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Beaumaris Castle

The beautiful marsh covered with bulrushes on the Isle of Anglesey must have inspired the Norman name of this great castle of Edward I, has today more of less drained away and become instead a flat pastureland. Sitting majectically on the shores of the Menai Straits, looking across to mainland Wales, this powerful castle took more than 35 years to build, and even so was never completely finished. It was the last of the great castles built by Edward I following his conquest of Wales, and was designed by Edward's most famous castle-builder, Master James of St George. In its day the castle with its wide moat, high walls, strong towers and perfect concentric defensive layout, was considered to be impregnable. However, this was never put to the test during its short uneventful history. Less than 20 years after building work had stopped on the still-unfinished castle, there were reports that it was already falling into decay.

History of Beaumaris Castle

1284 - With the execution of Dafydd at Shrewsbury following his brother, Llywelyn the Last, Prince of Wales's death and the subsequent end of the Welsh princes, Edward I lays down in the Statute of Rhuddlan his vision of English rule, based on shires and counties. One of these, Anglesey, has no castle.

1280's - The new castles at Conwy and Harlech are completed, older castles are repaired, completing Edward's chain of coastal castles that extend from Flint to Aberystwyth.

1294 - The Welsh rise in revolt under the leadership of Madog ap Llywelyn, against their compulsory enlistment for service in Gascony. Caernarfon, the very symbol and administrative centre of English rule is attacked and severely damaged. Many casualties are inflicted on the English including the king's favourite Roder de Puleson, being hanged by the Welsh rebels. Within a year, as winter sets in the revolt is quashed. The re-assertion of English power includes the eviction of the whole population of Llanfraes to make way for the King's new state-of-the-art castle within the 'beautiful marshes', Beaumaris. (more in the History section)

There is a large car park behind the castle and another on open ground near the shore, therefore plenty of parking with easy access to the castle. Beaumaris Castle is the picture perfect castle in terms of design and is a must for any Castle Finder.

Text by Fred Vincent