My Illlustrated Travel Journal with Essays about Roman and Mediaeval History and some Geology

  A Castle for All Times - Cardiff

It began with the Romans who built a fort on the site of what is now Cardiff Castle, most probably during the campaign 55 AD against Caratacus (Caradog), a Catuvellauni chief who fled to the Silures in South Wales and sicced them against the Romans. They lost the war and Caratacus escaped to the Brigantes whose queen Cartimandua promptly delivered him to the Romans. He managed to talk his head ouf of getting chopped off (no wonder, he filched the speech from Tacitus) and ended his life in the sunny south, wearing a toga. The sources don't tell us if he missed the rain and his oatmeal porridge.

Remains of the Roman wall
visible at the bottom, framed by the red stones

The place near the Bristol channel was a strategically important position between the legionary fort at Caerleon and the fortress at Carmarthen. Cardiff - its Roman name is unknown - fortress encompassed ten acres and was, like all Roman forts, a timber and earth structure at first. During the war against Caratacus it probably held a legionary vexillatio, not an auxiliary cohort.

The fortress was rebuilt in 75 AD and again around 250 AD. This version had 10 feet thick stone walls backed by an earth fortification, and was in use until the Romans left Britain. The fortress seems to have served as naval base during that time.

After Constantine III dragged the army over to Gaul to tell the Emperor Honorius who was boss (didn't work, btw), the fortress fell into decline until 1091 when the Norman Robert Fitzhamon Lord of Gloucester, after having defetated the Welsh prince Iestyn ap Gwrgan of Glamorgan and claiming his lands, saw the remains and thought, hey, that looks like a good place for a castle, and there's even some of the walls left. So he planted one of those Norman motte and bailey thingies right in the middle of it.

The Norman Keep

Reminds of Clifford Tower, doesn't it?

The first version of the keep was of timber with a palisade, but the 40 feet high motte was surrounded by a moat filled with water. After Robert Fitzhamon died of wounds recieved in battle (remember Rob, the Welsh are never defeated), Cardiff Castle went to his son-in-law, another Robert 'the Consul', natural son of King Henry I, and one of the dominating characters during the struggle between Maud and Stephen.

He erected a stone keep, perhaps using some of the stones of the Roman buildings still lying around in what was to become the outer bailey. The spiffy new stone keep was then used to imprison another Robert (those Normans really needed a nameyourbébé.com site), Robert Duke of Normandy, from 1126 until his death in 1134.

After Robert's death (the other Robert, 'the Consul'), the castle changed hands several times. Among others, Cardiff Castle passed to Prince John Lackland for some years, thus proving he had at least ten acres of land at some point, and in 1216 the castle and the lordship of Glamorgan fell to Gilbert de Clare, one of the barons of the Magna Charta.

The de Clares needed all the castles they could get in South Wales, because the Welsh still thought the Normans sucked. Unfortunately, every Welsh prince thought his neighbours and his brothers sucked even worse, and so they failed to unite and kick the Normans out. Until Llywelyn ap Gruffydd first eliminated his brothers, solidified his rule over Gwynedd and then marched south to collect the allegiance of the Welsh nobles. In 1267, King Henry III had to acknowledge Llywelyn as Prince of Wales. But Llywelyn made the mistake to really piss off King Edward I and that didn't end well. In 1277, Edward showed him what a big bad Anglonorman army looked like by displaying his troops in full splendour at Chester, probably not knowing that big bad Roman armies had mustered there about thousand years earlier. Llywelyn had to sue for peace and lost his title and most of his possessions. He died in a skirmish later that year.

Norman Keep, inside

The lands of Glamorgan and Cardiff as administrative seat lay in a sensitive spot during these quarrels, and so Gilbert de Clare's grandson, another Gilbert, remodeled the keep and further strengthened the castle by dividing the terrain of the ancient Roman fortress by a wall, thus creating an inner and outer bailey, and reinforcing the Roman fortifications as outer curtain walls. He also built Caerphilly Castle.

Gilbert's son, Gilbert the younger (you guessed that, didn't you?) died at Bannockburn in 1314. The lordship passed to his sister Eleanor who had married Hugh Despenser; that family would retain the lordship of Glamorgan for a hundred years. I will get back to our (in)famous Despensers in another post - Lady D and Kathryn would hang, draw and quarter me if I reduced their darling Despensers to a footnote. :) Suffice to say that the lordship passed to the Beauchamp earls of Warwick in 1414 and finally into the hands of the Tudor kings.

In 1550 William Herbert, brother of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's last wife, obtained Cardiff Castle which fortunately wasn't destroyed during the Civil War and remained with the family until 1766 when Cardiff Castle and the Glamorgan lands came into the hands of John Stuart Earl of Bute by marriage to Charlotte Herbert. The Bute family fully embraced industrialization and could have given Bill Gates and that Trump guy a run for their money; they were among the richest families in the word, and Cardiff became a major export port.

The Neo Gothic part of the castle

They also took interest in the Roman past of Cardiff Castle (which was a good thing) and transformed the castle into a Neo Gothic dream palace (which at least makes for a grin these days). In 1865, Lord Bute began a partnership with the architect William Burges with the result that we now have a really fancy thing with lots of turrets, spires, oriels, fake merlons, and rooms with the most splendid, but un-Mediaeval furniture, tapestries and whatever. Fortunately, the Butes decided not to alter the Norman Keep, and the reconstructions of the Roman walls and the North Gate are a commendable effort to preserve and reconstruct the past. The German Emperor Wilhelm did the same with the Saalburg Roman fortress.

Reconstructed Roman North Gate
As with the Saalburg, the walls are not whitewashed

Reconstruction and reimagination work on all parts of the castle was going on basically from 1770 to 1927. Thus the castle is a mix of Norman, reinvented Norman (oh yes, we have a Bute Tower, a Herbert Tower, a Guest Tower ...) Mediaeval, reinvented Mediaeval (there's a Mediaeval Great Hall? fun, let's have our own Banqueting Hall besides), Tudor, reinvented Tudor (the roof of the Octagon Tower looks prettier with a fancy spire), and reconstructed Roman architecture.

Cardiff Castle escaped enemy action during WW2, but Labour governments don't like people getting too rich and invented heritage taxes. In 1947, the 5th Marquess of Bute gave Cardiff Castle to the people because the upkeep was too expensive.

  Dungeons (No Dragons)

A typical Mediaeval castle needs a typical dungeon, dark, wet, full of rats, shackles dangling from the walls, and maybe even equipped with a rack. All the medieaval-based Fantasy novels have them, after all. *grin*

There are indeed dungeons in some Welsh castles, or rooms that could be used as such. Though noble prisoners kept for ransom were not held under such unfavourable conditions. But when captivity was intended as punishment, even a title may not have saved you from moldy straw and rats.

Pembroke Castle has a very fine example of a gaol built into a tower, with only one small slit in the eastern wall to let a glimpse of light in. The oubliette can only be reached through a trap door in the floor of the upper room, and it's the only angle to get a pic as well.

If you look closely, you can see a little rat. It's dinner time. :)

Somewhat larger but no more comfortable is the dungeon in Manorbier Castle. If you end up with your legs in the stocks and hands tied behind your back, you'll be in for all sort of aches and your back will not love you. Don't think it was so well lit; I had to use a flash or you'd not have seen anything.

German castles have dungeons, too, and some are catered to the tourists by suitable decorations as well. No wax figures this time, but a nice rack - albeit someone should do something about the un-scary dust layer - and some shackles.

This fun display is in the Hanstein Castle, mentioned several times on my blog. Though we don't know if there was indeed not only a dungeon but a torture chamber as well. The sources don't mention one, as far as I know. Not that one needs a lot of sophisticated equipment to torture a prisoner.

  Lost Kingdoms and Sunken Realms

I found some Welsh legends of sunken kingdoms. Considering the fact the country has a long stretch of coast with heavy tides, it should not come as suprise that such legends arose as result of floods. Moreover, the Welsh share a Celtic culture with the Bretons where such a legend is famous as well, that of Kêr Ys (Kêr/Caer, meaning fortress or stronghold).

Cantre'r Gwaelod is a legendary kingdom said to have occupied a tract of fertile land northwest of Aberystwyth, todays Cardigan Bay. Its capital was Caer Wyddno, seat of the ruler Gwyddno Garanhir, who in some legends is connected with Taliesin as grandfather or foster father.
Like Kêr Ys, the kingdom was protected from the sea by floodgates. One day the keeper of the sluice gates was drunk and failed to close them, with the result that the sea flooded the land. Some versions name the keeper as Seithenyn, and there is a story about him having been distracted by a woman, Mererid, who kept the keys to the sluices. Or maybe it was a fae responsible for the mess.
Gwyddno also held a landlocked portion of his kingdom to which he was able to flee, like King Gradlon of Kêr Ys. He was later called King of Ceredigion. The church bells of Cantre'r Gwaelod are said to ring out in times of danger, a legend shared with Vineta, a sunken city in the Baltic Sea.

The coast of Aberystwyth

Llys Helig was the palace of Prince Helig ap Glannawg who is said to have lived in the 6th century, and whose sons are connected with the establishment of several churches in the area. Helig owned an area of land between Llandudno and Conwy which was later inundated by the sea. Like Vineta's shadows in clear water, it is said that the remains of Llys Helig can be seen at low tides,
Some versions of the legend tell that the flood was the result of revenge because Helig's daughter Gwendud was unfaithful in love. In another version her lover Tathal treacherously murdered a Scottish chieftain to gain a gold torque and her hand, and the victim swore vengeance.

  Views from the Battlements

Some more picspam from Wales. This time I got some views through windows or from half tumbled battlements to show how the castles are part of the landscape. Views their inhabitants enjoyed some hundred years ago (and damn those modern houses that keep getting in the way).

Chepstow, view from the battlements above the sea gate to the Wye river

Wales is very green - where it isn't yellow and brown. The Wye is a tidal river like most in Wales but I have no idea why it has such a muddy colour; other rivers looked more like water. Maybe there had been some heavy rains the days before that washed earth into the waters.

Dolwyddelan, view from Llywelyn's Keep

See what I said about yellow and brown? But our dear Llywelyn ap Iorweth had a great view, didn't he? It may have been strategic reasons to build a castle there, but I'm sure people back then did enjoy such views in those few calm moments where they didn't need to watch out for rival clans or those bloody English sneaking up on them in the mists.

Conwy Castle, view towards the strait between Conwy and Llandudno

A grey day, a grey sea. The beauty of melancholy. The boats, of course, are out of time.

I took this one from a tower and zoomed in on the battlements in the foreground and the sea. I didn't climb as many towers as I'd had the chance to, but I don't stand heights well. Though afterwards I regretted to have been such a coward; I could have taken some fine pics from those vantage points.

View from the inner curtain wall of Criccieth Castle

A sunny evening with lots of wind, but so beautiful. Sparkling blue water and mist-veiled mountains in the distance. Though the hazy atmosphere was the reason I decided to go to Criccieth instead of Mount Snowdon since I don't think I'd have gotten good pictures there. Nor did I regret the decision, Criccieth was less spectacular in size than the Norman castles, but its situation on top of a mountain outcrop surrounded by the sea is one of the finest in Wales.

  Master James of St.George

No, Gabriele didn't make me up like she did with that Aelius Rufus guy, I'm a real person who lived from 1235-1308. And sometimes I return to my old places like Caernarfon Castle and talk to people.

Here I'm deep in conversation with Gabriele about the payment of masons*. I know a lot about that matter because I've been a master mason and military engineer all my life, following the footsteps of my father.

First I worked for the Counts of Savoy, and I took my name after the palace of St. Georges d'Esperanche which I built for Philip of Savoy. In 1278, Count Philip was visited by King Edward I of England who had a problem. He had conquered a people called the Welsh, but they took ill having a king not of their own blood and made several attempts to oust Edward. Thus he planned to build a ring of castles around the land to strengthen the position of the English. I wasn't sure at first if I really wanted to work in a land full of mountains, wind, rain and savage people who spoke an incomprehensible language with far too many ll and dd, but the payment was excellent and Edward ensured me he wanted the biggest fortresses he could get. It should prove an interesting challenge and so I packed my belongings, picked the best masons and engineers from my staff, received the farewell of Count Philip and set off to Wales.

It was a challenge, even with sixteen years of experience in building castles. Over the years I oversaw the construction of the castles of Caernarfon, Conwy, Harlech, Beaumaris, Flint, Rhuddlan, Builth and Aberystwyth, and I was involved in the repair and refortification of Dolwyddelan and Criccieth, Welsh castles which Edward had conquered.

Caernarfon Castle, view towards Eagle Tower

But my favourite place is Caernarfon which I modeled after the walls of Constantinople. For some reason, the Romans still hold a popular place in Welsh myths despite the fact they came as conquerors as well, and so Edward got the idea to connect his reign to the Roman Emperor Maximus, whom the Welsh call Macsen Wledig, and he wanted to demonstrate this by building a Roman-style castle. The Romans had been in Caernarfon which they called Segontium; you can visit the remains of their fortress on yonder hill. They produced some fine stone work, those Romans.

As you can see, Caernarfon has octagonal towers instead of round ones, and we used two different sorts of stone to create the red stripes. I'll tell you more about constructing a castle next time, it's a long and complicated process, and the walls and towers you see today only the final result. There are also some features I would have liked to add but never got the chance. Edward wanted too many castles at once, and in the end there was not enough money left.

View towards Queen's Gate

It was not my fault. Yes, I did receive the handsome pay of two shilling a day which was later raised to three shilling a day for the rest of my life, but that doesn't account for the 12,000 pound the building of Caernarfon cost from 1283-1292. You wonder what three shilling were actually worth? Well, I made in one day what a skilled mason who was not a chief engineer and Master would make in a week. A simple labourer digging trenches and such made two pennies a day, and one penny would buy him food and wine and a bed at an inn. If he spent the other penny on a whore, he'd be in for some trouble with his wife, though.

The comparably low payment for digging trenches should explain some of Edward I's annoyance with his son's hobbies, Ed II could never have made a living off those. *grin*

* The above picture was taken by Adrienne Goodenough from Cadw. She organises educational events in historical sites managed by Cadw and was so kind to send me the pictures she took of me and Master James. I hope the actor who played him - I never learned his real name - won't mind that I use James as narrator for some of my blogposts, but he was fun and an inspiration. The information about payment I got from him, but the rest is based on the info in the guidebook.

  Shadows and Strongholds

I stole that title from an Elizabeth Chadwick novel, but it fits just too well.

I sometimes get a bit experimental with my photography. Besides a number of delete-worthy shots, some usually turn out interesting. Here's what you can get when taking a photo against the setting sun.

Pembroke Castle

I wonder if William Marshal ever walked around his castle on an sunny evening, simply enjoying the place and not thinking about adding more defenses.

Photos like this show less detail than the human eye can still distinguish, but the stark black lines against the sky and glimmering water make for a stunning effect.

This one is along the same lines, only a bit softer in its shades.

The part Welsh, part Norman Criccieth Castle

The following picture shows some of the details the eye can see since the backlit was a slightly overcast sky, but still the strong contrast lends a menacing air to the walls and towers.

Conwy Castle

Those little dots are not dirt on the lens, but sea gulls.

Softer and more romantic is this shot against a sea and sky of muted blue. The sun was still too high to give those dramatic contrasts.

A half tumbled tower of Aberystwyth Castle

This one is very experimental. I held the camera angled against the sky to get the strongest possible black and blue-grey contrast. I'm actually quite pleased with the result, it gives the photo a Fantasy-ish air.

Dolwyddelan Castle

The arch in the foreground is the gate of the new tower built by Edward I after he conquered the castle, the building behind it is Llywelyn's Keep.

  The Pleasantest Spot in Wales

Thus described Gerald of Wales (1146-1223) his birthplace Manorbier Castle at the coast of south Wales. I won't give it this title alone of all places I've seen, but it is surely among the prettiest sites. And since I caught a sunny day for my visit, Manorbier showed itself to advantage.

Manorbier Castle

12th century Giraldus Cambrensis must have been quite a character, churchman, writer, traveler, diplomat, and a spy and outlaw at a time. But we can thank him for a fine description of Medieaval Wales. His grandfather, a Norman lord of the de Barri family, was granted the lands of Manorbier some time after 1003 and built a timber castle that was expanded in stone by his son William, Gerald's father. The castle remained in possession of the family until 1359 when it fell back to the crown.

William married a daughter of the famous Nest of Deheubarth daughter of Prince Rhys ap Tewdwr, which made Gerald a descendant of two noble houses, Norman and Welsh.

Manorbier Castle, inner ward

Manorbier, though well fortified, presents a less grand impression than fe. Pembroke or Caernarfon. It reminded me more of the German castles around my hometown albeit it keeps its specific Norman features that distinguish it from our hill castles. It is more the size and the fact it has become some sort of park. The other Norman castles only have lawns in the wards but no trees and flowers which of course, adds to the enormous scale of the places, while the German castles display trees in the yards and bushes in the bailey. You may remember the foliage on my photos from the Hanstein and Plesse. The inner ward of Manorbier tops them with its abundance of flowers and greens growing in beds along the walls.

Manorbier Castle, inner ward

Another feature Manorbier has in common with 'my' castles is the hall-keep that is built directly into the inner curtain wall, like this example (second photo) from the Hanstein shows, instead of a freestanding structure typical for Norman castles. In the 1260ies a chapel was added to the inner buildings which is preserved until today, as well as the vaulted basement under the entire hall block.

In former times, Manorbier was closer to the sea that still can be seen from the windows, and had a sea gate. But the changes in geography have added a fine beach today.

Beach near Manorbier Castle

I spent some time down there, walked through the breakers playing on the sand and enveloping the rocks with foam, sat in the warm sand and felt like during my childhood holidays at the Baltic Sea. Including the sand I kept finding in my clothes the rest of the day. Memories indeed, lol. I could not resist to bring some pretty stones and mussles, either.

A pleasant spot indeed, and a fine day to remember.

The Lost Fort is a travel journal and history blog based on my travels in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and other places. It includes essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, as well as some geology, illustrated with photos of old castles and churches, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.
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Location: Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who still hasn't got an Instagram account. :-)

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Different Frontiers, Yet Alike
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Life and Religion

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Romans at Lippe and Ems
Anniversary Exhibitions in Haltern am See
Varus Statue, Haltern am See

Romans at the Weser
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The Limes and its Forts

Limes Fort Osterburken
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Romans in Bavaria
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Boppard - A 4th Century Roman Fort

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Colonia Ulpia Traiana (Xanten)
History of the Town
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Moguntiacum (Mainz)
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Gallia Belgica

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Atuatuca Tungrorum
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Wall Forts - Banna (Birdoswald)
The Dark Age Timber Halls

Wall Forts - Segedunum (Wallsend)
The Museum
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The Baths

Signal Stations
The Signal Station at Scarborough

Roman Towns

Eboracum (York)
Bath in the Fortress
Multiangular Tower

The Romans in Wales

The Forts in Wales

Roman Forts - Isca (Caerleon)
The Amphitheatre
The Baths in the Legionary Fort

Mediaeval Places

Living Mediaeval
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Mediaeval Art
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Mediaeval Monster Carvings
The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee - The Historical Context
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Mediaeval Weapons
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Mediaeval Germany


Medieaval Braunschweig, Introduction
Lion Benches in the Castle Square
The Quadriga

A Virtual Tour through Mediaeval Erfurt

Magdeburg Cathedral
St.Mary's Abbey - An Austere Archbishop
St.Mary's Abbey - Reformation to Reunion

Town Portrait

The Cathedral: Architecture
Cathedral: Richard Lionheart in Speyer
Jewish Ritual Bath

Town Portrait
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Towns in the Harz

Town Portrait

Town Portrait
The Chapter Church

Towns of the Hanseatic League

St. Mary's Church, Introduction

The Harbour

The Old Harbour

Castles and Fortresses

Castles in Bavaria

Coburg Fortress
The History of the Fortress
The Architecture

Castles in the Harz

The Architecture
Power Base of the Thuringian Landgraves
The Marshals of Ebersburg

The Harzburg and Otto IV

Origins of the Counts of Hohnstein
The Family Between Welfen and Staufen
A Time of Feuds (14th-15th century)

The Time of Henry the Lion


Hidden Treasures
The Stauffenburg near Seesen

Castles in Hessia

Castles in Northern Hessia

The Counts of Everstein
Troubled Times
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The History of the Castle
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The Castle After the Restoration

Castles in Lower Saxony

Adelebsen / Hardeg
The Keep of Adelebsen Castle
The Great Hall of Hardeg Castle


Rise and Fall of the Counts of Winzenburg
The Lords of Plesse
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Castles in the Solling
Salzderhelden - A Welfen Seat

Castles in Thuringia

The Double Castle
Role of the Castle in Thuringian History

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Castle Scharfenstein

Otto of Northeim
Heinrich the Lion and Otto IV
The Next Generations


A Virtual Tour

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River Reivers

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Outbuilding 'Shepherd's Barn'

The Castle and its History
Views from the Keep

Sababurg / Trendelburg
Two Fairy Tale Castles

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Steinkirche near Scharzfeld
Development of the Cave Church

Walkenried Monastery
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Göllingen Monastery
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St.Martin's Church
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Bursfelde Abbey
Early History

Fredelsloh Chapter Church
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Lippoldsberg Abbey

Mediaeval Murals

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Palatine Seat Tilleda
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Viking Settlement Haithabu
Haithabu and the Archaeological Museum Schleswig
The Nydam Ship


Other Mediaeval Buildings
Lorsch, Gate Hall
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Along Weser and Werra
Bad Karlshafen
Weser Ferry
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Mediaeval England


A Walk Through the Town

Old Gaol

Clifford Tower, Part 1
Clifford Tower, Part 2
Guild Hall
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Old Town
Along the Ouse River


Castles in Cumbria

Henry II and William of Scotland
The Edwards

Castles in Northumbria and Yorkshire

Malcolm III and the First Battle of Alnwick

From the Romans to the Tudors
From the Civil War to the Present
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Hexham Abbey

York Minster

Mediaeval Scotland


Views from the Castle

The Wallace Monument


Central Scotland

A Virtual Tour
History: The Early Stewart Kings
History: Royal Dower House, and Decline

Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle

West Coast Castles

Dunollie and Kilchurn
Castles Seen from Afar

Guarding the Sound of Mull

An Ancient MacDougall Stronghold
The Wars of Independence
The Campbells Are Coming
Dunstaffnage Chapel

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Inchcolm Abbey
Arriving at Inchcolm

Other Historical Sites

Picts and Dalriatans
Dunadd Hill Fort

Mediaeval Wales


Walks in Welsh Towns
Aberystwyth: Castle and Coast
Caerleon: The Ffwrwm
Conwy: The Smallest House in Great Britain


Edwardian Castles

The Historical Context
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Master James of St.George
The Castle Kitchens

The History of the Castle
The Architecture

Norman Castles


History: Beginnings unto Bigod
History: From Edward II to the Tudors
History: Civil War, Restoration, and Aftermath

The Pleasantest Spot in Wales

Pembroke Pictures
The Caves Under the Castle

Welsh Castles

Llywelyn's Buildings
King Edward's Buildings



Castles and Fortresses

Defense over the Centuries
Akershus Fortress: Middle Ages
Akershus Fortress: Architectural Development
Vardøhus Fortress



The Vasa Museum


The Splendour of St.Petersburg

Isaac's Cathedral
Smolny Cathedral

The Neva
Impressions from the The Neva River

Poland and the Baltic States

Towns along the Sea Coast
Baltic Sea Cruise: From Tallinn to Gdansk

Belgium and Luxembourg

Belgium / Flanders


The Old Town

A Virtual Tour through Mediaeval Bruges

A Virtual Tour through Mediaeval Ghent

Roman and Mediaeval Remains

Other Times

Ages of Stone and Bronze

Development of Civilization
European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

From Stone to Bronze
Paleolithic Cave 'Steinkirche' in the Harz mountains
Gnisvärd Ship Setting on Gotland

Pre-Historical Orkney
Ring of Brodgar - Introduction
Ring of Brodgar - The Neolithic Landscape
Skara Brae
Life in Skara Brae


Historical Ships
Raising a Wreck, Now and Then (Vasa Museum in Stockholm)
The Fram Museum in Oslo

Steampunk and Beyond
Historical Guns
Vintage Car Museum, Wolfsburg

- Beautiful Germany
- United Kingdom
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Beautiful Germany

The Baltic Sea Coast
From the Bay of Wismar to Hiddensee
The Flensburg Firth
A Tour on the Wakenitz River

Harz National Park
Arboretum (Bad Grund)
Bode Valley, Rosstrappe and Devil's Wall
Cave Dwellings in Langenstein
Harzburg and the Ilsetal
Oderteich Reservoir
Views from Harz mountains

Nature Park Meissner-Kaufunger Wald
Sea Stones, Kitzkammer, Heldrastein
'Hessian Switzerland'
Karst Dolines and Kalbe Lake

Nature Park Solling-Vogler
The Hutewald Forest
The Raised Bog Mecklenbruch

Rivers and Lakes
The Danube in Spring
Edersee Reservoir
A Rainy Rhine Cruise
River of the Greenest Shores - The Moselle
Vineyards at Saale and Unstrut

Parks and Palaces
Botanical Garden Göttingen
Forest Botanical Garden, Göttingen
Hardenberg Castle Gardens
Junkerberg Cemetary
Wilhelmsthal Palace and Gardens

Other Landscape Sites
Oberderdorla and Hainich National Park

Seasons and More

Spring on my Balcony
Spring at the Kiessee Lake
Spring in the Rossbach Heath

Memories of Summer
Summer Hiking Tours 2016
Summer Thunderstorms

Autumnal Views from Castle Windows
Autumn Photos from Harz and Werra
Autumn in the Meissner
Autumn at Werra and Weser

Advent Impressions
Christmas Decorations from the Ore Mountains
Winter at the Kiessee Lake
Winter Wonderland
Winter 2010

Birds at the Feeder
Harz Falcon Park
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The Baltic Sea Life
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The North Sea Life

Alien Architecture
Carved Monsters in Cathedrals
Llama, Llama
Odd Angles
Spectacular Sunset
Carved Animals

Across the Channel - United Kingdom

Mountains, Valleys, and Rivers
Sheep Grazing Among Roman Remains
A Ghost Cruise on the Ouse River
West Highland Railway

The East Coast
By Ferry to Newcastle
Highland Mountains - Inverness to John o'Groats
Some Photos from the East Coast

Scottish Sea Shores
Crossing to Mull
Mull - Craignure to Fionnphort
Pentland Firth
Summer Days in Oban
Summer Nights in Oban

Wild Wales - With Castles
Hazy Views with Castles
Shadows and Strongholds
Views from Castle Battlements

Sea Gulls

Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea

Land of Light and Darkness - Norway

The Hurtigruten-Tour
A Voyage into Winter
The Farthest North
Culture and Nature in Norway
Along the Coast of Norway - Light and Darkness
Along the Coast - North of the Polar Circle

Norway by Train
From Trondheim to Oslo

Bearded Seals
Dog Sledding With Huskies
Eagles and Gulls in the Trollfjord

Shores of History - The Baltic Sea

Beaches at the Curonian Spit

Delectatio (Fun Stuff)
Comblogium (Blog Roll)
Conexiones (Links)

- Roman History
- Mediaeval History
- Other Times

Roman History

Wars and Frontiers

Romans in Germania

Traces of the Pre-Varus Conquest
Roman Camp Hedemünden
New Finds in 2008

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Museum Park at Kalkriese

The Battle at the Harzhorn

Along the Limes
Limes Fort Osterburken
Limes Fort Saalburg

Roman Frontiers in Britain
Hadrian's Wall

The Batavian Rebellion

Roman Militaria

Early Imperial Helmets
Late Roman Helmets
The Negau B Helmet

The pilum

Other Equipment
Roman Saddles

Life and Religion

The Mithras Cult
Isis Worship
Curse Tablets and Good Luck Charms

Everyday Life
Bathing Habits
Children's Toys
Face Pots
Styli and Wax Tablets

Public Life
Roman Transport - Barges
Roman Transport - Amphorae and Barrels
Roman Water Supply

Roman villae
Villa Rustica Wachenheim

Legend of Alaric's Burial

Mediaeval History

Feudalism, Beginnings
Feudalism, 10th Century
The Privilege of the deditio
A Note on handgenginn maðr

The Hanseatic League
Introduction and Beginnings
Stockfish Trade



List of Mediaeval German Emperors

Anglo-German Marriage Connections
Heinrich the Lion's Ancestors


Kings and Emperors
King Heinrich IV
Emperor Otto IV, Introduction

Otto the Quarrelsome of Braunschweig-Göttingen
The Dukes of Braunschweig-Grubenhagen
Otto of Northeim
The Ludowing Landgraves of Thuringia
Albrecht II and Friedrich I of Thuringia

Counts and Local Lords
The Marshals of Ebersburg
The Counts of Everstein
The Counts of Hohnstein
The Lords of Plesse
The Counts of Reichenbach
The Counts of Winzenburg

Famous Feuds

Local Feuds
The Lüneburg Succession War
The Thuringian Succession War - Introduction
The Star Wars

Royal Troubles
Otto IV and Bishop Adalbert II of Magdeburg


Scottish Kings

House Dunkeld
Malcolm III and Northumbria
Struggle for the Throne: Malcolm III to David I
King David and the Civil War (1)
King David and the Civil War (2)

Houses Bruce and Stewart
Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle
The Early Stewart Kings

Scottish Nobles and their Quarrels

Clan Feuds
MacLeans and MacDonalds
A Scottish Wedding


Princes and Rebels

The Princes of Gwynedd
The Rise of House Aberffraw

The Rebellions
From Llywellyn ap Gruffudd to Owain Glyn Dŵr


Kings and Vikings

Kings of Norway
King Eirik's Scottish Marriages

Famous Nobles and their Feuds
Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg

Other Times and Miscellanea

Post-Mediaeval History

Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg Hemispheres

Fram Expedition to the North Pole
Fram Expedition to the South Pole

History in Opera and Literature

Maria Padilla - Mistress Royal
The Siege of Calais in Donizetti's Opera

Historical Ballads

Ballads by Th. Fontane, translated by me
About Theodor Fontane
Archibald Douglas
Gorm Grymme
Sir Walter Scott in Abbotsford
The Tragedy of Afghanistan

Geological Landscapes

The Baltic Sea
Geology of the Curonian Spit

The Harz
Karst Landscape
Karst - Lonau Falls
Karst - Rhume Springs

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations

Raised Bogs
The Hannover Cliffs

The Shores of Scotland



Fun Stuff

Not So Serious Romans
Aelius Rufus Visits the Future Series
Building Hadrian's Wall
Playmobil Romans

Royal (Hi)Stories
Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

Historical Memes
Charlemagne meme
Historical Christmas Wishes
New Year Resolutions
Aelius Rufus does a Meme
Rules for Writing Scottish Romances

Funny Sights
Tourist Kitsch in St.Petersburg

My Novels in Progress / Planning

I'm a bit of a writer, too; here are the novel projects on which I'm currently working

Roman Novels (Historical Fiction)
The Saga of House Sichelstein (Historical Fiction)
Kings and Rebels (Fantasy)


Links leading outside my blog will open in a new window. I do not take any responsibility for the content of linked sites.

History Blogs - Ancient

Roman History Today
Ancient Times (Mary Harrsch)
Bread and Circuses (Adrian Murdoch)
Following Hadrian (Carole Raddato)
Mike Anderson's Ancient History Blog
Mos Maiorum - Der römische Weg
Per Lineam Valli (M.C. Bishop)
Judith Weingarten

Digging Up Fun Stuff
The Anglo-Saxon Archaeology Blog
Arkeologi i Nord
The Journal of Antiquities (Britain)
The Northern Antiquarian
The Roman Archaeology Blog

History Blogs - Mediaeval

Þaér wæs Hearpan Swég
Anglo Saxon, Norse & Celtic Blog
Casting Light upon the Shadow (A. Whitehead)
Norse and Viking Ramblings
Outtakes of a Historical Novelist (Kim Rendfeld)

Beholden Ye Aulde Blogges
A Clerk of Oxford
Historical Britain Blog (Mercedes Rochelle)
Magistra et Mater (Rachel Stone)
Michelle of Heavenfield (Michelle Ziegler)
Senchus (Tim Clarkson)

Royal and Other Troubles
Edward II (Kathryn Warner)
Henry the Young King (Kasia Ogrodnik)
Piers Gaveston (Anerje)
Lady Despenser's Scribery
Simon de Montfort (Darren Baker)
Weaving the Tapestry (Scottish Houses Dunkeld and Stewart)

A Mixed Bag of History
English Historical Fiction Authors
The Freelance History Writer (Susan Abernethy)
The History Blog
History, the Interesting Bits (S.B. Connolly)
Mediaeval News (Niall O'Brian)
Time Present and Time Past (Mark Patton)

Thoughts and Images

Reading and Reviews
Black Gate Blog
The Blog That Time Forgot (Al Harron)
Parmenion Books
Reading the Past
The Wertzone

David Blixt
Ex Urbe (Ada Palmer)
Constance A. Brewer
Jenny Dolfen Illustrations
Wild and Wonderful (Caroline Gill)

Poets and Photographers (German Blogs)
Alte Steine (Burgdame Eva)
Durch Bücherstaub geblinzelt (Silberdistel)
Insel-Aus-Zeit (Carmen Wedeland)

German Travel Blogs
Lu Morgenstern
Sonne und Wolken
Unterwegs und Daheim

Highland Mountains
The Hazel Tree (Jo Woolf)
Helen in Wales
Mountains and Sea Scotland

The Colours of the World


Past Horizons
Archaeology in Europe

Roman History
Deutsche Limeskommission
Internet Ancient Sourcebook
Roman Army
Roman Britain
The Romans in Britain
Vindolanda Tablets

Not so Dark Ages
Burgundians in the Mist
Viking Society for Northern Research

Mediaeval History
De Re Militari
Internet Mediaeval Sourcebook
The Labyrinth
Mediaeval Crusades

Exploring Castles
The World of Castles

Miscellaneous History
Heritage Daily
The History Files

Ancient History
Encyclopedia Mythica

Online Journals
Ancient Warfare
The Heroic Age
The History Files

Travel and Guide Sites

Germany - History
Antike Stätten in Deutschland
Strasse der Romanik

Germany - Nature
Naturpark Meissner
Naturpark Solling-Vogler

English Heritage
Visit Northumberland

The Chain Mail (Scottish History)
Historic Scotland
National Trust Scotland

Books and Writing

Interesting Author Websites
Bernard Cornwell
Dorothy Dunnett
Steven Erikson
Diana Gabaldon
Guy Gavriel Kay
George R.R. Martin
Sharon Kay Penman
Brandon Sanderson
J.R.R. Tolkien
Tad Williams

Historical Fiction
Historical Novel Society
Historia Magazine

Writing Sites
Absolute Write
National Novel Writing Month


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