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HIS102Y1 Lecture Notes - Celtic Law, James Vi And I, Marlin

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Jennifer Mori

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Ethnicity – Welsh, Scots, Irish
Over course of 16th c. (period of tudor dynasty) what was taking place was
expansion of England – politically, legally, militarily over british isles
This process is necessary before any kind of overseas expansion taking
place; it is England starting in early 19th c. that leads british drive towards
exploration of wider world taking place under Elizabeth is determinous
with territorial settlement of main land
wales, north, and Ireland are test tubes (experimental grounds) for all
kinds of policies (e.g. plantation) to be tried out then extended later
processes by which crown comes to control its rebellious subjects
problem #1 for England: up until reign of tudors, English only controlling
southern half (rule of law undisputed) vs north lies in hands of quasi-
independent lords with own armies, own fights, policies
2 processes: reformation; elizabeth’s relation/struggles with northern
nobles that brings the situation under control
By time mary queen of scots is executed and last of catholic plots is put
down (1587) – catholic north is subdued
Cross-broader feuding b/w England and Scotland coming to end, after
centuries of virtual warfare in border region
1485 – no recognized border b/w England and Scotland – caval raiding
endemic b/w villages and families on both sides of border
Most of this cross-border feuding done b/w “the names” – groups of … vs
What Elizabeth and Scottish regency do is encourage local resistance in
these lands; police conflict – significant role in taming/pacifying region
and restore some peace
Process completed, starting in 1603 – James I of England and James VI of
Scotland takes throne – uniting thrones of both countries and integrating a
partial union of govt; not a full union (not complete until 1707) but
accession sets final seal on creating more amicable relations
In this process, the north is also subdued
Other factors contributing to subjection of north of England: cultural –
language – related to spread of Protestantism and gradual spread of
Contributes to spread of standardized English – not complete until 20th c.
England a patchwork of local dialects; until end of 19th c. – compulsory
national educational programs – all kids have to learn some standard
Introduction of an English language bible (national level) assists in
integration of country
but ppl didn’t stop speaking own language (Cornish, welsh, irish)
language is a useful tool for peaceful assimilation – this is why it is part of
tudor’s surrender/re-grant policy applied to Ireland in 16th c. – if you can
get rebellious irish nobles to adopt English culture/customs, then it is
easier to make them think like you
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big anomaly in British history –wales – political subjugation complete by
Elizabeth’s succession (1558-9)
but wales kept its language – living tongue, even though it has lost its
political autonomy
Ireland – gained independence from England but lost its language
Scotland – kept some measure of political freedom but gaelic only
effective in far north
Why does wales keep language but not political autonomy vs the other
parts? – largely an issue of pleasance – after acts of union (1546, etc)
wales is fast to conform to English model of govt, adopt English courts of
law, institutions – left alone by tudor authorities
Wales is geographically mountainous – split off – terrain is traverse; not
feasible to send troops
Welsh eager to welcome tudor b/c they are originally from a welsh family
– they are seen as legitimate rulers of wales
Real problem in terms of kingship with wales and Ireland is that their
native lines of high kings/powerful nobles had died out or subdued by
English – on those grounds did medieval English kings claim right to rule
Although as foreigners they were not entirely accepted by indigenous
Story of how prince of wales (heir to English throne) got his title – dates
back to Edward I who conquered wales and made future Edward II prince
of wales
Welsh resisted to Edward I’s conquest, declared they wouldn’t accept
ruler who spoke English; at which point Edward pointed to baby Edward
II and said you have him
As a story it illustrates resistance and the view of English rule as a form of
foreign domination
Therefore, it is to the advantage of tudors that welsh bards, poets decide
that henry VIII is straight out of the legends of marlin, king arthur’s court,
a figure of ancient prophecy - “saviour of the nation” – rescue the welsh
from centuries of tyranny and subjugation
It is proclaimed that he is going to bring justice to the ppl
English are content to leave them alone – resource issue; not politically
causing trouble
Welsh are proud of own language, customs – permitted to maintain
Proud of indigenous legal system – Celtic values/culture that is threatened
and disappears as a result of imposition of English govt/ institutions
That happens all over Celtic parts of British isles under British control
Resistance – prayer book revolt (1549) – didn’t like English manual
getting from Cranmer – distant from London
British society tribal in origins – seen when roman armies of ceaser set
foot – created roman colony of Britannia
Romans never got to Ireland – too distant and intractable; not to Scotland
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