This is the first volume in a pioneering series of authoritative studies on the social history of the Welsh language, a massive and intimidating field of study which has yet to receive the attention it deserves. The volume comprises twelve chapters, all written by acknowledged experts in their fields. With the exception of the opening chapter, which is devoted to the history of the Welsh language in the Middle Ages, this volume deals mainly with the period between the Acts of Union and the Industrial Revolution. The status of the language in matters relating to politics, administration and law is discussed as well as its place in the fields of religion, education and scholarship. New light is shed on Welsh as a spoken language as well as its geographical distribution, and particular attention is paid to the endeavours made to raise the status and esteem of the Welsh language in order to remove the stigma placed upon it by the celebrated ‘language clause’ of 1536.
‘Using many new approaches the contributing authors, all expert in their specialist fields, explore their different themes within highly innovative interdisciplinary frameworks . . . This pioneering volume must thus be regarded as an impressive demonstration of how unconventional sources can be exploited for particular ends. So, apart from the intrinsic personal interests that this book may have for individual readers, it must be regarded as a superb demonstration of methodology and analysis, data exploitation and management which, through the scholarly application of techniques, throws considerable new light on community life in past times.’ ( Family & Community History )
A Welsh version of this volume is also available: Y Gymraeg yn ei Disgleirdeb .