World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0003086781
Reproduction Date:

Title: Cantref  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Hundreds of Wales, David Holbache, Rural Dean, Traditional Welsh costume, Culture of Wales
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Cantrefi of Medieval Wales

A Cantref (Welsh pronunciation: ; plural cantrefi) was a medieval Welsh land division, particularly important in the administration of Welsh law.


Land in medieval Wales was divided into cantrefi, which were themselves divided into smaller cymydau (commotes).[1] The name "cantref" is derived from "Cant" ("a hundred") and "tref" ("town" in modern Welsh but formerly used for much smaller settlements). The cantref is thought to be the original unit, with the commotes being a later division. Cantrefi could vary considerably in size; most were divided into two or three commotes but the largest, the "Cantref Mawr" or "Great Cantref" in Ystrad Tywi (now in Carmarthenshire) was divided into seven commotes. To give an idea of the size of a cantref, the island of Anglesey was divided into three cantrefi, Cemais, Aberffraw and Rhosyr.


The antiquity of the cantrefi is demonstrated by the fact that they often mark the boundary between dialects. Some were originally kingdoms in their own right, others may have been artificial units created later.[2]

Cantrefi were of particular importance in the administration of the Welsh law. Each cantref had its own court, which was an assembly of the "uchelwyr", the main landowners of the cantref. This would be presided over by the king if he happened to be present in the cantref, or if he was not present by his representative. Apart from the judges there would be a clerk, an usher and sometimes two professional pleaders. The cantref court dealt with crimes, the determination of boundaries and matters concerning inheritance. The commote court later took over many of the functions of the cantref court, and in some areas the names of the commotes are much better known than the name of the cantref of which they formed parts.

The Cantrefi of Wales

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^


Further study

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.