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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Britain from Above: Wales at Oriel Pendeitsh, Caernarfon, 7 November - 24 January





A view of Caernarfon showing the castle, port and town, c.1934. The street plan of the medieval borough is clearly defined. NPRN: 95318
Britain from Above: Wales is the Royal Commission’s travelling exhibition of the oldest and most intriguing of the Aerofilms historic photographs. The Aerofilms Collection is a unique archive of one million aerial photographs dating from 1919 to 2006. The collection was acquired for the nation in 2007 by English Heritage and the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Wales, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. With photographs drawn from across Wales, this exhibition of unfamiliar images of familiar places will encourage audiences to explore the meaning and impact of change, place and memory. Unique occasions captured in North Wales highlights include the ceremony at the recently-erected Cenotaph war memorial during the visit of the Prince of Wales in November 1923, the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show held in Abergele on 26 July 1950, and the eerie stillness of Gresford Colliery, one month after the mining disaster of 22 September 1934, when a major explosion and subsequent fire killed 266 miners.

Gresford Colliery, Wrexham, 23 October 1934. This photograph was taken one month after the Gresford mining disaster of 22 September 1934, when a major explosion and subsequent fire in the Dennis section killed 266 miners. NPRN: 301580

South Stack, Holyhead, Anglesey, 1950. Erected in 1809 the simple, dignified, lighthouse has survived over two hundred years of storms.NPRN:41288

Other images include the picturesque magnificence of Snowdonia and the simple, barren cragginess of South Stack, Holyhead, as well as the iconic Edwardian castles. In addition, the exhibition includes a number of images of historic events drawn from England and Scotland, including the 1935 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, the flooding at Jaywick Sands, Essex, in February 1953 ─ a sobering reminder of the great storm in 1953, and the Queen Mary in John Brown’s Shipyard, Clydebank, the flagship of the Cunard White Star Line, now permanently moored in Long Beach, California. A dvd of more localised images will also be shown alongside the exhibition at Oriel Pendeitsh. Indeed there is something for everyone!


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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Coflein User Questionnaire






Following the ten year anniversary of the launch of Coflein earlier this year, we are seeking your views on how well it works, how you use it, and how we should develop it in the years to come. Please visit the on-line questionnaire at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MMWLGW5

Coflein provides online access to the National Monuments Record of Wales ─ the national historic environment database, catalogue and digital archive.

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Friday, 24 October 2014

Explore your Archive





Explore your archive,
discover something new
at the
Royal Commission’s Archive
12 November 2014


Morning Programme
10:00 Collections of the National Monuments Record of Wales. A talk by Gareth Edwards, Head of Archives
10.30 & 11.00 Visit the archives - a look behind the scenes
11:30 What Can Aerial Photographs Do For You? A talk by Medwyn Parry

*************************

Afternoon Programme
14:00 Collections of the National Monuments Record of Wales. A talk by Gareth Edwards, Head of Archives
14:30 & 15:00 Visit the archives - a look behind the scenes
15:30 What Can Aerial Photographs Do For You? A talk by Medwyn Parry

******************************

Events and demonstrations throughout the day:
• Material from the archive: maps, drawings, photographs and more!
• Coflein: an introduction to our online database
• Introduction to the new Welsh Chapels website

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales
Crown Building, Plas Crug, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 1NJ.
Tel: 01970 621200
E-mail: nmr.wales@rcahmw.gov.uk



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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Amazing Find Relating To The 1940 Pembroke Dock Bombing Raid





At 3:15pm on Monday the 19 August 1940, a group of 3 German Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 88 bombers, accompanied by 2 Messerchmitt ME109 fighters flew over the Oil Tank Farm south of Llanreath, Pembroke Dock. The bombers were part of Kampfgruppe 51, Edelweiss Squadron, based near Paris. They dropped their payload as they flew over the large oil storage tanks. Four of the bombs fell short, exploding in open country, but the resulting detonation from one direct hit on a tank of 12,000 tons started a blaze that would take over 600 men from 22 brigades 18 days to put out.

Although only one tank was hit, the blaze soon spread, and 11 of the 18 tanks were totally destroyed. Tragically, the wall of one of the tanks split and 5 firemen from Cardiff were killed by the river of burning oil.

Later, during one of his regular propaganda broadcasts from Germany, Lord Haw Haw spoke about the raid. He said the pilot was only 16 years old, and had flown on many raids over Britain, but had failed to return from the Pembrokeshire raid.

The Royal Commissions’ Historical Aerial Photographic archive includes the WWII era RAF Medmenham Collection. By chance, I came across a sequence of low-level oblique shots of the inferno, taken on the 31 August 1940, when the fire had been burning for 12 days.


From the top right-hand corner of frame 75, the bomb craters can be seen in a line heading towards the oil tanks. Next to the smouldering remains of the destroyed storage tanks, the one in the top-left of the frame is still well ablaze. The arcs of water from the fire hoses can be seen, spraying and cooling the walls of the storage tank.


In frame 64, the smoke is partially obscuring the Defensible Barracks, Pembroke Dockyard (NPRN 34323).

By Medwyn Parry.


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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Job Vacancy - Secretary (Chief Executive)





Closing Date: 13 November 2014
Location: Aberystwyth
Job Description: Secretary (Chief Executive)
Salary Range: £57,550 – £68,150 (Welsh Government Executive Band 1)
37 hours per week – 4 year fixed term (with potential for renewal)

The Royal Commission is seeking a new Secretary (Chief Executive) to lead and inspire our staff and volunteers through the next chapter of our 106 year history.

The Royal Commission is the investigation body and national archive for the historic environment of Wales. The Secretary of the Commission is responsible for the leadership, strategy, guardianship and management of the Royal Commission, ensuring it fulfils the responsibilities detailed in its Royal Warrant and its remit as set by the Welsh Government.

Following a ministerial commitment to it remaining an independent body, this is a remarkable opportunity to lead, inspire and motivate the Commission through a period of change within the organisation and the wider historic environment sector in Wales. The Secretary will build on a solid platform of success and seize opportunities to drive change that will support an ambitious vision for the future to ensure the long-term sustainability of the organisation and its contribution to sectoral agendas.

The Secretary will be an experienced leader with an outstanding record of delivery and achievement in representing an organisation at a senior level. Passionate about leading staff and volunteers and resilient in the delivery of the Commission’s duties to maintain and develop the National Monuments Record, to act as a leader in the survey and investigation of the historic environment and to promote the widest possible understanding of and engagement in the heritage of Wales, the Secretary will drive the Royal Commission with pace, energy and imagination, and be a dedicated champion for its work.

An application form and further details are available from:-
Stephen Bailey John
Royal Commission
Plas Crug, Aberystwyth, SY23 1NJ

Tel: 01970 621230
Fax: 01970 621246
e-mail: stephen.bailey-john@rcahmw.gov.uk

Closing date for applications is 13 November 2014.

The Royal Commission is an equal opportunities employer.

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Thursday, 9 October 2014

National Monuments Record of Wales Archives and Library Bulletin - September 2014





Welcome to the latest edition of the National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW) Archives and Library Bulletin http://www.rcahmw.gov.uk/HI/ENG/Our+Services/Donate+Records/Recent+Acquisitions/. The archival items, library books and journal articles are all available to view in our public reading room. The archival material is also available to view on Coflein.

We are open to the public at the following times:
Monday – Friday 09.30 – 16.00, Wednesday 10.30 – 16.30.
An appointment is advisable.



Medi ~ September 2014


Archif ~ Archives
Christopher J. Williams Mines Photographs: Cat Ref CJW
A further 100 slides loaned by Christopher Williams have been catalogued in advance of digitisation.

Metal Links Project Collection: Cat Ref MLPC
And
Welsh Mines Preservation Trust: Cat. Ref WMPT
Cataloguing of this collection has been completed this month

135 b/w prints of various sites have been catalogued and added to the site files. These date from 1960’s – 1980’s and were mounted ready to be added to the site files.

Investigators' Digital Photography – Collection
Sites include:
  • Fort Belan
  • Caernafon – Slate Quay & Victoria Dock
  • Aberdovey Streets
  • Fishguard Town & Harbours
  • Felin Wen Tide Mill
Tywyn War Memorial Hospital DS2014_350_002

  • Tywyn War Memorial Hospital
  • Hen Gapel, Rhydowen
Hen Gapel, Rhydowen DS2014_288_011


  • Morfa Copperworks Laboratory
Morfa Copperworks Laboratory DS2014_332_001

  • The collapsed Aberystwyth Seafront Shelter and foundations of Marine Baths 

Foundations of Marine Baths DS2014_001_030
  •  Photo survey of excavations on Skomer

Llyfrau ~ Books

Aaron, John, 1992. Torf Ardderchog: Teithiau Cristnogol Trwy Gymru: Cyfrol 1 - Ceredigion A Phenfro, Gwasg Efengylaidd Cymru, Ganol.


Archaeology Ireland Heritage Guides set (incomplete); kept together in one box in the Library.


Cadwaladr Tawelfryn Thomas and Edward, 1904. Hanes Ymdaith Cynnulleidfaoliaeth, Argraffwyd Gan Y "Western Mail", Caerdydd. 


Coad, Jonathan, 2013. Support for the Fleet: Architecture and Engineering of the Royal Navy's Bases 1700-1914, English Heritage, Swindon.


Compton-Dando, Norman C., 1977. Presbyterian Church of Wales: The Gwent Presbytery: Year Book 1977, Pen-Y-Cae Press, Ebbw Vale.


Cowan, D.D., 1910. The Landmarks of Church History: Guild Library, A&C. Black, London.


Cowman, Des, 2006. The Making and Breaking of a Mining Community: The Copper Coast, County Waterford 1825-1875+, Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland, Waterford.


Davies, E.T., 1981. Religion and Society in the Nineteenth Century: A New History of Wales, Christopher Davies Ltd, Dyfed.

Edwards, Huw, 2009. Capeli Llanelli: Our Rich Heritage, Carmarthenshire County Council, Carmarthenshire.

Evans, E. Lewis, 1969. Eglwys Hope Pontarddulais, Abertawe, Gwasg John Penry.

Evans, T., 1997. Tri Chanmlwyddiant Eglwys Annibynnol Henllan: 1697 – 1997, Argraffwyd Gan E.L. Jones A'i Fab, Aberteifi.

Francis, Sam, 1994. Hanes Capel yr Onllwyn, Argraffwyd gan Wasg Morgannwg, Castell-Nedd.

Grant, Michael, 2005. The Rise of the Greeks, Phoenix Press, London.

Gregory, Donald, 1991. Country Churchyards in Wales, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Gwynedd.

Gregory, Donald, 1994. Radnorshire: A Historical Guide, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Gwynedd.

Gregory, Donald, 1989. Yesterday in Village Church and Churchyard, Gomer Press, Llandysul.

Jenkins, Gwyn, 2014. Cymry'r Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, Y Lolfa, Talybont.

Jones, Peter, 1969. Recording Wales 2: Chapels: An Exhibition Of Pictures, Commissioned by the Welsh Arts Council, Welsh Arts Council.

O'Kelly, Michael J., 1954. Excavations and Experiments in Ancient Irish Cooking-Places, off-print from The Journal Of Royal Society Of Antiquaries Of Ireland, Vol:LXXXIV, Part II.

Raistrick, Arthur, 1950. Quakers in Science and Industry: Being an Account of the Quaker Contributions to Science and Industry during the 17th and 18th Centuries, Bannisdale Press, London.

Rees, B., 1899. Hanes Blaenywuan, Argraffwyd Gan W. Williams, Llandudoch.

Spencer, Ray, 1991. A Guide to the Saints of Wales and the West Country, Llanerch Enterprises, Somerset.

The Times, 2014, Britain from Above: A View of Britain from the Past to Present, The Times/HarperCollins, Glasgow.

Thomas, Gwyn, 2012. Gair yn ei Le: 50 O Lefydd Llenyddol, Y Lolfa, Talybont.

Whittingham, Sarah, 2011. Sir George Oatley: Architect of Bristol, Redcliffe Press, Bristol.

Williams, Glanmor, 1950. Samuel Roberts Llanbrynmair, University Of Wales Press, Cardiff.

Wills, Anthony and Phillips, Tim, 2014. British Seaside Piers, English Heritage, Swindon.


Cyfnodolion ~ Journals


Antiquity vol. 88 no. 341 (September 2014)

Archive (Journal of British Industrial and Transport History) no. 83 (September 2014)

Below! Quarterly Journal of the Shropshire Caving & Mining Club no. 2014:3

Cartographic Journal vol. 51 no. 3 (August 2014)

Cartographiti no. 92 (Summer 2014)

Casemate no. 101 (September 2014)

Current Archaeology no. 295 (October 2014)

The Georgian (1/2014)

The Georgian Group Journal vol. 22 (2014)

The Gower Society Newsletter (Autumn 2014)

Historic Monuments Council (Northern Ireland) Report no. 2 (2009-2012)

Maplines vol. 21 issue 2 (Summer 2014)

Monmouthshire Antiquary vol. 30 (2014)

Pembrokeshire Life (September 2014)

Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. 142 (2012)

Railway and Canal Historical Society Bulletin no. 451 (Sept-Oct 2014)

Welsh Railways Research Circle no. 140 (Autumn 2014)

Cyfnodolion electronig ~ Electronic journals


Association of Architecture Organizations Newsletter (September 2014)

Castle Studies Group Bulletin no. 18 (September 2014)

Mine d'Histoires no. 8 (September 2014)

NAMHO Newsletter no. 69 (September 2014)

Roman Rural Settlement Project Newsletter no. 4 (Autumn 2014)


Cylchgronau Gwasanaeth Ymwybyddiaeth Gyfredol ~
Journals Current Awareness


Current Archaeology no. 295, p. 6: ‘Neolithic conflict at Caerau’ [CAER project, Oliver Davis is project co-director]

The Georgian, p. 51, Campaigning section: ‘A future for Welsh villas’ mentions Plas Brereton and Plas Ty Coch near Caernarfon, and Tan-yr-allt in Bangor

Castle Studies Group Bulletin no. 18: ‘Pembroke Castle: Discoveries in the Outer Ward’ by Neil Ludlow and Toby Driver

If you have any comments or enquiries, please feel free to contact us:

NMRW Library and Enquiry Service
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales
Crown Building, Plas Crug
Aberystwyth
Ceredigion, SY23 1NJ

Telephone:  +44 (0)1970 621200
Fax: +44 (0)1970 627701
E-mail: nmr.wales@rcahmw.gov.uk
Website: www.rcahmw.gov.uk
Blog: www.heritageofwalesnews.blogspot.co.uk


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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

An opportunity to shape Coflein:- We Need Your Views!







Lecture and workshops at the Royal Commission, 14 October


On Tuesday, 14 October, 2014 the Royal Commission is inviting visitors to an afternoon of lectures, discussion and active engagement in evaluating Coflein, the Royal Commission’s online database. 

Coflein provides online access to the National Monuments Record of Wales ─ the national historic environment database, catalogue and digital archive.

Beginning with a welcome and introduction to Coflein by David Thomas, Head of Data and Technology, the afternoon will progress with workshops where everyone will have the opportunity to discuss the Royal Commission’s database of sites and collections, raise  queries, discuss problems they have encountered, and suggest future developments. If you are interested in archaeology and the historic environment, local history, aerial photography, the history of houses and religious buildings, maritime history and shipwrecks, there will be sources relevant for you on Coflein.

There will be two workshop sessions. The first will run from 2pm ─3.30pm and the second from 4pm─5.30pm. Light refreshments will be provided. For further information and booking, please contact Nicola Roberts: nicola.roberts@rcahmw.gov.uk Telephone: 01970 621248.

Everyone welcome, from novices to experts. Come along, discover more and gives us your views!


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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

First Scientific Dates Tell Story Of Skomer’s Prehistoric Island Landscape





Archaeologists have obtained the first accurate dates for prehistoric settlement on Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire, a landscape famed for its wildlife and for the survival of its ancient field systems, which are among the best preserved anywhere in Britain.
 
Excavations in 2014 at a prehistoric mound of burnt and fire-cracked stones on north Skomer, once used to boil water for cooking, have produced the first calibrated radiocarbon dates for farming settlement on this renowned island. The mound sealed a land surface dated by charcoal to between 520-458 cal BC, the early Iron Age. A cattle tooth deposited in the cooking mound while it was still in use was dated to between 116-54 cal BC, centred on 85 cal BC, the late Iron Age.


In April 2014 a small team of archaeologists was permitted to open the very first modern excavation trench in the island’s history, to retrieve dating and environmental samples to better understand the long and complex history of prehistoric settlement and farming on Skomer. This followed three years of collaborative, non-invasive research between staff of the Royal Commission, The University of Sheffield and Cardiff University, working closely with the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and Cadw.

Burnt mounds accumulated from a particular prehistoric cooking practice, which involved heating stones in a fire and then placing them into a water-filled wooden trough to boil the water. Once the water was boiling it could take around 3 hours to cook a joint of meat, with each successive cooking episode adding more waste burnt stones to the mound. The burnt mounds outside some of the roundhouse groups on Skomer Island are huge, and must have dominated the Iron Age landscape, alongside the conical thatched roofs of the houses.

Dr Toby Driver of the Royal Commission, Aberystwyth, explained:
‘Skomer is a fragile protected landscape, and our archaeological research to date has focussed on non-invasive investigation of the prehistoric fields and settlements. This has included new aerial photography, airborne laser scanning, ground geophysics and walkover surveys. Already we have discovered previously unknown Neolithic and Bronze Age ritual stone settings, and demonstrated that the field systems may date back to at least the later Bronze Age.’

 ‘But despite half a century of modern archaeological interest, we still had no scientific dates for the roundhouses and fields on Skomer. It was decided to target a prehistoric burnt mound or cooking mound of fire-cracked stones, which stands immediately outside one of the paired roundhouses. This mound built up from numerous cooking episodes in the adjacent house. Our excavation discovered a cattle tooth from within the mound of stones, which has now been radiocarbon dated to the late Iron Age. Beneath the mound we found a sealed land surface containing Neolithic or Bronze Age worked flint tools. A second radiocarbon date from blackthorn charcoal in the upper soil layers gave a an early Iron Age date, possibly from burning and clearance on the land, which showed our burnt mound and the houses it belongs to arrived after the early Iron Age. Both dates are accurate to within 62 years.’


‘These new dates confirm pre-Roman settlement on Skomer. Even so, the burnt mound covers a substantial earlier field wall showing that the island was already well settled and farmed in previous centuries.’


Find out more online

Photographs, maps and plans can be seen online at the Royal Commission’s online database www.coflein.gov.uk . Search for ‘Skomer’ to see all records, or ‘Skomer hut group 8’ to see a selection of the 2014 excavation photographs.

Direct link: http://www.coflein.gov.uk/en/site/420196/details/SKOMER+ISLAND+HUT+GROUP+8/

Links to related BBC news stories: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-17644413

More about the Skomer Island archaeological project

Skomer is a highly protected landscape famous for its puffins and other breeding seabirds, but it is also home to some of the best preserved prehistoric field systems and hut settlements anywhere in Britain. In 2011 the Royal Commission used airborne laser scanning (LiDAR) to comprehensively map the island’s field systems. This work discovered evidence for a longer chronology to the fields than had previously been thought. The Skomer Island Project built on this work in 2012 with the first use of geophysics on the island, which showed that unrecorded prehistoric fields and settlements survive beneath the modern fields in the centre of the island.

The Skomer Island Project team, Louise Barker and Dr Toby Driver (Royal Commission), Dr Bob Johnston (University of Sheffield) and Dr Oliver Davis (Cardiff University) would like to thank the Skomer Island Wardens, the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and Natural Resources Wales for accommodating the archaeological work and granting permission to work in a Site of Special Scientific Interest. They are also grateful to Cadw for Scheduled Monument Consent which allowed the work to proceed.

Appendix: the radiocarbon dates


SKOMER ISLAND
SUERC-54181 (GU34955)

Context: 107, charcoal derived from buried soil layer beneath burnt mound
Material: Prunus cf. Spinosa (probable blackthorn)
Radiocarbon age: 2439 ± 30 BP (before 1950 AD)
Calibrated date (95.4& probability): 519-459 cal. BC
SUERC-55129 (GU34956)
Context: 108, Find 24. Cattle tooth deposited in upper layers of burnt mound
Material: Cattle tooth: Cattle
Radiocarbon age: 2035 ± 31 BP (before 1950 AD)
Calibrated date (95.4& probability): 116-54 cal. BC

Recording the excavation trench through a cooking mound of burnt stones on Skomer Island. The exposed stone wall of the Iron Age roundhouse can be seen at the end of the trench.
Crown Copyright RCAHMW, DS2014_354_018

The Skomer Island Project team (L-R), Dr Oliver Davis (Cardiff University), Louise Barker (RCAHMW), Dr Bob Johnston (University of Sheffield), Dr Toby Driver (RCAHMW).
Crown Copyright RCAHMW, DS2014_354_006


Skomer Island. A 3D view of the prehistoric field systems (in red) overlying a terrain model generated from airborne laser scanning or LiDAR.
Crown Copyright. Environment Agency. All Rights Reserved. View generated by RCAHMW, Crown Copyright RCAHMW. LD2012_02_01


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Friday, 26 September 2014

National Sporting Heritage Day and the Heritage of Wales






“Every pavilion or clubhouse has had its own struggle to be built and every club has faced its own fight for survival. It is why we cherish our fields of play and defend them furiously.” Eddie Butler

Although the Millennium stadium in Cardiff might be world famous, many of us take the existence of parks, recreation grounds and leisure centres for granted. In Fields of Play, the author, Daryl Leeworthy, explores the history of these everyday sites and examines the impact of sport on the landscape of modern Wales.

It explores the diversity of sporting facilities from the earliest public park opened in 1858 at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, through the Llwyn Onn swimming baths in Wrexham, opened in 1854, to the numerous welfare grounds that opened across Wales at the turn of the twentieth century. Lesser-known sporting venues are also highlighted, such as the American Roller rink in Cardiff from 1908, the Welsh White City greyhound stadium of 1928 and the short-lived Penarth Road Speedway Stadium from the 1950s.

A game of tennis, photographed around 1934, in the ruins of the Bishops Palace, St Davids, NPRN: 21633
Activities such as the Powderhall races, pushball, baseball, hill-climbing races in cars and the development of adventure playgrounds and leisure centres are all considered, alongside the better-known rugby, football and cricket that dominate the sporting press today.

The book also considers the sporting heritage of Wales in wider terms, with a chapter on the role of the countryside as a national playground, looking at the infrastructure generated by the rise in popularity of cycling, hill-walking, climbing and youth hostelling in the early twentieth century.
Superbly illustrated with 172 historical and contemporary photographs, including many never-before-seen images from the Aerofilms archive of the National Monuments Record of Wales, Fields of Play will enable an understanding of this significant aspect of Wales’ built heritage and encourage a greater appreciation of sporting places in the landscape.

Whatever you are doing to celebrate National Sporting Heritage Day on Tuesday 30 September 2014  it is worth remembering that without the efforts of those who struggled to create the parks and open spaces of Wales over a century ago, we would all have far fewer sporting facilities than we have today.

The book is priced at £9.95 and is available from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and all good bookshops.

Fields of Play: The Sporting Heritage of Wales by Daryl Leeworthy, with a Foreword by Eddie Butler, published by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, 2012, 180pp, 172 illustrations, size 252x224mm.
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