Nevertheless, what underpinned this theme of disparity was the technological advancements of England that were brought about through the investment of Norman wealth. From this, Gerald moves on to the second distinguishable difference that put England ahead - its military. With the introduction of the Normans came a revolution in military warfare. From castles to knights, there was a rapid evolution in England's military following the conquest which did not occur in Wales, Scotland, or Ireland for some time. As such, whilst England was forming standing armies equipped with advanced metallurgy who were housed in forts and castles across the English landscape, the Celtic nations stuck with guerilla skirmishing tactics. Once again we can turn to Outlander to see the practical implications of this as the definitive battle of Culloden saw the Scottish Highlanders using charging guerilla tactics against the strictly formatted Red Coat British who were more equipped for pitch-battle scenarios. Gerald thus points out a militaristic superiority within the Isles whereby he says “the French ransom, the Irish butcher”. This was commented in relation to practices of chivalry as whilst England and France practised codes whereby, for example, nobles were not to be killed, the Celtic nations did not and would thus kill whomever the enemy may be.
And so we have an economic and militaristic disparity within the Isles, but the final difference may be a surprising one. Many contemporaries, such as Gerald of Wales, were preoccupied with discussing the differences in marriage customs between England and Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. This was to highlight differences in cultural practices but nevertheless, there is an onslaught of commentary on marital practices. In 12th century England, marriage was a consecration made under the Church and thus you were only permitted to marry once. Equally, you could not marry within six degrees of kinship to avoid any notions of incest. The Celtic nations, however, did not have such laws nor protections of the Church. Rather, marriage was based on ancient and traditional laws which meant that people were entitled to multiple marriages and even multiple wives. The reason why Gerald focuses so much on marital custom is because inheritance was so closely linked. In England, primogeniture meant that the eldest son inherited primary lands and titles with the rest being distributed to second and third sons. This largely avoided inheritance issues and, by extension, brothers waging war against each other over land. In Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, however, this was not the case and partible inheritance meant it was essentially a free-for-all, especially when sons of multiple wives were concerned. Succession disputes were therefore frequent. What topped it all off for Gerald, however, was that these nations did not have the six degrees of kinship law and thus, he comments, incest was rampant. As such, there was little distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children which, once again, complicates succession further. According to Richard of Hexham, the Scots were bestial men who think nothing of committing incest adultery and other abominations. Gerald of Wales in his text on Ireland equally discusses this idea of bestiality and incest which the Celtic nations indulged in.
Removing the marginalised tone of the above evidence shows that there was a distinction between England and their surrounding neighbours following the introduction of Norman culture. Nevertheless, whilst their economy, military practices, and marriage customs did evolve, so too did these toxic sentiments of imperialism whereby England saw themselves above their Celtic kinsmen. These sentiments would echo through the coming centuries as England grew in strength and power. Yet, what this also shows is that English imperialism and strength owes itself somewhat to the French, a notion many may find difficult to swallow.