To the west were the Welsh uplands, lying above the 600-foot divide. Hereford itself lay exposed to Welsh invasion, as had been shown in the 1050s, when, during the resurgence under Gruffudd ap Uywelyn, the city and cathedral were burnt in 1055.3 As with the north of England, the Middle March was the result of the military situation attendant upon the conquest of England in 1066. A few Normans, led by Ralph, son of the count of the Vexin, had actually arrived in the region before the Conquest, having been invited by the half-Norman King Edward to help maintain Herefordshire against the Welsh; foremost among them was Richard fitz Scrob, lord of Richard's Castle.4 The border with Wales remained a concern to the Conqueror, and as has been observed by many historians, the need for security dictated the Norman approach to the March. Until recently, historians wrote of the creation of palatine lordships, to use an anach- ronistic phrase, along the March.5 Trusted lieutenants, such as the ducal steward William fitz Osbern were granted special powers to deal with the threat posed by the Welsh. The supposed nature of fitz Osbem's powers has been taken by some historians to form the basis of future Marcher liberties. Along with these special powers came solid tenurial blocks of land, giving the lords of the March an unusual degree of feudal control along the border. While the 'palatine argument', accepting the anachronism for a moment, has some merits for Shropshire and Cheshire, with their large tenurial blocks, it is not applicable to Herefordshire. A detailed study of the Middle March, and particularly Herefordshire, by C. P. Lewis has shown that Herefordshire was settled by the Normans in the same fashion found throughout much of the rest of the kingdom, though not on the same scale.6 Fitz Osbern succeeded to the lands of various 3R. R. Davies, Conquest, Coexistence and Change. Wales 1063-1415 (Oxford, 1987), pp. 25-6. 4 J. E. Lloyd, A History of Wales (2 vols, London, 1911), II, 363. 5W. E. Wightman, 'The palatine earldom of William fitz Osbem in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, 1066-1071', English Historical Review, LXXVII (1962), 6-17; idem, The Lacy Family in England and Normandy (Oxford, 1966), particularly pp. 117-70. 'Palatine' liberties could not truly emerge until central power had been defined and articulated in the thirteenth century. 6 C. P. Lewis, 'The Norman Settlement of Herefordshire under William I', Anglo-Norman Studies, VII (1984), 195-213; idem, 'English and Norman government and lordship in the Welsh borders, 1039-1087' (unpublished Oxford University DPhil thesis, 1985), particularly ch. 8.