A time of devastation
During his period of revolt against the English crown Owain
Glyndwr promoted plans for an independent Welsh church with its
own archbishop which would take back possession of all those
estates in the granted to English monastic houses. However the
revolt itself brought devastation to many of the religious establishments
in Wales. Glyndwrs own forces showed little regard for
church property and the forces of the English crown punished
those establishments which gave support to the revolt.
Welsh economy was dealt a crippling blow by the effects of the
revolt yet despite these difficulties there was a great deal
of restoration done in the later fifteenth century and many rural
churches - like Llananno (above) in Radnorshire and Partrisio
and Llanfilo in Breconshire - had fine roodscreens or roodlofts
built at this time. Control of the church was more firmly in
the hand of the English crown however, and there seems to have
been a more secular attitude among the clergy and many of them
were poorly educated.
Lost ideals of the monasteries
The monasteries did not enjoy a similar period of recovery however,
and numbers fell and cases of laxity and even criminal activity
among the brethren increased. Most of their estates had been
farmed out to lay tenants and many monasteries had placed their
financial management in lay hands. Welsh monasticism had moved
a long way from the ideals of the earlier medieval period.
the end of the medieval period the buildings, rituals and practices
of the church in Wales had become part of a wider European pattern.
Although native saints and traditions still survived among a
proud clergy the organisation of the church and its laws and
observances were those of the western church.
There are 5 pages on the medieval
church in Wales. Use the box links below to view the other pages.