Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Norman Conquest and the Welsh Language by Anna Markland

"The Winds of the Heavens" is FREE on Amazon for two days only, June 13 and 14. Set in Wales in the aftermath of the Norman invasion, it tells the story of twin Welsh patriots, Rhun and Rhydderch. They face a dilemma—both have fallen in love with the same woman. They’ve always shared everything, but can they share a woman?
"Passion in the Blood" (from The Montbryce Legacy Series) is also FREE for the same two days.
Check out the list of FREE kindle books available at Summer Sizzle Free Partay. 

Here is an article about the effect of the Norman invasion on the Welsh language.
The Francophone Normans conquered Wales by a process of raids and colonisation over two centuries. It was their English-speaking followers who brought their language to everyday Welsh life.
The Battle of Hastings in 1066 was the decisive event in the conquest of Saxon England. Within a year, the Normans were building a castle at Chepstow and had begun their piecemeal conquest of Wales, a process which took well over 200 years.
The conquest started with a series of devastating raids which by the end of the 11th century had affected almost every part of the country. Native rulers were either killed or sought refuge in Ireland. In December 1282, the last native Prince of Wales, Llewellyn the Last, died at the hands of Edward I's forces.
Near this place was killed Llywelyn our last leader
The Welsh had not experienced anything like it since the Roman invasion. This time the invaders brought with them two languages: French and English. The Norman leaders spoke French; indeed the Welsh chroniclers of the period write not of fighting the English but of fighting the French. French words absorbed by Welsh at the time are evidence of the new powers: barwn (baron) and gwarant (warrant).
However, it was the Normans' English-speaking followers who colonised the conquered lands and brought their language to Wales. One well-known example is south Pembrokeshire, long known as Little England Beyond Wales.

The Chronicle of the Princes (Brut y Tywysogyon) states a colony was established in 1105 when Henry I allowed a number of Flemings from modern-day Belgium to settle in the area around Haverfordwest. They were later joined by English settlers—the Flemish and English languages were similar at the time.
ALSO FREE on June 13 & 14 ONLY
This led to the extinction of Welsh in the area, and a legacy of aggression towards the language which has only softened in recent times. However, the invasions also caused a rallying of a Welsh identity and culture under threat. This is the background for The Winds of the Heavens.


  1. I love the Welsh language. It's not as difficult to decipher as those long place names might lead one to believe. It's actually written phonetically, but it does have some consonants English doesn't and one has to know the conventions to pronounce the letters correctly. Not hard to find the rules, fortunately. Speaking Welsh is another matter. How many versions of one word can there be? A lot. Yes, it's patterned, but it's hard to keep up with. Still, it's easier to read a Welsh word and have some hope of pronouncing it correctly than Scots Gaelic or Irish. At any rate, I'm looking forward to reading "The Winds of the Heavens." The cover is great.

  2. Thanks for this information. I've had a lot of help with the Welsh words in my books from a woman in an "official" office in Wales. I asked for a translation of the word "yes" and had to give the context because there is more than one word! Same with a number of the phrases. You might enjoy the Lexicon of foreign words and phrases in the back of all my books.
    Glad you like the cover.