Seminar: Gateways to Power: The Castles of Ranulf III of Chester and Llywelyn the Great of Gwynedd

Dr Rachel Swallow was until recently a lecturer at University of Chester in the History and Archaeology Department. Her PhD thesis and a number of past and impending publications consider a little-examined region of medieval Britain – Cheshire and what is now north-east Wales - through the concept and significance of power and place applied to the architecture and landscapes of castles. No such study has been made previously of castles in medieval Cheshire.

Rachel's research is primarily landscape history and archaeology, which together span many disciplinary boundaries. It draws upon previously un-studied or under-studied documentary and cartographic sources, as well as new interpretations of archaeological features at and around castle sites. An original research approach is therefore employed - to revisit and reinterpret the changing social, political and historical frameworks of fortified élite residences in medieval Cheshire. Within the context of current debates on the historic landscape, in-depth exploration situates related castle case studies within their respective spatial and temporal environs.

This paper aims to provide a fresh, theoretical interpretation as to how personal power is manifested in the archaeological record within early thirteenth-century England and Wales - and, indeed, within the Irish Sea Region.

The seminar will take place in the Stokehold Room, Burghfield House, Dornoch at 5.30pm on Wednesday 15 March. A video-conference connection is also available - please get in touch for details.