Medieval Castles

castell y bereMedieval Castles

Criccieth Castle Beaumaris Castle Dolwyddelan Castle

Castles, scattered across our landscape are probably the most noticeable part of our heritage. From the large medieval castles to the lesser known, Welsh castles, each having a story to tell. Many of our earlier castles have disappeared, leaving just a few traces as testament to their existence where they once stood. They were either destroyed or used as building materials for the early churches and later medieval castles.

Most castles were constructed from wood and therefore not built to last. Some were adapted on previous defensive strongholds such as hillforts, leaving traces of defensive walls and mounds of earthwork and the occasional remains of a motte & bailey. This is mostly the case with the Norman castles built between 1088 and 1115 during the Norman Conquest.

Although Llywelyn the Great constructed some magnificent medieval strongholds, only Dolbadarn and Dolwyddelan are now standing. However, the most impressive of all are the large medieval castles, which were constructed by King Edward I of England to subdue the Welsh after the death of our last prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1282. Today we appreciate these large castles such as Caernarfon, Conwy, Beaumaris & Harlech – as they bring visitors from around the world.

Caernarfon Castle

Below is a list of all the known castles in the area

I have included an O/S number on all historical sites to enable everyone to locate using an O/S map.

Castles of Edward I

Harlech CastleBeaumaris CastleBeaumaris CastleCaernarfon CastleCaernarfon Castle

  • Caernarfon Castle –  (1283) King Edward I of England (constructed on an earlier fortified motte & bailey foundation) – Caernarfon SH476626
  • Beaumaris Castle – (1295) King Edward I of England – Beaumaris SH607762
  • Conwy Castle – (1283) King Edward I of England – Conwy SH783877
  • Harlech Castle – (1283) King Edward I of England (constructed on an earlier fortified foundation) – Harlech SH580312

Conwy Castle

Welsh Castles

Criccieth Castle DolwyddelanDolbadarn Castle

  • Criccieth – (c.1230) welsh prince Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (1283 adapted by Edward I King of England) – Criccieth SH499377
  • Dolbadarn Castle – (c.1221) welsh prince, Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (constructed on an earlier foundation & in 1283 taken by Edward I King of England)  – Llanberis SH585598
  • Dolwyddelan Castle – (c.1221) welsh prince, Llywelyn ap Iorwerth – Dolwyddelan SH721823
  • Tomen Castell – (c.1170’s) late 12th century welsh castle (birth place of Llywelyn the Great) (rems) – Dolwyddelan SH724521
  • Deganwy Castle – (c.520’s) The Royal Fortress, early welsh castle, King Maelgwn (rems) – Deganwy SH782794
  • Castell Aber Ia / Castell Deudraeth – (c.1175) welsh medieval castle, Gruffydd ap Cynan (rems) – Penrhyndeudraeth SH588371
  • Carn Fadrun – (c.1170’s)  medieval welsh castle (rems) – Tudweiliog SH280350
  • Castell Pen y Garn – (1288) possible late 12th century welsh castle (rems) – Prenteg SH581411
  • Castell y Bere – (c.1221) welsh prince, Llywelyn ap Iorweth (Edward I adapted the castle in 1284) – Llanfihangel-y-pennant SH667085
  • Aberlleiniog Castle – Norman motte and bailey fort (1088 by, Hugh d’Avranches Earl of Chester, later used by the Welsh princes) – Llanddona, Anglesey SH616793

Criccieth Castle Dolbadarn CastleCastell y Bere

(Some early dates are c. (circa) meaning around that time)
Some areas may be on private land and permission to roam may be required.
 There are public footpaths leading to most places.
Safety and care must be taken at all times, as some areas are difficult to get to due to hills and slopes that may lead away from paths.