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THE LOST CITY OF TRELLECH-FOUND

Once upon a time, back in the  Middle Ages, a large, thriving Welsh city existed between Monmouth and the village of Trellech. Its size was astounding for the day—it had 10,000 inhabitants (for comparison London had 40,000.) Another 10,000 souls may have lived in a shanty town along its edges.

What makes Trellech’s size particularly startling is that it reached this number in a mere 25 years, meaning that vast numbers of people must have been flooding into the area. This was undoubtedly something to do with the powerful de Clare lords, who held the local lands and used Trellech for smelting iron for their personal army.

Then…something happened. It possibly began with a  devastating raid over poaching deer, which destroyed a large portion of the town.  Then the Black Death roared in during the 1300’s, causing the population to drop dramatically. More trouble followed in the early 15th century when Owain Glyndwr was on the rampage in those debatable borderlands. By the time of the Civil War, the city had been completely abandoned, and soon nature reclaimed what was once its own, and grass grew over the walls of once mighty Trellech.

By modern times, it was mainly known through a few medieval documents and in local legend, its precise location lost and subject to much speculation, with many believing it was sited under the modern village of Trellech.

No one seemed terribly interested in definitively locating it and finding out if it was as extensive and important as claimed, although some earlier surveys were indicative. But then an enthusiastic young archaeologist, intrigued by the story of the lost city,  decided to use his life savings to buy the fields where folklore said Trellech stood.

And it turned out,  when the trenches were dug, that legend, this time, was correct.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4083716/History-fan-spends-32-000-life-savings-buying-field-digs-discover-lost-medieval-city.html

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http://www.lostcityoftrellech.co.uk/

 

The project is ongoing, so if anyone is in the area and wishes to join in this summer, there are details in the second link.

Besides the archaeological site of the city, the nearby village of Trellech is itself worth a visit, with its Holy Well dedicated to saint Anne, the Grade I Church of Saint Nicholas, a castle motte called the Tump, a 16th C pub, and three enormous Bronze Age standing stones (Harold’s Stones) which are aligned on the Midwinter sunset.

 

 

RICHARD RETURNS TO THE TOWER THIS CHRISTMAS

The Tower of London is holding an event of interest to Ricardians. Between December 27 and 31, you will be able to enter King Richard III’s court as it celebrates Christmas 1484.

Court intrigue and plotting takes place amidst the pageantry, glorious costumes, and revels, all under the eye of the traditional Lord of Misrule.

Events begin at 11 A.M. with the King’s Arrival, then progress to ‘Court and Conspiracy’  at 11:30 and 14:30, and ‘The Hunt’ at 1:30 and 15:30.

http://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on/medieval-christmas/#gs.2hY5r7sItower

It is nice to see  Richard’s reign getting some recognition, although we do not yet know  how fair a view the entertainment will take. It is too easy (or should that be lazy?) for someone au fait only with Shakespeare or bad documentaries to imagine that such a short time was spent in nothing but warfare and misery, with the Tower a sinister symbol (which it was generally not, being a royal palace, not just a place of imprisonment). Richard liked a good party!

Teaching History to Children: Connected Thinking for the C21st

Giaconda's Blog

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How do we teach our children history?

As an avid reader of historical non-fiction and enthusiast of all things medieval, I was determined to introduce my children to history up-close and personal from as early an age as possible. I didn’t want them to learn history in little clunks of dis-connected ‘projects’ at primary school because I felt that they needed to see history as a continuum. I wanted them to live and breathe their history and to care about the lives of other humans who lived long ago but shared the same basic fears and enthusiasms and dreams for their future as we do.

Now, there is nothing wrong with teaching history in ‘project’ format at Primary level. You have to start somewhere and it is important to introduce such a complex and difficult subject in a digestible format. What I object to, is the feeling that like many…

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To be, or not to be, the Bard?

William Shakespeare’s contribution to the image of Richard III, as of many other historical figures, has been less than helpful in terms of accuracy. However, just as Shakespeare’s original plays misrepresented his sources and the true course of  events, not every performance of one of the plays is as he left them.

His version of Richard III was, of course, adapted to be more hostile by the relatively melodramatic Poet Laureate Colley Cibber. Garrick seems to have restored the original content somewhat although the horror film The Tower of London was a further diversion

Then there is uncertainty over which plays Shakespeare either wholly wrote, co-wrote with the likes of Fletcher, adapted or delegated; the late Eric Sams providing us with an alternative canonical list. Some of the others may be the responsibility of contemporaries such as Marlowe (d.1593). The Bard’s acknowledged British “history” plays appear to be centred wholly upon monarchs but those in question focus on Thomas of Woodstock, Thomas Cromwell and others.

Beyond this come the known forgeries of the tabula rasa variety. The principal exponent was the eighteenth century London youth William Ireland, who momentarily fooled even his own father and part of the theatrical world to the point that his Rowena and Vortigern was performed.

Mixed feelings for a Welsh Ricardian….

Richard and Undercroft

Being half Welsh (and proud of it!) but also a Ricardian through and through, I don’t know whether to watch this with huge interest…or bare my teeth.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-history-suffers-teaching-being-10400295

The programme should have English subtitles.

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