history

The Sicilian Expedition: a second Brexit footnote

February 3, 2019 0 Comments
The Sicilian Expedition: a second Brexit footnote

After the 2016 Brexit referendum I suggested that the historian Thucydides, in the fifth century BC, can help us to understand how democracies have the capacity to change their decisions on major policies – and both the capacity and the duty to do so when those decisions are clearly, in retrospect, unwise or disastrous.  A […]

Continue Reading »

Dilyn Iolo

January 13, 2019 0 Comments
Dilyn Iolo

Bore mwyn, di-haul o Ionawr, a dyma bedwar ohonon ni’n cychwyn ar Daith Gerdded Treftadaeth Iolo Morganwg.  Taith gylchol o ryw bedair milltir a hanner yw hon, un o gyfres o deithiau cerdded wedi’u dyfeisio gan Gyngor Bro Morgannwg, gyda help Valeways, Ramblers Bro Morgannwg a’r Undeb Ewropeaidd (cofio hwnnw?). Taith berffaith ar gyfer canol […]

Continue Reading »

Allies against slavery: Ignatius Sancho and Laurence Sterne

January 6, 2019 0 Comments
Allies against slavery: Ignatius Sancho and Laurence Sterne

Ignatius Sancho was one of the most prominent black Britons of the eighteenth century – and without doubt the most multi-talented.  Born in Africa, according to his own account (or on board ship, according to his biographer, Joseph Jekyll), he was shipped across the Atlantic to be a slave in the Spanish colony of New […]

Continue Reading »

Sir John Perrot: two faces of a ruffian

December 15, 2018 0 Comments
Sir John Perrot: two faces of a ruffian

One of the images included in Wales in 100 objects is a small oil painting by an unknown artist, now in Haverfordwest Town Museum, of the Elizabethan magnate Sir John Perrot.  I chose this particular portrait, painted long after Perrot’s death, because it shows its subject as a jaunty, stylish and dashing character, whereas in […]

Continue Reading »

Indexing Gilbert White

November 10, 2018 0 Comments
Indexing Gilbert White

Selborne, Hampshire. Why we’ve never been there before I don’t know. The village isn’t far from Winchester, familiar enough territory. It’s a bit off the beaten track, though a busy B road passes through the village, channelling noise and people through the narrow main street that would have been quiet in the mid-eighteenth century, when […]

Continue Reading »

In Bunhill Fields

November 3, 2018 3 Comments
In Bunhill Fields

This week we paid a visit to a place that’s been on my wish list for many years: Bunhill Fields. Some might think it a perverse pilgrimage, because Bunhill Fields isn’t not a rural glade or open park, but an old burial ground – the origin of ‘Bunhill’ is thought to be ‘bone hill’ – […]

Continue Reading »

The Monmouthshire and Caerleon Antiquarian Association

October 13, 2018 2 Comments
The Monmouthshire and Caerleon Antiquarian Association

1   Origins and foundations The first local archaeological society in Wales, the Caerleon Antiquarian Association, was founded on 28th October 1847.  It owed its existence largely to the efforts of one man, John Edward Lee (1). Born in Hull in 1808, Lee worked from the age of sixteen in his uncles’ shipping office, but […]

Continue Reading »

Mr Deas

October 6, 2018 3 Comments
Mr Deas

Another birthday, and I’m celebrating by throwing out yet more paper hoarded over the years. This time it includes a dark red ring-file containing notes and essays from my first-year university course in Classics. They’re written in handwriting it’s still quite easy to make out. (By contrast, my handwriting today, disabled by decades of keyboard […]

Continue Reading »

In search of 100 objects

September 30, 2018 0 Comments
In search of 100 objects

September 2018 has turned out to be a month of personal endings. Three weeks ago, after five and a half years of sporadic legwork, we finished the last mile of the Wales Coast Path. This week saw the publication of two books I’ve been working on for what seems almost as long, Wales in 100 […]

Continue Reading »

What the bishop said to the queen

September 4, 2018 1 Comment
What the bishop said to the queen

I suspect most people visit Llangathen, in the Tywi valley, to see the wonderful restored gardens at Aberglasne (Aberglasney in its Anglicised form). But the village has other things to offer: a surprisingly bright and roomy neo-Tudor ‘Temperance Hall’, and the large church of St Cathen. (The village used to be more populous than it […]

Continue Reading »