An Iron Ring of Castles

During the late 1270’s and early 1280’s, particularly after the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Edward I began construction of a string of castles in Wales that circled the country.  The north, in Gwynedd, had always been a hotbed of Welsh resistance and resentment of English authority and it was there he built some of the most impressive of his monuments.  http://www.castlewales.com/edward1.html The three castles of north east Wales, from east to west, are Hawarden, Flint, and Rhuddlan. http://www.castlewales.com/wales_ne.html Hawarden was built before the conquest of Wales, and was the first castle attacked by Dafydd ap Gruffydd in 1282 when he began the final war with England.  Edward began Flint in 1277, bringing in up to 2300 English workers to build it.  Llywelyn ap Gruffydd submitted to Edward I at the old timber Rhuddlan Castle, towards the end of 1277 Read more…

A Medieval Siege

Besieging a castle was a far more common form of warfare than a fight on an open battlefield.  Sieges had the element of surprise and required fewer men than battle too, such that a ruler could beseige a castle with his enemy inside, while freeing other forces to wage war elsewhere. The goal in beseiging a castle was not to destroy it, but to take it, since castles were pawns in the great game of controlling land.  They were usually heavily fortified and defended, so a beseiger had several options when he was on the outside looking in: 1)  to starve/wait them out 2)  harassment and trickery 3)  a straight assault Often, attackers employed all three tactics at various times.  The defenders, on the other hand, hoped and prayed for relief.  As Saladin says in Kingdom of Heaven “One cannot Read more…