1953 (rev. 1971)
The abbey at Valle Crucis was founded in 1201 from Strata Marcella. The site was placed in State Guardianship in 1951.
C.A. Ralegh Radford prepared the first guidebook in 1953 consisting of the standard history followed by a description. A fold-out plan was placed inside the back cover. The 1971 edition included the Welsh name on the tile page (Abaty Glyn y Groes) along with a short summary in Welsh (pp. 21–22). The guide included a study of some of the early gave slabs.
The Cadw guide contained two sections: Valle Crucis Abbey by D.H. Evans, and The Pillar of Eliseg by Jeremy K. Knight (1987). This consists of the main sections: Historical background; the development of the abbey buildings; a descriptive tour of Valle Crucis. A fold-out plan of the abbey is printed inside the card cover. A short summary in Welsh was provided (p. 46).
This guide was revised in 1995.
1987 (rev. 1995)
1991 (2nd ed. rev. 2000)
White Castle lies between Abergavenny and Monmouth in the Welsh Marches. Its origins lie in the Norman Conquest of the region, but the earliest stone remains date to the 12th century. It was placed in State Guardianship in 1922.
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.
The 1991 Cadw guide for the Three Castles was prepared by Jeremy K. Knight.
1962 (7th impress. 1976)
1949 (2nd impress. 1967)
The guidebook presents the collection of a Roman milestone, early Christian inscriptions, and later monastic material that were moved into the old School House at Margam in 1932.
The guidebook by C.A. Ralegh Radford starts with a history of the area that allows the material in the museum to be placed in context: The Silures and Glamorgan in the Roman period; the restoration of native rile and the introduction of Christianity; the early Christian memorial stones; the formation of Glamorgan; the Celtic monastery at Margam; the pre-Romanesque crosses; the later history of the kingdom of Morgannwg; the Norman conquest of Glamorgan; the Cistercian abbey of Margam.
The second half includes a description of the pieces, starting with the early 4th century Roman milestone from Port Talbot (RIB 2254).
The guidebook includes a plan of the museum showing how the stone were displayed.
The Bishop’s Palace, Lamphey © David Gill
The Bishop’s Palace at Lamphey in Pembrokeshire is now in the care of Cadw; the remains were placed in State Guardianship in 1925. The origins of the house lay in the Norman occupation of south-west Wales.
Bishop Henry de Gower (1328–47) expanded the palace. The estate was handed over to the crown at the time of the Reformation.
C.A. Ralegh Radford prepared a simple paper guide in 1948. It contains a history and a description, with a double page plan in the centre.
1946 (repr. 1968)
Grosmont Castle was given to Hubert de Burgh by King John in July 1201, though its origins lies in the Norman annexation of the area. On Hubert’s death the castle reverted to the crown, becoming the property of the future king Edward I in 1254, and in 1267 to Edmund, Earl of Lancaster.
Grosmont Castle remained the property of the Duchy of Lancaster until 1825, and it was placed in State Guardianship in 1923.
C.A. Ralegh Radford’s paper guide consists of a history followed by a description. A plan was printed on p. 3.
1991 (2nd ed. rev. 2000)
Grosmont Castle is included in the Cadw guide for the Three Castles (Grosmont, Skenfrith, and White Castles) written by Jeremy K. Knight. This starts with a combined history for the three castles, followed by individual tours. There is also a short entry on Hen Gwrt Medieval Moated Site.
My study of Ministry Souvenir Guidebooks has appeared in the latest number of the Journal of Public Archaeology (2018).
The first formal guidebooks for historic sites placed in state guardianship in the United Kingdom appeared in 1917. There was an expansion of the series in the 1930s and 1950s. However from the late 1950s the Ministry of Works, and later the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, started to produce an additional series of illustrated souvenir guides. One distinct group covered Royal Palaces: The Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Queen Victoria’s residence of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, and Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. This was followed by guides for the archaeological sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury, the Neolithic flint mines at Grime’s Graves, the Roman villa at Lullingstone, and Hadrian’s Wall. In 1961 a series of guides, with covers designed by Kyffin Williams, was produced for the English castles constructed in North Wales and that now form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of ‘Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd’. These illustrated guides, some with colour, prepared the way for the fully designed guides now produced by English Heritage, Cadw, and History Scotland.
‘The Ministry of Works and the Development of Souvenir Guides from 1955’, Public Archaeology (2018). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14655187.2017.1484584
(Sir) Mortimer Wheeler and Tessa Wheeler prepared the first official guide to the Roman amphitheatre outside the legionary fortress at Caerleon (Isca Silurum) in 1935. The couple had excavated on the site in 1926–27. This guide reappeared as the Ministry of Works paper guide in 1950. It contains the sections:
- Caerleon in Legend and History
- The Amphitheatre
A plan appears on one of the middle pages. There is a note about the legionary barrack-blocks in Prysg Field (also in State Guardianship).
This simple guide was expanded into the ‘blue’ guide with a contributions by Dr V.E. Nash Williams. This is divided into the following sections:
- Caerleon in legend and history
- The amphitheatre
- The Prysg Field barrack-buildings
- Caerllion [short summary in Welsh]
Two fold-out plans appear inside the back cover. The first two sections are essentially the same text as the 1950 guide by Wheeler; Williams contributed the discussion of the barrack-buildings.
The DOE guide has a different bilingual title inside:
Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre and Barrack Buildings
Theatre Gron Rufeinig Caerllion a Llety’r Milwyr
1970 (4th impress. 1980)
The Welsh Office / Y Swyddfa Gymreig produced the Official Handbook / Llawlyfr Swyddogol (blue guide) in 1980. Welsh was used on the cover, and inside the guide uses the bilingual titles that were used in the original blue guide.
The main difference is that there is an extended guide in Welsh with sections mirroring the English section: Hanes; Theatr Gron; Disgrifiad.
Jeremy K. Knight prepared the new Cadw guide (1988). There was a move away from it being a guide to the amphitheatre to the legionary fortress. The guide was organised in the following sections:
- In search of Isca
- The legion and its fortress
- The foundation of Isca
- The layout of the fortress
- The Second Legion and the occupation of Caerleon
This was followed by a tour guide, starting with the fortress baths, followed by the amphitheatre, defences and barracks.
A fold-out plan is printed inside the rear card cover.
There is a single page summary in Welsh (Hanes; Disgrifaid).
2003 (3rd ed.)
Knight prepared the 3rd edition (2003) in the new large format of Cadw guides. A fold-out bird’s eye view was printed inside the front card cover, and a plan inside the back cover. It is divided into two main sections: a history of Roman Isca; a tour of Roman Isca. It contained a feature on ‘Outside the walls: the civilian settlements’.