a medieval castle and more
Our study in southwestern Wales centered on picturesque Carew Castle. Its architecture tells its story, and one phase of the project was to carefully read the details of that architecture. We wanted to determine if a window had been filled in before a new door was cut, discover where a new wall was added, and when. In this way we would see how the castle had grown from a wooden fort behind rows of stonework to a glorious Tudor palace with a wall of windows.
We learned that a Welsh castle was as much the image it projected to the surrounding countryside as a physical building. It is interesting that each of Carew's façades projects a different image. Click the small pictures for a description of each façade.
The surface of the outer ward, where we were digging, is only inches above bedrock, as you can see in the picture at right. This permits a phenomenon called "crop marks" where subterranean features become visible through the color of the surface vegetation. The green stripes running left and right across the open area mark the locations of prehistoric ditches which protected the wooden fort that stood on the site before the Romans built there and long before the castle. The most interesting thing we discovered in the excavation were dozens of musket balls, some poorly formed, some ingots of lead, and pieces of the lead window lattices from Perrot's addition to the castle. We concluded that the windows had been pulled out, probably around the time of the Civil War, and the lead melted down to make ammunition.
In order to better understand the relationship of the castle with the countryside, we undertook excavations at the church in the nearby village of Carew Cheriton and did extensive field surveying in the surrounding villages and farms.
Carew Cross, which stands before the castle, is one of several imposing Celtic monuments in Wales. It was erected in the 11th century in honor of Maredydd ap Edwyn, a Welsh leader.
|I suggest visiting Jeff Thomas's Carew Castle site for many more pictures and interesting historical information.|
This page and its contents © Copyright 1998 Michael & Karen Crisafulli