who were not drawn from the princely class.
Though they were of obscure and modest origins, the patronage of great lords of the March – such as the Mortimers of Wigmore or the de Bohun earls of Hereford – helped them to become prominent in Wales and the March, and increasingly in England. They helped to bring down anyone opposed by their patrons – like Llywelyn, prince of Wales in the thirteenth century, or Edward II in the 1320s. In the process, they sometimes faced great danger but they contrived to prosper, and unusually for Welshmen one branch became Marcher lords themselves. Another was prominent in Welsh and English government, becoming diplomats and courtiers of English kings, and over some five generations many achieved knighthood. Their fascinating careers perhaps hint at a more open society than is sometimes envisaged.
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