FoNS at Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre


What a fabulous event!  It’s the first time that the Friends of Newport Ship have visited the Medieval Christmas Fayre that takes place within the walls of Ludlow Castle.imag1716

Ludlow castle has outer walls and an inner keep.  Within the keep were the main attractions, the medieval surgeon, the falconry master and the re-enactors camp.  Outside was the main market, in which FoNS had our stall.

The weather forecast was bright and clear….. and cold!  Very cold!!  The crowds were queuing, waiting to come in each morning, eager to look around the vast array of craft stalls, listen to the music from a wide variety of minstrels armed with all sorts of ‘interesting’ instruments.

imag0557The FoNS ‘medieval gazebo’ (complete with our travelling exhibition and a wide selection of our retail stock) was sited to catch everybody that was on the way out.  Many history enthusiasts stopped to find out more about the project, even some from Newport and Cardiff who had never heard of the Newport Medieval Ship!

It was a long day – the event closed at 9pm on the Saturday.  There was a rime of frost forming on the display outside the gazebo!  Time to retreat to a local hostelry for food and warmth, ready for Sunday opening, and doing it all over again.  This great event finished at 4pm when we were able to strike down and get home for a Sunday dinner!

The Friends of Newport Ship intend to be out and about next year at all sorts of events, all over the country. We aim to raise awareness of the project as well as raising funds for the Ship Centre development.  If you want to come and help out, to help tell our stories and inspire others to join the crew, then please get in touch.  Watch our website for more details of where we are and when – and come out and see and support us.

Newport Ship Inspires Deeper Interest in History


I met you last Saturday of the Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fair and you asked me to tell you about my personal experiences from when I did voluntary work for my work experience! Below I have copied and pasted a section of my CV telling what I gained from volunteering at the Medieval Ship Centre.

Once I had arrived at the Ship Centre, My dad and I were both invited in to the store, where we were able to see the different pieces of the ship that had either been preserved, or were waiting to be preserved, which was a once in a lifetime opportunity! Throughout the day I was able to meet the different volunteers who were just as passionate as me about Newport’s History as it often gets forgotten in today’s society. Not enough information is out there for those who are interested; the Ship is a good idea to see how people lived in the medieval times, and how Newport was a Key Port!

From my CV: During my day at the medievalfaroarm ship I was able to use a piece of equipment called the ‘faro arm’ with which I was able to measure the markings on a piece of wood taken from the actual Medieval ship. This was incredibly interesting as it allowed me to get hands-on experience of some of the tasks that the volunteers were sometimes able to experience. This was the highlight of my day as I was able to see the different indentations that had been left behind from nails and other objects.

I would like to thank those at the Newport Medieval Ship Centre as this widened my knowledge, and gave me a small insight into the different aspects of Newport’s history, it also helped me to gain more experience for when I eventually finish University, and when it comes to finding a future Graduate Job.

Many Thanks, Emma Jones. Reading History at Aberystwyth University.

If you want to know more about the Newport Medieval Ship project and be inspired, just like Emma, then get in touch and let’s have a chat.

BACKING NEWPORT: Volunteers make city’s history come alive

Phil Cox at the site of the new Newport Ship Centre

Very many thanks to the South Wales Argus for publishing this piece that Newport’s heritage groups put together to highlight how heritage is doing its bit to draw visitors into Newport.

See the full article (and all the pictures!) here

Philip Cox, re-elected chairman of Friends of Newport Ship, writes about Newport’s Heritage for the Argus campaign We’re Backing Newport. From the Medieval Ship to the Transporter Bridge, the city has lots to offer.

“Our rich heritage is fascinating, and each site is deliciously intertwined with others. Newport Museum holds many key artefacts for the projects that are ‘owned’ by the city, the Museum itself, the Medieval Ship and the Transporter Bridge, plus it links with Roman Caerleon, Caerwent and Fourteen Locks; a veritable ‘string of pearls’ with which Newport is blessed.

Our maritime trading history is enriched by the many vessels found on the fringes of the Severn Estuary which need to be displayed and interpreted for all to understand.

Newport Medieval Ship30024160.jpg

From prehistoric plank boats, the celtic-romano ‘Barlands Farm’ boat, the Medieval Ship and so many others, Newport acted as a hub, a lowest crossing point of the Usk, a major port with canal connections, a ships’ graveyard and so much more.

The Friends of Newport Ship have always taken the widest possible view about supporting all heritage tourism in and around Newport and South East Wales. It is only by collaborative working that we can piggy-back on each other’s visitors and encourage people to learn about Newport’s past, its heritage and its attractions.

The Newport Medieval Ship project will see over 2,200 visitors this calendar year (almost double last year’s figure), many referred by other Newport sites, and most of our visitors are referred on to other sites, including St Woolos’ Cathedral, our canals, our ornamental gardens and more widely the CADW sites and other regional attractions.

When a final home is found for the Medieval Ship, it is estimated that it will draw somewhere around 150,000 visitors a year into Newport – that’s worth something like £7million to our local economy. All these visitors can be directed to other ‘linked’ sites to increase footfall and potential spending in Newport.

The Medieval Ship Centre is open on Saturdays until Saturday, December 10, and reopens in mid February 2017 (see our website for details)

Newport Transporter Bridge

One of the many attractions Newport has to offer visitors is our iconic Transporter Bridge. Only eighteen “Aerial Ferries” were ever built and just eight remain, of which six are working. There are three bridges in Britain; the other two are at Middlesbrough and Warrington.6am

People visit from all over the world and the visitors’ Book in the Visitor Centre indicates their amazement and admiration for our magnificent Bridge. Some come because they have seen it on Michael Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys or Fiona Bruce’s Antiques Road Show, which are shown worldwide.

The Visitors’ Centre will remain open seven days a week until the end of November, despite the Bridge itself being closed until Easter.

Following the success of this year’s calendar, the Friends have produced a 2017 edition. Last Christmas, it was sent all over the world. It shows our splendid bridge in all its moods with stunning photographs.

The calendar is available at the Visitor Centre, Maindee Library Plus and by ringing the contact number below.

Our Chartist Heritagedscf0182

“Newport – City of Democracy” asserts the unique identity of the city, affirming its involvement with the Chartist and Suffragette movements.

This marque, which is just as important to the city’s future as to its past, will allow Newport to develop sustainable assets that reinforce its heritage, raise its profile and market the city for tourism, education and investment purposes.

Our Chartist Heritage aspires to create assets to raise the profile of Newport’s Chartist heritage, making the area become more widely known nationally and internationally as the location of the Newport Rising – one of the most significant events in the shaping of British democracy.

By providing a better appreciation of its central role in the ultimate achievement of Votes for All, many opportunities will be created for the city to hold fun-filled festivals and special events celebrating “Newport – City of Democracy”.

Fourteen Locks and the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust

The guiding principle of the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust is ‘progress through partnerships’ and, through managing the Fourteen Locks Canal Centre, it is backing the future of our local heritage in partnership with Newport City Council.

Although only small, the Canal Centre has excellent facilities, including a wonderful cafe and is well placed off Junction 27 of the M4.

Vitally for Newport, the centre attracts around forty-five thousand people each year; it is also an important hub for the community. Heritage Lottery Funding has played a crucial role in the restoration of the top section of the Lock Flight and in developing a volunteer programme.

One of the most recent developments has been to establish a Canal and Countryside Volunteer group with Newport Council. This is an exciting project which can only help maintain this wonderful location for the benefit of all. Fourteen Locks is most definitely backing Newport.

Newport Cathedral: “A Norman Jewel Set in a Medieval Casket.”

This is how Newport Cathedral has been described, standing on a site which has been practicing Christianity for over 1500 years.normanarch

Today, the Cathedral stands in all its glory, surrounded by an island of trees at the top of Stow Hill, here, in the city of Newport, beckoning visitors to come and “Walk Through Time” and explore this ancient historic building.

Steeped in history, the Cathedral also has connections with the Chartist movement and an inscribed plaque reminds us of the story of over twenty people who died in 1839 when troops fired into a crowd of Chartist supporters demonstrating outside the Westgate Hotel.

Ten of the Chartist martyrs were buried in unmarked graves within the Cathedral churchyard.

Whether you have known the Cathedral before or have never been inside, do come along and visit Newport’s oldest and most beautiful interior public space. You can be assured that a warm welcome awaits you on your visit.


All these visitor attractions are staffed by volunteers. Anyone who is interested in volunteering and has the time is asked to contact the attraction direct:

Friends of Newport Ship: 07411 149678,

Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge: 07802 487042,

Fourteen Locks: 01633 892167,

Friends of Newport Cathedral: 07933 627 594,

Our Chartist Heritage:

Support your local heritage – support the many local projects that bring people into Newport, to stay in our hotels, guest houses and B&Bs, eat in our restaurants and spend money in our shops.

Newport’s heritage sites are all backing Newport – are you?



Christmas is Coming! Get yours now!!


The Friends of Newport Ship are pleased to announce that we have a special 15th Anniversary Calendar and Christmas Cards available for purchase.

As you will see from the attached image, the calendar celebrates the 15th Anniversary of the discovery of our ship and is dedicated to the memory of Kate Hunter. The pictures in the calendar are a chronological illustration of the Ship Project to date.

The Christmas cards are 5 to a pack and the message inside is  “Seasons Greetings”.  On the back there is a short description of the Newport Ship Project.

The calendars are £6.50 each and the Christmas cards are £5 a pack. These are available from the Cabin shop at the Ship Centre which is open every Saturday (10.30am – 4.00pm) until 10th December. There is also stock of the calendars at ‘Crafted’, in the Kingsway Centre in Newport (next to Peacocks)

Alternatively, you can order them from FoNS and we will post them to you. Postage and packing cost £1 for the calendars and £1 for up to 5 packs of Christmas cards. Please contact us for details of how to pay.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to your taking advantage of the limited quantity we have of these excellent calendars and Christmas cards.

New FoNS Committee Elected



At the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Newport Ship, held last weekend on 12 November at the Lysaght Institute in Newport, the new committee was elected to serve until September 2017.

Officers were appointed as follows:

  • Chairman – Philip Cox
  • Vice Chair – Alan Aberg
  • Treasurer – Peter Horleston
  • Secretary – Robery Kenny (also Membership Secretary & Events Coordinator)

Other committee members were elected:

  • Charles Ferris (Patron)
  • Jeff Brooks
  • Rhys Brooks (Webmaster)
  • Jean Gray (Retail Coordinator)
  • Lynne Crabbe (Retail Assistant)
  • Lewis Griffiths (Ship Centre Events Coordinator)

Others will be co-opted onto the committee to assist with specific roles as and when required.

If you feel that you can help with the ongoing administration of the Friends of Newport Ship, specifically if you have skills and experience in Education Outreach, PR & Marketing, Social Media, Volunteer Management or any other skill that you feel would be of assistance, then please contact me to discuss further.

Newport Ship recruits Royal Naval Association as Honorary Crew


img-20161103-wa0000In recognition of the Royal Naval Association’s Newport Branch recent support for future events down at the Medieval Ship Centre, the Friends of Newport Ship have been pressed into service as ‘Honorary Crew’ of the Newport Medieval Ship.

At the regular 1st Tuesday meeting of the RNA at the Baneswell Club, Chairman of FoNS, Phil Cox presented RNA Newport President, George Blackborow, with a certificate conveying the new ‘honour’ upon the branch.  It is hoped that the certificate will be hung in the Baneswell Club alongside the other mementos over the bar.honorarycrewcertificate

Members of Newport Branch, Royal Naval Association are herewith and henceforth pressed into service aboard the Newport Medieval Ship in perpetuity, until hell freezes over or until she finds her final resting place in fair Newport.  Under this order, you will trade with all several and diverse parts of the western ocean, between the Iberian Peninsula and the Severn Estuary, bringing comfort and sustenance to the people of Newport (especially other seafarers), and make profits, of which a fair percentage should be paid to the Earl Warwick, Kingmaker, Lord of Newport and failing that, to the Friends of the Newport Ship.

The Newport Medieval Ship Centre is still open on Saturdays only until 10 December. Come down and hear our salty stories, warm up with a cup of tea and learn all about this amazing project.

Watch our website for future events both at the Ship Centre and out and about across South Wales and wider afield.


Visitor Recalls his Past Involvement


A special visitor called in to see the project’s progress since he was last involved – right at the beginning of the campaign.

Bill Morgan from Missouri, USA was inspired by the early campaign to Save Our Ship back in 2002 and fully involved with the battle to have Newport Medieval Ship excavated from the Riverfront Theatre site and conserved for eventual reassembly and display to the public – as an enthusiastic medieval re-enactor Bill was prepared to challenge the authority to joust if they could field a champion and to settle the future of the Ship by Trial by Combat. One would expect nothing less from this chivalrous man of action who has the blood of Captain Morgan flowing through his veins.



Dr Toby Jones (curator), Phil Cox (FoNS Chairman), Bill Morgan and Charles Ferris (FoNS Patron)


His interest was cut short by his call up to serve Uncle Sam in Iraq, but he had vowed to come back to visit us and look to see how he can help.

Bill’s ancestors are linked to the Morgan family (of Tredegar House and Blackbeard Morgan fame) and he feels right at home in Newport.

He is a specialist in medieval navigation techniques and published an article in an early SOS newsletter (#3) on the use of the backstaff for taking sun- and star-sights to establish one’s position.

Long ago, he ordered a Ship Mug and t-shirt which we’ve saved religiously all these years as our post office couldn’t deliver to his U.S. Marine service address. Charles Ferris had held on to these and was able to give them to Bill during his visit – now that’s customer service!

Bill has rejoined the Friends to ensure that he is kept up to date with the very latest news and developments.  You too can join the Friends of Newport Ship; either come to the Medieval Ship Centre when we are open, or join online via our website.  Every new member is welcomed and cherished!