Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Oxwich Castle


Oxwich Castle is not actually a castle and was not built at the same time as most of the castles in Wales. There may have been an earlier stronghold, but the current building is actually a Tudor house, built around a courtyard.

It does have a very impressive mock-military gateway with the Mansel family's coat of arms carved in stone. It stands on a wooded headland above Oxwich Bay, in the beautiful Gower peninsular.

Sir Rice Mansel built the house, but it was greatly extended by his son Edward, over about 60 years in the 16th century. The Mansels were minor gentry who gained power and prestige under the Tudor monarchs.

The house had a two-storey hall with a long gallery above, which must have been elegant and impressive. There are three towers at the rear which provided lots of accommodation, though it would have been cramped.

 (enjoygower com) + castles

In 1949, having fallen into disrepair, it was rescued from demolition, and is now maintained by Cadw, the Welsh Historic Monuments organisation. It is open to the public from April to October, 10.00 to 17.00, for only £3 entrance fee.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Great Online Marketing Scavenger Hunt

Today's post is not so much about writing as about marketing your writing. I'm signed up to a blog by Firepole Marketing, which I find very helpful, even though I'm not selling a service, like consultancy, or a product with wide appeal. Last year and this year I took part in their Great Online Marketing Scavenger Hunt.

ScavHunt logo
The idea is to complete a huge list of challenges and earn points. There are prizes for the winners, but I couldn't hope to do every challenge. So what's the point of taking part? The Scavenger Hunt is designed to get you using social media, networking, blogging, multimedia, and writing & researching. All things you need if you're promoting online.

Some challenges I was already doing, or knew how to do, so those points were easy to collect. Many were things I had not tried or didn't even know about. You know how you put things off? Well, this is a great way to get them done. I tried out lots of things, some I will definitely use again, some I won't, but at least I made an informed decision.

I created my first boards in Pinterest, joined a new group on LinkedIn, created a newspaper in, asked a question on Quora, and created a new header for my blog (see above), my Facebook page, and my Twitter account.

I  found some new blogs to follow for history research, tried out PicMonkey for pictures with text over them (see below), and created my first infographic.

History PicMonkey

I wrote an elevator pitch for my books, created a PowerPoint presentation and shared it on Slideshare, and booked a job on Fiverr to finally got my book launch video properly edited. 

And all in three weeks! Thank you Firepole Marketing. Oh, by the way, I came 11th!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Gwenllian, Princess of Wales

I came across some Welsh history yesterday which not many people know. It was certainly new to me. I found it in a book by Charlie Connelly called And Did Those Feet, in which he recounts his walks retracing the steps of history. Here is his account, to which I have added pictures from the web:

Sempringham Church (
Sempringham Church(