This morning I was interested to read of a recently-discovered Bronze Age road (the wooden kind) in the region of Kenfig. Soon after that (this morning that is, not after the Bronze Age), I found an old book in a cupboard. The book, by CJO Evans, was first published in 1938 and this particular edition appears to be from 1946; it's called Glamorgan, Its History and Topography (still available secondhand online, including Amazon.co.uk) and contains some very pleasing pictures as well as the interesting text. I've only just started delving into it but have already found some fascinating facts; for example, Sir Edward Stradling (of St Donat's - 1529 to 1609) was a 'cultured and gifted' man. He travelled abroad and was said to have the best private library of the period. He bore the expense of printing A Grammar of the Welsh Language and was the prime mover in the establishment of a Grammar School at Cowbridge.
The book also tells us of the original inhabitants of Britain and the subsequent immigrants. The Iberians (short and dark) were the first and followed by the taller, fairer, Gauls and Brythons. Evans explains that the woad-wearing inhabitants of Britain were really confined to the Belgae who came here not long before the Romans and lived peacefully in what is now south and south east England, alongside the "Celts".
Somewhere I was not aware of is Merthyr Mawr, an idyllic chocolate box village of thatched cottages (apparently still very much the same, according to the internet). Merthyr Mawr dunes were used in the filming of Lawrence of Arabia.
Just skimming through the book, I can see that there are Bronze Age and Roman settlements of which I had not heard so I shall get stuck in and find out more.
Interesting. How many pages does this book have? I just found it - as a 2011 edition - available on Amazon.com in (used) hardcover for only $7.33 (about 5 GBP) - whereas paperback (new) is almost 5 times that cost.
Diolch for posting Gaynor....sounds like an interesting read
I'll tell you exactly the number tomorrow, Swansea, as I've left the book downstairs, but it's quite a thick book with quite thin paper and covers a number of subjects. The used book price you mention sounds like a bargain; the cheapest I've seen it here is £9.99 plus p&p. It's got maps, photographs (obviously from the 1930s), information about notable people in Glamorgan throughout history, information about towns and villages in the county and their importance or notoriety. Also historical information, as I mentioned in the previous post.
Ordered it today - total cost, incl. p&p from UK to USA - $11.32 = about 7GBP.
The book has 447 pages of text/photos etc, plus foreword and index. So there's quite a bit of information there.
All the best
I was almost brought up on C J O Evan's book on Glamorgan, probably still the most concise guide to the county. Obviously quite a bit out of date now, due to decades of new discoveries, but still a very worthwhile read and some good photos.
I have amongst my scores of books on Welsh history, an even more obscure one, called 'Edward II in Glamorgan', by another clergymsn,. the Rev John Griffith of Nantymoel. It covers a much wider field than suggested by the tile,with fascinating asides about all sorts of historical matters. I found it years ago in a second-hand bookshop, published in 1904 by the Western Mail. It tells how Edward was eventually captured near Tesco's in Llantrisant ( if you know what I mean) and hauled off to Berkeley Castle where he is alleged to have been assassinated in a particlarly horrible way - but this book was where I first heard of the tale that he was rescued by the Welsh and ended his days in an Italian monastery, the body in his tomb in Gloucester Cathedral said to be one of his captors.
I would hate to lower the tone by recounting the precise manner of Edwards death. Suffice it to say that anyone with a taste for the gruesome and bizarre can google the details. But on a side note your post brought to mind a boyhood visit to Berkeley Castle in the course of which the tour guide conducted us to the very room where Edward met his grizzly end. One could almost hear the screams.
I further recall that I fell in the castle moat during this visit and had was helped out ( it had steep sided stone faced banks ) by Lord Berkeley himself. Ahhhhhh....happy childhood memories
errrrmm I was 9 at the time....but it might have had something to do with my sinus meds
I managed to visit Berkeley Castle without falling into a moat, I'm proud to say! Poor old Edward. Wasn't an oubliette involved somehow too? The poker incident features in Marlowe's play about the king but who knows if it's true. I didn't know about Tesco in Llantrisant though.
I think he was caught a bit north of where the big Tesco's is now, more up towards Tonyrefail near the Royal Mint (no English jokes please about 'The Hole with a Mint!)
The place is still known as 'Pant y Brad' (the hollow of the treachery) and a an old commemorative plaque used to be on the bridge there. Variations of the tale abound, but a monk from Penrhys Priory in the Rhondda was alleged to to have given him away. He had fled from the advance of his wife Queen Isabella (The She-Wolf of France) who had taken Roger Mortimer as her lover and Edward, with his boyfriend Huw Despenser the Younger, fled to Wales, staying five nights in Despenser's Caerphlly Castle, before fleeing further to Neath Abbey with his personal treasure. He left the there for some reason and came back eastwards - there is a story of him hiding up an oak tree at Llangynwyd nar Maesteg ( how many kings are alleged to hidden up oak trees?) Then he was caught near Tonyrefail and taken to Llantrisant Cstle, en route to Berkeley. The two Despensers, father and son, were hanged, drawn and quartered, Dad in Bristol and the son in Hereford, from a fifty foot scaffold.
If you want to read about the allegation that Edward survived and died in Italy, look up 'The Fieschi Letter ' on Wikipedia or read Ian Mortimer's controversial book.
Incidentally, in Victorian times, a doctor in Swansea treated an old lady and instead of a fee she gave him an old box, inside which was Edward Ii's marriage contract, perhaps left behind in Neath. It was in the Swansea Institution, but now in the Swansea Council Archives on Mumbles Road.
OMG - isn't that the same irresponsible bunch who 'gave away' the Mumbles Railway?