A Happy New Year to All Cambrians
2005 was a year of some notable successes for the
Association, although also of some sad losses.
There were especially enjoyable and interesting
Meetings during the year. Full reports will be appearing in Archaeologia
Cambrensis but we must here record the highlights and our gratitude
to those who organised, guided and spoke at them.
The Summer Meeting (July 10th-16th), based on
Bala and organised by Frances Lynch, gave us a rich programme ranging
from the Iron Age and Roman through the Welsh Revival to the emergence
of Plaid Cymru. The Meeting was blessed by unCambrian weather, a
terrace at the Bala Lake Hotel overlooking the lake and close to
bar and swimming pool. The beds were comfortable, the food, in these
days, the consulship of Delia and Nigel, perhaps slightly unimaginative:
never again will your correspondent enjoy boiled broccoli and potatoes
with his moules marinieres.
Our President for 2005-6, Dr.Jeff Davies, delivered
his address, Fragile Heritage; The Archaeology of the Early Roman
Campaigns in Wales and the Borderlands. We are grateful also to
Dr.Stephen Briggs for his lecture,Colt Hall and Leicester: in the
footsteps of antiquaries and aesthetes at Fach Ddeiliog, to our
Public Lecturer, on The Tryweryn Controversy and Plaid Cymru, and
to Dafydd Tudur on Michael D.Jones and the Welsh in Patagonia. Our
thanks are also due to Richard Haslam,Caroline Kerkham, Peter Crew,
David Hopewell, Jack Spurgeon, Bill Britnell, Bob Silvester and
Lawrence Butler for their guidance at sites, and to Professor Carr
and Dr.I.B.Williams for an enthusiastic tour of Bala’s religious
heritage. Thanks must also be rendered to Mr. and Mrs. Robin Price
of Rhiwlas, for their hospitable welcome and sumptuous tea, and
to Jennifer, Lady Newborough, for inviting us to Rhug Hall: it is
an additional pleasure to record that Rhug Organic Farm Shop, where
we lunched, has won a BBC Food Award, and other awards for its sausages
The Autumn Meeting (23rd-25th September), based
on the Ramada Jarvis Hotel, Swansea, and organised by Professor
Chamberlain and Nansi Mascetti on the theme of Parks and Gardens,
was enlivened by erudite and well-illustrated lectures as well as
visits to sites. The meeting was addressed by Dr.Briggs on the recognition
and renewal of historic parks and gardens, by Dr.Elizabeth Whittle
(Cadw) on the genesis of the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens
in Wales (six volumes); by Graham Rankin, Director of Operations
for the Aberglasney Restoration Trust; by Professor Ralph Griffiths
on the estates and gardens created by the Vivian family at Singleton
and Clyne, by Ivor Stokes, formerly Director of Parks and Gardens
in Swansea, and by Michael Norman, Director of the Penllergaer Trust,
on the project to restore those gardens. Visits were paid to Aberglasney,
where the new winter garden in the courtyard was admired, to Penllergaer
and Clyne Gardens and finally to Plantasia, in Swansea, where a
reception was joint-hosted by the West Glamorgan Branch of the Welsh
Historic Gardens Trust. To the Trust, and to all our speakers, our
At the AGM (Bala, July 15th), two Trustees, Donald
Moore and the Reverend Dr.Roy Fenn retired, and two new Trustees,
Dr.David Williams and Mr.David Young, were elected. The Trustee
Body now consists of: Professor Muriel Chamberlain (Chair), Rev,
Canon Michael Coombe (General Secretary), Brian Newman (Treasurer),
Frances Llewellyn (Membership Secretary), Bill Britnell (Editor),
Bob Silvester (Reviews Editor), Mary Dodd, Very Rev, Wyn Evans,
Gwilym Hughes and Nansi Mascetti;
The retirement of Donald Moore from the Committee
is a momentous occasion for the Association. In over 58 years’
service he has occupied nearly every position of responsibility,
as Assistant and then General Secretary, as President (1978), as
Conference Organiser, and initiator of the Easter Conferences in
1952, as Editor of conference proceedings, as overseer of all the
Index volumes, and as Editorial Assistant for Archaeologia Cambrensis
during the illness of his wife Patricia. Throughout he has been
the guardian of the Association’s memory and the person who
can be relied upon to fill any breach and rise to any emergency.
All this has been combined with a very active life, membership of
committees of many societies, extensive lecturing and much else.
He remains our representative on the Court of the National Museum,
and is already engaged in planning the 4th Index volume
Dr.David Williams, a Past-President, needs no introduction
to Cambrians as he becomes Trustee; David Young, from Usk, a lecturer,
will also be well known to many Cambrians; he has been for many
years a regular attender at Meetings.
Canon Michael Coombe has expressed his wish to
retire as General Secretary in the Summer of 2006. If any member
is interested in taking on this role, please contact Professor Chamberlain
at 22, Wimmerfield Drive, Killay, Swansea SA2 7BR.
With the agreement of Cadw, the Association has
now released custody of this series; they are now available (at
considerably reduced prices!) from The Castle Bookshop, The Old
Rectory, Llandyssil, Montgomery, Powys, SY15 6LQ: tel.: 01686 668484.
Nine applications were received and five grants
made, to a total of £2,435.
Dr.Tom Mighall was granted £960 for radiocarbon dating of
pollen horizons in Merioneth showing contamination from mineral
Dr.Robert Johnston was granted £700 for radiocarbon dating
in connection with post-excavation work on structures excavated
above Egryn, Merioneth.
Mrs Margaret Dunn was granted £500 for the first stage of
a project dating late medieval/early modern houses around Beddgelert
Dr. Harold Mytum was granted £125 towards a project recording
graveyards in north Pembrokeshire.
Miss Aimee Pritchard has been granted £150 towards the hire
of a special camera for work on the 12th century church at Tywyn,
Members will have experienced experienced a flood
of journals this year! Bill Britnell, our Editor whom many people
met when he lectured on his excavations at Capel Maelog at the recent
Llandrindod Meeting and who spoke to the Bala Meeting at Llangynog,
has been working extremely hard to catch up with the backlog. After
his baptism of fire with the poorly printed vol. 150, volumes 151
and 152 went through smoothly in 2005, and he hopes to be able to
produce another two volumes in 2006, (vol. 153 for 2004, and vol.
154 for 2005), so bringing us back on line, with publication each
Autumn of the proceedings of the previous year. As a serious international
academic journal it is crucial that it appears quickly and regularly.
I am sure you all wish to congratulate Bill on his achievement.
Readers of the long delayed account of the excavations
at Llandegai near Bangor may be interested to know that large-scale
excavations have been carried out this year in a neighbouring field,
and a second early Neolithic house has been discovered, together
with a lot more Late Neolithic pottery in pits, some later prehistoric
roundhouses and more evidence of Roman activity: another large report
In Archaeologia Cambrensis, 139, 1990, we published
an article, Walker P., Linnard W., ‘Bee boles and other beekeeping
structures in Wales’. Since then, various other Welsh records
have been added to the IBRA Bee Boles Register; this may be consulted
online, at Beeboles-online(hist.journals).doc
We have sadly a number of deaths to record.
Sir Glanmor Williams KBE, MA, D.Litt, FBA, FRHistS.,
JP, a Past President, died on March 2nd, aged 84. A full appreciation
of his career as a historian and servant of the Welsh cultural heritage,
will appear in Archaeologia Cambrensis.
Mary Chitty (Mary Kitson Clark), FSA, died on February 1st, less
than four months short of her one-hundredth birthday. Perhaps less
well known to Cambrians than her sister-in-law Lily Chitty, she
was a distinguished archaeologist, especially of the Roman period
in her native Yorkshire.
Aileen, Lady Fox, an Honorary Vice-President,
died on Nov.21, aged 98, was the widow of Sir Cyril Fox, Director
of the National Museum of Wales. She was a distinguished archaeologist
in her own right, holding senior posts in Exeter and extending greatly
our knowledge of the Roman presence in Devon and Cornwall; on retirement
she spent ten years in New Zealand, producing pioneering studies
of Maori settlement. In 2000 she published her autobiography, Aileen-a
Richard T.Davies, a faithful attender of many
Summer Meetings, had a distinguished career of 36 years in American
Government Service, mostly within the then Soviet bloc. He was a
participant in many major events, in Moscow witnessing the end of
the Stalinist era and the visit of Vice-President Nixon to Mr.Khrushchev;
he had liaison duties during the ten days of the Cuban Missile Crisis
and later, as Ambassador to Poland, organised the visits there of
Presidents Ford and Carter. In retirement he remained active as
a writer and lecturer on Eastern European affairs. To Jean, his
wife, our sympathy.
John Hughes, O.St.J, TD, FRCP, FRC(Psych)., General
Secretary from 1991 to 1998, will receive a fuller memorial in Archaeologia
Cambrensis. We may here recall his energy, as medical man, as Territorial
and, in retirement in pursuing a degree in languages with a dissertation
on Spanish medical services. The compiler of this Newsletter wishes
especially to record the meticulous nature of his hand-over of what
can be an office both diffused and confused in nature.
John and Catrin Daniel died within a few weeks
of each other in July and August. They were perhaps not well known
to Cambrians as such but were much respected throughout Wales for
their active role in Y Cylch Catholig. John was a philosopher, his
main field being the implications of linguistic philosophy for Welsh
(or possibly vice versa); this may have been stimulared by his National
Service in Naval Intelligence, eavesdropping on Russian pilots.
Catrin had been looking forward to joining us for the visit in July
to Llyn Celyn, for the memorial chapel was designed by her father,
but this was impossible. To their large and close-knit family, all
We must also record the deaths of Betty Sage,
of Newport, a member since 1970; of Dr. O.Rocyn Jones,of Monmouthshire;
of Brian Hartley, of Leeds, a Roman pottery expert and a member
since 1961, of Miss P.M.Davies, a member since 1948 and a former
Secretary of the Powysland Club; and of Miss Hilary Field, of Dublin.
Events in 2006
The AGM will be held on the evening of Thursday,
July 13th, at the Westminster Hotel, City Road, Chester
The Eisteddfod Lecture for 2006
The Cambrian Lecture at the Swansea Eisteddfod
will be delivered by Professor Prys Morgan of the University of
Wales, Swansea, at 4.00 pm on Wednesday August 9th, in either the
Societies’ Tent or the Pagoda (please check the Eisteddfod
Day Programme). It will be chaired by Dr.Nesta Lloyd.
He will be speaking on history, folklore and zoology
of the ‘Llansamlet Snakestone’, a Roman glass bead or
amulet kept in his family as a good luck charm and also as a cure
for eye ailments.