February 5, 2020

Newsletter for 2020

Our President-elect for 2020 is Professor Michael Jones, whom many will remember as our guide,
alongside his friend, Professor Gwyn Meirion Jones, to northern Brittany in 2013. He was born in
Wrexham, educated at Oxford and was professor of Mediaeval French History at Nottingham
University, specialising in the Late Mediaeval period in Brittany. Since his retirement he has
turned his attention to more local topics and this year he will be with us in Lincoln where his
knowledge of the East Midlands will be of enormous benefit to the meeting.

This year has brought us a record 39 new members due perhaps to a combination of factors: our
two events in partnership with other societies, the new website with a direct on-line Application
Form with bank transfer, and the energy of new members of the Trustees who operate within
social media. It is hoped that the new e-mail circulation network will develop a feeling of greater
engagement for all members wherever they are, and increase the numbers attending meetings,
whether Day Schools or longer events.

Please contact cambrians1846@gmail.com with your email address if you would like to be added to this mailing list.

Sadly we have lost members. Six members have resigned with regret due age and illness and six
have sadly died : The Rev Terence Bryan of Newtown, Dr Jonathan Kissock of Newport University,
Jenkin Thomas of London and Miss Olwen Davies of Bangor who died at the age of 101. The Rev
Canon Michael Coombe who had been involved with the Cambrians in a number of ways since the
1960s and was General Secretary from 2004-2008 died at Christmas last year. He had taught for
many years and also had held a number of rather exotic Anglican appointments across Europe
from 1981 – 2003, including Oslo, Belgrade, Zagreb, Marseilles and finally Gibraltar where he was
Port Chaplain and Canon of the Cathedral. Prof Tony Carr, who died this May after a short illness,
was Professor of Welsh History at Bangor University and one of a group of scholars who
established the subject on the international stage. He was President of CAA in 2008 and he and
his wife, Glenda, frequently came to meetings. As I write this, I have just heard that Rosemary
(Del) Yale died on Dec 17th. She had been ill for a few months and sadly had been losing her sight.
Many Cambrians will remember her, and her brother and sister-in-law, who have attended our
meetings with great enthusiasm for many years.


This year we held two meetings in association with other societies. The first – New Neolithic
Evidence from Anglesey — was on April 6th in Bangor, in partnership with the Prehistoric Society
who gave us £100 which we spent on wine and crisps at the end of a marathon ‘3 lectures in a
row’ to send everybody back home in a good mood. The afternoon was timetabled to allow
people from London, Cardiff or Manchester to get there and back within the day, but not many
people came from a great distance. We had an audience of 64 (23 CAA members, 19 perhaps PS
members and 25 people (13 locals and 12 unknowns) who turned up on the day. It is worth
knowing that 1/3 of the audience may not book in advance!

The afternoon of lectures covered two major excavations in north Anglesey: Parc Cybi at Holyhead
which had revealed a large Early Neolithic house and an area of settlement without a building and
several clusters of Middle and Late Neolithic pits. The second site was at Llanfaethlu where 4 early
rectangular buildings like that at Parc Cybi had been found, followed by clusters of Middle and
Late Neolithic pits. The pottery from the houses and from the pits was very similar at both sites
and vastly increased the Middle and Late Neolithic material from Anglesey. Occupation at Parc
Cybi continued through the Bronze and Iron Ages and into the Roman and Post-Roman periods,
but Llanfaethlu seems to have been abandoned at the end of the Neolithic.

In October in Cardiff we held a full day of lectures on ‘Recent work in Welsh landscape history’ in
association with the Society for Landscape Studies (SLS). We had been asked by the society to
design a programme for their Autumn Meeting in South Wales and to help them make contact
with local historical societies. This was very effectively achieved by Rhiannon Comeau, who
organised the event in conjunction with Brian Rich of SLS. 87 delegates (16 SLS, 30 Cambrians,
and 41 non-members) met on 19th October at the John Percival Building, Cardiff University, for
talks on a wide range of landscape-related topics.

Bill Britnell, our Archaeologia Cambrensis editor, started the day off with a discussion of Neolithic
monuments in the Walton Basin. He was followed by Peter Guest and Leah Reynolds of Cardiff
University who examined the impact of the Roman army on the landscape of Wales. Moving
through time, we next heard from David Austin, one of our previous Presidents, who talked about
the Strata Florida Sacred Landscapes Project. Maritime landscapes occupied us after lunch, with
Evan T. Jones of the University of Bristol considering the Severn Sea (and the Newport Ship) in the
15th and 16th centuries. We then moved to the world of the gentry. Shaun Evans of Bangor
University talked about the work of Bangor’s Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates, and Philip
Nanney Williams provided an entertaining account of 19th-century estate architecture on his
ancestral Nannau estate. The very enjoyable day concluded with an examination of the buildings
of the werin, with Eurwyn Wiliam, former chair of RCAHMW, looking at the Welsh long house.



Forty-seven Cambrians began arriving at the Wolfscastle Hotel in the late morning of Sunday June
30th. In the afternoon members visited four local sites. The first was the parish church of St
Michael at Rudbaxton, where Heather James told us of the history and architecture of this
beautiful church and its amazing late 17th century Howard memorial, erected by Joanna, wife of
the Rev James Howard. It portrays James and Joanna and their children – all holding skulls.
We then drove N to St Dogwell’s Church where we saw the 6th century Hogtivis stone in the
churchyard where Heather James and Rhiannon Comeau spoke. The use of ogam script, alongside
Latin, is quite common in Pembrokeshire, due to the incursion of the Deisi from Waterford.
We then made our way to Garne Turne Burial Chamber beneath a striking rock outcrop. This is a
very puzzling group of stones which aroused quite an animated debate. Excavations in 2011-2
found charcoal dating from 37-3600 BC, a suitable date and suitable stones for a megalithic tomb.
The main stones comprise a very large slab overlying two tall pillars. In front of these collapsed
remains (which the excavators judged collapsed during erection) are two confused lines of upright,
leaning and fallen stones converging towards the prone capstone. Dates from charcoal suggest
these are later (around 2500 BC). Two smaller ‘dolmens’ erected prior to the huge capstone were
not easy to recognise on the ground.

We then drove back to Wolfscastle where Sian Rees described the history of this flourishing
village. The Primary School had won the CAA Welsh Heritage Schools Initiative Prize for its project
‘The Four R’s of Wolfcastle – Rocks, Road, Railway and River. All 4 were within sight from a mosaic
on the Green made by the children. Sian then invited members to walk with her to the nearby
motte and bailey castle.

At the hotel we had an inspiring lecture by Professor Mike Parker Pearson. He described how
research using DNA from Neolithic bone has revealed multiple entry points into Britain in the
Neolithic, with Wales being primarily settled by people from Western Spain and France. He
described his excavations at the Preselis where the bluestones were quarried, and went on to
suggest that stones removed from an earlier monument in the Preselis were transported to
Stonehenge, perhaps as a symbol of unity in an island colonised from both east and west Europe.
On Monday 1 July, we boarded our Edwards Coaches bus driven by Jeff, who remained with us all
week. We travelled north to Fishguard, through the old harbour and stopped at Fishguard Fort.

Heather James addressed us at this artillery fort overlooking the 18th century harbour, describing
how an attack on Fishguard in 1779 by Stephen Manhant, an American pirate, sailing under a
French flag, who had destroyed more than 30 British ships in three months, had prompted its
construction in the early 1780s. In 1797, in the war against Revolutionary France, a small French
fleet landed troops, arms and ammunition unopposed just west of Fishguard. They were part of a
planned larger attack which was thwarted by a combination of adverse weather, the ill-discipline
of the French soldiers and, local residents in red cloaks fooling the invaders into thinking that the
British Army had arrived. The French surrendered their arms. It was a beautiful morning as we
examined the cannons and the buildings that remained.

We went north to Newport on the Nyfer estuary and visited a small but impressive Neolithic tomb
Carreg Coetan Arthur which had been excavated by Sian with interesting results in 1979-80. The
excavation demonstrated several phases of activity – some, at about 3600 BC, before the base of a
cairn was constructed, then the tomb itself with burials at the open east side and some evidence
of a later phase of closure. The full excavation report is published in Arch Camb 161 for 2012.
From Newport we went up to Castell Henllys Iron Age and Roman settlement. This inland
promontory fort is a particularly interesting site to visit as, following the excavation of the interior,
reconstructions of Iron Age round houses have been built exactly on the footprint of the original
timber dwellings. We were met by Delun Griffith, the site’s manager. In addition to the main tour
around the buildings, we were lucky enough to have an entrancing demonstration of Celtic music
and instruments from Morgan Black.

From the fort we drove south to Maenclochog, passing close to Rhos y Felin, where Mike Parker
Pearson’s excavations suggest the Stonehenge bluestones were originally quarried. Sadly narrow
roads prevented us from visiting other Bronze Age sites, but we did visit Cornel Bach Bronze Age
Standing Stones. In the village centre we visited St Mary’s Church to view the Early Medieval
stones where Jeremy Knight gave us an erudite description of the background to ogam writing,
and showed us the two inscribed stones. The first stone records (in two languages) two brothers
Andagellus and Coimagnus, sons of Cavetus. The second records Curcagnus son of Andagellus.
This rare group names three generations of the same family! From the church we walked to the
site of the castle, where Sian Rees described how Maenclochog was one of a chain of AngloNorman planted settlements.

The village plan, with church and castle at either end of a street lined with houses, is characteristic of such settlements.

Despite 13th century documentary evidence, the position of this castle was unproven until excavations by DAT in 2007.
This work found the 2.2m thick castle wall beneath the wall of the later manorial pound (as suspected) and
beneath that was unsuspected evidence for an earlier defensive enclosure with round houses and
hearths, one of which gave a date of 880 AD. Settlements of that date are very rare.

On our return to the hotel, Ken Murphy, (Dyfed Archaeological Trust) gave a lecture on his
excavations at the early medieval chapel of St Patrick and the new discovery of a late Iron Age
chariot burial, the first to be found in Wales, from which there were some spectacular finds.
Tuesday was entirely devoted to the town of Haverfordwest, the major town and market at the
highest navigable point of the Western Cleddau. It appears to have been an Anglo-Norman
foundation; the castle first mentioned in 1110 as founded by Tancred, a Fleming. Tancred’s
grandson Robert probably founded the Augustinian priory. The town was held by William Marshal
and his sons from 1213 to 1241 and prospered, despite a Welsh attack by Llewelyn the Great in
1220. The port on the river and the town on its northern bank between the Castle and the Priory
grew through the 17th and 18th centuries, when it was an increasingly fashionable place to live. In
the 19th century the 1835 Municipal Reform Act led to increased status and further development,
but the port declined with the arrival of the railway.

Our first visit was to St Thomas’s Church on the highest point of the town. It is now largely a 19th
century rebuild of a 17th century rebuild over the medieval original. Tom Lloyd described its
history and medieval grave slab. The church, now redundant, has been purchased as a private
home. Cambrians were grateful to Andrew and Deborah Rudkin, for showing us their plans for a
free-standing pod within the unaltered fabric of the nave.

We then walked down Goat Street, with is many fine houses, to Foley House, where Susie Adams
Pembrokeshire’s Conservation Officer, told us about its recent history and gave the sad news that
plans for its conservation by the Georgian Trust had fallen through. This deeply concerned Tom
Lloyd who knew the house well and described its architectural history to us. It had been built
around 1790 for a leading local attorney, Richard Foley, by the architect John Nash. The house,
vacated by Pembrokeshire Council, is now empty and forlorn, though Susie said she would
continue to strive to find a new, worthy use for such a fine building.

Cambrians then walked to St Mary’s Church, imposingly set at the top of the steep High Street. It
contains an impressive amount of early 13th century work, particularly the magnificent arcades,
reminiscent of Wells Cathedral. The capitals of the nave and chancel are a joy. Major alterations
were undertaken around 1500: when a clerestory was added to the nave and chancel; and the
north aisle was enlarged. The roofs, added with the clerestory, are rich Tudor work with carved
bosses. The church has seen several restorations (1844, 1860, 1881-9 and 1903-5). Many fine
furnishings remain and there are interesting monuments of all periods. We were met at the
church by churchwarden Pat Barker, who has written extensively on its history and that of
Haverfordwest. After her address, we were greeted by the Master of the Gild of Freemen of
Haverfordwest, C W D Davies, and invited to a reception generously hosted by the Gild.

Tom Lloyd led the party down High Street, pointing out buildings of interest and mentioning the
mediaeval undercrofts and fine 17th century fireplaces which survived within several. We turned
into Quay Street alongside the river where the Mediaeval Merchants House, now re-erected in St
Fagans, had stood (the subject of Gerallt Nash’s talk on Thursday). Lunch was in the Bristol Trader.

After lunch, Cambrians walked along the river to the site of the Augustinian Priory of St Mary and
St Thomas, where Sian Rees described her excavations undertaken for Cadw in the 1980s and 90s.
It was founded by the Tancred family in the early 13th century. The choice of Augustinians, who
favoured parish work, was appropriate for this urban setting. The cartulary has not survived, but
the life of the priory seems to have been relatively uneventful, and the excavations showed no
traces of fire or destruction. The site, alongside the river, was not ideal and much material had to
be brought in to reinforce the marshland to take the weight of buildings. The cruciform church to
the north of the small square cloister, the east dormitory wing, the refectory on the south and the
cellerars’ range on the west all survive to at least footings level, making the plan easy to follow.
The monastery remained relatively small, though a late 15th or early 16th century second phase of
building can be detected in the cloister and chapterhouse, when some fine new carvings were
introduced. One of the most remarkable of the features of the priory is the rare remains of the
garden comprising nine raised beds set between the church/dormitory and the river.

We returned along the river to the bridge and then passed through Castle Square, to St Martin’s
Church, apparently the oldest of the three town churches. The early foundation is supported by its
dedication to St Martin, popular with the Normans; but the current building is 14/15th century and
its distinctive spire was built in 1870. Brian Body, the churchwarden, welcomed us and spoke
about notable features: the chancel arch, piscina and triple sedilia and a medieval coffin lid.
We passed the County Gaol on the way to our final visit: the Castle ruins and the Town Museum
in the Governor’s House of the 18th century gaol. We were welcomed to the Museum by the
Curator, Simon Hancock. Members were very impressed with this largely volunteer-run museum
which contained the finds from the Friary and also a lot of more recent social history. We then
looked at the Castle ruins with Sian’s guidance. The castle was founded by Tancred in 1108 but
most of the visible masonry was 13th century – William Marshall, Edward I and his wife, Eleanor
who spent a lot of money on the private apartments and gardens. A great deal of the castle was
destroyed in the 18th and 19th centuries to build successive gaols.

Returning to the hotel, we were given a unique treat. The head teacher of Wolfscastle Primary
School, winner of the Cambrians’ sponsored prize in the 2018 Welsh Heritage Schools Initiative,
had brought two of her pupils, Sion and Carys, to talk to us about their project on the Four Rs of
Wolfscastle. They showed us pictures of their work and were warmly congratulated and thanked
by the President, Mark Redknap. It was then revealed that they had won this year’s prize as well!
The installation of the new President, Professor Nancy Edwards, then followed, with the transfer
of the Presidential chain from Mark Redknap. Nancy delivered her Presidential Address ‘Afterlives:
Reinventing Early Medieval Sculpture in Wales’ which will be printed in Arch. Camb. for 2019.
On Wednesday, Jeff brought us to Wiston from the north to stop at the site of the Roman fort
situated on this side of the village. From the coach, we were able to see clearly the grass-covered
earthwork defences of the fort, pointed out to us by Ken Murphy. This new fort was discovered
after the recognition of a Roman road leading from Whitland. This led to geophysical and LIDAR
surveys followed by excavation which revealed a fort with 3 defensive ditches and large timber
buildings. Pottery suggests that its life was short: AD 74 – c.100. About 150 AD, the fort was
reused, perhaps non-militarily, and just to the south an extensive civil settlement grew up. After a
lull in the 3rd century, there was a revival in the late 3rd and early 4th century. This discovery
shows that the Roman presence in Pembrokeshire was greater than previously supposed.

We then drove a little further into Wiston, where stands one of the best-preserved motte and
bailey castles in Wales. It is named after, and was probably built by, an early Flemish settler Wizo
who had died by 1130. The castle changed hands several times in the struggle between the
Normans and the Welsh. Hywel Sais, the son of the lord Rhys, won it in 1193, lost it in 1195 and in
1200 it was captured and destroyed by Llewelyn the Great of Gwynedd. It is uncertain whether
William Marshall did any re-building after that; the surviving masonry looks earlier than 1200. It
seems to have been abandoned thereafter. What survives today is the motte (9m high above the
bottom of the ditch) with a stone shell keep. The bailey bank is unusually well-preserved. The
castle saw renewed action in the Civil War, when Royalists established an outpost here in 1643.

We then drove to Llawhaden where the coach stopped outside the medieval hospice, excavated
and consolidated in recent years. After a short talk by Ken Murphy in the coach, most Cambrians
opted to visit the simple vaulted building and walk on to the castle. The castle, was built around
1115 by the bishops of St David’s to protect their rich estates. Sian demonstrated how the castle
was later adapted to supply room for guests and private apartments and became more concerned
with hospitality. The original, defensive 12th century earth and timber ringwork still surrounds the
stone castle. In 1192, the Lord Rhys of Deheubarth destroyed the castle, so the earliest extant
stone buildings, which stand on the flattened earthwork, probably date to the early 13th century,
when the bishops had recovered it. In the late 13th/early 14th century, there is a lot of rebuilding
to provide quarters for a garrison and lodging for guests. A lot of this later work is increasingly
elaborate and impressive and culminates in the remodelling of the south range in the early 16th
century. But soon Bishop Barlow moved to Abergwili and Llawhaden was dismantled.

We then drove the short distance south to Picton Castle, one of the most important historic
houses in Wales and home to the influential family of Sir John Wogan in 1302. We were met by
the Director of the Picton Castle Trust, Dai Evans, who gave us a short introduction to the site prior
to our going for lunch in Maria’s café. Dai then met us for our tour around the castle and we were
privileged to be able to visit with him parts of the building, including the roof, not normally open
to visitors. The castle’s developed form reflects late 17th, 18th and 19th century refurbishment
and rebuilding, while the plan of parts of the original late 13th century castle is still discernible.

This castle was quite small, battlemented with four round corner towers, a large rectangular keep
containing a hall over an undercroft and an east gate-tower protected by flanking D-towers.

Throughout the 18th century alterations were made, fashionable decoration was added and this
fine work provides the overriding flavour of the present interior. Major additions were later made
at either end. In 1791 the solar wing on the west was demolished and replaced by a battlemented
four-storey block, providing new entertaining rooms; in 1827 a large Neo-Norman porch was
added with a grand new stable block courtyard to the south-east and the entrance area was
raised. The 20th century has seen refurbishment after neglect during wartime occupation.
After an opportunity to enjoy the garden at Picton we drove to the adjacent estate of Slebech
down the long driveway, contrived with ‘picturesque’ influence, through woodland and open
fields, among water features and ornate bridges. We were met by Tom Lloyd who escorted us to
the rose-covered ruins of the medieval church, once belonging to the Knights of St John whose
preceptories, such as this, are rare. Tom Lloyd then talked to us about Slebech Hall, built in 1776,
presumably on the site of the knights’ domestic buildings, by John Symmons of Llanstinan. We
were unable to enter the house (now a hotel), but looked at the plain but elegant exterior. Since
the real glory of the house is its wonderful setting, very much a designed landscape, with its
beautiful views over the estuary, this was a disappointment but not a disaster.

On our return to the hotel, Sian Rees gave a light hearted lecture concerning some of the historic
characters who had made Haverfordwest the place it now is, examining their motives and lifestyle.
On Thursday 4 July, we travelled east to the great complex of historic monuments at Carew. We
were met by Professor David Austin who was our guide for the morning. At the earliest
monument, the magnificent, tall composite Cross standing above the road, he and Nancy Edwards
had a spirited debate on the meaning of the inscription on the cross and its impact on the
conventional dating attributed to the sculpture. This arose from her new translation of the three
line inscription MARGIT/EUTRE/CETTF(in)X(it) as Maredudd the Generous made (this cross)
instead of the earlier reading Maredudd son of Etguin (or Edwin) which had implied that the cross
was a memorial to Maredudd, with the patronymic enabling him to be identified as a joint ruler of
Deheubarth who had died in 1035. Nonetheless, the decoration and epigraphic evidence supports
a late 10th/early 11 century date, since it shows strong Irish/Viking influence.

David Austin then escorted us to the castle where he gave us a detailed account of its history from
its prehistoric past to the developed late medieval castle. The site is a strategic one and
excavations by Lampeter University in the massive ditch east of the stone castle had shown
evidence for an earlier fortress on the site, occupied through the Roman and early medieval
period. An earth and timber castle was built here by the Norman, Gerald of Windsor, around 1100
and from the early 13th century, stone towers were being built which, through the centuries
developed into the three elements which stand today. There was a good deal of debate about the
visible joints and awkward conjunctions from which the understanding of that sequence has been
established. In broad terms the earliest block on the east is Nicholas de Carew’s domestic
apartments of around 1300. In 1480 Rhys ap Thomas bought the castle and built a great hall
within the western defences, embellished with the Royal arms to celebrate members of the royal
family being at Sir Rhys’ tournament held on the green. Finally Sir John Perrot added a grand
Tudor North Range with huge windows which declare that this is no longer a military castle, but a
mansion, surrounded by gardens and orchards.

The Cambrians gathered for the traditional group photograph against the backdrop of this
amazing castle, then went for lunch, after which the majority walked across the causeway to the
tidal mill, the only intact one in Wales, built about 1801 but replacing earlier mills first recorded in
1541. It is now a museum with all its machinery intact.

The next visit was to Cheriton to see the parish church and – a rare survival — a 14th century
Charnel House with chapel above. St Mary’s church is 14th century with early 16th century
additions. The sanctuary contains the effigy of Sir Nicholas Carew and a fine series of mediaeval
tiles. Professor Austin spoke of the relationship of castle and church and showed maps of a
suggested ceremonial route between the two. Some members also briefly visited the wartime
cemetery with graves of several Polish and Dutch airmen stationed in the region.

We were then taken down twisting narrow lanes to Creswell Quay, where we sheltered from the
hot sun and eat ice creams outside the Cresselly Arms while Sian explained that this tranquil place
had been a scene of industry in the 18th and 19th centuries when coal, anthracite and limestone
were all mined or quarried locally and brought down to the quays here for onward transport.
We then walked a short way down the river to Cresswell Castle, a fascinating, understudied site
which allowed scope for lots of exploration and discussion. The owners were delighted at our
interest and had strimmed the undergrowth and brought books and plans for us to examine.

Before 1538 this had been the site of a chapel of Haverfordwest Priory, which was later acquired
by the Barlow family of Slebech. It was probably William Barlow, (died 1636), who built the
present domestic building in the form of a mock castle. It stands four square, ‘fortified’ by corner
turrets (three garderobes, one dovecote) linked by castellated walls. The enclosed rectangular
courtyard houses three ranges of buildings. The last was abandoned about 1800. The current
house, further back from the river bank, was built for a manager of a local coal mine.

On our return to the hotel we had our AGM at which our new ‘social media’ presence was
discussed. Afterwards we enjoyed a fascinating lecture by Gerallt Nash about the transfer, which
he had master-minded, of the Tudor Merchant’s House from Haverfordwest to St Fagans.

Friday July 6th was our last morning and it was devoted to war and the role of the Navy and the Air
Force in Pembrokeshire. We first visited Carew Cheriton WWII Control Tower, recently acquired
and conserved by a dedicated group of volunteers who enchanted us with their stories of the
history of the airfield. This was a very hands-on visit, from Carys Davies being prevailed upon to
demonstrate Morse Code, to the whole group sitting in a shelter singing WWI songs. We were the
ideal group for that visit. We all had childhood memories which just touched these events and
these artefacts, and many had similar stories to share. Royal Naval Air Station Pembroke was a
WW1 base for non-rigid airships on anti-submarine patrols in the Irish Sea. Carew Cheriton was
recommissioned in 1938, becoming a support station for the flying boat at Pembroke Dock.

Pembroke Dock was where we went next, to visit the Dockyard Heritage Centre with John Evans
of the Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust. The Centre is in the old Dockyard Chapel. After a rather
chequered career it was opened in 2008 as a museum celebrating the military history of the area.
Returning to Wolfscastle, the members dispersed with grateful thanks for fine weather and a
fascinating programme. Sian Rees was thanked for her wonderful planning: everything perfect!



Despite the generally fearsome weather across these islands, and the rising floodwater in the Dyfi,
the Cambrians were relatively unscathed. On Friday afternoon, for our walk around Aberdyfi, the
rain stopped, the sun came out and the roads dried. We admired the front, visited the parish
church and the Literary Institute and various tea shops and picked up two members from the train,
a circuitous but quite efficient journey from Llandudno Junction to the Dyfi via the Ffestiniog
Railway link.

In the evening Toby Driver managed to reach us despite the closure of the Machynlleth bridge and
gave us a splendid air photographic introduction to the area, with amazing aerial views of Castell
y Bere and a lot of new crop mark evidence from the Dysynni valley. We dined in the Macdonald
Resort’s Garth Restaurant and retired to bed in our very comfortable and well-appointed cottages.
It was wet in the night and the morning was grey as we set out for Tywyn Station to get the 10.30
train to Abergynolwyn (as our Cambrian predecessors had done in 1866). As we travelled east in
our reserved carriages, the weather improved and it was sunny when we reached the quarry
village. Our bus from Lloyd’s of Machynlleth was waiting beside the railway line – a 29 seater (and
luckily – after a recount – there were just 29 of us). We collected our very good picnic bags from
Caffi y Ceunant and looked at the photographic exhibition in the Village Hall and the rather good
industrial housing of the village.

We then set off for Castell y Bere where most of the party opted for the castle. Others saw the
Mary Jones exhibition and the fine, unusual 3-D embroidery map of the Dysynni Valley in
Llanfihangel y Pennant church. One of the creators of this map, Jane Whittle, had come along
specially to speak to our members there.

At the castle we were led by Dr Sian Rees, latterly of Cadw and influential in getting some of the
hazards of the ruin mitigated for us. There was however some useful discussion of the contrast
between the wonderfully secure new steel entry staircase and the really very awkward access to
the inner court past the inconveniently sited mediaeval well. The access to the South Tower is
equally awkward, and it is hoped that we may be able to persuade Cadw to make a few small
improvements for visitors to this wonderful site.

From the castle we went circuitously to Peniarth where a very warm welcome awaited us from Mr
William Williams Wynne, the direct descendant of those who had featured so prominently in the
Organising Committee for the 1866 visit. Peniarth is a very fine 18th – 19th century house
on older  foundations, once the home of some of the most important manuscripts of Welsh literature and
still containing a very fine library and a fascinating collection of family portraits and political
cartoons. There we met up with some CAA members who had not come on the train, and with
Gruffudd Antur and Daniel Huws of the National Library of Wales, the foremost authority on the
mediaeval manuscripts once housed here. With great generosity nearly all the rooms of the house
were open to our inspection and members enjoyed the great privilege of seeing these treasures
and discussing them with their current owner, himself an extremely knowledgeable art collector.

Our member, Haydn Rees, was our very knowledgeable guide to the parish church of Llanegryn
where we saw the memorial to our 2nd President, W W E Wynne who had been the owner and
saviour of the manuscript collection and of Castell y Bere. We also examined the famous late
mediaeval rood screen, under Mr Rees’ expert guidance. This is the finest in North Wales.

We then drove to the great parish church of Tywyn with its massive 12th century nave and large
re-built tower. Our chief interest there was the enigmatic ‘Tywyn Stone’ a 9th century memorial,
carved on all four sides with half uncial lettering recording the successive burial nearby of four
individuals. The significance of these inscriptions is the fact that the language is neither Latin, nor
Celtic/Brythonic but Welsh, recognisable by the loss of ‘case endings’.

When we emerged from the church the weather had finally turned against us as we walked back
to our cars at the station to return to Pennal. There we were privileged to hear Daniel Huws talk
to us about Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt who had been the initial collector and owner of the
‘Hengwrt’ manuscripts – a collection of mediaeval bardic writings which encapsulate the early
culture of Wales and the development of the Welsh language. He spoke of Vaughan’s approach to
his collection, his understanding of its crucial importance at a period (early 17th century) of cultural
change and his creation of a Catalogue to the collection – something almost unknown at that
period. This catalogue ensured that the original content was known and – during the less careful
stewardship of his descendants – the losses and the history of some manuscripts can be
reconstructed. He brought the fascinating history of this often vulnerable collection to an end at
the point when it found a safe home when W W E Wynne inherited it in the 1850s and built a new
extension to his library to house it, and other ‘Peniarth manuscripts’ collected by the Wynne family, at Peniarth.
Subsequently it was bought by Dr John Williams and formed part of the foundation collections for the
National Library created in 1911 at Aberystwyth.

On the following day we visited the village of Pennal itself. Situated at the highest tidal point of
the Dyfi river it had been a significant crossing point since the Romans established a fort there in
70 AD. In the 12th century a small motte defended the area. This motte stood close to the drive to
Plas Talgarth, where we were staying, and over the weekend its silted ditch became clearer and
clearer as water encircled the mound. In the early 15th century it became a notable centre for
Owain Glyndŵr, the place from which he addressed his famous Letter to Charles VI of France and
outlined his plans for an independent Wales. We went down to the church at 9.30 and were met
by Hugh Ramsbotham who explained the historical significance of the church and the later social
history of the area embodied in the numerous fine monuments.

When we emerged the rain had miraculously stopped and David Hopewell of Gwynedd
Archaeological Trust was waiting to lead us up to the Roman Fort under Cefn Caer farmhouse. In
1866 the Cambrians had done some excavations (or poking about) during their visit but we,
instead, looked at the results that David had achieved by geophysical survey, which had not
disturbed any of the archaeological evidence in the fields surrounding the farm.

As we looked over the one surviving rampart we gasped at the extent of the flooding below!
Those planning to go south were particularly dismayed — and, indeed, the Machynlleth bridge was
closed again. But by the end of the day everyone was safely home!



Postponed – see here for more details

DARGANFOD – DISCOVERY: a celebration of new archaeological research in Wales
Conference, Saturday 4th April 2020, 9.30-5pm

(All bookings must be received by Friday 20th
March 2020)

Venue: John Percival Building, Cardiff University (Cathays Park), Colum Drive, Cardiff CF10 3EU

This is the first of a new series of biennial conferences which will showcase work supported by the
CAA Research Fund as well as providing an opportunity for early career academic and independent
researchers to present research on Wales and the Marches. The event is jointly organised with
Cardiff University.

The work of the CAA Research Fund will be represented by presentations from Prof Mike Parker
Pearson on Preseli and the Stonehenge bluestones; Prof Gary Lock on the Moel y Gaer, Bodfari
project; Dr Oliver Davis and Prof Niall Sharples on Caerau Hillfort; Dr Toby Driver on Abermagwr
Romano-British villa; Dr Andy Seaman on the Dinas Powys landscape; and Dr Alan Lane on
Llangorse crannog. There will also be a special presentation by Ken Murphy and Adam Gwilt about
the Pembrokeshire Iron Age Chariot Burial.

Details of new researchers’ presentations and the detailed timetable will be e-mailed to members
in January and also posted on the website. The day is expected to begin at 9.30 and finish by 5pm.

To register, please use this booking form.

Any enquiries should be e-mailed to Rhiannon Comeau at cambrians1846@gmail.com

Saturday 4th – Saturday 11th July

Postponed until 2021

This year we are visiting the City of Lincoln and Lincolnshire for a full week, under the guidance of
Nick and Eva Moore. Many will know them for their book-selling business, Castle Books, a source
of many good Welsh history books on Cambrians’ shelves and a guarantee of the deep knowledge
of history and archaeology of our organisers. We will be devoting two full days to the city of
Lincoln (on foot) and four days (in a coach) to other notable regions of this large county with a
fascinating history of settlement and architectural development in a context interestingly unlike

The venue is the Lincoln Hotel, which is immediately to the north of Lincoln Cathedral in the
centre of “Uphill Lincoln”. The variation in room cost reflects the fine views over the Cathedral
from the front. We have booked a certain number of varied rooms, but there are other hotels etc
nearby for late comers, who will be welcome at dinner (£30). Parking at The Lincoln is free for
residents, otherwise there is a charge. Please remember to bring your National Trust and Cadw
cards (free entry to English Heritage sites).

Please book through CAA and do not contact the hotel at the initial stage. For enquiries about the
programme etc please contact Nick or Eva at nandemoore@gmail.com There may be small
changes; the programme is not set in stone at this stage.

The railway station is in “Downhill Lincoln” and Cambrians coming by train should take a taxi (c£5)
or a bus from the nearby City Bus Station to get to the hotel. The train trip from Cardiff takes
c.5hrs. Driving from Welshpool is c3.5 hrs. If several are arriving on the same train we could book
taxis in advance (contact the Moores).

Sat. evening: Evensong in Lincoln Cathedral at 5.30; Mass
at St Hugh’s Catholic Church at 5pm.

Sunday Service in the Cathedral at 7.45am


Saturday 4th July

Optional early afternoon visit to the nearby Lincolnshire Life Museum. Guide Chris Page.

Late afternoon walk, led by Dr Mick Jones and Nick Moore to see Roman remains in vicinity of hotel:
Roman Eastgate, Newport Arch, Colonia walls and Roman basilica wall “Mint wall”.

After dinner: Introductory talk by Dr M Jones on the Archaeology and History of Lincoln city.

Sunday 5th July

Trip to Tattershall

Mud and Stud Cottages at Thimbleby. Perambulation (Nick Moore)

Tattershall Castle. Guide Prof Michael Jones.

Lunch in Tattershall Collegiate church.

Dogdyke Pumping Station. Guide Chris Page. Small museum illustrating Fenland drainage. The
steam and diesel engines will be working.

After dinner: Talk by Nigel Burn on Lincoln Cathedral and Castle.

Monday 6th July

Cathedral and Castle

Walking tour of Minster Yard and buildings surrounding the Cathedral. Guide Nick Moore.

Guided tour of Cathedral and Wren Library

Lunch in the Cathedral Centre

After lunch meet in the Castle Grounds – Visit to the Prison and Magna Carta display.

Walk round castle walls with views over Lincoln.

After dinner : Inauguration of Prof Michael Jones as President and Presidential address.

Tuesday 7th July

Downhill Lincoln

Guided walk with Nick Moore down ‘Steep Hill’ passing Norman houses, Jew’s Court (premises of
Soc Lincoln Hist & Arch) to visit the Collection Museum and Usher Gallery.

Continue tour down to Greyfriars and Posterngate (Roman gateway)

Find own lunch in area of Stonebow – suggestions will be made.

Visit to Guildhall in the Stonebow (guide Colin Hill) where CAA AGM will be held in the Council
Chamber. Continue the walk down the High Street to St Mary le Wigford and Brayford Pool.

The rest of the afternoon is flexible. The walk can continue to St Mary’s Guildhall. If some
Cambrians wish to visit shops they can break away. The new City bus station is in Sincil Street, near
the Railway Station with buses back to the Hotel.

After dinner: Talk by Neil Wright on The town of Boston

Wednesday 8th July

Trip to Boston

Walking tour of Boston with Neil Wright.

Boston Guildhall and Museum.

Lunch in the Banqueting Hall of the Guildhall

Tour of Boston Stump.

Leave Boston for Lincoln. Drop off at Temple Bruer Templar Preceptory if time is available.

Drive through typical Lincolnshire villages ‘on the Edge’.

After dinner talk TBA

Thursday 9th July

Trip to North Lincolnshire

Snarford Church. Guide Nick Moore

Gainsthorpe. Deserted Medieval Village.

Lunch at Barton Tileworks with views of the Humber Bridge

St Peter’s Church (Anglo Saxon). Guide Glynn Coppack

Goxhill ‘Priory’ & Thornton Abbey. Guide Glynn Coppack.

Drive past Wrawby Post Mill.

Later dinner and probably only a short talk TBA

Friday 10th July

Grantham & Harlaxton

Walking tour of Grantham with Dr John Manterfield.

Grantham Church and perhaps the Grammar
School where Newton was educated.

Lunch at the Angel Hotel and talk by John Manterfield

Harlaxton Manor, designed by Salvin. Tour round Harlaxton with their guide.

After dinner: Entertainment: Tom Lane and Lincolnshire Folk Songs.

Saturday 11th July Depart or a further walk in Lincoln, if desired.


Friday October 9th – Sunday 11th 2020

The Bear Hotel, 63 High Street, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, CF71 7AF 01446 774814

This meeting is being organised by Sian Rees and Jill Jacobs and will be based on the Bear Hotel.

Please note that this is a little later than usual – the second weekend in October rather than the
last in September. The visits centre on the exquisite town of Cowbridge, founded in the Roman
period and developed as a 13th century walled town. We perambulate the historic town and visit a
variety of sites nearby – the recent excavations at Tinkinswood and St Lythans Neolithic burial
chambers, the medieval defensive houses at Llanblethian and Old Beaupre, churches, including
Llancarfan, with its recently discovered wall paintings, the new displays at St Illtud Fawr, and the
spectacular conservation of the formerly derelict Sker House.

Friday 9 October

12.00 – 14.00 Bear Hotel. Registration
Lunch (own cost) – prior booking with hotel advisable but not essential.
14.00 Perambulation of Cowbridge to include the layout of the Roman town, the Medieval Town
Defences, Church, Physick Garden and medieval and post medieval architecture (Mark Lewis).
15.30 Walk to St Quentin’s Castle, Llanblethian (John Kenyon)
17.00 Return to Bear Hotel
18.00 Lecture: Roman and Medieval Cowbridge – (Mark Lewis)
19.30 Dinner

Saturday 10 October

9.00 Coach (on road outside Bear)
9.30 Tinkinswood and St Lythan’s Burial Chambers
11.00 Llancarfan Castle Ditches Iron Age hillfort (view from footpath)
11.30 Llancarfan Church medieval wall paintings (Ann Ballantyne)
12.30 Red Lion pub lunch
13.30 Old Beaupre castle (or Fonmon castle?)
15.00 Llantwit church (Jeremy Knight) and view of the Old Plas restoration
16.00 Llysworney church and Tea at Moor Farm by kind invitation of Jill and Edward Jacobs
17.00 Coach leaves for Bear Hotel
18.00 Lecture: Great Houses of the Vale of Glamorgan (Prys Morgan)
19.30 Dinner

Sunday 11 October

9.00 Private cars leave for Sker House
9.40 Arrive Sker House (Michael Davies)
11.30 Merthyr Mawr Church and Early Christian Stones (Jeremy Knight)
12.15 Candleston Castle (Jeremy Knight)
13.00 Return to Bear Hotel Lunch (own cost) and conference disperses.




The Association is grateful to members who have made donations in 2019 towards the Research
Fund and we hope that this initiative started by Paul Oldham, will continue into the future. The
Association continues to reassign the greater part of any surpluses from Meetings to the Research
Fund. Anyone wishing to donate should send a cheque to the Hon Treasurer, Mrs Jenny Britnell,
75, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Salop SY2 6BE.

Grants awarded November 2019

£1700 to Peter Crew for further conservation and interpretation work at Dolgun Blast Furnace,
£1000 to Madeleine Gray for reformatting her database of all medieval tomb effigies in Wales.
£1500 to Michael Parker-Pearson for further excavation at Waun Mawn stone circle, Preseli.
£1000 to Seren Griffith for osteological analysis of Bronze Age cremated remains from the Newall
excavation of Bryn Celli Bach, Anglesey.
£2134 to Adelle Bricking, for analysis of human remains from older excavations at Dinorben and
RAF St Athan, part of the Life and Death in Iron Age Wales project.



Remarkably, the 2019 ‘schools’ prize, which is administered through the Welsh Heritage Schools
Initiative, was won again by last year’s prize winner’s – Wolfscastle Primary School,
Pembrokeshire. This time their subject was ‘Our Church – St Dogwells’. The pupils explored all
parts of the church inside and out and researched the histories of some of the local people buried
there. They also made a scale model of the church and an interpretative tour of its interior.
During our summer meeting this year we met the Headmistress and some of the children involved,
since we were staying at Wolfscastle (see website for photos).

A new approach has been attempted this year to publicise the senior BJ prize for undergraduate or
post-graduate dissertations by circulating details through social media. The closing date is 31st
December 2019 when this Newsletter will have gone to press but so far entries remain at a very
low level. Trustees will review the future of this prize in the New Year.


We are sure that members will want to join Trustees in thanking our Editor, Bill Britnell, for the
considerable amount of additional work involved in getting the AC volumes from 2000 onwards
online in a convenient and searchable format with Archaeological Data Services York. See

Previous issues right back to 1846 are accessible on the National Library of Wales’s Welsh Journals
Online site https://journals.library.wales/browse/2919943/

Bill has also undertaken to digitise the invaluable 4 volumes of published Indexes to AC and these will be available online in due course.


The 2020 Eisteddfod will be held at Tregaron, Ceredigion. We are pleased to report that
Professors David Austin and Dafydd Johnson will give a joint lecture on the ever-developing Strata
Florida Project, now part of an AHRC funded ‘ The Sacred Landscapes of Medieval Monasteries’
interdisciplinary study.


Significant progress has been made during the year and Trustees are grateful for the assistance of
our member, Genevieve Cain, who has set up Twitter and Facebook accounts and provides the
following report:

As of November, we have 71 page ‘followers’ (up from 35 in August ). These are people who
have either been invited to ‘like’ the page or have found the page through chance, or via publicity of the
page. People who have ‘liked’ the page receive updates posted to the feed.

We have 103 ‘followers’ (up from 36 in August) on Twitter. These are people who, similar to
Facebook, have chosen to see our tweets (updates) in their feed. The CAA page is following 168 other pages
which are relevant to the mission of the CAA.

Icon buttons for Twitter and Facebook have been added to the CAA website – if you click on these icons
you will be taken to our Facebook/Twitter pages. A social media feed is now also live on the CAA website
(excluding the home page) which shows all latest updates on our SM channels.


A great deal of information about our events is now being disseminated by email to members, and
we are happy, on request, to circulate information about non-CAA events of potential interest to
those members who have indicated their willingness to receive such messages. We have email
addresses for approximately half of our members. Members who want to be added to our email
distribution list (or who have information about events of potential interest to other members)
should contact Rhiannon Comeau at cambrians1846@gmail.com This appeal is addressed
particularly to those who have blue reminders with this Newsletter. If you don’t have one – you
are already on the list!


This useful list of names and addresses is due out this year, but in order to comply with GDPR
regulation we need to make a specific request to all members to tell us if they DO NOT wish their
name to be included. Please contact Frances Llewellyn, Halfway House, Halfway Bridge, Bangor
LL57 3DG or flynchllewellyn@gmail.com before Easter. If you have not replied, your agreement
to inclusion will be assumed. This list is distributed only to individual members.