Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Cardiff Castle

Hi hedgehog friends
Wow!  Where did that time go?  I seem to have lost 3 months in Cardiff while staying with my new friend, Bear.  Maybe I was secretly whisked away time travelling in the Tardis and have had my memory wiped?   I’ve been having a great time here throughout the summer and have been keeping an eye out for Dr Who.  Apparently he’s been seen in Bristol while I’ve been in Cardiff!  

On St Mary's street, Cardiff, with Suzannah. Cardiff Castle is in the background.
I have learned a lot about the history of Cardiff Castle though which is a bit like time travelling I think.  During its 2000 years Cardiff Castle has been a Roman Garrison, a Norman stronghold and even transformed into a gothic fantasy which all sounds a bit Dr Who-ish to me!

It is said Roman legions could have arrived in Cardiff as early as during the reign of Emperor Nero (54-68 AD).  The invasion which started in 43 AD was met by resistance led by Catuvellaunian nobles Caractacus and Togodumnus. Catuvellaunia was in the South East of England and includes what is now Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire .  Togodumnus died but Caractacus fled to the Welsh hills where he rallied resistance and led the Silures and Ordovices against the Romans.

The Celtic speaking tribe, the Silures, who were based in south-east Wales were a sophisticated people who traded widely, made use of horses and horse-drawn vehicles and had war chariots with trappings decorated with red enamel.   This Iron-Age tribe managed to defeat a whole Roman legion during a bloody campaign which lasted for 25 years.

Caractacus was defeated in 50 AD at the Battle of Caer Caradoc (a hill in what is now Church Stretton, Shropshire).  His wife and daughter were captured.  Caractacus fled and sought refuge with the Brigantes, a Northern British tribe who handed him over to the Romans.  Caractacus was then taken to Rome where, following making a speech, he was pardoned by the Emperor and held in high esteem.

As for Cardiff Castle, following the defeat of the Silures and exile of Caractacus the Romans built their first fort at Cardiff where the River Taff nears the Bristol Channel as a campaign base in the still hostile territory.   Then in around 75 AD they rebuilt the fort in the area now occupied by the southern half of the castle.  Around 250 AD another new fort was built with 10 foot thick stone walls backed by an earth bank and this remained in use until the Roman army withdrew during the 5th century.

After the Roman occupation the native princes of Glamorgan based themselves about a mile to the north and the fort fell to ruin until the Normans arrived and Robert Fitzhamon, the Norman Lord of Gloucester built his Norman castle on the site in around 1091.

In 1947 the Castle was given to the people of Cardiff by the 5th Marquess of Bute.  Visit Cardiff Castle’s website to read its full history and then visit Cardiff Castle for yourself if you can!  

Back soon with more news on my adventures in Cardiff.  Talking of travel and history look out for some great photos of me in Charlotte Shirvington's article in the next edition of the Indie Shaman magazine, one from when I was visiting Ross Heaven and the other from when I met Mike Stygal of the Pagan Federation. Good to know I'm not forgotten while I'm away!

Many blessings
aka Shaman Sham the Wandering Hedgehog

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