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Edwardian Castles in Wales


(click on the images below to enlarge)

On 17 November 1276, King Edward I announced his decision to go against Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (c. 1223 – 11 December 1282) as a rebel and a disturber of his peace (Calendar of Close Rolls 1272-9 p.359).

This decision resulted in the commencement of a massive programme of castle-building.

During the next twenty years ten new castles: Builth, Aberystwyth, Flint, Rhuddlan, Ruthin, Hope, Conway, Caernarfon, Harlech and Beaumaris were started and carried on towards completion.

The majority of these castles were major works, some of them with substantial town fortifications attached.

At the same time, four new ‘lordship’ castles: Hawarden, Denbigh, Holt and Chirk were constructed.

Royal building on a major scale also took place at three of the native Welsh castles which fell into the hands of the Crown when they were captured: Dolwyddelan, Bere and Criccieth.

Five of the existing border castles: Chester, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Montgomery and St. Briavel’s also had major work undertaken.

The building was undertaken in three main stages, corresponding to the military campaigns of 1277, 1282-3 and 1294-5.

These building programmes required a vast impressment of workmen, the majority of whom entered Wales via Chester. (see the map on the left)






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