For the last field day of the year, led by Jeremy John, over 60 Antiquarians travelled to Dolaucothi and Caio, following in the footsteps of their predecessors in 1908, when a similar sized group were photographed on the lawns of Dolaucothi Mansion, dressed in suits, long skirts and boaters.


Current members, with Chairman Roy Davies, came dressed for an underground tour of the gold mines, meeting first at the "Tin Tabernacle", the affectionate local name for the village hall in Dolaucothi. Recently renovated, the hall is a fitting setting for the portrait of General Sir Hills-Johnnes, and here the group were reminded of the way in which he won the V.C. and of the generosity of the family to the local community in donating the hall and its site.

Following in the footsteps of George Borrow, the group walked up the long tree-lined drive to the parkland where the mansion formerly stood, now occupied by Dolaucothi Farm. Here the tenant Nigel Williams described the way in which the estate is organised by the National Trust and how the 8 tenants have developed the market for their lambs, winning, among other awards, the first National Trust Fine Farm Produce Award and a contract with Sainsburys for a premium product labelled Dolaucothi lamb.

The Romans need for gold dictated the site of the fort in the village and the huge pits and galleries of the mine. Vast quantities of shale and ore-bearing quartz were removed, leats several miles long carried water for processing the ore and large spoil heaps are now covered with trees. Mining restarted in Victorian times, then again in the 1930s, with shafts, levels and adits being constructed.

At the church in Caio Heather James, an archaeologist with special expertise in the Roman period, set the parish in the context of the Dark Age communities who inhabited the area and the vicar, the Revd Jo Penberthy, outlined the history of the church. An interesting display of material relating to the parish had been set out by Gwenfys James.