Arthur Machen was born in Caerleon in a house just opposite the Old Bull Inn. His house is next door to the Priory Hotel from the back he would have seen the great amphitheatre at Caerleon. I’ve walked past his house many times on my way to the Hanbury where another literary giant Tennyson whiled away many a pleasant hour scratching out poems on the back of a beer map – and where there is a window where you can also pass the time over a nice pint. I must also confess to a spent too much time in the Old Bull where from a window you can see directly towards his house. The landscape around Caerleon, the old Roman ruins and its long mediaeval history had a profound impact on him – and appears in many of his works.
He was born on 3 March 1863 so this year is 150th anniversary of his birth which will be celebrated by the Caerleon Arts Society (see link below). I painted this picture many years ago and tried to include many of the aspects of this complex and fascinating man.
You are looking at the village square with the view towards Jenkins the Iron Mongers. and also depicted is the Post office with its traditional red painted cast iron post box. The village still nestles in its past traditional old world or ravaged by the whiz kid over zealous young adventurous rip apart property development brigade. The Bull stands out as a traditional water hole for the travel sick tourist. Intent on sight seeing of Roman artefacts and remains. Ken Davies rides his vegetable cart in Roman or Celtic the last charioteer of Caerleon on USK. Faithfull horse Vicky towing the loaded cart on Kens round of vegetables sold to public at point of contact. Sadly the Scene is in time past. Kens Faithful horse friend Vicky passed away. The sadness of this traumatic endured time from the loss of his horse. Ken not long after sadly passed away and with sadness one can reflect that nothing is forever. Old age is remembering the past.
Ones old age is the is looking back on the never to be recaptured youth of ones yesteryear. One can never go back in time in body only in the memory of your own mind. Live then for today. Buy your beer at the bull and to hell with tomorrows hangover.
Many Caerleon men worked their butt off in this now redundant Star Brick and Tile brick works. All that now remains is a fading memory of the past belching smoke from its two red chimneys. Each then commanding a view from a far over the green country side. The dirty red chimney stacks reaching out into the sky like big fingers. Red brick against the green grass and darker green of trees. Even that has altered somewhat only one Chimney now remains and the works has become a trading estate of Beer and Concrete products. But still the Avon Lwyd flows by with contempt for those that build in its path. I was here first and I will be here last ’tis the sound of this babbling brook from higher ground. That language of sound of flow over rocks – If one would listen as the river flows to the sea
Many a happy Day I would walk the fields of the Farm of Martin And Vickie Prichard. My dog bengi would sniff and stroll sometimes I would sketch a scene or two. While cows chewed the cud and clouds floated by overhead in fluffy cotton wool balls. Pancakes of cow dung humming in the sun and attacked by dung Beetles.Sometimes a chat or wave from friendly folk from Park farm Caerleon. A mushroom or two could often be gathered in Fern field and beyond. The years have flown by and memories linger of happier times. Less building of houses then but an ever changing scene of fields of grass built over with brick they slowly vanish. Nothing is forever as our eyes can now see. Progress must come and on our words will vanish like the wind. All that will remain only some sort of memory the painted scene of yesterday. Painting in collection of Atan Polev, Paris
Value what you have today future generations may not have what you take for granted today Malt house is near five hundred years old and near by buried is the old Leat of the water coarse to the old steel plate works on the Ponthir road named Brades. A Further painting viewed towards Ponthir old stables near iron Railway Bridge.
Sculpture of tribe Silure Warrior Celt – The Celt depicted in battle with Roman Archer and Front line soldier. Wounded by spear. Attacking Roman position. The Celts maintained a high discipline. Training their young offspring in Charioteer handling. They would drop warriors off and lay back in the rear and wait to make a speedy pick up. Taught to manoeuvre and jump a ditch and stop on instant spot. The disciplines of the Roman soldier allowed them to remain the superior.
Well Trained was taught to fight for a time flat out for Roughly Three-Quarters of an hour. Then step back. A fresh soldier taking his place. Handling sword spear and shield to maximal effect. Delaying in their full use of spears to attack. While waiting craftily for the Celts to expend their spears. Finally bringing their held back spears into full action. Roman defence on the March when at camp were defended by moat and stockade.