Research before 1999...

... and other relevant publication outside of the Project

Strata Florida has been the focus of Antiquarian interest since the 16th century, when John Leland, teh King's Antiquary visited the site, just before the Dissolution of 1539 closed it down. As the various sub-disciplines of historical research emerged during the 19th century, so Strata Florida has appeared in texts of different kinds addressing different aspects of the place's engagement in the events of the past.

As a result Strata Florida and its history have appeared in a range of publications within a number of different discourses, notably:
archaeology and architecture, for example David Robinson's important evaluation of all Cistercian architecture and archaeology in Wales published in 2008;
historical and economic geography of the Strata Florida estates particularly the work of David Williams;
the general and ecclesiastical histories of Wales, where Strata Florida's role in the making of Welsh political identity is often emphasised;
the cultural history of Wales where Strata Florida's role as instigator and protector of written Welsh is well recorded;
local history, from the formal county histories to less formal accounts of people and events important to local communities..

For more details and a bibliography click here.

One key strand has been antiquarianism and archaeology with the Cambrian Archaeological Association, from its beginnings in 1849, placing Strata Florida in the first rank of Welsh monuments with visits and publications. Stephen Williams excavated the site in the late 1880's and published his findings very quickly in 1891. Since then there have been a few more small-scale interventions, but no coherent campaign until the Strata Florida Project began in 1999. However, the monument guide books produced first by the Office of Works and now by Cadw do offer an important insight into the architecture revealed in Williams' excavations as well as the history.

Despite the poor survival of Strata Florida's standing architecture, enough was recovered in the 19th-century excavations to allow very accurate reconstruction drawings and paintings to be made, many of which can be found in the guide books. Much of this work is based on a study by Stuart Harrison in the early 1990's. Some of the results have appeared in David Robinson's important evaluation of all Cistercian architecture and archaeology in Wales published in 2008.

Another key strand has been the historical and economic geography of the Strata Florida estates which are best documented in the extensive records of the estates created shortly after the Dissolution, many to be found in the Crosswood Deeds housed in the National Library of Wales. Dominant in this work is that of David Williams whose scholarship has provided the Project with such firm foundations.

There is also a significant body of references to Strata Florida in the general and ecclesiastical histories of Wales. In these works the role of Strata Florida in the struggles to establish Welsh national identity and political form is significant, especially in the century before the Edwardian wars of the later 13th century, a role which it sought to continue and which even today has strong resonance in Wales' story of itself. This resonance carries over into the cultural history of Wales where the reputation of Strata Florida as a creator of manuscripts in the Welsh language and a sponsor and protector of poets is secure.


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