Castell Ewlo

Castell Ewlo is located to the northwest of the town of Hawarden in far eastern Gwynedd. The castle was built during a period when Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was rising in power, but before he was crowned Prince of wales in 1267. Documents dating to 1311 state that Llywelyn ap Gruffydd erected a “castle in the corner of the wood” in 1257. Of all the native castles in North Wales Ewlo is the only with a non spectacular setting. It stands on a promontory overlooking the junction of two streams but is itself overlooked by higher ground to the south. Its position, near the English border, was intended to give Llywelyn control of the road to Chester and the ability to counter the English fortresses of Hawarden and Flint. There is no mention of Ewlo playing a role in either the Read more…

An Iron Ring of Castles

An Iron Ring of Castles is in many ways just like it sounds: a series of castles built around Wales to control the populace after the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the last Prince of Wales. In the 1270s and 1280s primarily, Edward I began the construction of this ring. The castles were focused in the north, in Gwynedd, since that region had always been a hotbed of Welsh resistance and resentment of English authority, and it was there that he built some of the most impressive monuments to his victory.  http://www.castlewales.com/edward1.html He began in the northeast with three castles: Hawarden, Flint, and Rhuddlan, all built before the 1282 war. Hawarden was the first castle attacked by Dafydd ap Gruffydd on Palm Sunday, 1282, when he started what became the final war with England.  Edward began Flint in 1277, bringing 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…