It is a matter for surprise that so small a country as Wales should have been able to maintain its independence for over six hundred years after the Anglo-Saxon invasion of England, and a matter for even greater surprise that the major part of its conquest by the Normans should have been achieved in thirty years, not by kings at the head of vast armies, but by a handful of adventurers whose resources both in men and money were very limited. A good deal of this conquest was achieved quite casually by men who were determined warriors rather than nobles. Bernard of Neufmarche, Robert FitzHamon, and Roger Mortimer were not even earls : they were just lords of a few manors. The explanation is probably that the Anglo-Saxons were settlers rather than seekers after empire. When the Saxon King Edgar was rowed by eight kings on the tidal waters of the Dee he did not aim at annexation : he was content with allegiance. The Normans were very different. They were essentially land-grabbers of a most ruthless kind.

One of the problems with discussing war with young people today is the fact that they all play computer games so they all see ‘death’ and ‘war’ every day on a computer monitor. So they think they know all about it. The challenge is to create a war game that brings home the lessons of war, which all focus on the values of peace.

Wales has been at peace with the English for many centuries, yet the existence of an Anglo-German Prince of Wales still rankles many people who have no ethnic Welshness. Unravelling the roots of this feeling goes back at least a 1000 years to the Norman Conquest.

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