St Davids Bishop’s Palace: guidebooks

IMG_2157.JPG
The Cathedral from the Bishop’s Palace, St Davids © David Gill

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.

StDavids_MPBW
1953 (2nd ed.)

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.

St_Davids_palace
1953 (2nd ed.; 11th impress. with amendments, 1971)

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.

StDavids_palace_Cadw
1991

A revised version of the Wyn Evans and Turner guide was reissued in the larger Cadw format.

StDavids_palace_Cadw_large
1991 (rev. 1999)

 

Kyffin Williams and the castles of North Wales

Beaumaris Castle
(1961)

I have much enjoyed John R. Kenyon, ‘Kyffin Williams and the guidebooks to the four great Edwardian castles of North Wales: a bibliographic essay’, The Castle Studies Group Journal 27 (2013-14) 241-44. These cover the castles of Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Conwy, and Harlech. My copy is a second impression (1966) but the originals date to 1961. The guides (‘illustrated souvenir’) were written by Alan Phillips and ‘produced by the Information Branch of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works’. Phillips also prepared a souvenir guide to monasteries in North Yorkshire. He seems to have studied at University College, Oxford.

The four guides replaced the old Office / Ministry of Works guides to Beaumaris (by Wilfried J. Hemp, 1933), Caernarfon (by Sir Charles Peers, 1929), Conway Castle and Town Walls (by A.J. Taylor, 1956), and Harlech (by Hemp and Peers, 1927).

Harlech Castle
(1974)

Williams’ covers were replaced by line drawings of the castles in later editions of the guides. My copy of Phillips’ guide to Harlech is the Department of the Environment (‘on behalf of the Welsh Office’) edition of 1974. The guides both contain fold-out plans and tours of the two castles. The DOE guide to Harlech has a description of the castle in Welsh printed inside the back cover.

The new MPBW guides mark a move away from the ‘Blue Guides’ to more heavily illustrated booklets such as the combined volume for Stonehenge and Avebury.

Guides to Anglesey

(1972)
(1972)

O.E. Craster published a Ministry of Works guide to the Ancient Monuments of Anglesey in 1953. My 1972 copy is a 9th impression (with amendments). Price 17 1/2 p. Although the cover is in English the title page has a parallel title, Cyfarwyddyd I Henebion Mon. There is also a three page summary in Welsh at the end (pp. 42-44). The guide has is “Prepared by the Department of the Environment on behalf of the Welsh Office”.

The guide is organised by period:

  • Neolithic Age
  • Bronze Age
  • The Early Iron Age and Roman Occupation
  • The Early Christian Period
  • The Middle Ages and Later Period

In all, 23 sites are listed. Many have sites plans.

(1977)
(1977)

The 10th impression (1977; cost, 60 p) is very similar although the summary in Welsh is appropriately entitled Crynodeb (pp. 44-46). There is also a short list of further reading including three DOE pamphlets for Beaumaris Castle, Barclodiad y Gawres, and Bryn Celli Ddu. Notice the sublte change of title to Ancient Monuments in anglesey.A

(1994)
(1994)

The ‘blue guide’ was replaced by a yellow CADW guide (small format) in 1989 (revised edition 1994; cost £2.25) by Lesley Macinnes. This has an introductory section on the historical and archaeological background, and then groups the monuments on three ‘tours’: Eastern Anglesey, Western Anglesey, and Holyhead. There is further reading, as well as a fold out map of Anglesey. The sub-title of the volume is A Guide to Ancient and Historic Sites on the Isle of Anglesey.

The replacement CADW guide is by M.J. Yates and David Longley (3rd ed. 2001). It has the sub-title A Guide to Ancient Monuments on the Isle of Anglesey.

 

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