We are delighted to announce that our new book, ‘Cardiff Castle and The Marquesses of Bute’ by Matthew Williams, is now available for purchase! A fascinating and detailed look at one of the UK’s most extraordinary buildings.
Pick up your copy today from the Castle Gift Shop or telephone 02920 878 100 to make enquiries.
BY MATTHEW WILLIAMS
Cardiff ’s ancient castle stands at the heart of Wales’s capital city. Once a Roman fortress and then an imposing Norman castle, the site was utterly transformed by the Marquesses of Bute in the course of three centuries, to become one of Wales’s most loved and recognised buildings.
Visitors are frequently puzzled as to why the Scottish name of Bute is so prevalent in a Welsh city. The answer lies in a lucrative eighteenth-century marriage, when the Bute family acquired extensive lands in Glamorgan. In the nineteenth century they developed the town as a port to enable the export of coal from their estate, becoming extremely rich in the process. The 2nd Marquess has with justice been called ‘the maker of modern Cardiff ’, and there can be few British cities whose development is so inextricably linked with a single family. The 3rd Marquess was a passionate antiquarian rather than a businessman. In partnership with architect William Burges, one of the most extraordinary designers of the Victorian gothic revival, he rebuilt Cardiff Castle as a colourful feudal extravaganza, bright with stained glass, painted murals and decoration. In the twentieth century the castle was again reinvented, as a college of music and drama, a reconstructed Roman fort and, in wartime, as the most unusual air-raid shelter in Wales.
This superbly illustrated book offers both a rich selection of archive and historical material and glorious new photography to do full justice to a fascinating story. Author Matthew Williams, Curator at the castle for 30 years, brings the history of this unique and extraordinary place alive, explaining and celebrating its zestful interiors and the combination of personalities and events that formed them.