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How archaeologist Howard Thomas saved Barry castle

A WINDOW and a fireplace is the theme this week for our Barry and District look at Barry castle, written by Karl-James Langford and photos care of Angus Hawkins.

We have already visited Barry castle in this series and it won’t be the last time either. This week, I wanted to mentioned that Barry castle, even over the past 100 years, has seen a great deal of changes. It was once fully over grown, and it wasn’t until the 1950s that things started to move into the direction of a site being loved and conserved.

Thanks to the work of Barry boy and archaeologist Howard Thomas, Barry castle was the place to be for archaeology back in the 1950 and 1960s. He did a great deal to make sure that the castle remained as one of the only surviving pieces of medieval archaeology in the Barry and District. If it wasn’t for Howard and his boys it may have been demolished and built upon.

The image we see this week looks into the basement and then the first floor hall of the castle. We see a window looking from the basement into the courtyard beyond, now framed by some beautiful daffodils. This is one of very few windows surviving, and directly above are the remnants of one of the fireplaces of the hall above.

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To be found butted into the wall on the other image is a fireplace, that is now blocked up; as when I was a child like many others we used to climb up here (before being blocked), and stand on the first floor remains and look out of the window of the gateway. And above this now blocked up fireplace, was another fireplace for the hall. The hall would have been very cosy, and we have an idea of what it once looked like, thanks to reconstruction drawing and a scale model produced by Howard Thomas. It had a Cornish slate roof, and dressed stone windows made from Sutton sandstone; that comes from Ogmore-by-Sea.

The gateway and hall looked out over the Bristol channel, and a small harbour where Romilly Park is today.

One fascinating area of Barry castle is that, From the diligent work of Howard Thomas, the remains of a Roman period farmstead underlays the site. And if you look closely there are one or two Roman tiles doted about the castle.; according to Howard, but sadly

I have never been able to find them.

Next week we visit Barry Island again. Many thanks for taking this visit with us to the

Barry and District.

Archaeology Cymru

Karl-James Langford

cyfarwyddwr

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