The Davenant Press

Wales in the Sixteenth Century


The Reformation in Wales, Wales and the act of union. By Glanmore Williams, Professor Emeritus, University of Wales, Swansea.

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ISBN 978 1 85944 209 8. First published in 1991 by Headstart History as two separate paperbacks and combined by The Davenant Press in 2014.
It was not until the reign of Henry VIII that the necessary reforms were made to the Welsh Church. The response was largely muted and the Act of Supremacy accepted. But if there was little opposition to Henry VIII the response to the changes under Edward VI was different. And it was William Salesbury who was chiefly concerned to ensure that the Welsh language should underpin the changes. It was not until the reign of Elizabeth that Whitgift’s encouragement of William Morgan’s Welsh Bible that the language and culture of Wales were preserved.
Before the Act of Union Wales was a land of fragmented authority and weakened by the power of the lords and officials in the Principality and the Marches. Some of these issues were dealt with by Rowland Lee who saw the changes made by Thomas Cromwell as potentially dangerous. The changes are usually seen as essential in the light of the Royal Supremacy. New administrative boundaries were created along with coherent law. It was declared that ‘since the happy incorporation of the Welsh with the English, the history of both nations as well as the people is united’
Glanmor Williams died in 2005. He was a leading figure in the public life of Wales but was also widely regarded as the leading authority of its early modern period on which he published extensively. After graduating from Aberystwyth he was appointed to University of Wales, Swansea. In 1957 he was elected Professor of History and held that post until early retirement in 1982.