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James of St George and the Castles of the Welsh Wars (Hardback)

Colour Books Military P&S History > Medieval World > Medieval History World History > UK & Ireland > Wales

By Malcolm Hislop
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 312
Illustrations: 150 colour & black and white
ISBN: 9781526741301
Published: 3rd August 2020



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James of St George has a reputation as one of the most significant castle builders of the Middle Ages. His origins and early career at the heart of Europe, and his subsequent masterminding of Edward I of England’s castle-building programmes in Wales and Scotland, bestow upon him an international status afforded to few other master builders retained by the English crown. The works erected under his leadership represent what many consider to be the apogée of castle development in the British Isles, and Malcolm Hislop’s absorbing new study of the architecture is the most important reassessment to be published in recent times.

His book explores the evolution of the Edwardian castle and James of St George’s contribution to it. He gives a fascinating insight into the design, construction and organisation of such large-scale building projects, and the structural, military and domestic characters of the castles themselves. James’s work on castles in the medieval duchy of Savoy is revisited, as are the native and foreign influences on the design of those he built for Edward I.

Some seventy years after A.J. Taylor began his pioneering research into James of St George and his connection with Wales, the time is ripe for this revaluation of James’s impact and of the extent of his influence on the architectural character of the

Packed with full-colour plans and crisp photographs, the book is visually varied and, for its blend of academic assessment with concise descriptions for the visitor, is to be commended.

Medieval Archaeology

A documentary contribution of great interest to lovers of castles.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

This is an extraordinarily well-illustrated book with many good quality photographs and very clear ground plans. These make this book an ideal source of reference and also a very useful aide memoire for the inveterate castle visitor.

The Historian

This book is an authorative academic study which brings great insight into the origins of many of the great castles of Wales - but more than that, for the untutored eye it will make a visit to any one of these castles a much richer experience than would otherwise be the case. Recommended.

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Phil Curme

Review by Gil Dowdall-Brown

This is a book that should be in the library of all who study castles and their origins.

Fortress Study Group

Review by Jason Hubbard

This is one of those books that will appeal to many readers, those with an interest in architecture, military history, Welsh history, war-gamers and those with just a passing interest in castles. It was an interesting read, and I wish I’d read the book before visiting many of the castles, as there were plenty of things I missed on my many outings. So now I have a perfect excuse to re-visit many of those castles next time I’m in Wales.

Irregular magazine, issue 14 Volume 2/Winter 2020

This brilliant book emphasises the incredible splendour of Norman castle buildings, many of which still stand as monuments to the genius and skills of the men and women who lived through this era of our history. I expect modern architects would do it differently were they to build a castle today, but the fact remains that these buildings are incredible, and Malcolm Hislop's wonderful book celebrates everything associated with them. A joy to read.

Books Monthly

This is a very good exploration of the works of the master craftsman in castle building. The background narrative is excellent, providing context to the massive programme of castle construction. The technical details of the designs are very well supported with site drawings, clearly annotated, and plenty of images to add value to the narrative. Through this book one gets a very clear understanding of the development of castle design and its place in Anglo Welsh history.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Malcolm Hislop

Malcolm Hislop is an independent researcher and author, with a background in the archaeology of buildings and a special interest in the medieval period. His early research was based around the career of the Durham master mason John Lewyn, one of the most prolific castle builders of the fourteenth century. He maintains a keen interest in the process of medieval building design and construction. His previous books include Medieval Masons, John Lewyn of Durham, How to Build a Cathedral, How to Read Castles and Castle Builders.

Perfect Partner

Castles of Wales (Hardback)

In 1277, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Gwynedd, met with Edward I of England in Aberconwy to finalise a treaty that would change the fate of both nations. His hand forced by Edward’s invasion earlier that year, Llywelyn’s acceptance of the terms confirmed not only short-term peace but also that the rule of Wales would pass to Edward on his death. To augment his rising dominance, the English king embarked on a building project that saw the rise of some of the most recognisable fortresses in Europe. Quite literally, an ‘Iron Ring’ of castles. Even before the construction of Edward’s…

By John Paul Davis

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