As we have seen in our examination of the life of Gerald of Wales, almost everywhere he went he kept a record, and published many books. In 1188, men everywhere were being encouraged to take the cross and join the great Crusade. Archbishop Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, decided to visit the four corners of Wales, and he took Gerald with him. It is mainly through Gerald’s writings – The Journey Through Wales - that we know what went on.
In addition to documenting the journey, Gerald often digressed into long stories about the ‘noteworthy things’ (usually meaning the natural or supernatural wonders) of the regions he passed through. Some of these stories he heard as he rode along, or in the places where he lodged for the night. Some he added much later (he was still revising his work 25 years afterwards) until there were so many that they swamp the narrative of the mission altogether. Though they make the Journey Through Wales a poor travel guide, they also make it a much more readable book – which is just what Gerald would have wished.