History Minute: The Welsh Common Law (aka the Laws of Hywel Dda, 928 CE)
Strongly opposed and ultimately abolished by the medieval English Church its key provisions were:
• Equal inheritance across all children, regardless of parental marital status,
• Protections for women in the form of harsh penalties for rape, domestic violence, and adultery,
• Marriage as a matter of civil instead of church law,
• Battered women could divorce their husbands and retained rights to their personhood across their entire lives,
• Punishment for most offences in the form of fines instead of the imprisonment, dismemberment, and/or execution which were typical under the English Common Law, especially during medieval times.
In 928 CE King Hywel Dda conferenced with the leading Welsh intellectuals at the time to formally record the Welsh Common Law as a single and widely published written book.