When you walk through the gates of this medieval castle you step back in time, one of the finest and best preserved castles in Britain. Constructed on the North West coast of wales to subdue rebellious welsh princes, the castle is memorising, with hills rising to the south and west. The castle was built directly onto exposed bedrock; this was to stop besiegers tunnelling beneath Conwy’s walls, which was a common tactic in medieval siege warfare. As we wander through, just imagine yourself here centuries ago. Join us today as we explore the beautiful Conwy castle.
Conwy castle was built by King Edward the 1st during his conquest of wales between 1283-1289. Over the next few centuries the castle played a huge and important part in several wars, it withstood the siege with Llewellyn in the winter of 1294-95 and acted as a temporary haven for Richard the 2nd in 1399, it also was held for several months by the forces who were loyal to Owain Glyndwr in 1401.
Following the outbreak of the English civil war in 1642, the castle was held by forces loyal to Charles 1st, holding out until 1646 when it was surrendered to the parliamentary armies, in the aftermath of this the castle was partially slighted by the parliament to prevent it being used in any further revolt, it was finally completely ruined in 1665 when all its remaining iron and lead was stripped and sold off.
The castle is built from local and important stone, and occupies a coastal ridge overlooking an important crossing point over the river Conwy. When you get to the top of the tower you are able to see how beautiful the river is.
The greatest of henrys castles, like Conwy were masters of medieval engineering, their towers were round and tough to break through with no corners to knock off and a castle within a castle defence that gave a place for the defenders a place to retreat, or just wait for more reinforcements.
An interesting fact about Edwards castles, were that they always had a water exit, this would have been for being able to supply from the river, but also an escape by the river and this was all in Edwards planning.
As we explore through the buildings we are about to enter the royal heart of Conwy, just to see how the other half lived, in the other part of the castle. The gatehouse ahead has the obligatory drawbridge, portcullis and battlements that enclose and protect an exclusive suite of luxurious apartments. Before we do enter though you can see down the well, which was a staggering 91ft deep and was once full of spring fed, rock filtered mineral water. Access to this part of the castle could have only been gained through a heavily protected narrow archway. Here is where the kings own chambers lay and a small hall where he could receive his visitors. He had other rooms included a private chapel which is very impressive and another kitchen with its own baking ovens.
In over the 700 years only three monarchs stayed in the royal apartments, Edwards 1st, Edward 2nd and Richard the 2nd. It cost £430 pounds from the public purse, which in monetary terms nowadays that would have been over a million pounds.
The most impressive of the castle is the great hall which runs along the southern wall, the roof of this huge chamber was once supported by fiver stone arches only one of which survives today. Western end the remains of what was once the chapel can be identified in the great hall from the unique looking windows.