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Guy Farrish

You have to take into consideration that Giraldus (Gerald de Barri) is an Anglo-Norman-Welsh snob who is trying to climb the greasy pole of ecclesiastical preferment and neatly divides Welsh society into Native and Marcher – with a distinct sneer at the Native side. He’s basing his descriptions on ‘native’ troops he sees as he was trying (and possibly not doing that well) to get lords to commit to the Third Crusade – the Welsh Marcher lords were dressed mostly like English Norman nobles and maintained retainers. Often regarded as being very pro Welsh (he possibly had family connections to Welsh Royalty) by English commentators and historians, a lot of his compliments are backhanded and he was quite disparaging in his comparisons between Native Welsh society and warfare and the Marcher equivalents. He may have been accurate in his description of some Welsh lords and troops, but to extrapolate that all (or even many) were as Gerald describes is a leap of faith.