Nearly 40 members and friends of the Group assembled at the Quay Hotel in Deganwy for the start of our annual Field Trip on Wednesday morning, 13th May 2015. It was a glorious morning as we set off at 9am, with Ray our driver for the day at the the wheel of his Llew Jones’ luxury coach for the short journey to St Margaret’s Chuch in Bodelwyddan.
Mrs Elan Rivers, one of the History Group experts on the history of the area, gave a short talk on the history of the bulding of the beautiful Church, also known as the Marble Church,
and she touched on the problems which arose at the end of the Great War with the deaths of many Canadian soldiers who were stationed at Kinmel Camp. Elan did’nt dwell too much on this as it is to be the subject of a talk at a Group meeting later in the year, but it was sufficient to see from the graves of the 83 Canadian servicemen in the cemetery that there is a story to be told.
We then made our way to St Winifred’s Well at Holywell, also known as the Lourdes of North Wales. Here, Kevin Slattery, the Group’s Deputy Chairman, told us of the rather gruesome legend of St Winifred and how Caradog, the son of a local prince, severed the head of young Winfred for spurning his advances and how a Well erupted at the spot where her head landed. Kevin also referred to the revival recently of of a custom of sending soap made from the waters of St Winfred’s Well to the Vatican.
Moving quickly, on we headed for Greenfield Heritage Park for welcome refreshments and a chance to stretch our legs. Elan was again on hand to give us a brief history of Basingwerk Abbey which is located within the Park. We then made our to the Museum containing historic buildings to explore and farm animals to meet.
Onwards then over the border and into the City of Chester.There was an opportunity here for members of the group to do their own thing before meeting up again later in the afternoon for a boat ride on the River Dee. The weather was still excellent as some of us made our way past the Roman Amphitheatre where we saw schoolchildren being shown the art of turtling by a group of Roman soldiers. The tactics employed by the Romans varied between battles and for what type of enemy it was. The turtle was a position where the soldiers all grouped up and used to hold the shields over their heads and some to the side while others at the outside held spears and weapons to protect each other from the enemy. The main use for this was to penetrate into forts and other enemy strong points.
We then made our way to the City Walls at Newgate and then in an anticlockwise direction we headed for Eastgate. Woe, woe a thousand times woe, as Frankie Howard might have said, repair work was being carried out on this section of the wall, so down we went to street level. Here we lost some members of the Group who had been tempted by the shops!
On arriving at the Cathedral, Elan gave us a brief talk about the local connection of Hugh Lupus, the first Earl of Chester, with Deganwy. Following a snack in the Cathedral Refectory, the rather decimated party set off once more to do the Walls.
By 3pm, the whole group had very obediently, reassembled ‘down by the riverside’ for a two hour boat ride on the Chester Boat Iron Bridge Cruise. Captain Mike gave us a very full and informative commentary on the history of the area through which we were travelling as well as drawing our attention to various features in the landscape including the Iron Bridge.
Returning to Chester, the whole party set off to meet Ray at the prearranged pick up point to take us swiftly to Bod Erw Restaurant in St Asaph for a sumptuous evening meal.
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