Deganwy

Deganwy is one of those castle-forts that has become part of the legend of Wales, although very little of it remains. This plan http://www.castlewales.com/deganwy1.html shows a reconstruction of the early medieval fort.  It was the seat of “Maelgwyn Gwynedd, the foremost historical figure of the 6th century in north Wales, patron of St Cybi and St Seiriol, but reviled as a drunken tyrant by the chronicler Gildas. Excavations on the western summit in 1961-66 confirmed occupation in the 5th and 6th centuries.”  http://www.castlewales.com/deganwy.html “The area below the castle is called Maesdu (Black Meadow) and was, doubtless, the site of many bloody battles. The lower ground of the later bailey may have been the site of a settlement of serfs and bondmen; while Maelgwn’s stronghold stood atop the higher of the later castle’s twin peaks. It would have been largely of wood, Read more…

Houses and Nails

How long have we been using nails to hold pieces of wood together? The answer is … a long time. “Bronze nails, found in Egypt, have been dated 3400 BC. The Bible give us numerous references to nails, the most well known being the crucifixion of Christ. Of course we should not forget that model wife in Judges who in 1296 BC drove a nail into the temple of her husband while he was asleep, “so he died.”” http://www.fourshee.com/history_of_nails.htm “In the UK, early evidence of large scale nail making comes from Roman times 2000 years ago. Any sizeable Roman fortress would have its ‘fabrica‘ or workshop where the blacksmiths would fashion the metal items needed by the army. They left behind 7 tons of nails at the fortress of Inchtuthil in Perthshire. For nail making, iron ore was heated with carbon Read more…

Caerhun (Canovium)

The Roman fort of Canovium (Caerhun) sat at an important ford on the Conwy river that connected the Roman center at Caernarfon (Segontium) with Chester (Deva).  The following site has an extensive discussion of viritually every aspect of the Roman fort:  http://www.betws31.freeserve.co.uk/Kanovium_Index/kanovium_index.html “Situated on the west bank of the River Conwy, the Roman fort at Caerhun, known to the Romans as Kanovium or Conovium, is believed to have been established at this point to control a network of trackways already in existence at the time of the forts founding in the late 70’s A.D.  Basically known as a ‘route blocker’ a fort situated at an area of strategic importance with the aim of restricting native movement.  These tracks which ran N-S, and E-W had been dictated by the nature of the land which North Wales consisted of, basically the N-W area was Read more…

Medieval Siege Weapons

Within the world of medieval warfare, there were multiple kinds of siege weapons:  ballistas, battering rams, trebuchets, and catapults.  ‘Catapult’ can be used as a more general term for all throwing siege weapons:  “Catapults are siege engines using an arm to hurl a projectile a great distance. Any machine that hurls an object can be considered a catapult, but the term is generally understood to mean medieval siege weapons. The name is derived from the Greek ‘to hurl a missle’.  Originally, “catapult” referred to a stone-thrower, while “ballista” referred to a dart-thrower, but the two terms swapped meaning sometime in the fourth century AD. Catapults were usually assembled at the site of a siege, and an army carried few or no pieces of it with them because wood was easily available on site. Catapults can be classified according to the Read more…

The Roman Fort of Caerleon (and King Arthur’s Camelot?)

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Caerleon, a word derived from the Welsh ‘fortress of the legion’, was the seat from which King Arthur ruled Britain.   He wrote:  http://www.caerleon.net/history/arthur/page7.htm “When the feast of Whitsuntide began to draw near, Arthur, who was quite overjoyed by his great success, made up his mind to hold a plenary court at that season and place the crown of the kingdom on his head. He decided too, to summon to this feast the leaders who owed him homage, so that he could celebrate Whitsun with greater reverence and renew the closest pacts of peace with his chieftains. He explained to the members of his court what he was proposing to do and accepted their advice that he should carry out his plan in The City Of The Legions. Situated as it is in Morgannwg (Glamorgan), on Read more…