A.J. Taylor and Conway Castle

1957 [1972]
1957 [1972]
Arnold J. Taylor prepared a number of guidebooks for sites in Wales. He prepared the guidebook for Caernarfon Castle and Town Walls and this was followed in 1957 by Conway Castle and Town Walls. This is a standard blue guide with a foldout map of the castle inside the back cover. A plan of the medieval town plan and walls appears inside. The guide is divided into three main sections: History; Description (The Castle; The Town Walls), and Note on Building Materials. There is a one page summary in Welsh (Castell Aberconwy). The castle was placed in the care of the Ministry of Works in 1953 ‘for a period of 99 years’.

I was struck by the relaxed tone for the guide that appears in the preface: ‘Every year visitors in their thousands walk through the empty ruins of Conway Castle. As they climb to its battlements and look down through the floorless towers and roofless roms, all of them, young and old alike, ponder on its meaning and its story.’ Taylor then poses a series of questions. So here is a guide that is written to respond to the visitor experience.


And this same opening preface appears in Taylor’s Cadw guide (rev. 1986). Note that the cover uses the Welsh form, Conwy Castle, although inside the cover the title of the guide is given as ‘Conway Castle and Town Walls’.

Author: David Gill

David Gill is Honorary Professor in the Centre for Heritage at the University of Kent, and Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History and an Academic Associate in SISJAC at UEA; Professor of Archaeological Heritage.

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