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Black and white photo of a cavalier

The Ghosts of Castell Coch – Part 2

This tale of ghostly apparitions was first told by Cardiff chemist Robert Drane in 1858. The story was embellished and retold by Mr and Mrs Hall in their 1861 guide, “The Book Of South Wales The Wye And The Coast“. The Castell Coch Cavalier Many years ago, a lady of good family, but small income …

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Aerial view of Castell Coch, 1949

Castell Coch from Above

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) was established in 1908. They develop and promote the understanding of the archaeological, built and maritime heritage of Wales. The Commission has a huge collection of items in its archive, The National Monuments Record of Wales (NMRW). Coflein is the online catalogue of …

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Four illustrations of Castell Coch

William Burges’ Plans for the Reconstruction of Castell Coch

It’s 150 years this month since Lord Bute instructed John McConnochie to excavate the site at Castell Coch. The results were investigated by William Burges, who was able to build on G. T. Clark’s 1850 report and present Bute with the option of either restoration or reconstruction. Burges submitted the “Castell Coch Report” to the …

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Illustration of an old Taff Trail leaflet

Castell Coch and the Taff Trail

I recently picked up a series of leaflets that describe the route of the Taff Trail from Cardiff to Brecon. They were produced by the Taff Trail with support from Mid Glamorgan County Council, Taff Ely Borough Council and the Welsh Office. This information helps me date the leaflet to between 1988, when the trail …

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Three illustrations of patterns in Castell Coch

Patterns of Castell Coch – Part 1

Castell Coch is famous for its spectacular interiors. I’ve decided to illustrate the stencils, murals and patterns that decorate Cardiff’s iconic Gothic Revival landmark. This first instalment includes designs from the banqueting hall and Lord Bute’s bedroom. The detailed stencilling in the banqueting hall was completed by the interior decorators Campbell, Smith & Co. under …

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Black and white photo of Castell Coch and vineyard

The Castell Coch Vineyard

There are 31 vineyards in Wales and 739 in England, according to WineGB’s 2020 report. In the late 19th century, however, wine was imported from Europe and there were no commercial vineyards in Britain. The Experiment Began This changed in 1873, when Lord Bute asked his head gardener, Mr Andrew Pettigrew, to plant a vineyard …

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Magic Lantern Slide photo of Castell Coch

Magic Lantern Slide

The magic lantern is an early version of the image projector and was invented in the 17th century. The original versions of the 35mm photo slide were painted glass or oiled paper. For these early lanterns, the light source was either sunlight, candles or oil lamps. Magic lanterns were used as entertainment, combining images with …

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