Page images

where disclosed 160 ft. higher up, and a similar line as nearly as can be imagined along the outer edge of the ditch, an explanation is given of the bulge to the west in the old line of frontage of Castle Bailey Streetit followed the line of the ditch. No doubt, when Worcester Place is demolished for rebuilding, the wall and ditch will again appear, Assuming then that the wall of Castle Walls Lane is the old Castle wall, the site of the Castle can now be traced practically all round.


Considerable alterations have also been made this year to the new Castle of Swansea, by the erection of buildings for the Cambrian Daily Leader Offices. A large portion of the north curtain wall was pulled down, and some damage done to the old building.

The foundations of several buildings were exposed, but their age was so doubtful, that it is not necessary to describe them. They can, however, be referred to in the pages of the Swansea Scientific Society's Journal.

The most interesting discovery, however, was that of a large number of skeletons, of both sexes and all ages, buried about 4 ft. in the alluvial gravel, which was covered in places by 5 ft. or 6 ft. of débris of buildings. These interments were found over the whole of the interior of the Castle and also outside up to the counterscarp of the old Castle. They were all placed east and west, but no traces of coffins could be detected, which is hardly to be wondered at in the gravel soiland the interments were probably made some centuries before wooden coffins were used. They were doubtless the remains of the soldiers and civilians who perished in the numerous sieges which the old Castle underwent, one of which lasted ten weeks, when the only ground available for interments was the open glacis upon which in after years the new Castle was built, as related by Leland.

Reviews and Notices of Books


Stationery Office, London.

10s. 1911.

IN September, 1911, the Royal Commission, appointed in 1908 to inspect and report upon the Ancient Monuments in Wales, published its first County Inventory, that for Montgomeryshire.

The similar Commissions for England and Scotland have published Inventories of the Antiquities of Hertfordshire and Sutherland respectively.

The Commission decided to commence their investigations with Montgomeryshire because of the work of the Powysland Club. This club has its head-quarters at Welshpool. Since its foundation in 1867 it has published a series of articles known as the Montgomeryshire Collections, a series already consisting of thirty-five volumes, including papers of great variety and, in some cases, of great merit. The honour of being dealt with first is accompanied by certain disadvantages. The first County Inventory must, to some extent, be an experiment. The Commission has to get its hand in before it can show the world its best work.

To the Inventory is prefixed a list of Monuments specified by the Commission as especially worthy of preservation, which number sixty-one, and an Introduction signed by the Commissioners. The Introduction is of great value to Welsh archaeologists, being full of the ripe scholarship from experience and study which is to be expected of the Commissioners. Now and then they are a trifle hard upon the local antiquaries of the County, forgetting apparently that the Commission was, by its Royal Warrant (granted by King Edward and renewed by King George), empowered "to call in the aid and co-operation of owners of ancient monuments, inviting them to assist you in furthering the objects of the Commission; and to invite the possessors of such papers as you may deem it desirable to inspect to produce them before you : call before you such persons as you shall judge likely to afford you any information upon the subject of this Our Commission; and also to call for, have access to, and examine all such books, documents, registers, and records as may afford you the fullest information on this subject, and to inquire of and concerning the premises of all other lawful ways and means whatsoever: to visit and personally inspect such places as you may deem it expedient so to inspect for the more effectual carrying out of the purposes aforesaid."

... to

Such powers and credentials are greatly in excess of any that the Powysland Club or any other local society can grant or any private searcher command. Armed with this Royal Warrant, the Commission should be careful not to cast too scathing remarks upon fellow-labourers in the same field of work and research.

The Introduction treats of the County's antiquities according to their period; the Inventory itself, according to the parish to which they belong.

The classification of the inventoried Monuments and Constructions appears to be as follows: -

I. a. Tumuli, Carneddau.--
--c. Meini Hirion.-d. Inscribed
Stones, Stone Circles.

II. Earthworks: - B. Hill Forts.-C. Roman.-D. Castle-
mounts, without enclosure. E. Castle-mounts, with

enclosure.-F. Homestead Moats.-H. Ancient Village Sites.-X. Unclassified.

III. Domestic Structures, Stone Castles.

IV. Ecclesiastical Structures.

V. Miscellaneous: Wells, etc.

VI. Sites of Historical or Antiquarian Interest.

VII. Finds.

A mistake is made in that no outline of the classification (such as is set forth above) is given in the Introduction or elsewhere in the Inventory. The Introduction should have included a statement to the effect that, whenever an object has been adequately described already, it has not been considered necessary to do more than give the reference to the fuller account. Such a statement would have explained the short space devoted to such important Monuments as Kerry Church, Strata Marcella, and the two Owain Glyndwr Parlia ment Houses now in the County.

The Introduction is especially valuable on the knotty points connected with the ethnology and early history of the County.

Nine hundred and fifty-five entries are made in the Inventory, the Civil Parishes, which number seventy-two, being taken in alphabetical order.

There are fifty-seven illustrations, and four maps at the end of the volume; three maps of the County, with all the parishes marked, showing respectively (1) the prehistoric remains, (2) the earthworks, (3) the finds, and (4) the Breiddin and the related camps of Cefn Castell and Bausley. These maps are very good, and may prove very useful, especially to students of Montgomeryshire not familiar with the County. For a thorough study of the Inventory a six-inch ordnance survey map is indispensable, as nearly every item has its longitude and latitude recorded.

The illustrations include reproductions of some of Mr. Worthington G. Smith's drawings (for Arch. Camb.) kept in Shrewsbury Museum, and are in nearly every case remarkably good. A special

feature consists of the photographs of the Crowther's Camp hoard of Bronze implements which are preserved, some at Powis Castle, others in the public museums of Welshpool, Shrewsbury and Ludlow.

The volume concludes with a full Index.

In a series of five articles, which the writer of this review contributed in November and December, 1911, to the Montgomeryshire Express, he has pointed out a few unimportant omissions and inaccuracies in the Inventory.

Mr. Edward Owen, the Editor of the Inventory, as well as the Secretary to the Commission, has thanked him for pointing out these blemishes, without in every case acknowledging that they were blemishes. It is then unnecessary that the same ground should be covered again here. Accuracy and precision are the most noteworthy features of the volume, both as a whole and in detail. It must have entailed some hard work on its Editor's part.

It would be ridiculous to consider the antiquities of Montgomeryshire without considering first certain physical features which must affect the habits and actions of past and present inhabitants.

We are accustomed to think of Wales as consisting of two nearly equal portions, North Wales and South Wales; but Wales would be far more accurately divided into West Wales, almost entirely Welsh-speaking, and East Wales, almost entirely Englishspeaking. Montgomeryshire belongs to East Wales with the exception of the Cantref of Cyfeiliog (containing Machynlleth) and part of the Cantref of Mallwyd (the rest lying in Merionethshire). The medieval kingdom of Powys included rather more of West Wales and a great deal more of East Wales. Plynlymon forms an effective barrier between these two divisions of Wales, some rivers flowing into Cardigan Bay, the others into England. Montgomeryshire has no sea-board, though the tidal waters of the Dovey come very near it. Nor had it any large lakes from the time that the surface of the earth assumed its present general outline until the Liverpool Water Board came to its assistance.

"The geological structure of the district did not lead to the formation of caves or fissures in which early man might have left his bones and his implements, nor was he drawn hither by the presence of flint, which would have resulted in the establishment of rude trade centres and routes." Again, the Severn and its tributaries make some of the easiest approaches from England into West Wales, so that we find remains of positions guarding these approaches.

Also lead has been the only metal worked to any large extent in the County. Quarrying never appears to have been carried on upon a large scale. Agriculture and wool have been the chief sources of employment and of wealth.

Now let us work our way down the outline of classification given above.



In Montgomeryshire Tumuli abound on the Kerry Hills and near Staylittle, in the parish of Trefeglwys; while there are a few near Welshpool and in the neighbourhood of Cemmes. One of the last was opened up in the autumn of 1911.

Carneddau are found in large numbers on the slopes of Plynlymon and in the basin of the Vyrnwy.

The finest circle of stones in Powys is that known as Mitchell's Fold, beneath Corndon, in the parish of Shelve, Shropshire. In Montgomeryshire there are four such circles, one on Kerry Hill, two in Llanbrynmair, and one in Llanrhaiadr-ym-Mochnant.

Of Meini Hirion the best known in Montgomeryshire is Maen Beuno, lying between the village of Berriew and the River Severn. Mr. Worthington G. Smith's drawing, reproduced in the Inventory, shows the glacial markings on the stone. Legends have sprung up around the Darowen Stones and "the covenant stones of Owen Glyndwr "in the parish of Uwch-y-Garreg. The standing stones of Trefeglwys mark the course of the Roman road to the lead mines.

Cromlechau or Dolmens do not appear in Montgomeryshire, but there may be one doubtful example in Llanerfyl parish. The Commissioners, however, believe Neolithic man to have inhabited this County, as well as Clun Forest, Denbighshire and Flintshire, where he has left traces.

At Craig Rhiwarth in the parish of Llanrhaiadr-ym-Mochnant are about sixty hut circles. There are also the foundations of two hut circles near Twr Gwyn Mawr, in the parish of Llanbrynmair. The most interesting inscribed stone in the County is that in Llanerfyl churchyard, which bears a sepulchral inscription in Latin.

The County of Montgomery possesses some very fine earthworks. "There are in Montgomeryshire five or six examples of what we may term prehistoric fortresses of the first order, and there are within the same geographical area, though beyond the limits of the administrative county, several others of the same class. The Ffridd in Montgomery parish, the Gaer in Guilsfield, the Breiddin in Criggion, Cefn Castell in Middletown, Cefn Carnedd in Llandinam, and Pen-y-Clun in Llanidloes, though differing in detail, were clearly constructed by the same people and probably within the same fairly wide period of time. In not one of these camps have excavations been conducted; so that much is uncertain in connection with them; and it is far too early in the work of the Commission to dogmatise on the period of the construction of these great earthworks. The examples in Montgomeryshire are matched though not excelled by others in various parts of the Principality, and until all these have been examined and at least one of them has been carefully explored, it is desirable that the problems to which they give rise should be approached with a perfectly open mind."

« PreviousContinue »