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avalon
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« on: September 23, 2012, 08:47:12 AM »

The history of Southern Britain shows that the Welsh (particularly in North Wales) were able to resist invaders/settlers whilst England succumbed to the domination of the Anglo-Saxons and later the Danes. Offa's Dyke was a clear boundary. The Norse Vikings raided the Welsh coast but only settled on a small scale in SW Wales and Anglesey (Llanbedrgoch). Viking settlement was more substantial in NW England, Scotland and Ireland than it was in Wales.

Even the Normans, who took 200 years to finally defeat the Welsh in Gwynedd, only settled in Wales on a small, piecemeal basis during the middle ages. Norman influence has always been greater in South Wales and on the border than in mountainous Gwynedd.

Therefore it wasn't really until modern times with industrialisation that we see large numbers of English people moving to South East Wales and in the 20th century tourism opened up North Wales to English influence.

Testimony to this history is the fact that the Welsh language remains the mother tongue for large numbers of people in North and West Wales. This Welsh speaking heartland is unique in the Celtic speaking world.

Because of this relative isolation in Welsh Wales, I would expect to see a distinct genetic makeup in the modern DNA. However, Y-DNA studies in recent years have sampled the following towns in Wales: Llangefni, Llanidloes, Abergele and Haverfordwest. Only, Llangefni in Anglesey is a predominantly Welsh speaking town. For various reasons the other three places are not typically Welsh and are bizarre choices for DNA sampling.

It surprises me that genetic studies have not sampled towns in Gwynedd such as Bala, Porthmadog and Llanberis, which I believe would better represent indigenous Welsh populations. At the moment I feel as though we need more Y-DNA data for other parts of Wales than have been studied.

I aslo believe that Wales is under-represented in Y-DNA databases such as ysearch and ftdna because North American genealogists are more interested in Irish, Scottish and English origins, for obvious reasons.










 

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SEJJ
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2012, 09:10:25 AM »

The history of Southern Britain shows that the Welsh (particularly in North Wales) were able to resist invaders/settlers whilst England succumbed to the domination of the Anglo-Saxons and later the Danes. Offa's Dyke was a clear boundary. The Norse Vikings raided the Welsh coast but only settled on a small scale in SW Wales and Anglesey (Llanbedrgoch). Viking settlement was more substantial in NW England, Scotland and Ireland than it was in Wales.

Even the Normans, who took 200 years to finally defeat the Welsh in Gwynedd, only settled in Wales on a small, piecemeal basis during the middle ages. Norman influence has always been greater in South Wales and on the border than in mountainous Gwynedd.

Therefore it wasn't really until modern times with industrialisation that we see large numbers of English people moving to South East Wales and in the 20th century tourism opened up North Wales to English influence.

Testimony to this history is the fact that the Welsh language remains the mother tongue for large numbers of people in North and West Wales. This Welsh speaking heartland is unique in the Celtic speaking world.

Because of this relative isolation in Welsh Wales, I would expect to see a distinct genetic makeup in the modern DNA. However, Y-DNA studies in recent years have sampled the following towns in Wales: Llangefni, Llanidloes, Abergele and Haverfordwest. Only, Llangefni in Anglesey is a predominantly Welsh speaking town. For various reasons the other three places are not typically Welsh and are bizarre choices for DNA sampling.

It surprises me that genetic studies have not sampled towns in Gwynedd such as Bala, Porthmadog and Llanberis, which I believe would better represent indigenous Welsh populations. At the moment I feel as though we need more Y-DNA data for other parts of Wales than have been studied.

I aslo believe that Wales is under-represented in Y-DNA databases such as ysearch and ftdna because North American genealogists are more interested in Irish, Scottish and English origins, for obvious reasons.

I'd also definitely like to see more sampling in Wales - Hopefully something useful will come out of the POBI project in regard to this. I've passed through many times and been on short holidays to Wales (in particular North Wales) several times and i'd agree with sampling in places such as Porthmadog and Llanberis - Going to those places you do get the feeling that they are pretty wild and un-cosmopolitan compared to other places in Wales. The Lleyn Peninsula would also be a very interesting place to get samples too i feel.

I think the Uniqueness of Wales is also in the land itself, when you go to places like Scotland or the more mountainous areas of Ireland they feel a lot vaster and more spread out. Wales is quite compact and rugged and given its cool maritime climate and rough seas to the west (I've heard they can be quite dangerous at times) it is to some degree unlike much of the rest of Britain. I might make an exception for the mountains around southern Scotland and northern England, as they are also pretty compact although much softer (around Peebles for example).

I think Welsh continuity partly owes to it's landscape as well as it's people, after all coming from the fertile lowlands of much of Britain or the north German plain the land in Wales is not particularly desirable for anyone living off the land, or who is accustomed to living off of relatively flat land. Of course they hit the jackpot now with tourism :P.

I agree about the main choices for sampling being a bad move, it would be like going to London for a sample from southern England. I think the unreliability has been proved by the almost erratic results though - One study had a massive amount of Haplogroup E1b in North Wales, while generally it is mostly R1b - It would be interesting if this was the case for North Wales but i think we definitely need much more reliable sources.
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rms2
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 09:18:42 AM »

I too would like to see a really thorough genetic study of Wales. I have read in the past that there was a great deal of Irish settlement in northern and western Wales in the latter part of the Roman Period and in the immediate post-Roman Period. At least that is what Nora Chadwick said in her book Celtic Britain and again in the book The Celtic Realms that she co-authored with Myles Dillon, but I don't recall the details; it's been awhile since I read them.

I expect Wales to be pretty thoroughly L21+ and DF13+ in its y-dna, but I could be wrong about that, especially since, as avalon points out, the sampling has been missing the folks most probably descended from the indigenous population.
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avalon
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2012, 09:51:46 AM »

Quote
I'd also definitely like to see more sampling in Wales - Hopefully something useful will come out of the POBI project in regard to this. I've passed through many times and been on short holidays to Wales (in particular North Wales) several times and i'd agree with sampling in places such as Porthmadog and Llanberis - Going to those places you do get the feeling that they are pretty wild and un-cosmopolitan compared to other places in Wales. The Lleyn Peninsula would also be a very interesting place to get samples too i feel.

Very true. Llyn is very Welsh speaking, infact in the 1960s the last documented monoglot Welsh speakers were located there.
http://www.rhiw.com/hanes_02/llyn_monoglots/monoglots.htm


Quote
I think the Uniqueness of Wales is also in the land itself, when you go to places like Scotland or the more mountainous areas of Ireland they feel a lot vaster and more spread out. Wales is quite compact and rugged and given its cool maritime climate and rough seas to the west (I've heard they can be quite dangerous at times) it is to some degree unlike much of the rest of Britain. I might make an exception for the mountains around southern Scotland and northern England, as they are also pretty compact although much softer (around Peebles for example).


You're right, Scotland and Ireland are bigger and more remote but both have different histories to Wales, particularly in their relations with the English which were arguably bloodier. You also had much more English land grabbing in Scotland and Ireland, eg Highland clearences, whereas forced expulsions didn't happen to the same extent in Wales. Like you said Wales is agriculturally quite poor so it's likely the English just couldn't be bothered with the upland pastures so over the centuries the Welsh shepherds and rural communities were simply left alone to continue their culture and language.

Quote
One study had a massive amount of Haplogroup E1b in North Wales, while generally it is mostly R1b - It would be interesting if this was the case for North Wales but i think we definitely need much more reliable sources.

The Hg E was found in a very small sample of 18 people in Abergele. Some have suggested Roman soldiers which is possible I suppose.

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avalon
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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2012, 10:17:33 AM »

I too would like to see a really thorough genetic study of Wales. I have read in the past that there was a great deal of Irish settlement in northern and western Wales in the latter part of the Roman Period and in the immediate post-Roman Period. At least that is what Nora Chadwick said in her book Celtic Britain and again in the book The Celtic Realms that she co-authored with Myles Dillon, but I don't recall the details; it's been awhile since I read them.

I expect Wales to be pretty thoroughly L21+ and DF13+ in its y-dna, but I could be wrong about that, especially since, as avalon points out, the sampling has been missing the folks most probably descended from the indigenous population.

I don't know much about it but the Irish Deisi tribe came to South West Wales from Leinster in the 4C and settled in raths. They also settled in Brycheiniog.

There were also connections between Gwynedd and Ireland in later times so no doubt there had been links of some sort during and after the Roman period.

Like you said though, the Welsh are probably L21+  DF13+ and genetically close to the Irish anyway so these movements might not have altered genetic makeup of Wales too much.





 

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alan trowel hands.
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2012, 11:38:59 AM »

I think people tend to see those who live in the pastoral, mountainous and wet areas of the west like Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and western Scotland as somehow the vanquished, refuges or hold-outs of history.  However, I would question this.  These were very important areas where most of the isles mineral wealth was (you could add NW France to this too).  They must have been much sought after plum areas to hold in those times.  Also, the presence of coast so close to so much of these areas must have also been a major advantage for the metal trade that was so important to the elites.  The notion of marginality of these areas only really came in with the collapse of the Bronze Age trade and the arrival of iron etc.

Also, I wouldnt assume that a rainy wet climate is always a disadvantage.  There have been periods where eastern England has had practically no rain in recent years while the 'Celtic fringe' remained its usual soggy self.  In dry periods in the past that could have been a potnetial disaster that only effected the east and SE of Britain and the wet pastoral west would have been relatively immune to this. 


Finally I think seeing the Celtic fringe as a reguge for the vanquished of the lowland in Britain does not fit with the reality.  In general there is a lot of evidence for contuity of the pre-Anglo-Saxon tribal pattern in the Celtic fringe rather than a shunting of tribes west.   Where the evidence is fairly clear the tribes of the west are often those that Ptolemy found there (Domnoni, Demetae, Strathclyde=Damnoni, Votodini=Goddodin etc - excude dodgy spellings) albeit mixed with sub-Roman Irish elites.  It appears that elites in lowland Britain died or fled or came to some arrangement but mass population movements of refugees to the Celtic fring did not appear to have happened within the British Isles. It would have simply been impossible for the land in the west to have the carrying capacity to have accepted a large influx of Lowland Britons anyway.  Not to mention that the light Romanisation of the west had left them in a far better position to defend themselves when the legions left.

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alan trowel hands.
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2012, 11:45:47 AM »

I too would like to see a really thorough genetic study of Wales. I have read in the past that there was a great deal of Irish settlement in northern and western Wales in the latter part of the Roman Period and in the immediate post-Roman Period. At least that is what Nora Chadwick said in her book Celtic Britain and again in the book The Celtic Realms that she co-authored with Myles Dillon, but I don't recall the details; it's been awhile since I read them.

I expect Wales to be pretty thoroughly L21+ and DF13+ in its y-dna, but I could be wrong about that, especially since, as avalon points out, the sampling has been missing the folks most probably descended from the indigenous population.

I don't know much about it but the Irish Deisi tribe came to South West Wales from Leinster in the 4C and settled in raths. They also settled in Brycheiniog.

There were also connections between Gwynedd and Ireland in later times so no doubt there had been links of some sort during and after the Roman period.

Like you said though, the Welsh are probably L21+  DF13+ and genetically close to the Irish anyway so these movements might not have altered genetic makeup of Wales too much.





 



The raths idea has been exploded.  As a major common class of monument the Irish ones date to the Early Christian periods while the Welsh ones are known from pre-Roman times and are therefore at least 500 years older if not more.  As for the Irish settlements in Wales, they are poorly understood but there was no permanent language change in the end so I suspect elite dominance rather than large numbers. 
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avalon
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2012, 01:11:22 PM »

I think people tend to see those who live in the pastoral, mountainous and wet areas of the west like Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and western Scotland as somehow the vanquished, refuges or hold-outs of history.  However, I would question this.  These were very important areas where most of the isles mineral wealth was (you could add NW France to this too).  They must have been much sought after plum areas to hold in those times.  Also, the presence of coast so close to so much of these areas must have also been a major advantage for the metal trade that was so important to the elites.  The notion of marginality of these areas only really came in with the collapse of the Bronze Age trade and the arrival of iron etc.

Also, I wouldnt assume that a rainy wet climate is always a disadvantage.  There have been periods where eastern England has had practically no rain in recent years while the 'Celtic fringe' remained its usual soggy self.  In dry periods in the past that could have been a potnetial disaster that only effected the east and SE of Britain and the wet pastoral west would have been relatively immune to this. 


Finally I think seeing the Celtic fringe as a reguge for the vanquished of the lowland in Britain does not fit with the reality.  In general there is a lot of evidence for contuity of the pre-Anglo-Saxon tribal pattern in the Celtic fringe rather than a shunting of tribes west.   Where the evidence is fairly clear the tribes of the west are often those that Ptolemy found there (Domnoni, Demetae, Strathclyde=Damnoni, Votodini=Goddodin etc - excude dodgy spellings) albeit mixed with sub-Roman Irish elites.  It appears that elites in lowland Britain died or fled or came to some arrangement but mass population movements of refugees to the Celtic fring did not appear to have happened within the British Isles. It would have simply been impossible for the land in the west to have the carrying capacity to have accepted a large influx of Lowland Britons anyway.  Not to mention that the light Romanisation of the west had left them in a far better position to defend themselves when the legions left.



Thanks, I take your point about the mineral wealth in prehistory. I guess my point is really about the changes to Wales after the Roman era and the inability of the Anglo-Saxons (Mercians) to settle west of Offa's Dyke.

I would agree with you that Wales was not a refuge for lowland English Celts fleeing west from the Anglo-Saxon advance. Celts in what is now England were most likely absorbed in to Anglo-Saxon culture.

The inhabitants of Wales who resisted the Anglo-Saxons at this time were descended from Welsh people who had been there for a long time.

The survival of the Welsh language in the north and west indicates to me that within the last 2000 years parts of Wales have been relatively untouched by English
migration or influence.
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