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Sunday, 1 May 2016

National Monuments Record of Wales Archives and Library Bulletin - April 2016

Welcome to the latest monthly edition of the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW) Archives and Library Bulletin which lists all newly catalogued material. The archival items, library books and journal articles are all available to view in our public reading room. The full archive catalogue is available on Coflein and contains digital copies of many of the items listed.

In preparation for our move to new premises at the National Library of Wales we will be suspending our library, search-room and enquiry service from 4 April 2016. We anticipate the suspension to last for three months.

During the closure we will be unable to accommodate visitors or reply to enquiries. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

We look forward to welcoming you to our new library and reading room in the summer.

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April 2016


A.J. Parkinson Collection: Cat. Ref. AJPC/02/15-28
Lecture notes relating to Castlemartin Village, Pembrokeshire; and several thematic strands
Covering dates: 1979-1995

Cadw Registered Files Collection: Cat. Ref. CRF/1
Administrative documents and files relating to Cadw Registered Files Collection, comprising docket books; details of 'Rents Payable'; and Index to subject files and dockets recording closed, cancelled and dead files.

Investigators' Digital Photography: Cat. Ref. DS2016_036-038
Digital images relating to:
  • Marconi Bungalows, Tywyn 
  • Marconi Long Wave Receiving Station, Tywyn 
  • Wynnstay Arms Hotel, Machynlleth 
  • Brickfield Terrace, Brickfield Street, Machynlleth 
  • Former tollhouse (Lledfair Tollhouse), Heol Pentrerhedyn, Machynlleth 
  • Y Plas West Lodge, Machynlleth 
Covering dates: 2014-2015

Rex Wailes Collection: Cat. Ref. RWC
Collection of notes and images relating mainly to wind and water mills in Wales, produced or collated by Rex Wailes.
Covering dates: 1798-1982

Unpublished Dissertations: Cat. Ref. UD09/06
Unpublished B.A. dissertation for the Department of Archaeology, Southampton University, entitled ‘The Chambered Tombs of the Preseli Mountains, Dyfed: a reassessment of their settings in the prehistoric landscape’; produced by Toby Driver, 1993.

Welsh Mills Society Papers Collection: Cat. Ref. WMSPC
Miscellaneous papers, minutes and correspondence produced or collated by the Welsh Mills Society, formerly the Welsh Mills Group.
Covering dates: 1990-2014


Alexander, John. Undated. Part II. The Roman Settlement and Town. Draft of report published as, 'Roman Cambridge excavations 1954-1980', in PCAS (Proceedings of the Cambridgeshire Archaeological Society) 87 (1999).

Banham, Debby and Faith, Rosamond. 2014. Medieval history and archaeology. Oxford University Press.

Barnes, Gerry and Williamson, Tom. 2015. Rethinking ancient woodland: the archaeology and history of woods in Norfolk. Studies in regional and local history; volume 13. Hatfield, University of Hertfordshire Press.

Bayer, Patricia. 1992. Art Deco architecture: design, decoration and detail from the twenties and thirties. London, Thames & Hudson.

Bentley, Richard and Hartley, Claire. 2012. St. Helen's, 'an atmosphere of its own': a collection of cricketing extracts celebrating Glamorgan's St. Helen's ground, Swansea, and marking the fortieth anniversary of the St. Helen's Balconiers. Swansea, St. Helen's Balconiers.

Cadw. 2016. Llangollen: understanding urban character. Cardiff, Cadw.

Cadw. 2016. Llangollen: deall nodweddion trefol. Cardiff, Cadw.

Charles Close Society and Oliver, Richard. 2016. Ordnance Survey seventh edition one-inch map of Great Britain: Hereford: sheet 142 (1949). London, Charles Close Society.

Childs, Jeff et al. 2013. Around Pontardawe: the third selection. Stroud, The History Press.

Cornish, Graham P. 2015. Copyright: interpreting the law for libraries, archives and information services, 6th edition. London, Facet Publishing.

Evans, R Paul and Hughes, Colin P. F. 2014. Changes in crime and punishment in Wales and England: c. 1530 to the present day. Aberystwyth, Prifysgol Aberystwyth.

Yr Eglwys Fethodistaidd (The Methodist Church). 2000. Llawlyfr a chyfeiriadur (Handbook and Directory ) Talaith Cymru 30 (the Cymru District) 2000-2001. Yr Eglwys Fethodistaidd (The Methodist Church).

Farley, Julia ; and Hunter, Fraser (eds). 2015. Celts: art and identity. London, British Museum Press.

Hall, David. 2014. The open fields of England. Oxford, University Press.

Hammond, Peter. 1960. Liturgy and Architecture. Uncorrected proof. London, Barrie and Rockliff.

Hurley, Richard. 2001. Irish church architecture in the era of Vatican II. Dublin, Dominican Publications.

Jones, Alan Vernon. 2010. Chapels of the Cynon Valley / Capeli Cwm Cynon. Aberdare. Cynon Valley History Society.

Jones, Gwilyn Peredur. 1933. The extent of Chirkland (1391-1393). London, University Press of Liverpool.

Lee, D., Beasant, M. and Williams, M. (eds). 1995. Llandaff diocesan directory: 1995. Llandaff Diocesan Board of Finance.

Lillie, Malcolm. 2015. Hunters, fishers and foragers in Wales: towards a social narrative of Mesolithic lifeways. Oxford, Oxbow.

Little, Bryan. 1966. Catholic churches since 1623: a study of Roman Catholic churches in England and Wales from penal times to the present decade. London, Robert Hale.

Lord, Peter. 2016. The tradition: a new history of Welsh art, 1400-1990. Cardigan, Parthian.

Maginnis, Charles D. 2015. Catholic Church Architecture. ReInk Books.

Nash, George (ed.). 2015. An anatomy of a priory church: the archaeology, history and conservation of St Mary's Priory Church, Abergavenny. Oxford, Archaeopress.

National Museums & Galleries of Wales. 2005. The National Waterfront Museum: the story of Wales's industry and innovation. Cardiff, National Museum of Wales

Newman, P. (ed.). 2016. The archaeology of mining and quarrying in England: a research framework for the archaeology of the extractive industries in England. Resource assessment and research agenda. Matlock, Bath, NAMHO.

Oosthuizen, Susan. 2013. Tradition and transformation in Anglo-Saxon England: archaeology, common rights and landscape. London, Bloomsbury Academic.

Passmore, Sue. 2010. Llanllwchaearn: a parish history. Guilford, Grosvenor House.

Pretty, David A. 2005. Anglesey: the concise history. Cardiff, University of Wales Press.

Rees, Richard, R. 2015. Everybody can have their own bathwater: the astonishing story of London’s bid to capture a Welsh river. Mister Chance Ventures.

Rodd, Francis James Rennell. 1958. Valley on the March: a history of a group of manors on the Herefordshire March of Wales. Oxford University Press.

Scholfield, Sharon. 2012. Dolgellau 'Jewel on the Wnion’: cycling in and around Dolgellau. Sharon Scholfield.

Shoesmith, Ron (ed.). 2014. Goodrich Castle: its history & buildings. Woonton Almely, Logaston.

Sibbesson, E., Jervis, B. and Coxon, S. (eds). 2016. Insight from innovation: new light on archaeological ceramics. Papers presented in honour of Professor David Peacock's contributions to archaeological ceramic studies. St Andrews, Highfield Press.

Stobart, Jon and Hann, Andrew (eds). 2016. The country house: material culture and consumption. Swindon, English Heritage.

Undeb Bedyddwyr Cymru. 1994. Undeb Bedyddwyr Cymru. Bethania, Aberteifi 11-15 Medi 1994. Thema : cyfoeth y cyfnodau. Undeb Bedyddwyr Cymru.

Undeb Bedyddwyr Cymru. 2006. Undeb Bedyddwyr Cymru, Aberteifi a'r Clych : gorffennaf 16-19, 2006. Thema : dyrchafu Iesu. Undeb Bedyddwyr Cymru

Williamson, Tom. 2013. Environment, society and landscape in early medieval England: time and topography. Woodbridge, The Boydell Press.

Williamson, T., Liddiard, R. and Partida, T. 2013. Champion: the making and unmaking of the English midland landscape. Liverpool University Press

Wood, Andy. 2015. Abandoned & vanished canals of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Stroud, Amberley.

Yorke, Trevor. 2015. Victorian railway stations. Newbury, Countryside Books.


Antiquity vol. 90 no. 349 (February 2016)

British Archaeology no. 148 (May-June 2016)

Capel no. 67 (Spring 2016)

Carmarthenshire Antiquary vol. 51 (2015)

Melin vol. 30 (2014)

Morgannwg vol. 59 (2015)

Pembrokeshire Life, April 2016

Railway and Canal Historical Society Bulletin no. 461 (May-June 2016)

Sheetlines no. 105 (April 2016)

Welsh Mines Society Newsletter no. 74 (Spring 2016)

Ffarwel Plas Crug / Farewell Plas Crug

Contact us

In preparation for our move to new premises at the National Library of Wales we will be temporarily suspending our library, search-room and enquiry service from 4 April 2016. For further details, please click here.

If you have any comments or enquiries, please feel free to contact us:
NMRW Library and Enquiries Service
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales
Crown Building, Plas Crug
Ceredigion SY23 1NJ

Telephone: +44 (0)1970 621200
Fax: +44 (0)1970 627701

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Thursday, 28 April 2016

Powys War Memorials Project: Free Photography Competition 2016

There are 2590 recorded war memorials in Wales ranging from free-standing monuments and sculptural masterpieces to simple plaques in chapels, churches, schools, post offices and banks. Collectively, they are by far the largest body of public memorials in Wales with examples in almost all communities. Although there are examples from earlier conflicts, especially the South African War (1899─1902), most memorials were erected in the 1920s and were usually paid for by local subscription. A good selection of these have been photographed by the Royal Commission for Coflein, our online database and Cadw’s handbook “Caring for War Memorials in Wales” 2014.

Powys County Council has secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Cadw (Welsh Government) and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority for the Powys War Memorials Project 2014-2018: A Mark of Respect. This project commemorates the centenary of World I and is now holding a World War I memorial photography competition as part of the project. Nathan Davies, the Powys War Memorials Project Officer explains, “We know of about 300 war memorials in Powys ranging from stone crosses to stained glass windows, plaques to statues. However, there are likely to be considerably more than this. One aim of the project is to find, record and catalogue all the World War I memorials in the county. All you need to do is find a war memorial, take a photograph of it, complete the entry form and email it to us. That’s it ! You’ll be commemorating the centenary of World War 1 and will have the chance to win a share of the £200 prize fund.”

This competition is free to enter, has two entry categories: one for young people, one for adults. The closing date for the competition is Friday 10th June 2016. For further information please visit the project website page or contact Nathan Davies for more information:

Phone: 01597 827 597
Powys County Council, The Gwalia, Ithon Road, Llandrindod Wells, Powys. LD1 6AA

Judges of the competition include Iain Wright, former Royal Commission photographer, as well as representatives from the Church in Wales and the Royal British Legion.

Builth Wells war memorial NPRN: 419416, DS2013_438_003
Located on a prominent site at the entrance to the Groe, the memorial at Builth incorporates figures representing the army, navy, air force and merchant navy.

Montgomeryshire war memorial NPRN: 32916, DS2013_514_002
The County War Memorial sited on the summit of Town Hill, Montgomery, is a prominent feature of the landscape and can be seen from miles around.

Rhayader war memorial clock tower NPRN: 32982, DS2013_440_003
Patriotic iconography at Rhayader War Memorial Clock Tower depicts the Welsh dragon defeating the German imperial eagle.

Twyn-y-garth gun NPRN: 437, DS2013_515_001
One of Wales’ most evocative war memorials at Twyn-y-Garth. The memorial is a  First World War German 105 mm leichte Feldhaubitzer placed on a hill and secured in concrete, The gun was fully restored in 2001 as a millennium commemoration.

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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Archaeology of the Skerries (Ynysoedd y Moelrhoniaid), north Wales

On 19 April, Royal Commission Investigator Dr Toby Driver accompanied an RSPB monitoring visit out to the Skerries, a small group of rocky islets off north-west Anglesey. Archaeological aerial reconnaissance had identified unrecorded earthworks surviving on the southern side of the islet. The trip was also a long overdue chance to examine the wider archaeology and built heritage of this remote islet which has seen few archaeological visitors since Douglas Hague’s trips in the early 1980s, culminating in his 1994 Royal Commission book ‘Lighthouses of Wales’.

The Skerries is dominated by its fine lighthouse, built on an outcrop at the highest point. A light was first established here after 1716, built by William Trench as a personal venture. After several different phases of work the lighthouse achieved its present appearance under Trinity House and consultant engineer James Walker, who rebuilt it in 1851. The light towers 36m above high water, and the residential block presently accommodates RSPB staff during the nesting season among a noisy colony of Artic Terns. Luckily the lighthouse was open for maintenance by Trinity House staff during the visit, allowing new photography of its interior and lantern room.

The group of buildings around the lighthouse includes the oldest separate keepers’ dwelling in the British Isles, an early eighteenth-century crow-stepped gabled cottage, and a tiny stone well-head building, both now listed. Both buildings were recorded with 360 degree photography, allowing for future 3D modelling using digital photogrammetry.

During the brief two-hour visit there was time to reconnoitre the wider islet. From the lighthouse, this is reached via a tiny cobbled footbridge across a deep chasm. Further on are the ruins of the ‘Buoy-keepers’ cottage’, a small stone shelter recorded by Hague in 1971. This sits at one end of a larger earthwork building platform identified from aerial photographs. This larger platform may be far earlier than the stone ruin, and could perhaps date to the Middle Ages when the Skerries belonged to the monks of Bangor as one of their principal fisheries. Alongside the platform stands a small stone mooring post above the beach. The vegetation across the main part of the islet is a perforated grass sward covered in rabbit holes, re-used by nesting Puffins in the spring and summer months. Other features noted during the visit included stone navigational beacons, and channels cut between freshwater pools presumably to conserve scarce drinking water in times past.

The Skerries Lighthouse seen from the boat as one approaches the landing stage. The roof of the gabled keepers’ cottage can be seen below.

The tiny gabled lighthouse keepers’ cottage, the oldest separate dwelling of its type in the British Isles.

The attractive footbridge over the chasm which separates the lighthouse from the main part of the islet.

Remains of the ‘Buoy-keepers’ cottage’, a small ruin recorded by Douglas Hague in 1971. It lies at one end of an earlier earthwork platform. Scale 1m.

Looking back towards the lighthouse from the pair of navigational markers built on Toucan rock, named on early Ordnance Survey County Series mapping. Scale 1m.

By Toby Driver: Aerial Investigator

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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Big Welsh Walk— Gelligaer Common: An Archaeological Treasure House 14 May, 11am—3pm

Gelligaer Common is one of the most remarkable archaeological landscapes in Wales and features in the Royal Commission’s forthcoming bi-lingual publication, Archaeoleg Ucheldir Gwent/Archaeology of the Gwent Uplands by Frank Olding. On Saturday 14 May, senior archaeologist David Leighton will lead an informative and fascinating guided walk over this bleak but beautiful moorland. As part of Ramblers Cymru Big Welsh Walk, held annually throughout May, this 5-mile walk will take visitors to sites dating from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. This fairly easy walk should take about four hours to complete, including a break for lunch, and will offer a microcosm of the archaeology of the south Wales valleys before the Industrial Revolution.

Along the way, particular sites of interest will include a visit to the Early Christian Cefn Gelligaer Inscribed Stone which is over 2.5m long. This once bore an inscription near the base of its northern face that read NEFROIHI – “the stone of Nía-Froích”, apparently commemorating an Irish warrior, and dating to the late sixth to early seventh centuries. The stone was first noted by Edward Lhuyd in 1693, but the inscription is no longer visible. Following this, we will visit the deserted medieval settlement known as Dinas Noddfa, which was excavated in the 1930s by the archaeologist Lady Aileen Fox. We will also visit several Bronze Age ring-cairns, including the splendid Carn y Bugail ring-cairn measuring 19.5m (east by west) by 15.8m set within a partly visible kerb of massive outward-leaning slabs and capped by an OS triangulation pillar. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, diggers here reported finds of "bones and urns" and three parallel cists.

Accompanied by Royal Commission staff, including architectural historian Richard Suggett, David Leighton will offer his historical expertise along the way sharing a wealth of knowledge gained through his many years as coordinator of the Royal Commission’s successful long-running Upland’s Project. The walk promises to be a great day out for walkers of all ages and a rare opportunity to discover more about the heritage which surrounds us!

The meeting place for the walk is the carpark of the Visitor Centre, Parc Cwm Darran: NGR SO11360345.

Many of the sites visited in the walk will appear in the Royal Commission’s forthcoming bi-lingual publication Archaeoleg Ucheldir Gwent/Archaeology of the Gwent Uplands by Frank Olding. This will be launched at this year’s National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny on Thursday 4 August in Pabell Lle Hanes at 2 pm.

Places for the walk are still available, although limited. For further details and booking please contact

View of the Cefn Gelligaer Inscribed Stone from the south east
NPRN: 305944, DS2015_143_001
Aerial photograph showing medieval house platform on Gelligaer Common
NPRN: 15319, DD2015_009_132
Carn y Bugail: Capstone
NPRN: 301283, DS2016_005_003

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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Latest News from the Skomer Island Project - The 2016 Fieldwork Season

Last week, the Skomer Island Project team returned to Skomer to undertake the latest phase of archaeological research on the Island. This year archaeologists Louise Barker and Toby Driver (RCAHMW), Bob Johnston (University of Sheffield) and Oliver Davis (Cardiff University) were delighted to be joined by geographer and environmental scientist Sarah Davies of Aberystwyth University.

Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire is famed for its wildlife and for the survival of its ancient field systems which are amongst the best preserved anywhere in Britain. (© Crown Copyright: RCAHMW, AP_2010_3294)
The aims of this year’s work were twofold; to excavate one of the Island’s main archaeological features, a prehistoric field boundary and the continuation of geophysical survey within the improved fields surrounding the old farm in the centre of the Island.

Despite Storm Katie cutting short our planned four days of fieldwork, we managed to achieve our goals in the two sunny and still days we had and were also lucky enough to witness the return of the puffins.

Archaeological fieldwork involves lots of kit. Getting onto Skomer is always an energetic start to the field season. (© Crown Copyright: RCAHMW)

The site of the excavation. (© Crown Copyright: RCAHMW)
The focus of our small evaluation trench was a substantial lynchet, part of the Northern Field Systems on the Island. A lynchet is a bank of earth that builds up on the downslope of a field ploughed over a period of time and the resulting earth or plough soil is important for helping us reconstruct the environmental history of the Island, identify what was being cultivated and possibly at what date. Therefore, the principal focus of the excavation was to recover samples of the soils within the lynchet which will now be carefully analysed over the coming months.

Excavation in progress. A large number of stones, the result of field clearance, were encountered. (© Crown Copyright: RCAHMW)

Preliminary results from the geophysical survey also look positive. Within the improved fields surrounding the farm in the centre of the Island, there is little evidence for surviving archaeology; however geophysics undertaken in 2012 did reveal sub-surface archaeological features and we wanted to see if this was the case elsewhere. This was indeed the case, and in the area surveyed directly to the west of the farm, the gradiometer detected a linear feature, perhaps a ditch cut by later cultivation ridges.

Geophysical survey in progress with some promising preliminary results (© Crown Copyright: RCAHMW)

As ever the Skomer Island Project team would like to thank the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and the Skomer Wardens for their continued support and help with our work on the Island.

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