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Anglesey - The Island's Story

Manylion a Disgrifiad y Llyfr | Book Details & Description

  • Author: Michael Senior
  • Publication Date 2007
  • Format: Paperback, 210x148 mm, 80 pages

A concise history of Anglesey from prehistoric to modern times which guides the reader to places that provide evidence of the different ages of man on the island. Colour photographs.

Gwales Review
This revised colour edition of the history of Ynys Môn celebrates a new, more confident, outward-looking character to the island – one that looks forward to a more prosperous future and one that now recognizes the treasures of its long and varied past.

Menter Môn, the author tells us, is playing a significant role in nurturing this new-found optimism and confidence. Founded in 1995, Menter Môn works in partnership with a local enterprise agency and the Agricultural Training Board to administer a five year grant aiming ‘to carry the legacy of the past forward into the future in new and exciting ways’.

The story of the island which follows in this neat, concise and informative book is infused with the same optimism, taking us through its history from the first farmers of the late Stone Age to the modern industrial age and beyond.

We learn about the island as a place of ancient habitation including the arrival of the Paleolithic farmers during the second half of the third millennium BC, and their legacy of some beautifully preserved megalithic tombs, forming probably the largest concentration of monuments for this period in the country. These tombs, combined with the later stone circles and standing stones thought to belong to immigrants of the Bronze Age, known as the ‘Beaker’ people, provide a wealth of evidence of Anglesey’s ancient past. Some of these are well illustrated in the book, including a photograph of perhaps one of the best preserved, known as Bryn Celli Ddu.

From the history of its earliest inhabitants, the author goes on to describe the island as a centre of the old religion of the Celtic tribes with their highly developed military organization (as indicated in the unearthing of early Iron age artefacts during the construction of Valley airfield in 1942–3). We then learn of the arrival of Christianity with the founding of several monasteries, including Penmon; the period of castle building on the island, particularly during the reign of Edward I, and the construction of Beaumaris castle; the home of the orginal tudor family; and the rise of the Bulkeley family in the mid 15th century who owned substantial land and property especially around Beaumaris.

We learn too of the sources of Anglesey’s wealth through the ages, particularly its thriving farming past which supported its economy for a long time between the decline of the copper mines and the rise of modern industry.

In his final chapter, the author outlines some of the new initiative of modern times which demonstrate the positive, forward-looking character of the island – these include new presentations of Anglesey’s past; music and walking festivals; support for the growth of new food businesses; craft exhibitions and galleries; museums; maritime interpretation centres; a copper mine heritage trail; the institution of local nature reserves; as well as the regeneration of local economies to reflect a sturdy and unique character that extends beyond the tourist season.

This is a lovely small guidebook to the island with good quality photographs and it offers a far greater insight into the character of Anglesey and its people than a more conventional information guide for visitors.

Jane MacNamee