Wales & the Wars of the Roses

Chapter 6 : Notes & Bibliography

Welsh Pronunciation & Naming

Welsh pronunciation is often considered complex by non-native speakers, but the rules are simple, and there are almost no irregular pronunciations, so once the sounds are mastered they can always be re-applied.

c’ is always hard

ch’ is the same as the equivalent letter combination in German

dd’ is pronounced in the same way as ‘th’ in ‘thither

rh’ is aspirated

u’ is similar to ‘-i’ .

y’ in the middle of a word is similar to ‘-i’, and if alone is like ‘U’ in up. By itself, it is the definite article.

ll’ is the one most non-native speakers struggle with. The closest approximation in English is a swift pronunciation of ‘dl’ in ‘medlar’ with the weight on the l.

w’ may be a consonant, pronounced as in English, or a vowel, in which case it sounds like ‘oo’. It is always a consonant at the start of a word, and always a vowel at the end, but in the middle, it could be either.

Thus Rhuddlan would sound more or less as ‘hrithlan’, Glyndwr is more like Glin-doo-er (rather than Glendower as it is often anglicised) and Gwladys more like Gwoo-lad-iss than Gladys.


Family names were not common in Wales until the end of the eighteenth century, whereas English usage of them dates generally from around the fourteenth century. A man was known as the son of his father, with the word ‘ap/ab’ in a name meaning son of – equivalent to Mac/Mc in Gaelic. Daughters were ‘ferch’.

Thus Henry Tudor in Welsh would be rendered Harri ab Edumund ab Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur, and his wife, Elizabeth of York, might translate as Bethan ferch Iorwerth ap Richard.

The bards loved genealogy and frequently recited it back to Noah and Adam and Eve! A pinch of salt might be required….


Bayani, Debra, Jasper Tudor: Godfather of the Tudor Dynasty, Kindle (Made Global Publishing, 2015)

Breverton, Terry, Jasper Tudor: Dynasty Maker, 1st edn (Gloucestershire: Amberley Publishing, 2015)

Davies, John, A History of Wales (London: Penguin (Non-Classics), 2007)

Davies, R. R., The Revolt of Owain Glyndwr (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Evans, H. T., Wales and the Wars of the Roses, 2nd edn (Gloucestershire: Allan Sutton Publishing Ltd, 1995)

Skidmore, Chris, Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors, Kindle (W&N, 2014)