Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Sycharth Castle

One of the simplest manifestations of landscape and power is the description of a landscape as property. An interesting early example is the description of Owain Glyn Dwr's castle at Sycharth by his court poet Iolo Goch (1320-98), encompassing not only the building but the surrounding landscape. This landscape includes a rabbit warren, deer park, meadows and hayfields, a mill on a "smooth-flowing stream" and a fish pond abounding in "pike and splendid whiting" (see O.H.Creighton's Castles and Landscapes). These features were not only useful, they had aesthetic appeal and symbolised the Prince's authority. The orderly landscape may be an expression of the gentry poet Iolo Goch's conservative outlook (as noted in in this Welsh literature site). Although some of the poet's description may be idealised, there is some archaeological evidence of the mill and the fishponds (a relevant BBC news report is here).

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