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Commissioner Profiles

Prof Nancy Edwards (Chair), BA, PhD, FBA, FLSW, FSA

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Nancy Edwards has been active in Welsh archaeology for nearly forty years. She was born in Portsmouth and was educated, first at the University of Liverpool, then at Durham University, before moving to Wales in 1979. She is currently Professor of Medieval Archaeology at Bangor University. Her research has focused on the archaeology of Wales and Ireland c. AD 400–1100, particularly on inscribed stones and stone sculpture, and the archaeology of the church.

Her research has been recognized by her election as a Fellow of the British Academy, the Learned Society of Wales and the Society of Antiquaries. She has previously served on the Council of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and the Cadw Ancient Monuments (Advisory) Board. She was Vice President of the Society for Medieval Archaeology and Chair of the Society for Church Archaeology. She is a fluent Welsh speaker.

Nancy was appointed as Chair of the Royal Commission in April 2019.

Dr Hayley Roberts (Vice-Chair), LLB, PhD, FHEA

Hailing from Caernarfon, Gwynedd, a town steeped in history, Hayley has always been interested in heritage and the historic landscape. She read Law at the University of Wales, Bangor, specialising in the legal protection of historic shipwrecks, before continuing this research for her PhD. In 2013, she joined the School of Law at Bangor University as a Lecturer in Public International Law (initially as a Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol lecturer), developing programmes in the law of the sea and maritime law.

Hayley’s research reflects her expertise in maritime heritage, both domestically and internationally. She is particularly interested in the international regulation of underwater cultural heritage, the impact of devolution on the protection of maritime heritage in the UK, and alternative ways of protecting the historic environment. She has led a number of funded research projects and has been published in leading journals in her field. Hayley is a first language Welsh speaker. She was appointed a Commissioner in April 2019.

Caroline Crewe-Read, BA, MPhil, FRSA, MAPM

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Caroline read History at the University of Bristol, specialising in the pagan religions of Ancient Britain. After five years working for the leading management consultancy firm Accenture, Caroline returned to study, achieving a Distinction in her M.Phil in Archaeological Heritage Management at the University of Cambridge. Since then, Caroline spent eighteen years working for the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England in a variety of roles, leading and delivering key corporate projects including the de-merger into Historic England, the public body that looks after England’s historic environment, and the English Heritage Trust, the charity licensed to look after and open to the public over 400 historic properties. Caroline remained with Historic England after the split and was responsible for establishing and then leading a successful fundraising team, securing support from individuals, trusts, foundations and companies to enable the organisation to deliver its objectives.   

Caroline left Historic England in December 2020 having led her team to raise £5.8 million for projects connected with Heritage at Risk, the Archive, and skills and apprenticeships.  She is currently undertaking a Masters degree in Philanthropic Studies at the University of Kent. 

Caroline was appointed a Commissioner in 2016 and is the Chair of the Corporate Governance Committee, responsible for oversight and leadership across areas of audit, risk, finance and general purposes. Her home is in Monmouth.

Neil Beagrie, BA, FRSA

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Neil has a strong interest in archaeology and the built environment. After graduating in Archaeology from Durham University, he began his professional career at the Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England where he became Head of Archaeological Archives. Since then, his career in the public and private sectors has been focussed on strategies for digital preservation; access to digital information in archives, libraries and data centres; and studies of their value and economic impact. He has been a director at Charles Beagrie Ltd, a consultancy company, for 20 years and worked with a wide-range of client organisations in the UK and internationally. In 2014 Neil was awarded the Archival Technology Medal by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers in Los Angeles in recognition of his long-term contributions to the research and implementation of strategies and solutions for digital preservation. Neil was appointed a Commissioner in 2017.

Dr Louise Emanuel, MA, MSc, PhD, PGCODE

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After graduating in Geography from the University of Oxford, Louise studied an MSc in Regional Development at Cardiff University. A common theme throughout all her work has been the concern for places, their historical development, and the way in which individuals and communities engage with the places they live in, work in, learn in and visit. This interest in ‘place’ led her to research the relationship between place perceptions and economic development for her PhD. In the late 1990s Louise worked with communities in her home county of Carmarthenshire to explore and interpret community heritage. Since 1999 she has been a lecturer at what is now the University of Wales Trinity Saint David where she has developed programmes in heritage, tourism and sustainable business, as well as developing and project managing several EU funded heritage projects. Louise was appointed a Commissioner in 2017.

Chris Brayne, BSc

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Chris trained as Landscape Architect at the University of Sheffield and in 1989 joined a private practice in Liverpool to work on design and environmental impact assessment projects for clients such as the Department of Transport and British Coal. Chris became IT Manager for the company and helped the team adopt various digital survey, visualisation and publication techniques. He later experimented with the application of these techniques to archaeological recording after taking up a role with the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research and in 1999 he moved back to the UK to work with Wessex Archaeology to develop the company’s archaeological and business systems.

He became CEO of Wessex Archaeology in 2013 and oversaw a restructuring of the organisation which returned the company to a solid growth footing. Chris maintains a keen technical interest in innovative approaches to the capture, analysis and dissemination of heritage information, and his experiences have developed his appreciation of the social value of heritage activities and the ways in which heritage can be used to improve our daily experiences. Chris was appointed a Commissioner in 2017.

Jonathan Vining, BSc, BArch, MSc, RIBA, AoU

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Jonathan Vining is a chartered architect and urban designer. Born in Cardiff, with a background rooted in art and design, he studied at the Welsh School of Architecture and the University of Bath. He has over forty years’ experience in private practice on architectural, master-planning, urban design and conservation projects, with a specialism in the integration of new development into historic or sensitive settings. Jonathan was a visiting academic at the Welsh School of Architecture for thirty years and, since its inception in 1996, has been subeditor of ‘Touchstone’ magazine – the Royal Society of Architects in Wales’s journal in which he has also written compellingly on post-war architecture in Wales. He is a trustee of The Dewi-Prys Thomas Trust and was appointed a Commissioner in April 2019.

Professor Timothy Darvill, BA, PhD, DSc, OBE, MCIFA, FSA

Timothy Darvill is a prehistorian who has been working on the archaeology of Wales for more than forty years. After completing a PhD at Southampton University on the Neolithic of Wales and the west of England, he worked for the Western Archaeological Trust and the Council for British Archaeology. He joined Bournemouth University in October 1991, and is Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Author of over a dozen books, including Prehistoric Britain from the air (Cambridge University Press, 1996) and Prehistoric Britain (Routledge, 2010), he is a joint editor of Historic landscapes and mental well-being (Archaeopress, 2019) and a contributor to the Pembrokeshire County History Volume I (PCHT, 2016). In Stonehenge: the biography of a landscape (Tempus, 2006) he presents a number of new theories explaining the use of Stonehenge as a healing centre.

He served as chairman of the Institute of Field Archaeologists, was a vice-president of the Society of Antiquaries, and has been a member of the council of the National Trust. He has excavated at sites in England, Wales, Russia, Greece, Germany, and the Isle of Man, and his current research interests focus on archaeological resource management, using archaeological sites to generate public value, and the Neolithic of northwest Europe. Professor Darvill is the Chairman of the board of directors of Cotswold Archaeology, was appointed OBE in 2010 for services to archaeology, and regularly appears on television and radio talking about Stonehenge and British prehistory. He was appointed a Commissioner in 2021.

Sarah Perons, BA, MSc

Sarah Perons is Churches Development Officer for the Diocese of Llandaff in the Church in Wales.  Her first degree was in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, London. After joining the Diocese in 2005 she studied for an MSc in Conservation of Historic Buildings at the University of Bath, writing her dissertation on the conservation of 20C architecture with a focus on the work of George Pace at Llandaff Cathedral.

Sarah’s work takes her around 200 or so churches in SE Wales where she provides support and technical advice to parishes on best practice in the conservation of historic buildings as well as encouraging their development for 21C use.   She has a strong interest in digital solutions for heritage management issues and in 2017 she took a year out to study for a Diploma in Computing & IT Management at Cardiff University.   

Sarah is also Llandaff Diocesan Archives Advisor, working alongside the Glamorgan and West Glamorgan Archives Services, and a committee member of Capel: Cymdeithas Treftadaeth Y Capeli. She was appointed a Commissioner in 2021.

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