Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Landownership and Society in Wales
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2 hours


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 1  2,500/3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment Essay 2  2,500/3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 1  2,500/3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 2  2,500/3,000 word essay  50%

Brief description

Students will be introduced to the materials and methods for the study of landownership in Wales in the period 1400 - 1800. The course identifies the medieval framework and describes and analyses the developments of the early modern period.


A major survey into landowning in England and Wales in 1873 demonstrated that 41% of land in Wales was held by just 163 owners. For a country where agriculture remained the major occupation of the bulk of the population well into the mid-nineteenth century, this was highly significant. It meant that, for much of modern Welsh history, a substantial proportion of the population was reliant, directly or indirectly, on the landed estates for its livelihood. In the absence of an effective welfare system, the poor, sick and unemployed were also frequently dependent on the good will of the wealthy landed orders. These facts had implications in terms of community, identity, political allegiance and even religious adherence. In this module, we will attempt to examine how this social and economic system operated and whether it provoked acceptance or hostility. Along the way, we will consider some of the trends and debates in the historiography and some of the primary sources which can be useful to historians working in this area.

1. Introductory session
2. Why study land and its ownership in Wales?
3. The Rise and ‘Decline’ of the Gentry
4. Landownership, Law and Inheritance
5. Property, crime and society
6. Land, authority and politics
7. Social relations and the landed estate
8. Rural Discontent
9. The View from Outside
10. The Paternal Landowner: myth or reality?


This module is at CQFW Level 7