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Cymdeithas Hynafiaethau Cymru - Cambrian Archaeological Association












Meetings and Events

The Cambrians’ Summer Meetings are justly famous for their combination of intellectual rigour and bonhomie and have even been the subject of a memoir Out with the Cambrians! The week-long meeting in the summer has now been joined by an autumn weekend and, every other year, by an easter conference. The aim is to establish a comfortable base and explore the historic sites of all periods in the region under expert guidance, covering all parts of Wales and occasionally venturing into England, Ireland and Europe. The weekends tend to be more concentrated in scope, usually pursuing a single topic, while the Conferences provide the opportunity to discuss academic issues of the moment.

'Out with the Cambrians’ – a visit to Strata Florida in 1847

A Cambrian’s visit to Rouen in Northern France





Ironbridge is one of the most famous industrial complexes in the world and experiments in iron-making here in the later 18th century were crucial to the development of the industry in both north and south Wales in later years. But this surprisingly beautiful valley, and the river that runs through it, attracted a number of other industries, notably tile and porcelain works which were at the forefront of technology and of artistic style through the 19th century. It could also claim to be the cradle of the advertising industry since the iron bridge at its heart was designed primarily, not to cross the river, but to showcase what cast iron could do structurally. At the end of the meeting we can visit the Shrewsbury flax mill which was the first fully iron-framed building. Both are examples of world-changing ideas, and the bridge is also beautiful.

But we will not only look at industry. We will go back to the Romans and visit, with Dr Roger White, Viriconium (Wroxeter), a town almost the size of Pompei, occupied from the 1st to the 7th century. This post-Roman phase is particularly important and the subject of a lot of recent research directed by Dr White. We will visit local churches with very early origins, and also the three fine mediaeval monasteries. The National Trust house at Benthall, still lived by the original family, is also a settlement with roots in Saxon Mercia.
English Heritage will be carrying out a detailed survey of the condition of the Iron Bridge next year and we hope that we may be able to go on a ‘Scaffold Tour’ – a safe walk along the encasing scaffold to see at close hand the details of joints and rivets etc.

The meeting will be based in the Madeley Court Hotel, a fine 16th century mansion in parkland, now owned by Mercure Group, but for a time in the18th century, the home of Abraham Darby himself. It is accessible from Junction 4 of the M54, just west of Madeley town centre and only about 1 ½ miles from Blists Hill Open Air Museum. The main house is without a lift but modern annexes built close to it which have ground and first floor rooms, are more easily accessible.

Please book with the hotel directly, mentioning that you are a member of the Cambrians.

Madeley Court Hotel, Castlefields Way, Madeley 01952 680068 Ellie Griffiths deals with groups (01952 686607)

Dinner Bed and Breakfast £62.50 per person sharing per night = £312.50

£95.00 per single occupancy per night = £475.00

A map will be sent in June to all those who have booked, together with your Passport to all the Ironbridge museums.



MONDAY July 3rd

Arrive Madeley Court Hotel c. 12.00 Registration
13:00 Blist Hill Open Air Museum (in own cars. We anticipate that there will be sufficient cars available to ferry those who come by public transport. Find own lunch in museum cafes)
17:30 Return to Madeley Court Hotel
6.30 : Lecture by Dr Roger White on Wroxeter Dinner afterwards


09:00 leave for Atcham Church; Wroxeter Roman City, and Wroxeter parish church
Lunch: Wroxeter Hotel
14:00 Buildwas Abbey and Much Wenlock Abbey
17:30 Return to Madeley Court Hotel
6.30 : Lecture by Paul Belford –Early Industrialisation in the Severn Gorge


09:30 Take the bus to the Museum of Iron and Paul Belford will lead us on a walk down the Coalbrookdale watercourses to the Museum of the Gorge
11:30 Museum of the Gorge
Lunch: Various cafes, restaurants and pubs in Ironbridge. Opportunity to look at the town.
Cross the Iron Bridge to pick up the bus in the adjacent car park
2.00 Benthall Hall (NT) 17th cent. house and church, with historical displays going back to Saxons
c. 4.00 Broseley Pipe Museum
17:30 Hotel- Madeley Court Hotel
6.30 : Presidential Address and Reception : Dr Prys Morgan


9.30 Bus to Museum of Iron; Old Furnace; Darby Houses
Bus to centre of town to find own lunch etc
14.00 The Iron Bridge (hopefully a scaffold tour) Tollhouse and Bedlam Furnaces
Guide David de Haan
17:30 Return to Madeley Court Hotel
7.00 Dinner followed by CAA Annual General Meeting.
Members who wish to see the full accounts should write to the Secretary in June and ask for an e-mail copy to be sent to them.


10.00 Jackfield Tile Museum (former tileworks/pottery)
13:00 Get own Lunch at the Cafes at Jackfield or Coalport..
14:00 Coalport – former porcelain factory, with museum and craft workshops
17:30 Return to Madeley Court Hotel
6.30 : Talk: Artistic influences on Coalport and Jackfield Speaker to be arranged


(Optional morning visits) in own cars
Haughmond Abbey near Shrewsbury (via M54 and A5)
Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings – Visitor Centre plus guided tour inside the buildings.
Shrewsbury Museum in the town centre has the Wroxeter material on display.


Click here to download PDF booking form for Ironbridge Meeting.


SEPTEMBER 22nd – 24th

Swansea has been an important port since Norman times but its period of greatest significance was during ‘Copperopolis’, when Swansea Bay was filled with tall sailing ships, which had rounded Cape Horn to bring the copper ore from Chile. The triumph of industry killed the other ambition for Swansea as a fashionable resort, ‘the Brighton of Wales’. More of old Swansea survived the blitzes of the Second World War than is generally realised. Morgans Hotel is situated in the middle of it. Archaeology is revealing much about Copperopolis but Swansea is again re-inventing itself as a modern city and resort.

The weekend is a mixture of urban walks, cruises, lectures and museum visits.


The conference will be based on Morgans Hotel, a four star hotel in the former Harbour Trust Authority Building with many original features preserved and excellent modern conference facilities. Please book overnight accommodation direct with the hotel, identifying yourself as a Cambrian.

Please book as quickly as you can – it is a popular hotel and they cannot hold rooms indefinitely.

Morgans Hotel, Somerset Place, Swansea SA1 1RR Tel: 01792 484848 Email: mail@morgans

Flat rate per room, including breakfast, £130 per night in main hotel; £100 per night in adjacent (also historic) Town House.
Please indicate if you want twin beds (default seems to be double). Lifts to all floors.
Dinners (£25) are to be paid through the Cambrians.


By car. Leave M4 at Jct 42, follow A483 and then briefly A4067 into Swansea, across river bridge. Large Sainsbury’s on left. First turn left into Somerset Place, then first turn right into Adelaide Street. Secure parking for residents. On road parking is limited. Non residents may have to use East Burrows Car Park at the end of Somerset Place. (If you enter from Adelaide Street, turn left for Reception).

By bus or train. Central Bus Station and Railway Station are both within walking distance of the hotel but a taxi is recommended, particularly from the latter, if you have luggage. There are taxi ranks at both.



FRIDAY, 22 September

Lunch. Own arrangements, but Morgans do good bar meals. Registration at Morgans.
c.2.15pm. Walking tour of old port area, led by Prys Morgan and Gerald Gabb, hopefully including old Guildhall, now Dylan Thomas Centre, and Royal Institution of South Wales, now Swansea Museum.
6.30pm. Dinner.
8 p.m. Mike Lewis (Newport Museum) ‘The Port of Swansea from Norman Times.’

SATURDAY, 23 September

9 a.m Gerald Gabb (former Education Officer at Swansea Museum)
‘Swansea: Town by the Sea’.
10 a.m ‘Swansea and the Slave Trade’ Speaker t.b.a.
11 a.m Coffee
11.30 a.m Visit to Maritime Museum
Lunch – own arrangements.

Afternoon – choice of three excursions
1. Cruise along the South Gower Coast :small harbours and wildlife Numbers strictly limited. Book early.
2. Mumbles and Oystermouth Castle. Make own way there by car, or frequent buses from Bus Station. (Small admission charge at Castle – not Cadw). Pay on the day.
3. Visit the newly re-opened Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Brangwyn Panels in 1930s Guildhall (Small transport cost). Pay on the day
6.30 p.m Dinner
8 p.m. Professor Huw Bowen ‘Copperopolis in an international context’.

SUNDAY, 24 September

10 a.m Cruise up River Tawe (Those who know it will be amazed at the transformation).
Led by Huw Bowen
Lunch for those who book (details dependent on numbers).


Click here to download PDF booking form for Swansea Meeting.


Reports of Previous Meetings
(These are all in Adobe Acrobat format and open in a new window)


Report on the CAA Autumn Meeting 2016 - The City and Cathedral of Exeter

Report on the CAA Summer Meeting 2016 - Vale of Clwyd

Report on the CAA Autumn Meeting 2015 - Cardiff and the Marquesses of Bute

Report on the CAA 162nd Summer Meeting 2015 - Lampeter

Report on CAA Meeting in Dumfries and Galloway Summer 2014

Meeting Report on CAA Easter Conference 11th-13th April 2014 in Llangollen

Llangollen Meeting Easter 2014 - An introduction to the Myddelton monuments in St Mary’s
Church, Chirk by Richard Haslam

Report on CAA Meeting in Brittany Summer 2013

Report on CAA Summer Meeting in Anglesey July 9th -14th 2012

Report on CAA Visit to Birmingham : Friday September 21st to Sunday September 23rd 2012

Report with images on the Spring Meeting in Llangollen 20-22 April 2012 by Dr Sian Rees

Report on the Autumn 2011 Meeting in Tenby 23rd - 25th September 2011

Report on the Summer Meeting in Gascony 25th June - 2nd July 2011

Report on the Summer Meeting Canterbury and East Kent 18 - 24th July 2010

Report on the Easter 2010 Conference

Report on the Autumn 2009 Meeting

Report on the 156th Annual Summer Meeting in the South Wales Valleys

Report on the 155th Annual Summer Meeting in the Conwy Valley

Report on the Easter Conference 2008 held at the Llety Parc Hotel in Aberystwyth on March 28th -30th

Report on the Autumn Meeting of the Cambrian Archaeological Association, Paris, September 23-26th 2007

The 154th Annual Summer Meeting of the Cambrian Archaeological Association, Carmarthen, August 12th - 18th 2007

Report on the Cambrian Archaeological Association Easter Conference April 8-9th 2006

Notes About the Status of Local History Societies in North Montgomeryshire