A REMARKABLE project is being undertaken to plot the history of Cardigan from as far back as the 1300s.

Cymdeithas Aberteifi Society (CAS) is looking into the idea of making a three-dimensional computer model of the town starting with the medieval period dating back to 1301.

The idea initially came about partly as a possible tourist attraction but also as a way of ensuring Father Seamus Cunnane's unique knowledge and research into Cardigan’s early history is not lost.

Nick Newland, from CAS, said: “When the first Norman Prince of Wales entered his majority, he was entitled to its revenues so his staff compiled records of his inheritance.

“Mostly the towns are just listed with the names of people in them but unusually in Cardigan’s case the streets and the names of the people who lived there are recorded, together with the plot size and a listing of the market traders.

“As a result we know quite a lot about Cardigan in 1301, the date of the survey. Cardigan is unique in having such an authoritative backbone on which to build.

“Even more importantly, we have Canon Cunnane's passionate interest in the history of Cardigan.

“Thanks to his patient research into the original medieval Latin records and a genius for detective work, together with an inspired linking of different sources, we know where the town walls were, where the gates to the town were, where the market cross and the original church were and so on.

“You might think that the plots then would be very different to what they are now. Not so - they have a surprisingly long life which, when you stop and think about it, is not surprising as once there is a defined owner to a plot it tends to get handed down in that form to new owners for generation after generation.”

A team has been put together by CAS jointly with members of the U3A to build first a 2D representation of the town with notes as to how it was derived.

They have now completed this stage and how it fits with the modern-day streets of Cardigan.

The next stage is to build the 3D representation but the group now needs help for:

• building 3D models of typical medieval buildings in this area and placing them in the town

• creating a website where all the data can be accessed

• on the website to create a means by which all the background data can be accessed

Nick said: “We could apply for funds and maybe we have to go down this route but it seems there might be an opportunity to harness local skills on a voluntary basis - particularly schools where the combination of historical research with computer-aided design and IT presentation graphics for the website might be attractive as cross-curricula activities.

“The long term idea is to repeat the process in say 100 year steps, up to the point where Cardigan was in its latter-day pomp as an important port in the early 1800s.

“This is obviously a long-term project and one where the current team will need to hand the baton on under the auspices of Cymdeithas Aberteifi Society.

“Ultimately we would like to see the model as a walk-through display that would attract tourists but this is some way off – probably 10 years or more.”

Any schools, businesses, groups or individuals who would like to get involved are asked to contact Nick Newland by e mail at nick@swallowyachts.com