Rhuddlan Castle

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The History of Rhuddlan Castle
The History of the site of Rhuddlan Castle dates back to the Dark Ages where the old Hillfort of Dyserth once stood. Rhuddlan had became a Royal Residence of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn in 1062. In 1086 a Norman Motte and Bailey Castle was built South of the castle site by Robert of Rhuddlan.

Rhuddlan 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.

 
 
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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 Rhuddlan Castle helped King Edward I to achieve his ambitions.

Rhuddlan Castle

Rhuddlan Castle

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

Key facts and Information about Rhuddlan Castle

  • The location of Rhuddlan Castle - Rhuddlan
  • The building of Rhuddlan Castle started started in September 1277
  • The building of Rhuddlan Castle was completed in Rhuddlan
  • The Architecture / Style - Gothic Architecture aka Edwardian
  • The original cost of building Rhuddlan Castle is estimated at 1,800

Rhuddlan - A Concentric Castle Design
Welsh Castles including Rhuddlan 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 Rhuddlan, were very expensive!

The Building of Rhuddlan Castle
The history of the building of Rhuddlan 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 Rhuddlan 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. Rhuddlan Castle was built in North Wales in the vicinity of the River Clwyd. A three mile canal had to be cut to enable the castle to be supplied directly by ship - an astonishing feat of medieval engineering. The Canal constructed under the instructions of the master Fossator (ditch digger) William of Boston. The canal took three years to complete during which time 1000 diggers were employed. An important feature of Rhuddlan Castle is its access to the sea. Once Rhuddlan Castle and the canal was built fresh supplies, provisions and reinforcements transported by boat 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.

Rhuddlan - A Welsh Fortified Town (aka Bastide or Burgh)
Rhuddlan 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 Rhuddlan was a strongly defended town, the construction of which, had been subject to proper planning and architectural design. The layout of the town at Rhuddlan took into consideration the following defence factors:

  • The layout of the town's houses and buildings in Rhuddlan were planned so that they would not impede the circulation of troops
  • The rapid movement of the troops garrisoned at Rhuddlan 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 Rhuddlan 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

Rhuddlan Castle

Rhudlan Castle & Welsh Mythology

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

Arthurian Legend   Welsh Medieval Fortified Townships   King Edward I
Master James of St George   Concentric Castle design

Caernarvon Castle Welsh Mythology

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