Status:Active, open to new members
Venue: Theatr Brycheiniog

The leader of the Archaeology Group is Elaine Starling. As well as sessions led by her as Group Leader, external speakers are invited to come and talk on a variety of subjects. To contact Elaine by email, click on her highlighted name above.

The meetings of the Archaeology Group during the 2024 Summer Term will take place on:

25th April at 1.15 in the Studio.

Dr Gill Wakley will talk about the Plas Gunter Mansion in Abergavenny


Plas Gunter Mansion was built in the early 17th century by Thomas Gunter on land previously belonging to St Mary Priory. The area had been bought by his grandfather at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. It appears today as an unobtrusive part of the rows of shops lining the A40 coming from the bus station to Abergavenny market. 

This stunning plaster ceiling on the first floor was an indication to visitors that “Here Be Catholics” but is currently at great risk of damage.

The house played a pivotal role in the maintenance of the Catholic religion in this area of Wales, with Thomas Gunter 1 and Thomas Gunter 11 supporting Catholic priests throughout the 17th century and providing a venue for Catholic worship. The house is closely associated with the last Welsh Martyrs St David Lewis and Phillip Evans and has a rare Catholic chapel in the top floor, lost from sight for many years until its rediscovery in 1907.

The talk explores the features of the house including the evidence for its date and looks at some of the people who were involved with the house over the years. The house is in a very poor state of repair and the upper floors are dangerous to access currently. The Trust has obtained the first tranche of a development grant of £2,220,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to plan to restore the building and give it a future. Dr Gill Wakley is lead Trustee on the history of the house and the past chair of the Abergavenny Local History Society.

16th May at 1.15 in the Studio. Ruth Richardson will talk about Elizabeth 1st and her association with Bacton in the Golden Valley.

20th June at 1.15 in the Studio. Will Davies (Cadw) will talk about recent excavations at Blaen Llynfi Castle