Writing the Welsh borderlands in Anglo-Saxon England

By Lindy Brady

Writing the Welsh borderlands in Anglo-Saxon England
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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9419-8
  • Pages: 216
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: RRP £80.00, NOW £16.00
  • Published Date: April 2017
  • BIC Category: United Kingdom, Great Britain, History & Archaeology, History, Medieval History, Humanities / British & Irish history, Humanities / Medieval history, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: classical, early & medieval, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Wales, Literature & literary studies / General, CE period up to c 1500, Biography, Literature & Literary studies, LITERARY CRITICISM / Medieval, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, HISTORY / Medieval, European history: medieval period, middle ages, European history
  • Series: Artes Liberales


This is the first study of the Anglo-Welsh border region in the period before the Norman arrival in England, from the fifth to the twelfth centuries. Its conclusions significantly alter our current picture of Anglo/Welsh relations before the Norman Conquest by overturning the longstanding critical belief that relations between these two peoples during this period were predominately contentious. Writing the Welsh borderlands in Anglo-Saxon England demonstrates that the region which would later become the March of Wales was not a military frontier in Anglo-Saxon England, but a distinctively mixed Anglo-Welsh cultural zone which was depicted as a singular place in contemporary Welsh and Anglo-Saxon texts. This study reveals that the region of the Welsh borderlands was much more culturally coherent, and the impact of the Norman Conquest on it much greater, than has been previously realised.


'In this significant and agenda-setting book, Lindy Brady presents insightful and nuanced readings of the confluent societies that inhabited and created the borderlands of Anglo-Saxon and Welsh history and literature. She offer new and important interpretations of narrative texts, like the Lives of Saint Guthlac, the Vita Haroldi, and The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, while remaining perceptively attuned to the echoes of social and intellectual realities in the laws and Old English Riddles. Expert at Old English, Welsh and Latin, Brady deftly moves through and between her primary sources to argue coherently for the distinctiveness of the Welsh borderlands as a cultural nexus in the earlier medieval era. This book defines scholarly questions that will inform research in both the pre- and post-Conquest periods in British history for years to come.'

Elaine Treharne, Roberta Bowman Denning Professor of Humanities, Stanford University

'Professor Brady's new book offers an elegant and timely study of English-Welsh relations in the early Middle Ages. Effortlessly ranging across genres and time periods, she clearly demonstrates the centrality of the region later known as the "Welsh Marches" to the Anglo-Saxon literary imagination. This is a splendid volume that will appeal to Anglo-Saxonists and Celticists alike.'

Andrew Rabin, Professor and Vice Chair, Department of English, University of Louisville

'This is a ground-breaking book, the first real treatment of the early medieval Welsh borderlands as both a historical and literary space. What Lindy Brady shows us, in an immensely scholarly but also very engaging way, is not the world of conflict and violence suggested by Offa's Dyke and later narratives of ethnic warfare but, through her deep reading of a range of texts we think we know well, a world of interaction and co-existence, shared understandings and a unique "Anglo-Welsh culture".'

Charles Insley, Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, University of Manchester

'This is an important book for students of early British history and Old English literature. The scholarship is rigorous and extensive, fitting key primary sources into a carefully worked out historical and chronological arrangement to produce some genuinely new interpretations.'
Helen Fulton, University of Bristol, The Medieval Review


Lindy Brady is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Mississippi


Introduction: the Dunsæte Agreement and daily life in the Welsh borderlands
1 Penda of Mercia and the Welsh borderlands in Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica
2 The Welsh borderlands in the Lives of St. Guthlac
3 The 'dark Welsh' as slaves and slave raiders in Exeter Book riddles 52 and 72
4 The Welsh borderlands in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
5 The transformation of the borderlands outlaw in the eleventh century
Conclusion: Harold Godwinson, the last Anglo-Saxon in the Welsh borderlands

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