James (of St George's)

 Born     Born At  
 Died  circa 1309   Buried At  
Master Mason responsible for the design and construction of Edward I's castles in the north of Wales during the conflict with the Welsh and Llywelyn. King Edward met James whilst travelling in Savoy where he was employed by the counts of Savoy to build castles.. Impressed by his skills in castle building, Edward brought James back to England and by 1278 James was in North Wales working on castles there. Castles that James built include Flint, Rhuddlan, Harlech, Beaumaris and Caernarvon but there are many more. At Harlech he was given the title of constable of the castle.

In the design of many castles he used a concentric plan where a succession of nested walls and towers were built, the walls getting taller towards the centre of the castle. In these castles there are no central keeps, but one or more of the wall towers are large enough to be used in the same way. The gatehouses were also very strong. In the early years of the fourteenth century James was employed in Scotland building castles there as well. His works include Linlithgow Peel, a fortification which replaced a royal manor.


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1277 Jul  Construction of Flint Castle begun
 As part of the plans to defeat Llywelyn Edward I ordered the construction of Flint Castle in Clwyd. Edward had been impressed by fortified town and castle combinations he had seen on his travels in France and Flint Castle was designed in the same manor. The castle was completed in 1280.

Episode: Edward I and Wales  
 Aug  Reconstruction of Rhuddlan Castle begun
 Leaving work on Flint Castle underway Edward I moved on up the coast to Rhuddlan where he found the remains of an old Norman Motte and Bailey castle overlooking an important crossing point of the river Clywd. A new castle was ordered and work began to create both the castle and a new town alongside.

Episode: Edward I and Wales  
1282   Construction of Denbigh Castle
 Another castle was built by Edward I's master castle builder, James of St. George in North Wales.

Episode: Edward I and Wales  
1283   Construction of Conway Castle begun
 After capturing Dolwyddelan, Edward moved up the river Conway to its mouth and a new castle was ordered. The castle's design and size were chosen to prove the royal power of the English King. The construction took until 1297.

Episode: Edward I and Wales  
   Construction of Caernarvon Castle
 Edward and his master castle builder started the reconstruction of a new castle at Caernarvon.

Episode: Edward I and Wales  

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