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The Medieval Castles of Wales

The Medieval Castles of Wales

Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
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  • Book Info
    The Medieval Castles of Wales
    Book Description:

    This book provides the visitor to the castles of Wales with a history and description of the main castles open to the public. There is an easy-to-understand outline of how castles developed, as well as features that give more detail of the different parts of a castle, such as keeps and gatehouses.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2363-2
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    Wales has long been considered the land of the castle, with the castles of Edward I in north Wales always capturing the imagination, coupled with a number of great strongholds in south Wales such as Chepstow and Pembroke. It has been calculated that over four hundred castles still survive in the country, varying from earthworks to great stone fortresses, but, to put that into perspective, the bordering Marcher counties of Herefordshire and Shropshire, whose medieval history is linked closely to events in Wales, together have almost two hundred surviving castles, whilst a further 240 are scattered across the English counties...

  6. 2 The North-West
    (pp. 11-38)

    This fine motte, acquired in 2004 by Menter Môn, the rural development agency for Anglesey, lies close to Penmon, and is accessible via various public footpaths. As work is ongoing on the site at the time of writing, Menter Môn should be contacted before visiting (telephone: 01248 725700).

    The castle was one of the first to be built inWales, the motte being raised by Hugh d’Avranches, earl of Chester, in the late eleventh century. Not long after, it was taken by the Welsh under Gruffudd ap Cynan in 1094, a year of Welsh resurgence in the north against the Normans....

  7. Colour Plates
    (pp. None)
  8. 3 The North-East
    (pp. 39-52)

    Although this hilltop stronghold was the last castle to have been built by a Welsh prince, Dafydd ap Gruffudd, the brother of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, it was erected with the permission of King Edward in 1277—82, after the firstWelsh war. It was from this probably unfinished castle that Dafydd launched his attack on Hawarden Castle in 1282, an event that sparked the second war. Although the Welsh themselves damaged the castle to prevent its use by the English, it was soon repaired and came into the ownership of King Edward’s queen, Eleanor, in 1283, and was known as Hope....

  9. 4 Central
    (pp. 53-61)

    In the summer of 1277, while King Edward I waged his firstWelsh war and the construction began on his newly founded castles in north Wales, Flint and Rhuddlan, work also started on the new royal castle of Aberystwyth. The seafront castle cost just over £4,000 and, although construction ran on to 1289, themajority of the expenditure occurred in the first three years. In 1280—1 very little work was undertaken, and the lack of preparedness of the castle was the subject of a scathing report by a royal official. It was no wonder that after the outbreak of the second...

  10. 5 The South-West
    (pp. 62-95)

    Carew (plate 9) is famous for three monuments: the eleventh-century cross, the tidal mill and the medieval castle that stands between the two. Although these have been described in some detail by various authors, we must await the results of the excavations and architectural analysis by the University ofWales, Lampeter, for a fuller understanding of the early history of this castle.

    The castle sits on a ridge above a tidal estuary, an area that excavations have shown was defended by a series of banks and ditches, probably of Iron Age date, although occupation seems to have lasted into the early...

  11. 6 The South-East
    (pp. 96-152)

    Little survives of this castle, the centre of the lordship of Abergavenny and one of the more important strongholds of the Welsh Marches. It stands on raised ground overlooking the river Usk, a little distance away to the south. The motte of the castle, raised in the late eleventh century by Hamelin de Ballon, survives, on top of which is a building of 1819, built by the earl of Abergavenny and now part of the town’s museum. Most of the masonry dates to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when the lordship was held by such major families as the Braose...

  12. 7 Aftermath
    (pp. 153-154)

    The passing of the Middle Ages did not see the end of the construction of castle-like structures. In fact we have already seen with Cardiff and Castell Coch in Glamorgan (pp. 110, 111) the romantic idealization of the medieval world, with the work of William Burges on behalf of the marquess of Bute. This has not been the book to discuss the architecture of the post-medieval and early modern period, other than where it has directly impinged on amedieval castle, such as Raglan and Chirk, but it would be remiss not to mention some of the later buildings that are...

  13. Regnal and other Dates
    (pp. 155-155)
  14. Further Reading
    (pp. 156-158)
  15. Index
    (pp. 159-166)