The Welsh

The Anglo-Saxons did not settle in the land of the West Britons, although by 607 they had cut it off from the other Celtic lands to the North.

They called this land Wales. In about 784, the Saxon king, Offa, built a massive wall of earth along the border as a defence against Welsh attacks. Offa’s Dyke still stands today.

Crosses on early Welsh churches were beautifully carved from stone.

During the early Middle Ages, Wales was made up of several smaller kingdoms, each with its own ruler. These rulers were constantly fighting each other, trying to conquer the rest of Wales.


Wales and Cornwall had been centres of Christianity since Roman times.

A Welsh priest called St David, who lived from 520 to 601, built new churches across the land.

Llywelyn the Great came to rule Gwynedd in 1194.

He was a wise and strong ruler. He married Joan, the daughter of king John of England, but the two men became bitter enemies.

Welsh warriors patrolled the lands to the wet of Offa’s Dyke. They sometimes raided parts of England for cattle and slaves.

The stone head is said to be a sculpture of Llwelyn the Great.


Llywelyn ap Gruffudd united all of Wales under his rule.

He fought a long war against the English and was killed near Cilmeri in 1282. The English now ruled Wales. King Edward I declared that in future the eldest son of the English king would be the Prince of Wales.



Legend says that on I March 640 St David was at a battle between Christian soldiers from Wales and the non-Christian Saxons. St David told his men to wear leeks in their caps to show which side they were on. The leek is still an emblem of Wales today



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