onway Castle was built by Edward I as part of his mission to subdue the Welsh in the north of Wales. The castle was designed by Edward's master castle builder, James of St. George and it consists of eight drum towers with thick walls in between and is oblong in shape. The village that was built beside it was fortified by a strong wall with 21 towers and 3 gates. Building work started in 1283 and the castle was mostly complete within five years. James of St. George built concentric castles where he could but Conway Castle is built on an outcrop of rock which did not allow this type of design and the walls follow its contours.

The castle consists of eight large round towers with connecting walls, a large hall, an outer and an inner ward. The entrance to the castle is on the western side, but not through a gatehouse as one was not needed because the town itself was defended. The orginal outer gateway has been destroyed but would have had a drawbridge. The inner ward is rectangular and has four towers at its corners. These would have been used by important visitors. To the east of the inner ward is a barbican with a small exit.

Conway Castle Key Facts
CountyConwy (6 castles)
CategoriesEdward I
OwnershipRoyal castle
RemainsNot complete but much survives
Access to siteOnly open at certain times
TimeRef Rating
TimeRef Comments
Although much of the internal sections of the castle are in ruins, all of the towers are complete and can be explored.

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  
1295 Jan  Edward besieged at Conway
 After spending Christmas at Conway castle Edward's attempts to defeat the Welsh were hampered by bad weather and losses of supplies to the Welsh. He held his position at Conway castle waiting for improved weather and to receive supplies by sea. 
 Apr  Edward occupies Anglesey
 Supplies reached Edward at Conway castle and he was able to march against the Welsh. By April had occupied Anglesey. 
1399 Aug  Richard is captured
 Richard returned to England landing in Wales. Richard was captured at Conway Castle and was moved to Pontefract Castle where he was imprisoned.[1] 


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