C.A. Ralegh Radford: guidebooks

Tretower Castle (1965)

Tretower Castle (1965)

Two areas of research have been coming together. The first is my biography of Dr Winifred Lamb, Honorary Keeper at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. The second is a study on the development of guidebooks in England and Wales. These two areas merge as a young Ralegh Radford was taken round north-western Greece in the hunt for a suitable prehistoric site to excavate. They both joined William Heurtley’s excavation at Saratse in Macedonia. Radford also assisted (Sir) Charles Reed Peers with the publications of the excavations at Whitby Abbey.

In 1929 Radford was appointed Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Wales and Monmouthsire. His first guide was for Grosmont Castle (1930) (and now part of Jeremy K. Knight’s very useful CADW guide to The Three Castles: Grosmont Castle, Skenfrith Castle, White Castle [1991]). Radford then worked with Wilfrid James Hemp on the guidebook for Denbigh Castle (1932) in North Wales. Hemp had been appointed Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Wales in the Ministry of Public Works and Secretary to the Board of Ancient Monuments in 1913 (Dictionary of Welsh Biography). He had become Secretary to the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire in 1928.

StDavids_MPBW

1953

Radford then prepared the guide for Goodrich Castle (1933), just over the border into England. He was then responsible for a series of guides in Wales: Ogmore Castle (1933), White Castle (1934), Dolwyddelan Castle (1934) and Kidwelly Castle (1935) [see shortened version]; Cymmer (Cymer) Abbey (1934), St David’s Bishop’s Palace (1934) and Strata Florida (1936). He also prepared the National Trust guidebook for the Roman Site at Segontium (1936).

Tintagel_MPBW

1939 (2nd ed., 10th impress. 1962)

His work in Wales was interrupted with guidebooks for three castles in south-west England, all appearing in 1935: Tintagel Castle (1935), Restormel Castle (1935), and Lydford Castle (1935).

In 1936 he was appointed Director of the British School at Rome.

Radford prepared one further guide in Wales: Tretower Court (1938).

Margam_MPBW

1949 (2nd impress. 1967)

After war service he prepared a series of guides:

This list of over 30 guidebooks and leaflets to many of the key medieval castles and monastic sites in England, Wales, and Scotland is but a tip of Radford’s contribution to the interpretation of British built heritage. Perhaps of note are his studies on inscribed stones: Margam (1949), Pillar of Eliseg (1953), Kirkmadrine (1953), and The Sandbach Crosses (1956).

Whithorn_blue

1953 (5th impress. 1968)

11 Comments

  1. […] C.A. Ralegh Radford prepared the guidebook for White Castle in 1934 (along with the other two castles of ‘The Three Castles’: Grosmont and Skenfrith). The DOE Blue Guide is partially bilingual.  The title page (but not the cover) gives the English and Welsh titles of the site: White Castle / Castell Gwyn, and it was prepared by the DOE on behalf of the Secretary of State for Wales. The guide is in two main parts: history and description. However it is introduced with a short summary in Welsh (pp. 5–7). There is a foldout plan inside the back cover. […]

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  2. […] C.A. Ralegh Radford and Gordon Donaldson prepared an official guidebook for Whithorn and Kirkmadrine in 1953. This covers the monastery and later priory at Whithorn; St Ninian’s Chapel at the Isle of Whithorn; St Ninian’s Cave at Glasserton; the museum at Whithorn that contains material from surrounding locations; and the Kirkmadrine stones displayed in the old church. There is a fold-out plan of the priory at Whithorn. The guide contains an extensive history of the region (pp. 3–27). […]

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