As always it is our sad duty to record several
deaths this year among notable members of the Cambrians, men and
women who had become friends to the many members attending meetings
and whose work was also well-known in a wider arena.
Peter Llewellyn (1937-2007) General
Secretary of the Association from 1998 to 2003 and husband of our
former President Frances Lynch Llewellyn, died on 17 October 2007
after a long illness. Peter was educated at Ampleforth and after
National Service in the Royal Green Jackets he went up to Jesus
College Oxford where he graduated in History. After graduation he
was awarded the Rome Scholarship to study at the British School
there. His particular interest was in early medieval Italy, especially
its ecclesiastical history, and while in Rome he also took part
in several excavations. In 1964 he joined the Survey of London team
where he worked on the history of Soho and in 1966 he was appointed
to a lectureship in History at what was then the University College
of North Wales, Bangor. His main area of teaching was the history
of early medieval Europe and he carried on with his research; Rome
in the Dark Ages was published by Faber and Faber in 1971. Early
medieval Europe would probably be regarded by the academic bureaucrats
and bean-counters of today as an unacceptably esoteric field of
study but his enthusiasm and scholarship meant that his courses
were always popular and well supported. He played an active part
in the affairs of the Department until his retirement in 1995 and
represented it on the History at the Universities Defence Group.
He was also active in the affairs of the Roman Catholic Church in
Wales, being an adviser to the bishops on ecumenical affairs and
church history. Members of the Association and all who knew or worked
with him will remember his geniality, his humour and his scholarship.
Our sympathies go out to Frances who shared so many of his interests.
Jack Spurgeon was born in Cardiff in 1934 and attended
the Grammar School in Penarth and Cardiff University. After graduation
he began post-graduate research on earthwork enclosures in SW Wales
- a topic which remained the focus of his professional work for
the rest of his life, though emphasis on earlier and later defences
varied through his career. He was perhaps best known for his magisterial
work on the early castles of Glamorgan. Jack first worked as a history
teacher, notably in Montgomeryshire where he pursued his private
research on hillforts and mottes but in 1964 he joined the Royal
Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments and was able to devote
himself full-time to survey and analysis, becoming one of the most
skilled and insightful fieldworkers in Wales. Alongside his professional
work Jack was always generous in the time he gave to voluntary societies
such as the Cambrians and the Powysland Club. Members will remember
with affection his learned and amusing contributions to meetings
in Wales and in France, a country to which he had been devoted since
his schooldays. (A longer version of this obituary by David Browne
of RCAHMW can be seen on our website).
Catrin Puw Davies will be known
to members as a regular attender at meetings with her husband, Roger,
but was also widely known and admired in Welsh literary circles.
She won the crown at the Urdd Eisteddfod no less than three times
and was gnerous wityh her writing and editing skills throughout
her life. She founded Papur Famau and was a frequent adjudicator
at Eisteddfodau, both local and national.
Allen Probert had become a well-known
figure at Cambrian Summer meetings since his retirement, though
he had been a life member since 1967 when he became active as an
excavator of hillforts and leader of the Abergavenny Archaeological
Group. His work at Twyn y Gaer near Abergavenny was part of a body
of work which altered views about the development of settlement
in later prehistory. Allen had worked in the building trade and
as a wine merchant and had been Chairman of CBA Wales in the 1970s.
Meetings in 2007
Two very successful meetings were held in 2007, one in Carmarthen
and one in Paris. Full accounts of both can be read on our website
and will be published in Archaeologia Cambrensis next year.
The Summer Meeting Carmarthen was based at Trinity
College Carmarthen and had been designed by Gwilym Hughes as an
examination of the Towy Valley from its source to the sea. In the
event, pressure of work at his new job in Cadw meant that the detailed
organisation of the meeting fell to Marion Page of Cambria Archaeology
and the Association is grateful to her for her conscientious and
cheerful care of the party throughout the week. Despite an unsettled
forecast the weather was mainly good and luckily the day spent on
foot in Carmarthen was bright and sunny, and enthusiasm was high
amongst members of the Carmarthen Antiquarians who led the tour
and their listeners.
The Autumn Meeting in Paris was organised by Rory
O’Farrell and was a new departure in Cambrian Meetings in
that, in the centre of the city, members were successfully shepherded
from site to site by public transport. This was a triumph for Rory’s
fabled powers of communication and organisation and, in this age
of environmental awareness, everyone returned with a great feeling
of achievement in having seen all the great monuments with such
a light footfall!
Meetings planned for 2008
EASTER CONFERENCE: IN MEMORY OF VERNON HUGHES
FRIDAY 28TH - SUNDAY 30TH MARCH 2008
All lectures and meals at the LLETY PARC HOTEL,
Vernon Hughes had been a member of the Cambrians
since 1949, making him one of that small and distinguished band
of loyal enthusiasts who had been a member for over fifty years.
He was an architect with a lifelong interest in historic buildings
and their repair and had been much involved with the saving of damaged
buildings in London after the Second World War. Subsequently he
worked as a conservation architect for the Ministry of Works in
Wales and later for Cadw. Based in north Wales, he retired to his
home town of Abergele but regularly attended and often addressed
meetings of the Cambrians and other organisations connected with
the built heritage of Wales until shortly before his death. Always
ready to impart the knowledge of his considerable experience (often
backed up by entertaining anecdote) his quiet, self-effacing manner
and personal modesty meant that he was less well known than he richly
deserved to be. Moreover he was one of the very first to draw attention
to the qualities of Victorian buildings in Wales, all very much
under threat in the decades following the War. During his time in
London, he had spent many evenings in the RIBA library, scanning
through The Builder magazine (monthly from the 1840s), making a
huge, neatly ordered record of all references to Wales, which has
been of incalculable help to all writers of the subsequent Welsh
volumes of the Pevsner series. This conference is therefore dedicated
to his memory and focuses on three building types of particular
interest to him in Wales, all set within the context of conservation
which was his most passionate concern.
FRIDAY 28th MARCH
4.00 pm. Tour of the Royal Commission of Ancient
Monuments in Wales and their Archives (Plas Crug) led by Peter Wakelin,
Secretary to the Commission
Keynote Address by Prof Bill Davies
The Concept of Regional Architecture with reference to Wales.
SATURDAY 29TH MARCH
Morning Session: THE WELSH VERNACULAR
9.30 Richard Suggett (RCAHMW) - Discovering and
11.00 Judith Alfrey (CADW) - Prioritising and protecting
12.00 Dr Greg Stevenson - Restoring, respecting and enjoying
Afternoon Session: RELIGIOUS BUILDINGS
2.30 Alex Glanville (Representative Body of the
Church in Wales) Past, present and future of the Welsh historic
3.30 Gruff Owen The Work of the Welsh Religious Buildings Trust:
Saving the best Welsh Chapels
4.30 Excursion to Llanbadarn Fawr church with talk on Victorian
Church Restoration by Dr Lawrence Butler
6.15 Dr John Morgan Guy (Lampeter) The ‘Bible in Wales’
7.30 Conference Dinner
SUNDAY 30TH MARCH
Morning Session: SEASIDE TOWNS
9.30 Richard Haslam The Bracing Air of North Wales
11.00 Robert Scourfield The Lure of the Pembrokeshire Shore
12.00 Michael Freeman (Ceredigion Museum) The development of Aberystwyth
Afternoon Session: ABERYSTWYTH TOUR
2.30 Tour of Aberystwyth with the Civic Society
4.30 Tea and disperse.
COSTS AND DOMESTIC ARRANGEMENTS
Base: Llety Parc Hotel, Parc y Llyn, Aberystwyth,
Ceredigion SY23 3TL 01970 636333
Costs for Residents
Single occupancy: £99.00 per person per day = £198.00
+ £15.00 Conference fee = £213.00 Double/Twin: £80.00
per person sharing = £160.00 + £15.00 Conference fee
Day cost (includes coffee/tea & lunch) £20.00 per day
= £40.00 + £15.00 Conf. fee = £55.00 Additional:
Dinner Friday and Saturday nights @ £20.00 each
Participants should make their own accommodation
arrangements. A certain number of rooms have been reserved at the
Llety Parc. If you book there please make it clear that you are
attending the Cambrians’ Conference. You should pay the hotel
individually on leaving, but must pay the conference fee (£15.00)
in advance to CAA.
Non-residents must pay their Day Costs and Conference Fee in advance
to CAA. They may order dinner (£20) for Friday and Saturday
night and include the cost with their cheque to CAA.
Booking forms are available with the CAA Newsletter
and below where they can be printed off and returned with a cheque
made out to ‘CAA Easter Meeting’ to Frances Llewellyn,
Halfway House, Halfway Bridge, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 3DG
Booking form for
the Easter Conference 2008 in Adobe Acrobat format (opens in a new
SUMMER MEETING : CONWY VALLEY
Monday JULY 7th - Saturday JULY 12th
Because the base for this meeting is in Betws y
Coed the dates are early in July in order to get hotel rooms and
relatively empty roads. Like last year the visits will be based
around the river and the estates in the valley, dominated for much
of the time by the Wynn family. We will be visiting their two main
houses, in Conwy and at Gwydir, but also other estates carved out
of the medieval lands of Aberconwy Abbey. Betws itself is a product
of the tourist industry and we will be looking at the origins of
that lucrative business and the transport infrastructure which supported
it. In Plas Mawr, Gwydir and Hendre we will see very notable examples
of historic conservation, some completed, some on-going and some
The meeting begins after lunch on Monday but members
wishing to come on Sunday can arrange an extra night with the hotel.
Please book early, with a £50 deposit, because the hotel is
not enormous (however rooms can be found nearby) and make it clear
that you are part of the CAA meeting. Betws y Coed can be reached
by train, changing at Llandudno Junction. Those leaving Cardiff
at 9.20am would reach Betws at 2.00pm. The Annual General Meeting
will be held on the evening of Thursday July 13th, after dinner
in the church hall next to the Royal Hotel.
Conwy Valley Summer Meeting 2008
Dates : Monday pm July 7th - Saturday noon 12th
Base : Royal Oak Hotel, Betws y Coed LL24 0AY Tel
Cost (Dinner Bed Breakfast) Double/twin £59.00 per person
Single occupancy of double room £74.00 per person per day.
Monday July 7th Arrive lunchtime : walking tour
of Betws y Coed in pm
Medieval Church; 19th cent church; Pont y Pair; Motor Museum; Waterloo
Tuesday July 8th : Full Day : Conwy Valley West
Conwy Church; Plas Mawr (Wynn mansion);
lunch (find own)
1.30 Telford Bridge; Caerhun Roman fort and church; Gwydir Castle
Possible alternative walks this day 1. Rowen Roman road, fields
2. Gwydir Forest lead mining sites
Presidential Address and Reception after dinner
Wednesday July 9th : Full Day: Dolwyddelan and
Dolwyddelan: Castle, motte and church;
Fedw Deg and Bishop Morgan’s house, Ty Mawr Wybernant
picnic lunch at Ty Mawr
Ysbytty Ifan church (Hospital of St John) and tea at new rural enterprise
Penmachno 6th cent. stones in church
Public Lecture after dinner
Thursday July 10th : Full Day: Pentrevoelas
Pre-A5 roads; Dinas (Telford offices);
Plas Iolyn and Giler (two important late medieval estates, now farms)
lunch at White Lion, Cerrig y Drudion
Brenig Bronze Age cemetery (part); Hen Voelas motte and Levelinus
AGM after dinner
Friday July 11th : Full Day: Conwy Valley East
Capel Garmon Neolithic tomb; Soflan 16th cent house (view from road);
Hendre House; 18th cent. house and garden currently being restored
Lunch at Amser Da restaurant attached to famous delicatessen, Blas
Llanrwst town, church and almshouses ; Llandoged Church
Saturday morning : Capel Curig
Plas y Brenin (18th cent hotel and Richard Pennant’s bridge
St Julitta’s church; Ysgubor y Glyn timber-framed barn. Ty
Hyll (view from road)
Return to Betws y Coed for lunch (find own) and disperse
form for the Summer Meeting 2008 in Adobe Acrobat format (opens
in a new window)
AUTUMN MEETING IN POLAND
SEPTEMBER 11th - 15th 2008
It is proposed to visit, and stay in (at the Hotel
Cracovia), the beautiful and historic city of Kraków over
the weekend of 11 to 15 September 2008. For various reasons - especially
the Saturday visit to Jedrzejow Abbey, it will be necessary to limit
numbers to 44 persons, but there will be a waiting list. (If the
numbers wishing to go proved to be very large, one would endeavour
to organise a second trip at a later date).
Those wishing to attend must return their forms
by 29 February at the very latest, as in early March the Association
must send a deposit over to Poland.
The basic cost, and the daily additions, are about
£350 (double occupancy) or £410 (single). We have a
group rate for dinner, bed and breakfast. All drinks, lunches, are
extra (except perhaps Saturday lunch). The hotel has a casino.
On three occasions alternative excursions are
suggested, (a) for those who do not wish to visit Auschwitz; (b)
for those who by reason of claustrophobia or vertigo or disability,
may not wish to descend the salt mine [600 steps down in easy stages]
- but there is a lift to take those with walking difficulties down
in very small groups looked after by a guide; They do not see all
the mine, but two of the best levels. (If you wish to be in one
of these special small groups, please indicate this on your application
form) (c) as time precludes a visit to both the Clock Museum and
to Tokarnia village.
This meeting is being organised by Rev Dr David
Williams who, as most members will know, has lived in Poland for
several years, visits regularly and has many friends in all the
religious communities there. This is a tremendous opportunity for
members to be given an exclusive tour. Kraków is Poland’s
original capital, an enchanting medieval city, site of Poland’s
first university and location of all royal coronations and burials,
not to mention the more recent significance of its archepiscopal
He has made enquiries about the various methods
of travel to Kraków. Easyjet from Liverpool, Gatwick or Luton
are conveniently timed (leaving c. 13.00 on Thursday and returning
by c 19.00 on Monday for about £50 (current prices)). Easyjet
also flies from Bristol and Ryanair from Dublin and Stansted, but
at less convenient times. Bmi Baby is starting a flight in February
from Birmingham, but will not be flying daily (ie not Thursday out
or Monday return). Travel by Eurostar will involve travelling on
Wednesday, but will give you a tour via Brussels, Cologne, and Berlin.
There are coaches which go direct from London to Kraków (let
Dr Williams know if you are interested in this option).
Dr Williams will, if necessary, spend most of the
day at the airport to welcome and assist you, but try to arrive
in the afternoon when you can catch the CAA bus. For those who can’t,
there are trains and buses from the airport to the Central Station,
from where a taxi to the hotel costs anywhere between 12 to 25 zlotys
[£2.50 to £5].
He can provide you with advice on all possibilities
but you need to make your own enquiries and bookings as soon as
possible as cheap flights fluctuate. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU
TELL HIM WHAT YOU HAVE BOOKED AND YOUR TIME OF ARRIVAL.
As members return their application forms, they
will be sent further details regarding currency exchange, water
supply, suitable clothing. security and permissibility of photography
at historic sites. Passport, travel insurance, and European Health
Insurance Card, are essential.
KRAKÓW, POLAND : September 11th - 15th
Base: Hotel Cracovia, Kraków
Thursday 11 September 2008.
Please make your own way to Krakow. If you need further advice,
please contact the organiser, Dr David Williams 01970 612736.
A coach (cost included) will leave Kraków
Airport for the hotel at about 17.30pm. Persons arriving much earlier
than 17.30 or very late, must make their own way to the hotel. It
is important that when you have made your travel arrangements, you
let the organiser know the projected time of your arrival at the
railway station or the airport.
Friday 12 September 2008.
Group A, in the morning, will be taken on a guided city walk and,
after finding their own lunch, will go to the historic Benedictine
abbey at Tyniec.
Group B, will spend much of the day visiting the
former concentration camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau.
In the evening, after dinner, a local archaeologist will deliver
an introductory lecture.
Saturday 13 September 2008.
In the morning, we will all be together to visit Jedrzejow Abbey,
one of the first Cistercian abbeys to be founded in Poland in the
twelfth century, and the burial place of Bl. Vincent Kadlubek, a
noted medieval historian. Our guide will be an archaeologist who
has worked on the abbey, and I anticipate that we shall be served
lunch in the monastery refectory.
In the afternoon, Group A will visit the Clock
and Watch Museum in Jedrzejow, and then explore the town while awaiting
the return of Group B from the Polish timber village at Tokarnia
a few miles distant. I hope that in the evening we can meet up with
local historians and archaeologists.
Sunday 14 September 2008.
Group A will visit in the morning an European Heritage Site, the
Great Salt Mine at Wieliczka - lunch can be taken in the mine or
above ground Group B will visit Wieliczka Museum and Castle.
In the afternoon, we all visit the Art Collection at Niepolomice.
The evening will be free for those who may wish to attend a concert
or organ recital.
Monday 15 September 2008.
After visiting Kraków Cathedral and Castle, there should
be time for shopping before a coach leaves for the airport at about
2.30pm. (There will be shopping time on most evenings when we return
to the hotel)
form for the Autumn Meeting 2008 in Poland in Adobe Acrobat format
(opens in a new window)
G.T.Clark Prizes 2007
These prizes, given every five years for historical/archaeological
work relating to Wales published within the previous five years,
were awarded during the Summer Meeting at Carmarthen. The adjudicating
panel is composed of the previous winners and, this year, was chaired
by Dr Jeff Davies.
Chris R Musson, for his joint report, with Frances Lynch, 'A prehistoric
and early medieval complex at Llandegai, near Bangor, North Wales',
Arch. Camb. 150 (2001, 17-142 (appeared in 2004). His other publications
include The Breiddin Hillfort. A later prehistoric settlement in
the Welsh Marches, 1991 and Wales from the Air. Patterns of Past
& Present 1994. Chris has also made, and continues to make,
an outstanding contribution to the archaeology of Wales and the
Marches through his aerial photography, and the award of a G T Clark
Prize is also an acknowledgement of his much wider work over the
past 30 years.
Heather James, for her Roman Carmarthen. Excavations 1978-1993,
Britannia Monograph Series No.20, 2003. Heather has published extensively
on the archaeology of SW Wales in the Roman and post-Roman period,
and the publication of the above is a landmark in the archaeology
of SW Wales as a whole. The Association was delighted that Heather
was elected a Trustee at the same Carmarthen meeting, on the retirement
of Gwilym Hughes due to his new appointment as Chief Inspector of
Ancient Monuments at Cadw.
Prof. Patrick Sims-Williams, for The Celtic Inscriptions of Britain:
Phonology and Chronology, c.400-1200, Publications of the Philology
Society 37 (2003), pp.464. This is the first comprehensive linguistic
study for 50 years of the post-Roman inscriptions from western Britain
David M Robinson, for The Cistercians in Wales. Architecture and
Archaeology 1130-1540, Society of Antiquaries, London, 2006, pp.388.
The association also congratulates Dr Robinson on the award of the
Alice Davis Hitchcock Memorial Medallion by the Society of Architectural
Historians of Great Britain for this same book.
Richard Suggett, for Houses & History in the March of Wales:
Radnorshire 1400-1800, RCAHMW 2005. This book is another very notable
contribution in a field in which the Royal Commission has done so
much valuable research and popularisation over the years.
The Association also congratulates our member,
Daniel Huws, recently retired from the National Library, on the
award by the British Academy of the Derek Allen prize for Celtic
Studies in 2006 for his publication of Welsh Medieval Manuscripts.
NEW BLODWEN JERMAN AWARDS
2007 was the first year of the re-directed Blodwen Jerman Awards,
now given for work in universities rather than schools. The adjudicators,
Donald Moore, Hilary Thomas and Professor Prys Morgan, judged that
two dissertations were suitable for the award.
THE MATHEW FAMILY OF LLANDAFF AND RADYR AND THE
MEMORIALS IN LLANDAFF CATHEDRAL c.1420 - c.1560. By Rhianydd Biebrach,
REGIONAL TRADE AND URBAN POLITICS: SWANSEA HARBOUR
TRUST 1791-1836. By George Roberts, 2005.
'The Mathew Family and its Memorials' was a more
restricted theme, and had far less source material to draw upon,
owing to its earlier date. The aim was to examine the tombs of (i)
David Mathew, (ii) Sir William and Jenet Mathew, (iii) Christopher
and Elizabeth Mathew. That was successfully achieved. Photographs
of the tombs were shown, though their awkward siting in the cathedral
clearly presented difficulties to the photographer. There was a
plan of Llandaff Cathedral and a map of the Mathew family's landholdings
in Glamorgan. The author was familiar with Welsh language sources,
especially the bardic. An excellent account was given of the religious
motivation for creating tombs and chantries. A possible extension
of the theme might have brought in protestant tombs of similar style
from other churches in the area. The adjudicators would have welcomed
more information about the family itself.
'Swansea Harbour Trust' was particularly rich in documentary and
published sources, relating to both sides of the Bristol Channel
and to Bristol itself. Much attention had been given to the transactions
of local historical societies. The adjudicators considered, however,
that more weight could have been given to the personalities involved
in Swansea and to the social and political factors which affected
the policy and the activities of the Trust. The work contained two
maps and various diagrams, though no plan of Swansea Harbour itself,
nor any examples of the numerous contemporary illustrations of the
site and its environs.
Both winners were able to be at Carmarthen to receive
their prizes and members were very pleased to be able to welcome
them to the Association in person.
Reports have been received about the progress of work funded by
our research grants over the last few years.
The Cymdeithas Hanes Beddgelert have had money for dendro-chronological
dates for a number of 15th/16th century farmhouses in the region
and the results are building towards a major social and architectural
analysis which they hope can be published in Arch Camb.
The money given to Dr Jeff Davies towards geophysical survey around
Roman forts and the preparation of illustrations of the results
will complement the Cadw Vici Project and will appear in the new
edition of The Roman Frontier in Wales.
Private research by Dr Stephen Briggs on the papers of Sir John
Gardner Wilkinson (1797-1875), supported with a modest travel grant,
will give rise to several articles and the re-emergence of a number
of remarkable plans of Welsh prehistoric monuments, made at a time
before many were significantly disturbed and altered. Although Sir
John, the ‘Father of British Egyptology’, had some rather
odd ideas about British prehistory, his surveys were objective and
We have also supported Dr Tim Mighall’s new approach to the
dating of early metallurgy through the study of episodes of atmospheric
pollution recorded in upland bogs. This work supports Peter Crew’s
major programme of excavation on early iron-working in Snowdonia.
In addition to the formal grants we offered encouragement and a
small amount of money to a Post-graduate Conference at Cardiff University
with the aim of fostering new ideas. This summer we will be contributing
to work in Llangynidr and in the Bala area, as well as continuing
support for on-going projects.
Application forms for grants can be printed out
from the website, but please ensure that all information, referees’
data etc is complete and forwarded to the General Secretary in good
time for the main Trustees’ meeting in November 2008.
The 2008 Eisteddfod will be in Cardiff and the CAA lecture will
be, as usual, on the Wednesday afternoon, August 6th. The lecturer
will be Professor John Gwynfor Jones and he will be speaking about
the Morgan family of Tredegar and their influence upon the development
The fourth volume of the Index to Archaeologia
Cambrensis is about to be published and an order form is enclosed.
Once again the Association is indebted to Donald Moore for his supervision
of the project. These indexes are some of the most useful volumes
published by any society because they contain a convenient compendium
of all sorts of information about the association and its activity,
in addition to the very full and professional index itself. Copies
of volumes II (1901-60) and III (1961-1980) are also available from
Halfway House @ £18.00 each.
Notice of a special offer to Cambrian members of
a reduced price on the new book about St David, edited by our members
J.Wyn Evans and Jonathan Wooding, is also enclosed and members might
like to know that a comprehensive Encyclopaedia of Wales is just
about to be published by the Welsh Academy. It is available in both
a Welsh and an English version and the publishers claim that no
other work has covered so many aspects of Wales’ past, present,
future, its people, places, arts, industries, environment and traditions!
It will cost £65.