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Medieval Welsh Social Structure

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"In medieval use, bonheddig applied to the national aristocracy in the widest sense, as opposed to peasants (taeog ), foreigners (alltud ) or slaves (caeth ). After kings (brenhinoedd ), princes (tywysogion), and lords (arglwyddi ) the next class consisted of the noblemen (uchelwyr/ breyr/gwyrda), who may have been perhaps the equivalent of the nobiliores and optimates. This class was also based on blood relationship, but does not appear to have been very clearly defined, and it is sometimes identified with the next class, the bonheddig. [...] The bulk of the nation was made up of bonheddig - the free tribesmen, forming at least 75 per cent of the population. The word "bonheddig" means, literally, a man with a pedigree, and under the Welsh law, unless a man had a pedigree, he was socially, politically, and economically, a nobody." An Approach to Welsh Genealogy by Francis Jones

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