Volltext: "Grenzgänger"

Huw Pryce 
A CROSS-BORDER CAREER: GlRALDUS CAMBRENSIS BETWEEN 
Wales and England 
Norman conquest and settlement in Britain perpetuated and intensified Anglo-Welsh 
warfare, an aspect of Anglo-Welsh relations amply attested from the seventh century 
onwards. But Norman ambition resulted in more than the continuation of cross- 
border troop movements: it also led to the creation of new links between Wales and 
England. This was true in two respects in particular. The first concerned secular land- 
holding. Norman lords held estates both in Wales and in England (as well as, in some 
cases, Normandy).' Thus, for example, it was on a journey from England, where he 
held the substantial honour of Clare in Suffolk, to his lands in Ceredigion in west 
Wales, granted him by King Henry I, that Richard fitz Gilbert was ambushed and 
killed by the Welsh in the vicinity of Abergavenny in April 1136.1 2 3 Conversely, from 
the late eleventh century some members of native Welsh princely dynasties were 
granted estates by English lords or kings in the border counties of England, although 
such cross-border landholding was insignificant by comparison with that of members 
of the Scottish royal family and aristocracy.2 Second, the subordination of the Welsh 
bishoprics to the authority of the archbishop of Canterbury and the establishment of 
Benedictine priories and cells dependent on English monasteries forged closer eccle¬ 
siastical ties than had existed before 1066.4 These connections, together with others 
they brought in their wake—notably a quickening of trade—increased the opportuni¬ 
1 See e.g. R. R. Davies, Conquest, Coexistence, and Change: Wales 1063-1415, Oxford 
1987, pp. 84-5; I. W. Rowlands, The Making of the March: Aspects of the Norman Settle¬ 
ment in Dyfed, in: R. Allen Brown (ed.), Proceedings of the Battle Conference on Anglo- 
Norman Studies, III, 1980, Woodbridge 1981, pp. 144-5, 148-50. For land held by 
Giraldus’s father in Devon, see below, p. 53. 
2 J. S. Brewer, James F. Dimock and George F. Warner (eds.), Giraldi Cambrensis Opera, 8 
vols. (Rolls Series), London 1861-91,6 pp. 47-8. Henceforth Giraldus, Opera. 
3 For Welsh examples, see J. E. Lloyd, A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the 
Edwardian Conquest, 3rd edn, 2 vols., London 1939, 2 pp. 398, 496, 553, 616-17; below, 
pp. 49-50. For Scotland, see K. J. Stringer, Earl David of Huntingdon 1152-1219, Edin¬ 
burgh 1985, pp. 177-211. Cf. also Robin Frame, Aristocracies and the Political Configura¬ 
tion of the British Isles, in: R. R. Davies (ed.), The British Isles 1100-1500, Edinburgh 
1988, pp. 144-6, 150-2; R. R. Davies, Domination and Conquest: The Experience of 
Ireland, Scotland and Wales 1100-1300, Cambridge 1990, pp, 54-5. 
4 Davies, Conquest (as n. 1) pp. 179-94. 
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