First pictures from the Wales trip 2014 - Sarah Woodbury

First pictures from the Wales trip 2014

So far, we’ve seen Cilmeri, Tintern Abbey, Chepstow Castle, and Caerphilly Castle.

IMAG0756This is the main shot of Cilmeri, the place where Llywelyn ap Gruffydd is said to have been ambushed and murdered by the English. That event–and averting that event–is also the basis for my After Cilmeri series. I’m pleased to report that the site has been spruced up since I was last here, including the placement of a new stone marker at Llywelyn’s well. For tons of information about the life and death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, see

IMAG0764Tintern Abbey was founded by Normans and is an early Cistercian house in Wales. See my post on Medieval Monks for more.

Chepstow Castle was built by the same Norman lords who endowed Tintern Abbey, including William Marshal and Roger Bigod.

Chepstow balconyWhen we were here two years ago, it was during the Queen’s jubilee, so they had reenactments going on. We got rain today instead, but the upside was that it was quite empty. This castle was built on the Welsh side of the Wye River as a bastion of Norman power on the edge of Wales. It is also the place where Meg, Llywelyn, and Goronwy jumped off the balcony into the Wye River. For more information, see my post on the Normans in Wales.

Caerphilly gatehouseCaerphilly Castle is another Norman castle–a huge one–built by Gilbert de Clare. Llywelyn ap Gruffydd burned it during the early stages of building in 1268, but Clare managed to get it built eventually anyway it was a violation of the treaty with England. It is huge, surrounded by a moat, and was blown up by Cromwell during the English Civil War to prevent the royal faction from defending it.