that they were useless for a reconstruction of medieval population levels, for, at first glance, this type of record appeared to be a valuable source for demographic studies. Mr. Williams-Jones, however, has decided that these subsidy accounts, and taxation lists of other times and places, can and should be used for this purpose and he draws on them extensively in speculations about possible population figures, not only for late- thirteenth-century Merioneth but also for the rest of Wales, both then and at other times in the middle ages. While Mr. Williams-Jones is no doubt right in his general assumption that demographic historians cannot afford to ignore this type of record, he is too ambitious in attempting, as he does, to extract from it absolute population figures even for re- stricted areas. It is impossible to define the multiplier that will convert taxpayers into total population and perhaps the most that can be deduced from lay subsidy accounts is the relative population levels of different localities at the time of a particular tax. It is not, however, for the study of population alone that Mr. Williams- Jones used both the accounts which he now edits and much other original material, consisting largely, though not exclusively, of taxation returns. The title of this work is deceptively modest and it is to be hoped that students will not be discouraged by its apparently narrow scope. The introduction, which for most potential readers is probably more useful than the edited text, is a penetrating essay on a very broad range of matters relating to the social, economic and military history of medieval Wales. The editor discusses such topics as the supply of money, the status and composition of towns, the social and economic status of the clergy, office holders and much else besides. The main conclusion which emerges appears to be that medieval Wales was too poor to defend its independence from England, but that even so Llywelyn II failed to exploit the potential of his country's pastoral economy. Insofar as Mr. Williams-Jones seems to believe that Llywelyn personally could have promoted economic growth, he is clearly guilty of wishful thinking; such a task was beyond any medieval ruler, even had he the vision to conceive of it. As regards the 1292-93 subsidy itself, two additional points may be made. Firstly, it is claimed that in some villages more than one person may have been taxed in the same household. This was against the principle of the tax on moveables and the references cited by the editor do not support his belief. Secondly, Mr. Williams-Jones is guilty of a certain circularity of argument. Thus, at one stage he claims that the subsidy was a contributory factor in the revolt of 1294-95, while elsewhere he uses the revolt as evidence of over-assiduous collection of the tax. On balance, however, it may be said that while there is much speculation in this work, it is a valuable contribution to the economic and social history of Wales. T. H. LLOYD Swansea. THE STAFFORDS, EARLS OF STAFFORD AND DUKES OF BUCKINGHAM, 1394- 1521. By Carole Rawcliffe. Cambridge University Press, 1978. Pp. 279. £ 10.50.