Valle Crucis Abbey

Built: 1553-1560s Location: Llangollen LL20 8DD History: Valle Crucis was truly Welsh from the moment it was founded in 1201 by Prince Madog ap Gruffydd and the ‘white monks’ of the Cistercian order. Its Latin name (Valley of the Cross) refers to the nearby ninth-century Pillar of Eliseg, erected for the glory of a Welsh chieftain. Monks had…

Conwy Castle – Castle Review

Built:  1283-1289 Location: Rose Hill St, Conwy LL32 8AY History: Built for Edward I, by Master James of St George, the castle is amongst the finest surviving medieval fortifications in Britain. In a word, exceptional. You can’t fault it, from the grandeur of its high towers and curtain walls to its excellent state of preservation. An estimated…

Warkworth Castle – Castle Review

Built: 1150s Location: Castle Terrace, Warkworth NE65 0UJ History: Warkworth Castle and Hermitage form one of the most unusual pairs of medieval monuments in Britain. The castle was probably laid out in its present form in about 1200 and was the favoured residence of the powerful Percy family from the 14th to the 17th centuries. As the…

Caernarfon Castle

Built: Late 11th Century Location: Caernarfon, Gwynedd, North-West Wales History: While the castle was under construction, town walls were built around Caernarfon. The work cost between £20,000 and £25,000 from the start until the end of work in 1330. Despite Caernarfon Castle’s external appearance of being mostly complete, the interior buildings no longer survive and many of the building plans…

Carreg Cennen

Built: Around the 13th Century Location: Trapp, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, South Wales History: The site may well have been used by the Romans, as finds of Roman coins and even earlier skeletons have been made here. Lord Rhys (Rhys of Deheubarth) built a more permanent castle here in the late 12th century, though it was taken by Edward I of England…

Tretower Court and Castle

Built: Around the 14th Century Location: Tretower, Powys, Wales History: The Tretower Court and Castle make up a property which for over 900 years has been altered and adapted to keep up with the style and tastes of the time. The castle was used for defensive purposes but also as a place of residence. However, by 1400…

Beaumaris Castle

Built: 1295 (but never completed) Location: Castle St, Beaumaris LL58 8AP History: Building for it began in 1295, it was the last and largest of the castles built by King Edward I (1272-1307) in north Wales. Review: This castle is very well preserved and well presented. The first viewing I had of this castle was when…

Harlech Castle

  Age: 733 (c. 1283 – but completed in 1289) Location: Harlech, Gwynedd, Wales History: Harlech Castle is renowned for its spectacular location on a rocky crag, overlooking the sea and framed by the mountains of Snowdonia. It was built by Edward I during his invasion of Wales between 1282 and 1289 at the substantial cost…