Castles

Castles

Castles

Castles

Excerpt

This book is the result of two most interesting, if rather laborious, journeys, devoted to castle-seeking, one in 1924,s covering Wales and the English counties along the Welsh border; the other in 1925, devoted to Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. I was accompanied throughout by my son and his camera, to which about half the illustrations, large and small, in the volume are due. Of eighty castles described in full, all but six were carefully inspected, and recorded by my own note-book and my son's photographs. Tempestuous weather and indisposition are responsible for the fast that the remaining six had to be left unvisited -- four of them lie in rather inaccessible corners of the Welsh Marches. In addition to the eighty castles thus described, we looked over some dozens of others, where we found that the buildings had entirely or almost entirely disappeared, so that comment and photography were alike unprofitable. The object of this book is to explain the historical and architectural interest of each castle, so that the visitor may appreciate its meaning. If in some cases I may have missed facts recently elucidated in the Proceedings of some County Archæological Journal, and followed an obsolete theory, I must plead in excuse that local antiquities are discussed in scores of publications hard to find, and often practically inaccessible. In regard to the Welsh section, I ought to express my indebtedness to two most admirable books -- Professor John Lloyds' History of Wales, and Mr.J. E. Morris Welsh Wars of Edward I.

In conclusion, I must make an appeal to the archæological traveller. There are four classes of castles from the tourist's point of view. (I) Those which lie open and exposed, generally on windswept hills or little-trodden valleys, like Caer Cynan, Dinas Bran, or Tretower. (II.) Those which are ruinous, but in custody of the State, or of an owner who exacts a fee and keeps the place in order, like Chepstow, Raglan, or Kenilworth. (III.) Those which are inhabited, but opened to the public at certain hours and under certain conditions, like Windsor or Warwick. (IV.) Those which are inhabited, but only accessible by the specially obtained leave of the resident owner. The tourist must not drop in casually at places such as these last, and expect to view them at his leisure. He must write beforehand, and submit his convenience to that of the owner. Permission to view at reasonable hours and for proper purposes is seldom or never refused. I have to acknowledge much kindness and courtesy shown me by many castle-dwellers. It would obviously be intolerable to the resident owner if unannounced archæologists kept presenting themselves when he was giving a garden party, holding a political meeting, or offering a lunch to his tenants. In all such places previous correspondence is absolutely necessary.

C. W. C. OMAN.

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