Historic Military Weekend - Fortress Wales
Caldicot (Monmouthshire county)
An amazing overview of history that gave visitors a real time-travelling experience in an enchanting setting of a Welsh castle founded by the Norman Conquerors, developed by the English Kings, restored by a wealthy Victorian family, and set in a beautiful scenery of gentle gardens and a wooded country park…
The geographical, cultural and historical context
Caldicot is a small town located in Monmouthshire county, between Chepstow and Newport, in south-eastern Wales, at about 50 km from Cardiff (Wales) and 30 km from Bristol (England). Caldicot has always played a strategic role as a transport hub, once along the Roman road from Gloucester to Caerleon, and today at the crossroad of several motor and railways. Caldicot heritage includes some fine Tudor-era buildings, and its very landmark: the medieval Caldicot Castle with its well-preserved fortifications and lake.
The surroundings boast waymarked footpaths along the so-called Caldicot and Wentloog Levels, two areas of low-lying estuarine alluvial wetland and intertidal mudflats, as well as the nearby town of Caerwent, founded by the Romans as the market town of Venta Silurum and featuring still today some of the best-preserved Roman remains in Europe, and, last but not least, the Wentwood Rerservoir, the largest ancient woodland in Wales with bronze age burial mounds, a stone circle, and also a Megalithic alignment.
The territory, inhabited already during the Neolithic Age as witnessed by the finding of a Neolithic long barrow overlooking the river Severn at Heston Brake, developed in the Bronze Age and in Roman times, in the early centuries AD, when Caldicot stood on the Via Julia roadway leading to Caerwent just to the north, and a coarse pottery industry flourished. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the area became 'border country' disputed between the Saxons and the Welsh, and later on also the Normans recognized the strategic value of the site, which allowed to control this area of southern Wales and also the sea traffic: the Caldicot Castle was founded as a motte with two baileys and a deep surrounding ditch.
The first historical record of Caldicot can be found in the Domesday Book, a manuscript containing records for over 13,000 settlements in England and Wales that was completed in AD 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror. In 1158, the manor of Caldicot passed to Humphrey de Bohun III (1144?-1181), an Anglo-Norman nobleman and general, Earl of Hereford, who added the stone keep and curtain walls of the present-day Castle. The de Bohun family held the manor and castle of Caldicot for over two centuries until 1373, when it became the property of the Crown and fully developed as a stronghold. In early modern times Caldicot Castle fell gradually into ruin and became little more than a farmyard. The castle changed hands several times until in 1885 it was finally sold to Joseph Richard Cobb (1821-1897), a lawyer, a railways promoter and an antiquary, who began the restoration of the castle as his family home. Today the Caldicot Castle is set in a beautiful scenery of gentle gardens and fifty-five acres of a beautiful wooded country park. The visitors can discover its romantic and colourful history through various tours and events held in the castle throughout the year.
Fortress Wales is a multi-period living history event held at Caldicot Castle Country Park, encompassing a quite broad range of history from the Viking Age to the contemporary times, and also a military vehicle show. Fortress Wales is the largest event of its kind, which brings together 1,000 reenactors from almost 70 various historical re-enactment groups from all over the United Kingdom and Europe. There are around 40 encampments set up throughout the 60 acres of the country park open to the visitors to see and touch various artefacts, experience first-hand centuries of history, learning about many different historical periods, while meeting knights in armour, medieval peasants, Napoleonic soldiers, Native Americans and cowboys, WW1 and WW2 troopers, and many other historical characters. The festival rich programme offers a wealth of living history displays, a special area hosting military vehicles with demonstrations, several arenas for battle reenactment, leisure and educational initiatives for adults and children, as well as catering area, music shows, craft markets, and much more.
Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.
Info & Contact
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FortressWalesAtCaldicotCastle/
Address: Church Road, Caldicot, Monmouthshire - NP26 4HU, United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 1291 420241 | Fax: +44 1291 435094
Caldicot Town Council
Tel.: +44 1291 420441
Caldicot Community Website
Monmouthshire Visitor Information
Image: © Caldicot Castle
Text sources: Caldicot Castle, Wikipedia, Caldicot Community, Castles of Britain portal, Caldicot Town Council, Monmouthshire Tourism Office
Caldicot and its castle on Google Maps:
Video reportages and trailers of the event:
Exploring the Monmouthshire: