Making History: 1500-1700
Combining our historical and archaeological collections, this exhibition provides a glimpse of some of the turning points in Welsh history during these 200 years.
The Making History project will transform the visitor experience at St Fagans National History Museum. We are extending the range of stories, so that visitors can follow the history of the development of Wales from the very first human inhabitants.
We begin by looking at the period AD 1500-1700 – a time of great change.
Wales, like many other countries, witnessed great changes between AD 1500 and 1700. This was the period of the Tudors and Stuarts, religious upheaval, the union of Wales with England and civil war.
Objects in the exhibition include:
Kemeys Rood Figure
In Wales around 500 years ago, carvings such as this one would have been seen in every church. Discovered walled-up in Kemeys Inferior Church, Monmouthshire, in the 1800s. Of the four known to have survived, three were found in Wales.
St Catherine wall-painting
An image of St Catherine that remained hidden for centuries under layers of limewash at St Teilo’s Church in Pontarddulais, near Swansea. It came to light in the 1980s.
The first complete Welsh Bible, translated in 1588. Queen Elizabeth I endorsed a translation of the Bible not to save a language, but to promote Protestanism among the Welsh.
Sir Rhys ap Thomas bed
One of the earliest surviving four-poster beds from Wales, made 500 years ago for Sir Rhys ap Thomas, a member of the ancient Welsh upper classes.
Before 1600, chairs were rare pieces of furniture. Most people sat on benches or stools, or on the floor. This chair comes from Tregib, an important estate in the Tywi Valley, Carmarthenshire. Did it belong to Morgan ap John ap Harry of Tregib? He was a Justice of the Peace in 1581 and later Sheriff of Carmarthenshire in 1602.
A cache of armour deliberately concealed in a field near Ewenny Priory, Vale of Glamorgan. It may have been hidden during the 1646 Royalist uprising led by Sir Edward Carne, who owned the land at this time.
One of Wales’s finest coin hoards was discovered by Roy Lewis at Tregwynt Mansion, north Pembrokeshire, in September 1996 after ground was levelled to build a tennis court.