Fording the Severn : the influence of intermarriage and judicial participation on Welsh identity and self-identification in Shropshire and the Central March of Wales in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries
A study of how intermarriage and the creation of multicultural communities helped to determine the way in which people used their identity along the often-fractious border zone of the Welsh March in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. This identity can be seen through the ways in which the border inhabitants used concurrent English and Welsh legal systems to their own advantage. This manipulation of the legal system and the fluidity of self-identification stands out in sharp contrast with the view of many historians that the English and Welsh populations lived in self-contained parallel communities according to vastly differing customs and habits. In-depth analysis of primary documents support the assertion that English and Welsh people lived in the same communities and often interacted in legal matters, both as partners and as opponents. Both populations were willing to use the English court system when it was available, but, these individuals were also willing to assert their rights to the legal jurisdiction of English or Welsh law based on which ever would be the most beneficial to their case. These case studies demonstrate the adaptations made to Welsh law and the ways in which Welsh peoples used their legal identity to their own advantage.
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