The visitor numbers for sites in the care of Cadw and where an admission is applied are available. They give an impression of how heritage sites in Wales have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of visitors from 2017 to 2019 ranged from 1.3 million (in 2017) to 1.2 million (in 2018 and 2019). These fell to 197,331 in 2020, and then rose in the following year to 784,772.
The release of the 2022 figures later this year should provide an idea about the recovery of the sector.
Castles built by Edward I in North Wales had represented between 46 and 48 per cent of the total visitor figures for Cadw location between 2017 and 2019. In 2021 they represented 53 per cent. Beaumaris had more visitors in 2021 than it had before the pandemic.
During December the small church at Mwnt in Ceredigion was vandalised not just once but twice (“Mwnt church vandalism prompts £20k fundraising appeal“, BBC News 3 January 2022). Windows and the entrance to the churchyard were damaged. These vulnerable structures need public protection.
The contribution of William Francis Grimes to the Sutton Hoo excavations can sometimes be overlooked. Grimes was born in Pembroke and was an undergraduate at Cardiff where he read Latin; he then joined the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff where he initially worked on Roman pottery from Holt. However, his main interest was in prehistory, and in 1938 he joined the archaeological section of the Ordnance Survey. His expertise in working on organic materials was thought suitable for the excavation at Sutton Hoo where his ‘work in dissecting and removing the majority of the buried deposits was invaluable’ (AntJ 1940).
A set of Roman barracks from the legionary fortress at Caerleon (Isca Silurum) lies in the north-west corner in a location known as Prysg Field. They were excavated by Victor Nash-Williams from 1927 to 1929. Each of the four blocks that can be viewed would have held a century. The accommodation for the centurion was placed at the end of each block.
Properties in the care of Cadw will be re-opening from August following the COVID-19 lockdown (“Wales’ ancient monuments set to reopen in August“, BBC News 18 July 2020). The first to re-open will be the castle at Laugharne on 4 August 2020.
Baillie Reynolds was educated a Winchester College, and Hertford College, Oxford. His studies were interrupted by service in the Royal Field Artillery (1915–19) when he served in the 4th West Riding (Howitzer) Brigade. On completion of his studies he became a Pelham Student at the British School at Rome (1921–23). He published Thomas Ashby’s notes on the Castra Peregrinorum as well as a study of the troops based there in the Journal of Roman Studies (1923). In 1923 he was made an award by the Craven Fund to continue his research at the British School at Rome; the other awards were made to William A. Heurtley of Oriel College, and C.A. Ralegh Radford of Exeter College.
In 1924 he was appointed Assistant Master, Winchester College, and later the same year Lecturer in Ancient History, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (1924–34) where the principal from 1927 to 1934 was (Sir) Henry Stuart-Jones, a former director of the British School at Rome. Baillie Reynolds published The Vigiles of Imperial Rome (Oxford University Press, 1926). From 1926–29 he directed the excavation of the Roman auxiliary fort at Caerhun (Canovium) to the south of Conwy in north Wales; the final report was published by him in 1938. In 1931 he was responsible for excavating the north gate, and in 1932 the west gate of Verulamium as part of the wider project directed by (Sir) Mortimer and Tessa Wheeler. He was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (1929).
In 1934 he was appointed Inspector of Ancient Monuments for England, Ministry of Works. In 1936 in his capacity as Inspector he supported the proposal to preserve the remains of the Jewry Wall in Leicester that had been excavated by Kathleen Kenyon. In 1935 he was elected to the Council for the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, serving alongside Ralegh Radford. In 1947 he was one of the people who helped to acquire the Roman site of Wall from the National Trust.
Baillie Reynolds joined the Royal Field Artillery (TA) (1927–39) while he was in Aberystwyth, and during the Second World War served as a Major in the Royal Artillery (1939–45).
In 1954 he became Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Ministry of Works (1954–1961) replacing B.H. St John O’Neil; A.J. Taylor was appointed Assistant Chief Inspector. One of his projects was the intervention at Corfe Castle in 1959 to stabilise the ruins. Another was the restoration of West Kennet Long Barrow and Wayland’s Smithy; he defended his decisions in The Daily Telegraph (28 July 1962) describing the work as ‘no more a “fake” than is the reconstructed Portland Vase’. In 1960 he advised on the restoration of the Claudian aqueduct that ran through the grounds of the British Embassy in Rome. He retired in 1961 and was succeeded by Taylor.
In 1963 he was elected President, Royal Archaeological Institute (1963–1966) succeeding Ralegh Radford. He was made OBE (1950) and CBE (1957). Baillie Reynolds died in 1973.
Tintern Abbey was transferred to the Office of Works in 1914. The guidebook was prepared by the architect Sir Harold Brakspear (1934). Brakspear had helped to plan the ruins after they were purchased by the Crown in 1901, and before they were conserved.
A replacement ‘blue guide’ was prepared by O.E. Craster in 1956. This took the standard pattern of history followed by description. A plan of the abbey was placed in the centre pages.
Craster’s guide continued to be published into the 1970s. This included some elements in Welsh: Abaty Tyndyrn (on the title page, but not on the cover), and a short summary of just over one page at the beginning.
The centre page plan was placed on a fold-out plan inside the back cover. The glossary was expanded to include: ashlar, barrel vault, conversi, garth, jamb, lay brother, lintel, mullion, novice, papal bull, plinth, pulpitum, quire, refectory, screen, vestment and vestry. It also dropped: aisle, bay, boss, capital, crossing, floriated, sexfoil.
Craster also prepared the illustrated souvenir guide (1960; 2nd ed. 1964). It included historical background; a tour of the abbey; the first tourists. The tour is numbered on the plan.
The tour in the souvenir guide in effect turns into the card guide that continued to be published under Cadw.
The Cadw guidebook was prepared by David M. Robinson. This includes a history of the abbey, a section on building the abbey, and a tour of the abbey. A foldout plan (in colour) is printed inside the back (card) cover.
The Bishop’s Palace at St Davids was placed in State Guardianship in 1932. The official guidebook was prepared by C.A. Ralegh Radford. The first edition appeared in 1934, and the second edition in 1953. This starts with the history of the palace followed by a description of the remains. There is a foldout plan inside the back cover.
The blue guide continued into the 1970s as a DOE guide, published on behalf of the Welsh Office. On the title page (but not the cover) the Welsh title is provided: Llys yr Esgob Tyddewi. It included a reconstruction by Alan Sorrell. A summary in Welsh is provided at the back of the guide.
The Cadw guide changed the title with the emphasis on St Davids (and note the dropping of the apostrophe). The author was by J. Wyn Evans, Dean of the neighbouring cathedral. It starts with ‘A Palace for Prelates: Historical Background’, and is followed by ‘A Tour of the Bishop’s Palace’. At the back is a section on ‘Bishops as Builders: a Summary of the Building History’ by Rick Turner. There is a plan of the palace inside the card rear cover. One page summarises the guide in Welsh.
The guide includes a section on St Non’s Chapel.
A revised version of the Wyn Evans and Turner guide was reissued in the larger Cadw format.