Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle
 

The History of Beaumaris Castle
The History of Beaumaris Castle dates back to 1295 when its construction was commissioned by King Edward I. Beaumaris Castle was the last of the great Welsh castles to be built for King Edward I and was built to palatial standards with five separate royal suites. The name Beaumaris means 'Beautiful Marsh' and originates from the location of the castle site which is on marshy ground. The castle was a massive stronghold and able to withhold any sieges - it has fourteen successive barriers between the curtain wall and the inner bailey. Beaumaris Castle was used by the Royalists during the English Civil War in 1642.

 
Beaumaris Castle
 
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Beaumaris Castle

  • The History of Beaumaris Castle
  • Information about Beaumaris Castle
  • When was this Welsh Medieval Castle built?
  • The Design, Layout and Architecture of Beaumaris Castle
  • Who had Beaumaris Castle built?

Beaumaris Castle

Key facts and Information about Beaumaris Castle

  • The location of Beaumaris Castle - Isle of Anglesey, North Wales
  • The building of Beaumaris Castle started in 1295
  • Building at Beaumaris Castle stopped in 1320, it was never fully completed due to lack of funds
  • The Architecture / Style - Gothic Architecture aka Edwardian
  • The cost of building Beaumaris Castle - 14,400

The Building of Beaumaris Castle
The history of the building of Beaumaris Castle is fascinating. In just a relatively short period of time a significant number of new Welsh Medieval Castles were built or modernised under the instructions of King Edward I (1272-1307) including Beaumaris Castle.  King Edward employed the services of an architect and master builder called Master James of St George to carry out many of these ambitious plans for a chain of Medieval castles to be built in Wales. Beaumaris Castle was built in North Wales to control the Menai Straights between the Welsh mainland and the Isle of Anglesey. An important feature of Beaumaris Castle is its access to the sea. During the construction of Beaumaris Castle men, equipment and building materials were easily transported by boats to the site of the castle. Once Beaumaris Castle was built fresh supplies, provisions and reinforcements prevented the castle occupants from being starved into submission during siege warfare. The advantages of swift and easy accessibility via the sea ensured that the new fortified town, which was built at the same time as the castle, became a successful and prosperous stronghold for its English inhabitants.

Beaumaris - A Concentric Castle Design
Welsh Castles including Beaumaris Castle, built by Edward I, are referred to as Concentric Castles. The Gothic architecture of the Medieval era together with the design of Concentric Castles encompassed some, or all, of the following elements:

  • A Stronger central Keep or Main Tower
  • A Round or Circular Shaped Keep
  • A High wall, complete with towers surrounded the Keep and the Inner Bailey
  • At least one lower, outer wall surrounded the Inner High Wall
  • Several Outer Walls and Outer Baileys were often added!
  • Several Gatehouses were featured
  • Moats were added which surrounded the whole Concentric Castle complex

Concentric castles were bigger than any previous castles! The walls were thicker, stronger and higher with turrets! The Inner Walls were higher than Outer walls! Drawbridges were added! The interiors were more comfortable, even luxurious! Concentric Castles, like Beaumaris, were very expensive!

Beaumaris - A Welsh Fortified Town (aka Bastide or Burgh)
Beaumaris Castle was constructed in conjunction with a new, fortified town. The idea of building fortified, purpose-built townships were based on a combination of the Bastides of Gascony and the Burghs, or Burhs, built by King Alfred the Great of England. Welsh Medieval Fortified Townships. The 'Bastide' at Beaumaris was a strongly defended town, the construction of which, had been subject to proper planning and architectural design. The layout of the town at Beaumaris took into consideration the following defence factors:

  • The layout of the town's houses and buildings in Beaumaris were planned so that they would not impede the circulation of troops
  • The rapid movement of the troops garrisoned at Beaumaris was ensured by building a main road which provided direct access to the curtain wall and the main gate and towers
  • The central public square in the Beaumaris township doubled as a mustering point for all troops
  • Wall Towers could only be accessed from a doorway on the battlement accessed via a moveable wooden staircase on the inside of the wall
  • The central public square doubled as a mustering point for all troops
  • The Town wall was defended by a number of towers
  • The weakest points of any building are the corners - these towers were therefore round
  • Wall Towers could only be accessed from a doorway on the battlement accessed via a moveable wooden staircase on the inside of the wall

Beaumaris Castle
Beaumaris Castle was one of the ten key Welsh Medieval Castles which were commissioned by King Edward I. The Welsh Medieval Castles built by the English under the direction of King Edward I provided a power base for the Medieval Plantagenet King and ensured that the Welsh were subservient to the new English rule.

Beaumaris Castle

Edward crushed the Welsh rebellion under Llewellyn ap Gruffudd and conquered his kingdom of Gwynedd in Northern Wales. Wales was conquered by Edward I and became incorporated into England under the Statute of Rhuddlan ( also called the Statute of Wales ) in 1284 - the building of Beaumaris Castle helped King Edward I to achieve his ambitions.
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