The Pillar of Eliseg, being the remains of an inscribed 9th century cross, sitting on a barrow of probable Early Bronze Age date.
I spent Tuesday and Wednesday with Howard and his students on field trips into north-east Wales and back across the border into Cheshire and Shropshire. I got to see the area under highly unusual circumstances: covered in snow and lit by an unclouded sun. Beautiful! We’ve seen the early church site of Shotwick, the Cistercian abbey ruins of Basingwerk and Valle Crucis, the hillfort of Oswestry, the Offa’s Dyke and Wat’s Dyke defensive walls and the stone crosses of Maen Achwyfan and Eliseg, the latter sitting on a barrow beneath a forbidding mountainside. Not far from the barrow, Howard and I had a good pub lunch and finished it up with Spotted Dick in a custard lake.
After the Tuesday field trip I walked along the top of Chester’s Medieval walls, saw the police prepare to fish a dead person out of one of the canal locks just outside, and studied the exhibits in the Grosvenor Museum. On Wednesday evening, I gave a talk on my Östergötland project to the department’s faculty and students, and nobody fell asleep!
The ruins of Basingwerk Cistercian abbey.
The southern transept of the abbey church at Basingwerk.
The sculpted ring cross of Maen Achwyfan.
Wat’s Dyke, a 9th century defensive wall, where it joins the Oswestry Iron Age hillfort from the north.
Standing in the moat on the Welsh side, Dr. Howard Williams prepares to storm Offa’s Dyke, an 8th century defensive wall, thus finally letting go of any lingering loyalty to his English roots.
Snowmelt dripping off a sagging wall at the Cistercian abbey ruin of Valle Crucis.
View from the road to the Horseshoe Pass.