Roman Roads (Bwlch y Ddeufaen)

In an earlier post, I discussed the routes across the Welsh and English countryside during the Middle Ages.  Many of these roads were based in the Roman roads, built between the 1st and 4th centuries AD.  In Wales, the Romans built roads but also improved old ones, which wasn’t their normal operating procedure. It was forced upon them, however, because they found the land so inhospitable that it made it difficult for them to lay down their straight roads. The Roman roads lasted such a long time because the Roman legions who built them designed them to do exactly that.  The Romans built over 53,000 miles of roads, intended to connect every corner of their empire ultimately with Rome.  Britain, of course, was one of the places Rome conquered that couldn’t connect directly, as it is separated from Europe by Read more…

Maps of Welsh Castles

To say I love castles would be to considerably understate the case.  But how to find a castle without a map?  Here are several great resources . . . A map of castles in SW Wales: This castle shows both the native castles and the Welsh ones.  Some of them are obviously close together, and this indicates a vassal/lord relationship among the barons, or just the passage of time, when a castle was destroyed, a new one was often built close by (if it wasn’t built right on top). Native Welsh castles from the Castles Wales site (http://www.castlewales.com/native.html): From the Welsh government site (cadw.wales.gov.uk): Neither of these maps show the Edwardian castles that were either built right next to a destroyed Welsh castle or on top of one.  Neither shows Aber Garth Celyn either, which was Llywelyn ap Gruffydd’s seat, Read more…

Maps from the Books!

A reader suggested I post the maps from the books on my web page, which is a really good idea. This is the main map for the After Cilmeri Series:   For Cold My Heart. It is much the same, except I use the old name for Aber, which is Garth Celyn:   The Last Pendragon Saga: The Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mysteries. Carreg Cennen from The Bard’s Daughter is not shown, but it forms a triangle with Dinefwr and Dryslyn:

NaNoWriMo Day 1

November 1, 2010: I sat up in bed morning, pulled my laptop close (hoping that my son wasn’t going to wake up quite yet) and started typing.  Now, with historical fiction, it doesn’t take very long before a need for research pops up, and I encountered the first after 3 sentences.  Why didn’t I do this research earlier?  Because I didn’t know what I needed until I’d written those three sentences. This new book is a murder mystery, if I can pull it off, set in Gwynedd in 1143 AD.  In real life, Cadwaladr, Owain Gwynedd’s obnoxious brother, has Anarawd, Owain’s future son-in-law, murdered on the eve of his wedding.  It is over a land dispute, and Anarawd was ambushed on the road.  Once it is determined that Cadwaladr is to blame, Hywel, Owain Gwynedd’s bastard son, is sent to exact retribution Read more…