Sunday, December 5, 2010

Straddling The Fence

From the passing of Vortigern around 480 AD, until the arrival of Tudor Trevor around 900 AD, there was a great deal of change in the home of our grandfathers. The Saxons by their military conquest and colonization, drove the Britons who did not want to comply into the highest parts of the island. The most western part of the island is shown in the picture to the right. The green areas roughly shows the land above 600 feet. This land then rose rapidly to peaks of 3560 feet in the northwest, following a central ridge to 2906 feet in the south central area. Surrounded by ocean on three sides, and two rivers on the other, this rock and water world became the home to our Jones family. The two rivers almost joined on the eastern side, but had a narrow land bridge which connected the more fertile plans to the east and the limestone ridges to the west. This land bridge became the battle ground for many during this 400 year period.

The Welsh language had its beginning during the years 500 AD - 600 AD. It became a distinctive branch of the Brythonic language tree separating from the Irish and Scottish tongues. Understanding the geography of the land helps one understand the multiple tribal divisions that occurred during this time period. This land produced a large number of isolated pockets of settlements which were able to survive among the rugged terrain. One of these tribal groups became our Jones family.

By 600 AD the Saxons were knocking on the door. They built their first fence called Watt's Dyke sometime during this period. It began at Oswestry Old Fort and extended north to provide a boundary and cattle fence. As time will tell, this fence straddles much of the land that became our Jones family land. As during the Roman occupation, our family must have maintained a trade business between the two cultures. We survived, and we must have managed to walk this fence.

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