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Dolwyddelan Castle

Dolwyddelan Castle overlooks the Lledr valley, and stands on a rocky knoll commanding the important medieval mountain pass from the heart of Snowdonia through to the Vale of Conwy. This sturdy three-storeyed tower appears almost insignificant among the sweeping hills of the Welsh countryside, especially next to the rugged slopes of Moal-Siabod that lie to one side. Traditionally the birth place of Llywleyn the Great, it is likely the true location is a little lower down the valley. Although peaceful in its solitude now, it was once key to Welsh strategic defence of North Wales until its capture by Edward I in 1283.

History of  Dolwyddelan Castle

1094 - Gruffudd ap Cynan 'king of kings of Wales', destroys the timber Norman strongholds of Earl Hugh -the Fat- of Chester. His son, Owain Gwynedd builds on his father's successes and by the time of his death in 1170, Gwynedd is prominent amongst the Welsh native princedoms.

1173 - Llywelyn the Great, grandson to Owain Gwynedd, is born into a Welsh kingdom torn apart by internal strife between the rival sons of Owain.

1201 - Llywelyn sweeps aside all opposition of his uncles and cousins 'like a whirlwind' and emerges as clear ruler to the princedom of Gwynedd. His position is further strengthened later in the year by a treaty with King John, who recognises Llywelyn's title to all the land which he rules. (more in the History section)

Text by Fred Vincent