I’m currently preparing for a school visit to the department [SHARE – the School of History, Archaeology and REligion]. The Widening Access project, SHARE with Schools, is a project that focuses on breaking down barriers between Higher Education and students of High School age in Cardiff and the Cynon Valley. Some of the schools we visit are in Community First areas, and all send a very low percentage (5% in the case of one particular school) to university. We return to the same six schools on an annual basis, visiting Year 7, Year 9 and Year 12. The project hasn’t been going for very long – it’s in its second year – and so it won’t be until the following academic year (2013/14) that we will see our original Year 7s again in Year 9. It will be great to see what long-term impact we can have.

SwS has a blog of its own – here – so you can follow the progress of the project and find out more about us. There you will find the Romans in Wales workshop resources for teachers and for pupils. That’s the Year 7 workshop, which has strong links to the CAER heritage project, based on the dig at Caerau, which featured on Channel 4’s Time Team last year.


The Tribal Logo Project

In addition to the Romans in Wales workshop, there are two Year 9 workshops, one for the Cardiff schools based on Cardiff castle from Medieval times to present day, and the other for the Cynon Valley schools, focusing on life in the Cynon Valley in the Nineteenth Century. The Year 12 workshop is more a general chat with Year 12 pupils about Higher Education, structured around a presentation with financial and career elements and ice breaker activities. All the workshops have at least one postgraduate [PGR] coordinator present, but are led by trained undergraduate [UG] volunteers. The UGs gain classroom experience and transferable employability skills, and we PGRs gain management and coordination experience, as well as experience with administration, teaching and engagement. I really enjoy all the aspects of the project, from working with the students to planning the activities.

On the 13th June, we have a mixed Year 9 and Year 7 group coming to visit Cardiff University following our visits to their school. We’ve put together a different programme for them including a series of 30min workshops that we do not deliver in schools as part of our usual round of visits. I’m currently putting together a medieval workshop that involves YouTube videos of trebuchet firing and duelling knights, designing your own shield, a guess-that-knight quiz, and firing model seige engines at a target (for which I must thank Dr James Jenkins).

Here’s a version of the Heraldry Quiz, aimed at the Able and Talented ability group of 11-14 year olds!

“Heraldry” is the name given to the signs and symbols that knights and lords used to identify themselves. The colours and symbols all have their own special names – a kind of code, based on Latin and French, the languages that the rich and educated people spoke. See if you can crack the code and match the shields to their owners!


Code Breaker

The colour of the background is described first. Then whatever is on it!


Red – gules

Green – vert

Gold – or

Silver/White – argent

Black – sable

Purple – purpure

Blue – azure


Rectangle/bar across the middle – fess

V shapes – chevrons

Animal Poses




The names are all derived from (old) French:


Walking past, shown with one foot raised


Standing, with all four feet on the ground


Leaping or jumping, with both front paws off the ground, and both back paws on the ground


Rearing up, with only one (back) paw on the ground

Sejant Erect

Sitting, but with the front paws raised up, similar to rampant


Seated or sitting


Lying down, but with the head raised; the animal is awake


Lying down, asleep. The head is down with the eyes closed. Sometimes the head rests on the front paws, sometimes beside them. The tail is sometimes depicted down lying on the ground alongside the back legs

Match the Description to the Shield

  1. Argent, lions gules passant
  2. Or, sleeve gules
  3. Or, three chevrons gules
  4. Gules, three Catherine wheels            .
  5. Half gules half azure, three bundles of wheat
  6. Or and azure, lions passant
  7. Gules, three leopards’ heads with fleur-de-lys
  8. Gules, lions passant, azure fess
  9. Azure, fess argent, lions rampant
  10. Or and gules, lions rampant

Guess who the shields belonged to!

  1. Lady Katherine Swynford
  2. Humphrey de Bohun
  3. Gilbert de Clare
  4. King Edward I
  5. William de Cantilupe (a servant of King Edward’s father, King Henry)
  6. Prince Llewellyn ap Gruffudd (the last Welsh prince of Wales!)
  7. Dafydd ap Gruffudd (a Welsh prince)
  8. Owain Glyndwr (Welsh lord who rebelled against the English)
  9. John de Hastings
  10. William de Braose


  1. Lions and leopards showed that the person was very important (or thought they were!).
  2. Sometimes the symbols would be linked to the person’s name.
  3. The de Clares don’t have animals on their shield.
  4. William de Braose might have had a lot of good farmland.
  5. Humphrey de Bohun’s shield has argent and azure on it.
  6. There are only three lions on King Edward’s shield.
  7. Prince Llewellyn liked silver better than gold.
  8. John de Hastings looks pretty fashionable!
  9. Owain Glyndwr’s shield has lions rampant on it.
  10. Dafydd’s shield shows lions sticking their tongues out!

Leave a comment with your answers! (The numbering on the shields goes top to bottom, left to right).