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 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 in up to 2300 English workers to build it.  Llywelyn ap Gruffydd submitted to Edward I at Twthill, the old timber castle at Rhuddlan, after which Edward immediately pulled down Read more…

A Question about Rhuddlan Castle (Twthill)

A reader of the Gareth and Gwen medieval mysteries asked me a question today and I thought it and my answer was worth sharing … Question: Rhuddlan is an important component of the plot [of The Uninvited Guest]. A sentence in Wikipedia (yes, I know Wikipedia has its limitations, but I notice that, on occasion, even your blogs have referenced Wikipedia) brings up a question. Wikipedia states that Owain Gwynedd did not conquer Rhuddlan until about 1150. It appears that the Welsh/English border was somewhat fluid during the reign of Owain Gwynedd, and other online sources are not clear on whether Rhuddlan was part of Wales or England in 1143. It is my perception that your research is thorough, and I am guessing that there is a historical basis for your describing Rhuddlan as part of Gwynedd in 1143. Can Read more…

Rhuddlan Castle (s)

Rhuddlan Castle was begun by Edward I in 1277, immediately after he defeated Llywelyn ap Gruffydd.  In fact, Llywelyn made his submission to Edward in the bailey of the old castle, after which Edward immediately had it torn down.   “Rhuddlan first appears in recorded history in the last years of the eighth century, when there was no town of Rhyl and the shore road from Prestatyn to Abergele did not exist. Instead, the Clwyd and the marshes off its estuary, now reclaimed and drained and cultivated, formed a natural barrier athwart the coastal approach to the mountainous heart of North Wales. The settlement of Rhuddlan is likely to have owed its origin to the presence at this point, from very early times, of the lowest fording-place on the river, from which a track led across the marsh to Vaynol Read more…