Originally published in London 1903 by MacMillan & Co., Ltd., this 1914 reprint of the Highways and Byways in South Wales, is republished here in fully-searchable digital format. Macmillan began publishing the Highways & Byways series in 1899 and by 1909 had completed almost twenty publications in the series, which extended across the length and breadth of England, Scotland and Wales, with one publication on Normandy and and another on Ireland. This highly popular series continued until the beginning of the Second World War. In May 2009 Pan Macmillan reissued a one-volume collection of the best of the Highways and Byways series offering a glimpse of the very best of Britain.
The Highways and Byways in South Wales contains more than 400 printed pages, including a map of the route taken by the author, Arthur Grenville Bradley, who undertook an almost circular tour of south Wales beginning at Radnor, and includes almost 100 pen and ink illustrations by Frederick L. Griggs, providing as with all of the Highways and Byways series a wonderful mix of topography, local history and folklore, which perhaps more than ever allows the reader to rediscover parts of Britain that have long disappeared under a morass of concrete, motorways and bypasses.
Arthur Bradley undertook only thirteen 'tours' on which he reported in the Highways and Byways in South Wales, reviewed in the chapters of this publication, although in reality the divisions are only created by the major stops in Bradley's tour, such as Radford; Builth;Lampeter; Cardigan; Fishguard; St. Davids; Pembroke; Kidwelly; Llandeilofawr and Brecknock.
Much of the charm a vigour of the Highways and Byways series, which has stood the test of time is down to the travellers and in the case of South Wales this is no exception. Arthur Granville Bradley (1850-1943) was a renowned English 'traveller' in the Victorian sense of the word as well as well-published author, with popular works such as The Fight with France for North Africa, Sketches of Old Virginia, a History of Marlborough College as well as a biography of Captain John Smith to his credit. The Highways and Byways in South Wales is replete with more than 100 pen and ink sketches by by Frederick Landseer Griggs (1876-1938). A native of Hertfordshire, this was one of thirteen books illustrated by Griggs in the Highways and Byways series. An architectural draughtsman, illustrator, early conservationist, associate of the Arts and Crafts Movement in the Cotswolds, Griggs was the most distinguished etcher of his age and the first etcher to be elected to full membership of the Royal Academy. His illustrations from this period 'capture a vanishing England of a brooding spiritual intensity, harking back to an idyll of vanished dreams' and as such fit very well with the general themes of the Highways and Byways series, that of a vanished or forgotten heritage. The presence of so many of Griggs' sketches in one place is sufficient reason to purchase any of the series in which he was the illustrator.
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