EDWARD II AND THE ALLEGIANCE OF WALES THE political importance of Wales and the march has long been a recognized element in the traditional interpretation of the reign of Edward 11.1 Lords of the march played a vital role in the crises of the period, and many of the crucial encounters between the king and the baronial opposition occurred in Wales and the borderland.2 But the importance of Wales in the history of the reign transcends the involvement of the marchers alone, for Welshmen from the principality and the march were active in the period either as partisans or as opponents of the king. Edward II drew particularly valuable support from among the men of the principality of Wales, and the action of these royal adherents in undermining the position of the king's baronial adversaries has a bearing upon the whole history of the reign. The influences which affected Welsh allegiance have not been fully investigated, but the problem deserves con- sideration in its own right, for it reveals the reaction of an influential and articulate stratum of Welsh society to the conquest by Edward I. It is of particular moment for, besides evidence of loyalty to the Crown, the reign of Edward II reveals a degree of anxiety among the king's advisers concerning the allegiance of his Welsh subjects. Edward I had twice faced rebellion in Wales, and during the reign of his successor a Welsh uprising was still feared. These fears, grounded in the experience of the recent past, were accentuated by the possible effect both of conflict within the realm of England and of encitement or even intervention on the part of Celtic kinsmen in Ireland and Scotland. Rebellion did occur in Wales during the reign, but the interest of the period lies neither in rebellion nor in loyalty alone, but in the complex relationship of influential groups in Welsh society with the Crown and with the baronial opposition. The interaction of principality and marcher politics is an important 1 I should like to acknowledge my indebtedness to those who were kind enough to read a draft of this paper. Dr. Patricia Barnes, Sir Goronwy Edwards and Dr. R. A. Griffiths each offered most helpful suggestions, while Professor A. A. M. Duncan, Dr. R. F. Frame, Professor J. F. Lydon and Professor E. L. G. Stones gave me, with general comment, the further benefit of their knowledge of the Irish and Scottish problems which are encountered in the course of this study. Responsibility for matters of interpretation and for accuracy on points of detail lies entirely with me. T. F. Tout, The Place of the Reign of Edward II in English History (Manchester, 1936), pp. 105-6, 124-29, 187-90; J. Conway Davies, The Baronial Opposition to Edward II (Cambridge, 1918), pp. 39, 57, 473-79. For recent interpretations of the period, in which the marcher involvement is noticed, see J. R. Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster, 1307-1322 (Oxford, 1970), and J. R. S. Phillips, Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, 1307-1324 (Oxford, 1972).