21 October 2009

WELSH BATTLEFIELD REGISTER in Statement on the Historic Environmemt 22 Medi 2009.

Document received fron Kirsty Williams AM.
The Record of Proceedings.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Statement on the Historic Environment

Kirsty Williams: Minister, we have been in correspondence over the summer regarding the preservation of the Brynglas site and the documentation of battlefields the length and breadth of Wales. I appreciate that we need to be sure of our facts while registering these sites, but there can be no question of the facts surrounding the Brynglas battlefield and the significant role that it played in Welsh history, with the defeat of Mortimer’s army, and the role of the longbow—this being one of the first instances in warfare in which the longbow was used. Indeed, there is also the infamous role played by the women who accompanied Glyndwr’s army at that battlefield.

I would like some more details on the consultation. How long will it take? How will you involve those voluntary organisations that have a wealth of information at their fingertips, such as the battlefield societies, and which desperately want to be involved in projects of this kind? Will the list be more than just a register, and look at interpretation data on the sites, including the facts of the battles? Will you have any discussions with Ordnance Survey about its maps, which previously carried a symbol indicating the sites of battles, but no longer do so? That is one way that we tell visitors and local people about the existence of a battlefield in their area.

Alun Ffred Jones: With regard to the Brynglas battlefield, I cannot remember offhand, but I assume that the site is privately owned.

Kirsty Williams: Yes, it is.

Alun Ffred Jones: Therefore we are talking about access, and the emphasis of the Welsh cultural initiative is to assist such sites to be brought into public use by helping with access, information and suchlike. That fund is still open, so it is open for discussion with the individual or organisations that are particularly interested in that site.

I have no information or details about the consultation with which we will proceed, but I do not see why it should be a lengthy consultation. Much of the work has already been done on identifying the sites, but we need a common understanding of which sites will be listed, and then we must work with voluntary or statutory organisations to present and interpret the information. There have already been discussions with voluntary historical organisations, in the Eisteddfod, for example, with regard to what will happen after that list has been drawn up. So, there is a lot of work in front of Cadw and its officials, but there is also a lot of very interesting work ahead for voluntary organisations that want to interpret and bring attention to some of these sites and tell the story; that is what this is about.

With regard to OS maps, I am very happy to discuss that further and to make representations, if you feel that that is the right approach, in order to return to the pattern of noting these sites on maps.

The full debate can be found here:


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Questions to the Minister for Heritage

Kirsty Williams: Minister, yesterday you announced your intention to consult on compiling a list of battlefield sites across Wales. You said that much of the work in this area had already been completed. However, you then went on to say that a consultation will not begin until the new year. Given that you stated that much of the work in this area has been done, why do you intend to wait until next year to start a consultation exercise? When will we actually see a document that lists these historic sites and move forward to taking practical action to ensure that people know about them and are able to visit them?

Alun Ffred Jones: I will probably have to write to you with the details. As I understand it, work is progressing on preparing the consultation document. I know that this sounds like a bureaucratic process, but much of the work of identifying battlefield sites and carrying out background work has been done by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Therefore, all that remains to be done now is for the consultation to go out in order to decide on the criteria. As I said yesterday, presumably, not every field that was the site of some skirmish in the past is worthy of note as a battlefield site. In order to have agreement on that, we will have to go through a consultation period. However, there is no need for that to be a prolonged affair, and I would hope that, by the end of next year, we will have a working list. The interesting work will then be able to go ahead to ensure that people have access, where that is possible—because, presumably, most of the sites will be in private hands—and to interpret the information on the sites. That work can be progressed gradually and will be developed over many years.


So, it looks pretty positive, but do not relax your grip on it untill the fat lady sings ok!.