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Friday, 27 March 2015

One Hundred Years Ago Today…

The Western Approaches, off the coast of Pembrokeshire, were the hunting ground for the German submarine, U-28, under the command of Georg-Günther Freiherr (Baron) von Forstner. Two liners were sunk within 24 hours of each other. The first was the Dundee-built steamship AGUILA on 27 March. The second, a day later and with an even greater loss of life, was the West African mail steamer FALABA.

The AGUILA was built by Caledon Ship Building and Engineering Co, Dundee, in 1909. The vessel was one of several ships built by the yard for the Yeoward Line Ltd for their fruit importation and passenger service between Liverpool, Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands. The steamship was primarily a cargo carrier, but could accommodate 82 first-class passengers and had a normal crew complement of 42.

The AGUILA was on passage from Liverpool to Lisbon and Los Palmas under the command of Captain Bannerman. At 6pm on 27 March 1915, the ship began to be chased on the surface by U-28. The u-boat fired a warning shot forcing Captain Bannerman to order his ship to stop. The ship’s lifeboats were then lowered to begin the evacuation. However the enemy continued to shell the AGUILA; the Chief Engineer and two men were killed by shrapnel, a female passenger was shot and a female stewardess drowned when a lifeboat capsized. In all, 20 shells hit the ship before the u-boat fired the torpedo that caused the AGUILA to break in two and sink.

The crew remembered by us today and on the memorial for Merchant Navy seaman and fishermen at Tower Hill, London, are as follows: R. A. Chantler, Boatswain; Ernest Chard, Second Mate; William George Edwards, Chief Engineer; Martha Emily Jenkins, Stewardess; Mathew Kirkman, Donkeyman; and J Peterson, Able Seaman.

The FALABA was sunk in Irish waters, some 30 miles to the west of the Smalls. Over 100 people were killed, including one American passenger, Leon Chester Thrasher, a 31-year-old mining engineer from Massachusetts. The Thrasher incident, as it became known in the US media, nearly brought America into the Great War.

Commemorating all who gave their lives for their country who have no grave but the sea.

If you have documents, photographs or family history information associated with either of these shipping losses, you are most welcome to add them to the collection we have started on People’s Collection Wales.

People's Collection Wales details:

Coflein details:

This general arrangement plan for the AGUILA from the archive of Caledon Shipbuilding Company shows the various compartments for the cargo and the arrangement of cabins for passengers and crew.

A very special thank you to Dundee Archives for allowing us to include an image of the plan on the People's Collection Wales website site.

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Monday, 23 March 2015

A New Archaeological Survey of Llanmelin Wood Hillfort, Caerwent

Survey in progress by Royal Commission Investigators at Llanmelin Wood hillfort, March 2015. Here GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) technology is used to gather highly accurate 3D data.
A new archaeological survey is in progress at the magnificent Llanmelin Wood Iron Age hillfort, which overlooks Caerwent Roman town in south-east Wales. The Royal Commission is working closely with Cadw to provide a new detailed survey and understanding of this important hillfort to underpin a programme of new management, access and interpretation.

In the early 1930s Llanmelin hillfort was the focus of intense activity. An original survey by Sir Mortimer Wheeler was improved by V. E. Nash-Williams who conducted three seasons of excavation between 1930-32. At the time the hillfort was thickly wooded with virtually no clear sight lines. Nash-Williams excavated many narrow excavation trenches and running sections to explore the hillfort. In 2012 a new community excavation led by Cadw with Archaeology Wales was carried out to recover better artefactual and dating evidence including evidence for occupation into the Romano-British period.

Over 80 years on from the original survey, archaeologists Louise Barker and Toby Driver have returned to make a new detailed record of the fort. This is a site where many questions remain. The main hillfort has massive defences like many in south Wales, but it is flanked by a rectangular annex divided into two main compounds and bounded by massive linear earthworks. The 1930s excavations produced two human skeletons on the peripheries of the annex, an incredibly rare find for any Welsh hillfort. Previous opinion has suggested the rectangular compounds were for keeping stock, but there are few entrances. Reappraisal of the site in the Gwent County History suggested Llanmelin may be a late Iron Age oppidum with high status funerary enclosures – the annex - developed alongside the settlement.

Llanmelin hillfort from the air in 2011, AP_2011_1115.
The new survey has identified previously unknown parts of the hillfort defences, discovered traces of an early phase enclosure within the main hillfort and recorded evidence of alterations or rebuilds to the ramparts. It is also making an accurate record of all the 1930s trenches, documenting management issues like animal burrows and erosion, and shedding new light on all parts of this complex site. When complete this will provide a starting point for a fresh appraisal of one of the most important Iron Age hillforts in south-east Wales.

Louise Barker and Toby Driver
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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Community Activities on the Montgomery Canal - Have Your Say

Carreghofa Locks on the Montgomeryshire Canal. NPRN 34577, Ref: DI2007_0791

Thanks to a development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Canal & River Trust is able to conduct an extensive consultation in order to further develop ideas for community involvement based around the restoration of the Montgomery canal.

The community activities are part of ambitious plans to restore the 200 year old Montgomery Canal. Planned improvements include the reopening of 2km of canal, reinstatement of a winding hole (turning point) at Crickheath and towpath improvements between Welshpool and Llanymynech. The project also aims to complete the enlargement of Aston Locks nature reserve, extending the conservation of important aquatic plants, restoring historic bridges and carrying out further studies to secure the full funding needed for the project. The Trust will be working with the 14 partner organisations which make up the Montgomery Canal Partnership, which aims to fully restore the canal as a haven for people and nature and bring canal boats back for the first time in 80 years.

The consultation process is crucial in helping the Trust develop an activity plan that will propose all community activities along the Montgomery canal corridor over the next four years. Activities proposed include free to attend nature and wildlife walks and talks, school outreach projects, arts and musical festivals and performances, volunteering activities along the canal, community archaeology and many more ideas.

The consultation period will last until the end of March, and Montgomery Canal Community Development Officer, Sylvia Edwards, is inviting local people and other interested parties e.g. waterways, heritage, wildlife or outdoor activities in general, to fill in a five-minute online survey whose link can be found below. Please ask members of your family and friends to complete the survey too.

Survey questions:

Thank you for helping us make the Montgomery Canal a Resource for People and Wildlife.

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Thursday, 26 February 2015

National Monuments Record of Wales Archives and Library Bulletin - February 2015

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.

Our Library and reading room is open:
Monday – Friday 09.30 – 16.00, Wednesday 10.30 – 16.30.
An appointment is advisable.

February 2015

NMR Site Files – B/W Photos
Over 700 newly digitised photographs, many from the National Buildings Record (NBR) which had an extensive programme of rapid photographic survey to record important structures before their potential destruction through enemy action during the Second World War. The Welsh NBR material consists mainly of high quality unique photographic records which we will be featuring in future blog posts.

Photo surveys from 1934-1960 of the following sites:
  • St Mary's Church, Haverfordwest: C600808 
  • St Mary's Church, Burton: C600868 
  • St Mary's Church, Carew: C600872 
  • Amroth Church: C600878 
  • Lampeter Velfrey Church: C600880 
  • Llangwm Church: C600887 
  • Llawhaden Church: C600894 
  • Loveston Church: C600901 
  • Hafotty, Llansadwrn: C600913 
  • Manorbier Church: C600914 
  • Monkton Priory: C600916 
  • Nevern Church: C600928 
  • Penally Church: C600933 
  • Pwllcrochan Church: C600936 
  • Robeston Church: C600946 

Detail view of the Howard Memorial in the south aisle of St Michaels Church, Rodbaxton taken in 1941, NPRN: 308935 Ref: DI2012_2412

  • Rudbaxton Church: C600952 
  • St Dogwell's Church: C600959 
  • St Petrox' Church: C600961 
  • Stackpole Church: C600965 
  • Castlemartin Church: C600974 
  • St Martin's Church: C600982 
  • St Mary's Church, Tenby: C600988 
  • Upton Chapel: C601083 
  • St Thomas' Church, Haverfordwest: C601093 
  • St Brothen's Church, Llanfrothen: C601104 
  • St Cadfan's Church, Tywyn: C601120 

Interior of St Mary’s church, Tal-y-Llyn from 1941: NPRN: 96024 Ref: DI2013_2183

  • St Mary’s, Tal-y-llyn: C601127 
  • Blaen-y-Cwm inscribed stone: C601133 
  • Llys Bradwen: C601136 
  • Craig yr Arian Camp: C601139 
  • Houses in Tywyn: C601147 
  • Dolaugwyn: C601150 
  • St Mary's Church, Llanfair Juxta Harlech: C601159 
  • Parc, Llanfrothen: C601161 
  • Rhual, Mold: C601164 
  • Nercwys Hall: C601172 
  • Fferm House, Flintshire: C601188 
  • Mary's Church, Caerhun: C601201 
  • Maenan Abbey: C601203 
  • Hafod y Celyn: C601205 
  • The Old Rectory, Aber: C601208 
  • Pen y Bryn, Aber: C601212 
  • Bont Newydd, Aber: C601214 
  • Pen y Mwd, Aber: C601216 
  • A round hut in Aber: C601218 
  • Pont y Pair, Bettws y Coed: C601220 
  • Pont yr Afanc, Bettws y Coed: C601268 
  • Coed Mawr, Bettws y Coed: C601274 
  • Mynydd Bychan, Bettws y Coed: C601278 
  • Waterloo Bridge, Bettws y Coed: C601281 
  • Arrow Stone at Afon Anafon: C601283 
  • Sheep fold at Afon Anafon: C601286 
  • A stone hut in Aber: C601288 
  • Llanerch y Felin: C601292 
  • Farchwel, Tal-y-bont: C601298 
  • Tai Uchaf: C601301 
  • Ty Gwyn: C601304 
  • Hafod Fach: C601310 
  • Maes y Castell: C601318 
  • Carnedd Penyborth Goch: C601320 
  • Clogwyn yr Eryr: C601322 
  • Pant y Griafolen: C601324 
  • Pont Hafod Ty Gwyn: C601326 
  • Caerhun Hall: C601328 
  • Ffon y Cawr Stone: C601374 
  • Conwy: C601378 
  • Wern Arthen: C601386 

Surveying a cist near Maen y Bardd in 1950 NPRN: 300926 ref: DI2013_2601

  • Cist near Maen y Bardd: C601585 
  • Powys Castle: C601588 
  • Maen y Bardd Burial Chamber: C601360 
  • Bryn Moel: C601364 
  • Castell, Caerhun: C601368 
  • Bwlch y Ddeufaen Stone: C601371 
  • Nant: C601388 
  • Rowlyn Uchaf: C601332 
  • St Mary's Church, Conwy: C601390 
  • Parlwr Mawr: C601976 
  • Conwy town walls: C601981 
  • Burial Chamber: C601985 
  • Royal Oak, Llangybi: C601994 

View of Newport Castle taken during building work: NPRN: 93389 Ref: DI2012_2492

  • Ministry of Works photos of Newport Castle, Monmouthshire: C601021 
  • Ministry of Works photos of Neath Abbey: C601034 
  • Ffynnon Gybi, Holywell: C601074 
  • Llawhaden Castle: C601077 
  • Tintern Abbey: C601601 
  • Skenfrith Castle: C601608 
  • Conwy Castle: C601478 
  • Conwy Town Walls: C601560 
  • Aberconwy House: C601965 
  • Tretower Castle: C601620 
  • Crickhowell Castle: C601630 
  • Gilwern: C601633 
  • Llangorse Lake: C601635 
  • Brecon Cathedral: C601637 
  • White Castle: C601671 
  • Trellech Church: C601644 
  • Usk Priory Church: C601646 
  • Usk Castle: C601649 
  • Bigsweir Bridge: C601654 
  • Llandogo Priory: C601656 
  • Misère carvings St Davids Cathedral: C601661 
  • Llandogo Church: C601687 
  • Llanthony Priory: C601693 
  • Nant Gwyllt Bridge: C601697 
  • Brecon Cathedral: C601699 
  • Honddu Bridge: C601701 
  • Tintern Abbey: C601703 
  • Llanvetherine Church: C601705 
  • Harold's Stones, Trellech: C601708 
  • Christ College, Brecon: C601714 
  • Gaer Llwyd Cromlech: C601716 
  • Roman Steps, Llanbedr: C601718 
  • Caerwent Roman City: C601721 
  • Laugharne Castle: C601724 
  • Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre: C601726 
  • Stone circle at Pontypridd: C601728 
  • Features at St Andrews Church, Tredunnock: C601731 
  • Chepstow Castle: C601733 
  • Moynes Court: C601741 
  • Trellech: C601743 
  • Trellech Motte: C601745 
  • Raglan Castle: C601748 
  • Caldicot Castle: C601750 
View of Waterloo Bridge, Betws-y-Coed in 1951, NPRN: 23839 Ref:DI2014_2141

  • Waterloo Bridge: C601852 
  • Bodfan: C601867 
  • Glynllifon: C601877 
  • Glynllifon standing stone: C601881 
  • Monnow Bridge: C601735 
  • Plas Newydd: C601896 
  • Pont Pen y Llyn: C601899 
  • St Twrog's Church, Llandwrog: C601901 
  • Ty Mawr, Llandwrog: C601907 
  • Priory House, Abergavenny: C601753 
  • Harlech Castle: C601759 
  • Wyelands House: C601767 
  • Caernarfon Town Wall: C601812 
  • Ruperra Castle: C601816 
  • St Bodfan's Church, Aber showing various items of church plate: C601836 
  • Maenan Abbey: C601843 
  • Caernarvon Castle: C601913 
  • Erw Pwll y Glo: C601915 
  • Llanfaglan church and inscribed Stone: C601927, C601924 
  • Collfryn, Llandwrog: C601940 DI2014_2203 
  • St Mary's Church, Llanfair-is-gaer: C601942 
  • Plas Llanfair: C601945 

Investigators' Photographs
  • Photo surveys from 1975 of the following sites: 
  • Gowerton Conservative Club: C601919 
  • Roundhouse Farm, defensive Tower, Nantyglo: C601930 
  • Aberdeuddwr, Nantcwnlle: C601949 
  • Allt-Ddu, Ceulanamaesmawr: C601954 

Emergency Recording Collection
  • 2014 - The former HM Stanley Hospital, St Asaph; digital photographic record and measured drawings: C601660

Investigators' Digital Photography
  • Photo surveys taken 2010-11 of the following sites: 
  • Bethel Chapel: C600908 
  • Froncysyllte Canal Workers Mess, Llangollen C600910 
  • The Globe Hotel, Pontypool: C601340 
  • Photo survey of St Mark’s church, Brithdir: C601537 
  • Bryn-y-odyn, Derwenlas: C601563 
  • Barclays Bank, Aberystwyth: C601583 

Archaeology Wales and Cambrian Archaeological Projects Archives
  • Reports from 2010 & 2012 relating to Aberpergwm Colliery AWP_033 C600646 & C600647
  • 2010-11 Furnace Farm, Eglwysbach, Conwy Valley C600676 & C601081
  • 2011 Swn-y-Clychau, Caerwys C 600718
  • 2010 the Old Bowling Green, Cannons Lane, Presteigne: C600613

Archaeological Reports/Evaluations (non Trust)
  • Making sense of heritage report entitled ‘Pontypridd Railway Station Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf Historic Building Recording’. Prepared by: Wessex Archaeology in January 2015: C600841
  • Report entitled: 'Exploration of Roman Route from Cae Gaer to Trawscoed' produced by Martin Davies, 19 Nov 2014. Comprises text, maps and photographs. C601673

Cotswold Archaeology Projects Archive
  • Project archives produced in 2013 and 2014 relating to the following sites: 
  • Former Hendre Public House, Trowbridge Cardiff: C601101 
  • Glan yr Afon Gas Works, Ystalyfera, C601113 
  • Mynydd Brombil Meteorological Mast, Margam: C601126 
  • Greyfriars Place/Kingsway Gas Main Replacement, Cardiff: C601132 
  • Land East Of St Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan: C601140 
  • Bruton Place Gas Main Replacement Cardiff: C601642 

Gwynedd Archaeological Trust Reports
  • Archaeological Assessment of Nant Gwrtheyrn Lower Car Park, Nant Gwrtheyrn, Gwynedd produced by Gwynedd Archaeological Trust in 2013, Project No. G2313, Report No.1208: C601678

Sunter Harrison Collection
  • 157 prints and photocopied images and showing various sites in North East Wales, notes and indexes. Date range: 1935-1990: C5826

Harold Hughes Collection
  • Harold Hughes (1864-1940) was an architect practising in Bangor, in 1900 he was appointed diocesan architect and surveyor.
  • Architects drawings of Cwm Church, Flintshire produced by Harold Hughes, between 1899 and 1901 have now been catalogued: C601382, C601336.

Tretower Court Survey
  • Collection of measured survey drawings of the Tretower Court complex, produced by Plowman Craven Associates for Cadw c.2002 C601392


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1934, Llandrindod Wells, Central Wales: an ideal spa for health and holiday, The Official Guide, C.C.Hughes, Llandrindod Wells.

1960, Burrow's reference map of Llanelli, Ed J. Burrow & co. ltd., Cheltenham

1970, Ebbw Vale, Burrow & co. ltd., Cheltenham.

1975, Borough of Llanelli: Visitors Guide and Leisure, Ed. J. Burrow, London.

1986, Ymweliad ei Mawrhydi Elisabeth II a Machynlleth 11eg o Orffennaf, 1986 / Visit of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Machynlleth 11th July, 1986, Machynlleth Town Council, Machynlleth

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2011, Eglwys Sain Nicolas, Y Grysmwnt, Sir Fynwy / St. Nicholas' Church, Grosmont, Monmouthshire

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Buchanan, R. A., 1969, The Industrial Archaeology of Bath, Bath University Press.

Builth Wells and District Chamber of Trade, 1977, Builth Wells and District, Powys: the official guide, Builth Wells and District Chamber of Trade, Powys

Builth Wells & District Heritage Society, 2012, A War of Memories: Builth Wells 1939 – 1945, Builth Wells, Builth Wells

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Davies, Elgan Philip, 2011, Yr Hen goleg / The Old College, Gwasg Gomer, Llandysul

Day, James, 1848, A Practical Treatise on the Construction and Formation of Railways, 3rd ed, John Weale, London.

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Edmunds, Morgan, 1910, The New Hengoediana, or, The history of Hengoed Baptist Church, from the earliest times to the present day, H.W. Southey, Merthyr Tydfil.

Edwards, Thomas, 1909, Gwaith Twm o’r Nant, Ab Owen, Llanuwchllyn.

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British Archaeology no. 141 (March/April 2015)

BSI Update Standards (February 2015)

Building Conservation Directory 2015

CBA Newsletter no. 33 (Spring 2015)

Chapels Society Newsletter no. 58 (January 2015)

Current Archaeology nos. 299 and 300 (February & March 2015)

Maritime Wales / Cymru a’r Môr vol. 35 (2014)

Pembrokeshire Life (February 2015)

Site Recorder no. 1582 (February 2015)

Salon: Society of Antiquaries Newsletter no. 336 [electronic journal]

Journals Current Awareness

British Archaeology no. 141 (March/April 2015), p. 11: ‘Britain in Archaeology’ section, a late bronze age collection of ten metal objects found at Marloes and St. Brides in Pembrokeshire has been declared treasure.

Current Archaeology nos. 299 & 300: regular column ‘Sherds: from the towel’s edge’ by Christopher Catling, Contributing Editor - and Secretary of the RCAHMW!

Site Recorder no. 1582, p. 8: ‘Focus on... Traditional green-oak timber framed construction... part 1’ by Alan Creasey

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Friday, 20 February 2015

One Hundred Years Ago Today…

Over 170 ships, aircraft and airships were lost due to enemy action or supporting the war effort round the coast of Wales.
…. the Cardiff-registered steamship, CAMBANK, became the first casualty of a German u-boat in Welsh waters during the Great War 1914–18.

The U-boat campaign began on 4 February 1915, when the German High Command announced that any merchant shipping in the vicinity of Britain and Ireland were to be regarded as legitimate targets. The shipping lanes passing up the St George’s Channel, along the North Wales coast into the Mersey and along the south Wales coast to Swansea, Barry and Cardiff were extremely important for essential imports of food and materials to keep industry running and to support the war effort. In all, over 170 merchant ships, naval vessels, aircraft and airships were lost.

The front cover of one of the surviving crew lists for the CAMBANK from the collections of Glamorgan Archives. A very special thank you to Rhian Phillips, Senior Archivist, for allowing us to include the document on Peoples Collection Wales website.
A new collection on the People’s Collection Wales site is beginning to explore some of the stories.

The CAMBANK was built by John Readhead & Sons, South Shields, in 1899, for the shipping line, W.J Runciman & son as the RAITHMOOR. It was sold to the Merevale Shipping Company of Cardiff in 1913, which changed the vessel's name to CAMBANK to match the line's own naming tradition. William Evans Thomas was the nominated manager of 17 Merchants Exchange, Bute Street.

At 11am on 20 February 1915, the CAMBANK was torpedoed by German U-30 off Point Lynas, Anglesey. It had been on passage from Huelva to Garston with a cargo of copper. The vessel sank within 20 minutes. The ship’s lifeboats, containing the 21 surviving crew members, were taken in tow by the Bull Bay lifeboat and then the armed yacht ORIANA to be landed at Amlwch.

Today, at 11am, the Royal Commission and the People’s Collection Wales will be remembering Joseph William Boyle, age 30, Third engineer; Michael Lynch, age 30, Fireman and Trimmer; Robert Quigley, age 34, Donkeyman; and Charles Sinclair, age 36, Fireman and Trimmer – and their families.

Commemorating all who gave their lives for their country but have no grave but the sea.


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