Caernarfon Castle

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Image:Caernarfon castle interior.jpg
The ward of Caernarfon Castle, showing (from left to right) the Black Tower, the Chamberlain's Tower, and the Eagle Tower.
Image:Caernarfon castle from the west.jpg
Caernarfon Castle from the west

Caernarfon Castle was constructed at Caernarfon in North Wales by King Edward I of England, following his successful conquest of the principality.

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[edit] Background

Edward I built many castles in North Wales to help subdue the Welsh following his conquest of the principality in 1277 and the defeat of the Prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. The other important fortresses of this "iron ring" were Beaumaris, Conwy, and Harlech, but Caernarfon is probably his supreme achievement.

[edit] Construction

Begun in 1283 during Llywelyn's unsuccessful uprising, it reached something like its current state in 1323. It was never completed, and even today there are joints visible in several places on the internal walls ready to accept further walls which were never built. Contemporary records note that the castle's construction cost some £22,000 – an enormous sum at the time, equivalent to more than a year's income for the royal treasury. The castle's linear design is sophisticated by comparison with earlier British castles, and the walls are said to have been modelled on those of Constantinople, Edward being a keen Crusader. The castle dominates the Menai Strait, which had been of great strategic importance during Edward's Welsh campaigns.

[edit] History

In the uprising of 12941295, Caernarfon was besieged, but the garrison was supplied by sea and held out to be relieved in the spring of 1295. In 1403 and 1404 it withstood sieges by the forces of Owain Glyndŵr. During the English Civil War its Royalist garrison surrendered to Parliamentary forces in 1646.

[edit] Trivia

  • The tradition of investing the heir of the monarch of Britain with the title of "Prince of Wales" began in 1301, when King Edward I of England, having completed the conquest of Wales, gave the title to his heir, Prince Edward (later King Edward II of England). According to a famous legend, the king had promised the rebellious Welsh natives that he would name "a prince born in Wales, who did not speak a word of English" and then produced his infant son to their surprise (and presumable chagrin); but the story may well be apocryphal, as it can only be traced to the 16th century. However, Edward II certainly was born at Caernarfon while his father was campaigning in Wales, and like all infants, could not at the time speak English. (Indeed, growing up in the royal court over the succeeding years his first language may well have been Norman French, not English.)

[edit] External links


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Scotland: Edinburgh Old TownNew Town · Heart of Neolithic Orkney (Maeshowe, Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae, Standing Stones of Stenness) · New Lanark · St Kilda

Wales: Castles and Town Walls of King Edward I in Gwynedd (Beaumaris Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle, Harlech Castle) · Blaenavon

Northern Ireland: Giant's Causeway

Overseas territories: Henderson Island · Gough Island and Inaccessible Island · St. George's

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Caernarfon Castle

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