From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Caernarfon Castle

53° 8′ 21.5″ N, 4° 16′ 36.8″ W

  • History
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
Caernarfon Castle is located in Caernarfon, Gwynedd. It is a former motte and bailey castle located on the Menai Strait.

After the Norman Conquest, Robert of Rhuddlan given the task of subduing North Wales, but he was killed by the Welsh in 1088. His cousin, the Earl of Chester asserted Norman control of North Wales. He built three castles, one somewhere in Meirionnydd, one at Aberlleiniog on Anglesey and finailly one at Caernarfon.

In 1283, during the reign of King Edward I, until 1330, the motte and bailey castle was replaced with stone. As the town was the administrative centre of North Wales it was fortified with large walls, which enclosed the town.

The town and castle were sacked in 1294 by Madog ap Llywelyn, when he rebelled. It was besieged in the Glyndŵr Rising in of 1400 to 1415. By the Tudor period, and the Act of Union, castles in Wales were left to fall into ruin. During the English Civil War, Caernarfon Castle was held by the Royalists. Although a ruin, it was subject to three sieges by the Parliamentarian forces.

In 1646, the castle was surrendered to the Parliamentarians, who then ordered the castle to be slighted. This order was never carried out, instead the castle was stripped of everything that had value, then it was abandoned.

In 1870, the castle received funding for repairs, due to its historic significance, which the deputy-constable, Llewellyn Turner carried out. In 1911, Caernarfon Castle was used for the investiture of the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VIII and again in 1969 for Prince Charles.

The castle in now in the care of Cadw, the Welsh Government's historic environment division, responsible for the maintenance and care of Wales' historic buildings. In 1986, Caernarfon was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites as part of the 'Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd' in recognition of its global importance. The castle houses the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum.