Welsh Castles

Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle

Welsh Medieval Castles

The Welsh Medieval Castles are magnificent. The most famous Welsh Medieval Castles were built during the reign of the Plantagenet King Edward I (1272-1307). Edward crushed the Welsh rebellion under Llewellyn ap Gruffudd and conquered his kingdom of Gwynedd in Northern Wales.

The English King employed a strategy of building a network of Welsh medieval Castles which would span across the North West coast of Wales.

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.

King Edward employed the most brilliant architect and builder of the Medieval era to help with his ambitious projects - Master James of St. George. Another architect figures in references to the ' three Castles ' - his name was Ralph of Grosmont and he probably worked for Edward's father. King Henry III.

Welsh Castles

King Edward I strategy of building Welsh Castles
King Edward I decided on a strategy of building elaborate fortresses and Castles in Wales in order to crush and intimidate the Welsh population - History of King Edward I & the Welsh Medieval Castles. His Welsh castle building strategy started in 1278, following the first Welsh rebellion. In 1278 Edward commissioned the building of four major Castles in Wales - Flint, Rhuddlan, Builth and Aberystwyth. More Welsh Castles were built following the second rebellion of 1282 and the building of Caernarfon, Conwy, Harlech and Beaumaris Castles were also commissioned in Wales. Not only did King Edward I build the Welsh Castles he also integrated new townships at the same time. These fortified townships Welsh Medieval Fortified Townships were based on the Burghs, or Burhs, of King Alfred the Great and the Bastides of Gascony. King Edward I was able to keep his tight reign over Wales due to his massive power bases provided by his Welsh Medieval Castles and his purpose-built Welsh Fortified Townships.

Welsh Concentric Castles
The Design and development of the Welsh Concentric Castles played a major role in the history of Welsh Medieval Castle Building. The design and building of Welsh Concentric Castles encompassed some, or all, of the following elements:

  • A Stronger central Keep or Main Tower featured in Welsh Medieval Castle Building and a round or circular shaped Keep was introduced
  • A High wall, complete with towers surrounded the Keep and the Inner Bailey in Welsh Castles
  • At least one lower, outer wall surrounded the Inner High Wall
  • Several Outer Walls and Outer Baileys were often added in the process of building Welsh Castles
  • Several Gatehouses were featured
  • Moats were often added which surrounded the whole Concentric Castle complex

The plans to build Welsh Castles were mammoth! The Welsh Medieval Concentric Castles were much bigger than the Norman Castles! The Welsh Castle Building programme introduced thicker, stronger and higher walls interspersed with towers and turrets! The Inner Walls were higher than Outer walls! Drawbridges were added! The Medieval interiors were far more comfortable! The Welsh Concentric Castles were very expensive! Caernarvon Castle cost King Edward I 27,000 - to build this massive Concentric castle today would cost around 40,000,000! The key facts about the Welsh Medieval Castle Building of Concentric Castles are as follows:

  • The Welsh Medieval Castles was Expensive!
  • Welsh Castles featured heavy defences
  • Round or Polygonal shaped Keeps or Towers were introduced
  • Walls were built at different heights and levels
  • The Various forms of defence such as the Barbican, Portcullis, Gatehouse, Moat, Crenellations, Murder Holes etc were added to Welsh Castles

Master James of St George
The English Plantagenet King,  Edward I,  required an experienced Architect and Builder to help him to fulfill his ambitious castle building plans. One of the most experienced Architects of the Medieval era was a man called Master James of St George.

  • Who was James of St George?
  • Why was he key to building the Medieval Welsh Castles of King Edward I?
  • How many building projects of Welsh Castles did James of St George oversee?

The Welsh Castles introduced luxury!
The Welsh Castles required skilled craftsman who were knowledgeable about the building of both military and domestic structures. The new Welsh Castles required higher levels of comfortable castle living! And the appropriate skills were developed to fulfil these needs. Gone were the cold, dark and damp Castles of the Norman era - the Plantagenet rulers were looking for Middle Age refinement and luxury in their newly conquered Kingdom of Wales.

The History of King Edward I, Llewellyn ap Gruffudd & the Welsh Medieval Castles
The History of the last Welsh King - Llewellyn ap Gruffudd and the English Plantegenet King Edward I. And the English King's strategy of building elaborate fortresses in Wales in order to crush and intimidate the Welsh population.

  • Who was Llywelyn Ap Gruffudd?
  • Why was King Edward I  plan to build the Medieval Welsh Castles so important?
  • Who were the Medieval Spin Doctors? Read about Caernarvon Castle & Welsh Mythology and find out why was Welsh mythology so important to building Welsh Castles
  • Wales becomes incorporated into the Kingdom Of England under the Statute of Rhuddlan

Welsh Castles
Over just a relatively short period of time a significant number of new Welsh Medieval Castles were built. This comprehensive section of Castles.me.uk is full of interesting facts and information about the Welsh Castles built during the Medieval period. Full descriptions of the History and Construction of the ten most important Welsh Medieval Castles can be accessed by clicking the appropriate links:

Aberystwyth Castle
Beaumaris Castle
Builth Castle
Caernarvon Castle
Chirk Castle
Conwy Castle
Denbigh Castle
Flint Castle
Harlech Castle
Rhuddlan Castle

Welsh Castle Building
History of King Edward I & the Welsh Medieval Castles
Welsh Medieval Fortified Townships
Master James of St George
Concentric Castles
Caernarvon Castle & Welsh Mythology

Welsh Castles


Welsh Castles

  • The History of the Welsh Castles
  • King Edward I and Llywelyn Ap Gruffudd
  • What was the style and architecture of the Welsh Medieval Castles?
  • Facts and info about Concentric Castles
  • How many Welsh Castles were built?
  • Who was James of St George?
  • The History and the building of the Welsh Castles


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