The Horrible Histories of Wales
880: Lovely Laws

We’d never want to put you off visiting our lovely country, but some pretty nasty stuff has happened in Wales over the last 250,000 years or so. It’s fine now, though, honest.

Hywel the Good

In the year 927 the Welsh princes said they’d let themselves be ruled by the English king.

But there were still some great Welsh princes. There were people like Hywel the Good (880-950). The Welsh called him Hywel Dda.

Of course he wasn’t all THAT good – he had his brother-in-law killed.

The Law Of Hywel

But Hywel did create the ‘Law Of Hywel’, a set of laws that would be in force in Wales for hundreds of years. They say he took the laws to Rome and had them blessed by the Pope.

They were sensible laws, less of the old ‘punishment’ and more ‘pay cash for your crime’. 

Hywel’s laws saw women as almost equal to men. Almost, but not quite...
A woman slave was worth less than a man slave.

Hywel was the first person to get all the bards of Wales together for a contest. It was his idea that was copied in 1880 when The National Eisteddfod was formed.

Reproduced by kind permission of Scholastic Children’s Books.