The story of the Statute of Rhuddlan, 13th century declaration which effectively established English rule over Wales.
The Statute of Rhuddlan (1284)
BY DAVID ROSS, EDITOR
A succession of minor revolts kept the English busy. Edward was forced to spend long periods in Wales. He gradually extended English influence, at least partly by chipping away at Welsh law and establishing English legal traditions.
One of the tools Edward used to effect this change was the Statute of Rhuddlan (later, and erroneously called the Statute of Wales). According to this statute, the counties of Anglesey, Meirionnydd, and Caernarfon were created out of the remnants of Llewelyn's Gwynedd, and staffed with sheriffs to collect taxes and administer justice - English style justice using English Common Law. In addition, the offices of justice and chamberlain were created to assist the sheriff.
Although initially the Statute had a limited geographic scope, it provided the basis for future attempts to assert English law and jurisdiction over the Welsh. Although Edward allowed the Law of Wales (see Hywel the Good) to hold sway in minor matters, it was English Law which was used to oversee serious crimes.There was another difference; under the Law of Wales, the emphasis was on the relationship between kinship groups. In English Law the emphasis was on the relationship between the accused and the state, or central authority.
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