O'Donnell Lecture 2018 - Cheapside in Wales: Textiles and Commodities in Medieval Welsh Poetry

Among the large corpus of Welsh poetry composed in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, there are numerous references to material commodities indicative of the commercial culture of the new towns of Wales. A notable subset of these commodities are textiles. Birds are described as wearing lifrai, ‘livery’, or dwbled o blu, ‘a doublet of fur’, women are dressed in mwre, ‘murrey’, and sgarlad, ‘scarlet’, types of luxury imported cloth.

This lecture examines some of these references to textiles and evaluates their social and linguistic significance as a key to understanding multilingualism and commercialisation in late-medieval Wales.