Medieval immigration: “They’re heavy drinkers, barbarous and full of guile”

The residents of medieval England didn't always roll out the red carpet for Welsh, Scottish and Irish immigrants. Mark Ormrod and Jessica Lutkin describe the challenges and stereotypes confronting Celts trying to carve out a new life in their adopted home

Officers at the Exchequer, 12th century England

This article was first published in the April 2015 issue of BBC History Magazine 

In 1413, Henry V’s government offered licences to hundreds of Welsh and Irish residents of England, allowing them to remain in the kingdom under the king’s protection. Those who came forward were a varied and far-flung group. They included the Irishman Thomas Roche, running his drapery business in Oxford; Richard Basset, another Irishman, who worked as a slater in Leicester; three ‘London Welsh’ – John Neuborgh, John Neuton and Thomas Gwyn; and Thomas Phelippes, the Welsh-born priest in charge of the rural parish of Hemingby in Lincolnshire.

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