What is the relationship between Wales and England?

Scotland’s fought the Brits. So are Ireland and the scars are only slightly healed. Is/was there that kind of tension or hostility between them?

“Brits” != “England”.

It was an offhanded reference. I’ll be more professional next time, sorry.

It depends what you mean by ‘hostility’. Terrorism? Violence? Discrimination?
A vocal minority can easily give the wrong impression.
People in small towns can be less welcoming to strangers than those who live in cities.
Certainly the Welsh rugby team enjoy beating the English and there is mild concern over wealthy English folk buying holiday homes in Wales.
But the English tourists can certainly safely visit, and speak English throughout when they do.

It’s true in general that Scotland fought England.
However, for example, in this major battle:

The Battle of Culloden, which took place on 16th April, 1746, is to this day surrounded by myths and inaccurate accounts. It was not a war between Scotland and England. It was not a war between Catholics and Protestants. It was, however, a dynastic struggle between two different royal houses: the house of Stuart and the house of Hanover.

Bonnie Prince Charlie, born in Italy and brought up in France, had never been to Scotland, had no military experience and quite obviously was not interested in Scotland or the Scottish throne. His arrival on the west highland coast forced many clans to pledge their support even though many of them, including the much respected Cameron of Lochiel had gave concerns.

The majority of the highland clans were Presbyterian, not Catholic like the Prince, and did not support his cause. Had he gained the support of all the highland clans, it is widely recognised that he would have access to nearly 50,000 fighting men, not 5000.


Anyway, by 1603 the Scot James 1st was King of both England and Scotland.

Scotland was never united during the various unpleasantnesses with England - things were far too much broken down into clan and religious factionalism for that. For Wales though I remember a campaign against English holiday homes in the '80s. This link


gives a decent idea of what happened. The campaign seems to have been the work of a handful of nutters. Similarly there was a Scottish National Liberation Army at one point, but that turned out to be a couple of saddoes who liked setting fire to post boxes. The situation in Ireland was obviously of a quite different nature and degree.

Don’t forget the Cornish separatist movement. They’re scary, with their pasties, tin and what not.

Bolding mine. That sentence will evoke different images in the heads of readers depending on which side of the Atlantic they are on. :stuck_out_tongue:

Or Welsh.
Cymru Annibynnol

Something a little more comprehensible, here:

So why did you mention it in a thread about battles and wars between Scotland and England, when there are plenty of good examples you could have used? In a way you’ve needlessly perpetuated the very misconception you were trying to allay.

While I know about clan warfare and the various civil wars that followed the reformation, I’m struggling to see what point you’re making vis-a-vis the (albeit simplistic and ill-informed) OP. The fact is that Scotland did fight many battles and wars against England, winning the crucial one in the early 14th century. Later when the Lords of the Isles were threatening Scottish unity, James IV took away their power to further cement his control over the whole country. Neither Ireland (before 1922) nor Wales had any long term status as a single unified independent country in the way that Scotland did.

I was only pointing out to the OP that Scotland v. England has never been a particularly clear cut thing. I doubt there’s been a battle between the two countries that hasn’t had Scots factions on both sides. But you know this - the OP probably doesn’t, given the “Scotland versus Brits” opener.

Ok, cool. I’m not trying to be picky, and I’m reaching the limit of my knowledge, but I would have thought Flodden was pretty clear cut, given that it happened in the context of treaty obligations to France and under a powerful Scottish king. The recently late George MacDonald Fraser mentions how borderers on either side would help each other rob their own armies, but that was just petty thievery.

Heh, I think that was the norm! :stuck_out_tongue:

Flodden is a good example though, and the one that is closest to a genuine whole of Scotland v. England rumble, but not all of the Highlanders were keen on King James, and some Borderers did the usual Borders things. A massacre in any case - Flowers of the Forest, indeed. :frowning:

Was or is the “Sons of Powys” real? Supposedly a shadowy sepratist group I saw referenced years ago and have never seen or heard of again.

I stayed at Gwer Clas Hall once (incredible, but that’s a story for another day) and the crest over the front entry was three heads. According to the owner the sport back in the day was to run across the border and murder some Englishmen and be the first to get back with a head.

There certainly used to be tensions but the Welsh have acted kind of snippy since even Roman times.

For the historical aspect of the OP’s question about ‘tension or hostility’, the answer is yes, there most certainly was at times. Owain Glyndwr is a good starting-point.

Do you mean Meibion Glyndŵr? “Sons of Glendower”. They were very real, if tiny and ineffectual. They burned down English-owned holiday homes, allied themselves with the IRA, and even had two “martyrs”, who blew themselves up trying to plant a bomb.

Of course, I wasn’t denying that the Welsh fought the English. What I meant was at the time the geographical area of Wales was conquered by the English, it was politically divided into more than one kingdom (correct me if I’m wrong). It seems Owain Glyndwr came later, after the conquest.

That’s true. I really only picked him because of the symbolism for later Welsh nationalism (see jjimm’s post). And because I knew how to spell his name.

But note that the OP does not ask purely about conflict between two sovereign nations.

I should say, from observation living in Wales for three years, that anti-English sentiment is very common, but generally just “banter” - rugby songs, jokes, etc. A (probably misremembered) poem from a north-Welsh poet:

What Wales is lacking
But needs the most
Is not an east border
But an east coast.

There’s a rather unpleasant anti-Welsh sentiment that I encounter in England, too. It’s along the lines of “I hate Welsh people” or “Welsh people are horrible”, based solely on ignorance and the fact that it’s not taboo to repeat the slur.

There’s another myth that is very common in England, that Welsh people sit around in pubs and cafés talking English to each other, but when an English person arrives, they switch to Welsh to exclude the outsider. From my own observation, this is utter bullshit. I lived in a shared house with seven Welsh-speakers, and I was the only non-speaker there. Being fluent in both languages, they tended to switch between them very frequently. Also, Welsh is chock-full of words borrowed from English. Thus, if one has a preconception about the deliberate use of the language to exclude foreigners, it may appear that people are chatting in English but switching tongue to alienate the English person, but it ain’t so (not saying it never happens at all, but it’s nowhere near as common as people make out). I myself suffered from this misconception when I first arrived there, and was upset when two guys I was chatting to started talking Welsh to each other. It took me a while to understand that for many, it is their first language, and only natural they should use it with each other. In fact, they were ultra polite about trying to remember to speak English when I was around - until I actually started to pick some up, and could usually work out the what they were talking about if I had the context.

Demographically, I recall that the majority of the south of Wales is pro-union (monarchist, even), but in the north of Wales, and particularly in Welsh-speaking communities, there’s more of a separatist sentiment. However, since the south is more populous than the north, overall the Welsh population is pro-Britain.

Apparently it is perfectly legal to kill a Welshman in the vicinity of Hereford Cathedral on a Sunday just so long as you use a bow and arrow.