Carew Castle

  According to CADW, Wales has more castles per square mile than any other nation. Carew Castle is one of them. Carew Castle, located on the Caeriw River in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales, is one of the few castles that displays architecture from the Norman period through the Elizabethan, with archaeological evidence showing indications of settlement dating back 2000 years.  The name ‘Carew’, Caeriw in Welsh, is an anglicized combination of, “caer” meaning fortress, and “rhiw” meaning hill–not that the area on which it stands is hilly:  “Its position is low-lying, but still prominent in the flat land around the tidal reaches of the Carew river. The castle stands at the end of a ridge at a strategically excellent site commanding a crossing point of the then-still navigable river.”  http://www.castlewales.com/carew.html The name also might come from ‘Caerau’, simply the plural, ‘forts’. Tradition states that the original Read more…

The Third Crusade

In 1188, Gerald of Wales travelled through Wales as part of Archbishop Baldwin’s tour, the purpose of which was specifically to find recruits for the Third Crusade.  He wrote both his Journey through Wales and On the Education of a Monarch as part of his devotion to the Crusade ideal.   http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/whatson/?event_id=3923 Here is the link to the map:  http://www.medievaltymes.com/courtyard/images/crusades/third/third_crusade_route_map.jpg The Third Crusade “was led by Frederick I Barbarossa of Germany, Philip II Augustus of France and Richard I the Lionheart of England . . . all of whom were experienced military leaders, although Philip and Richard were already at odds before the crusade began. The crusaders travelled by two separate routes. Barbarossa marched overland from Germany, leaving in the spring of 1189. His march was one of the best organised of any crusade . . . but late in the summer Frederick was Read more…

Gerald of Wales

We are talking about Gerald of Wales because, as a churchmen, he exemplifies the tensions and complicated nature of the relationship between the Welsh and Norman church in the Middle Ages. Gerald was the grandson of Gerald of Windsor and Nest, a princess of Deheubarth, who established Carew Castle after the Norman Conquest of this region of Wales. Thus he was mixed Norman and Welsh descent, and as our daughter writes in her senior thesis, “His Welsh ancestry meant he could act Norman” and side with the Normans but never be accepted as fully Norman. He himself “decried” both Normans and Welsh for despising him, arguing that his uncertain identity left him accepted by neither culture. At the same time, he spoke French primarily, and Latin as a churchman, with only a little Welsh, and overtly participated in Norman efforts Read more…