8 Welsh history: weblinks
The following links represent a series of online resources for the study of Welsh history. Each of the sites has been examined by the unit team and selected as helpful to further your study of Welsh history. There is a vast array of impressive resources for you to explore.
Libraries, archives and museums
National Library of Wales: www.llgc.org.uk
Access in both Welsh and English. As well as its own library catalogues, it has a useful and wide variety of online resources, including, on its ‘Digital Mirror’ link:
- Page-by-page photographic access to a range of original documents (several dating back to the Middle Ages), including the Laws of Hywel Dda, Iolo Morganwg's notes for a ‘History of the British Bards’, the travel writings of some eighteenth-century tourists to Wales, and letters written by Welsh emigrants to America and Australia.
- ‘Welsh Biography Online’, an electronic version of the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, covering the lives of eminent Welsh people up to 1971.
- Collections of photographs, including the Senghennydd mining disaster, 1913.
- Some archive collections, including the Diary of David Lloyd George for 1886 and a collection of his letters to his brother William.
- Exhibitions on a variety of subjects, including Welsh architecture and the life of David Lloyd George.
On its ‘Family History’ link, there are some useful online archival databases, including:
- A searchable database of Gaol Files, 1730–1830.
- Searchable access to the Manorial Documents Register.
Archives Network Wales: www.archivesnetworkwales.info
The Archives Network Wales website contains standardised descriptions of the extent, type and scope of collections of historical documents held by Record Offices, universities and other bodies in Wales. It also provides links to further information and access details for the repositories. It is an index to sources rather than a source itself.
Gathering the Jewels: the website for Welsh cultural history: www.gtj.org.uk/
Accessible, well-presented site hosted by the National Library of Wales. Contains a huge number of images (both pictures and documents) on a vast range of subjects, from pre-Christian worship to the coal industry. Organised under topics. There is a brief description of each image, but no linking commentary. Useful if you're seeking pictorial material.
The National Archives: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
The National Archives at Kew, Surrey, are the official archive for England, Wales and the UK government, covering 900 years of history. The site provides online access to searchable catalogues of its vast range of records, but also a great deal more. In particular, under ‘Research, education and online exhibitions’ there is a wealth of helpful advice on how to get started and how to extend your skills in archival research, including family history, local history, military history and house history. Some manuscripts and documents are available online, including some highlights of the NA collection. There are excellent links to the UK archives network.
National Museum Wales: www.museumwales.ac.uk
Access in both Welsh and English. The museum's ‘Rhagor’ website is an on-going project to make the various national collections more accessible online. It contains a number of subject-based homepages, including one for History, where you can access images, articles and interactive features.
BBC Wales/Eclips: www.bbc.co.uk/wales/eclips/
Eclips is an audio-visual resource provided by BBC Wales. It makes available numerous clips from the BBC Wales audio and video archive. The idea is that teachers can use them to illustrate lessons, but they have an obvious interest for a much wider audience. They can be sorted in various ways, including by keyword, subject and/or age of the audience. The history resources are well worth exploring.
BBC/Wales History: www.bbc.co.uk/wales/history/
Accessible general-interest site with short sections from Roman Wales to the present day and numerous thematic sections, for example: castles; the Welsh language; family history; and myths and legends. All sections are short but useful reference tools, presentation is very user-friendly, and there are some good pictorial illustrations. The material has been collected by the well-known Welsh historian Dr John Davies and offers a generalist context for periods and topics in Welsh history.
A Brief History of Wales: www.britannia.com/wales/whist.html
Accessible general-interest site with bite-sized section on Wales from prehistoric times to the present. Has sections on themes, for example, Welsh literature, the Welsh Bible, industry and Methodism in Wales. Has some pictorial illustrations, but these tend to be small and are not described. Worth a visit if you are seeking generalised information.
Imaging the Bible in Wales: www.imagingthebible.org/wales
Project based at the University of Wales, Lampeter, analysing the social, political and theological questions raised by Welsh biblical visual culture, and aiming to preserve its contribution to the intellectual, artistic and cultural heritage of Wales, 1825–1975. Collection of Biblical images from churches and chapels in Wales, with academic commentaries. In English only.
Llafur: the Welsh People's History Society: www.llafur.org/indexe.htm
Llafur publishes an important journal, Llafur: the Journal of Welsh People's History, and its contents pages can be searched on the site.
The Rhondda: www.therhondda.co.uk
Aims to provide a socio-economic history of the Rhondda Valleys during the period 1800 to 1950, but is in the nature of a tribute to the Rhondda by an interested individual. Well-illustrated and clearly presented, it provides snippets of information – which would need to be checked against other sources – about many topics, from living conditions to the Tonypandy Riots. Worth a look. In English only.
The Welsh History Review: www.uwp.co.uk/book_desc/whr.html
Tables of contents of volumes of the Welsh History Review, 1996–2004.
Sites, buildings and landscapes
Castles of Wales: www.castlewales.com/home.html
Lots of interesting material here, some detailed, some generalised. There is a good index of castles in Wales, and plenty of maps. There are also sections on castle architecture, life in castles and castles in art, and numerous other essays, plus some good photographs. There are several contributors, some academic, but the site has an enthusiastic rather than scholarly feel. Still, if you're looking for an extra resource on Welsh castles, you will find things of interest in this site.
The Historic Churches Survey Database: www.cpat.demon.co.uk/projects/longer/churches/idxall.htm
Database of medieval churches in Wales. Searchable by region and map, with sound academic descriptions of the history and architecture of the churches. Highly recommendable site, backed by Cadw, the historic environment service of the Welsh Assembly Government.
Historic landscapes in Wales: www.cpat.org.uk./projects/longer/histland/histland.htm
Hosted by Cadw (the historic environment service of the Welsh Assembly Government) and the Countryside Council for Wales, a very attractive and easy-to-use bilingual site examining the historical landscape by regions of Wales. Easy to search regions. Very useful.
Mapping the medieval urban landscape: Edward I's new towns in England and Wales: www.qub.ac.uk/urban_mapping
Hosted by Queen's University, Belfast, this site looks at the new towns emerging after Edward I's conquest of north Wales. Some good town maps and focus on urban development, with academic commentary.
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales: www.coflein.gov.uk/
Access in both Welsh and English. Online database for the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Visitors can search for archaeological sites, monuments, buildings and maritime sites using a map or by searching by name or site type. The Coflein system enables direct online public access to many images from the holdings of the National Monuments Record of Wales Archive, including photographs, scanned hard-copy drawings and PDF versions of survey reports and other text documents. Very useful resource.