Caernarvon Castle

aernarvon Castle was built by Edward I and his master castle builder, James of St George, who started work on the new castle in around 1283. The site was previously occupied by a Norman Motte and Bailey castle and before that a Roman fort. The castle walls are dominated by thirteen polygonal towers, some large and some small. Normally the towers in the castles constructed at the time were circular. The motte was not removed by Edward and was incorporated into the eastern section of the castle although it has been removed since. The castle is elongated in the east-west direction, with the main entrance on the northern side protected by two of the towers and known as the King's Gate. This entrance would have been defended by up to six portcullises and if the castle had been finished would have led to a large octagonal area that would have provided access to the east and west sections of the rest of the castle. Two of the towers are large enough to be thought of as keep-towers and both are in the eastern section of the castle. The Eagle tower is positioned so that it can be resupplied by sea and could be used as a place of safety even if the rest of the castle had been captured.

Caernarvon Castle Key Facts
CountyGwynedd (7 castles)
CategoriesEdward I
OwnershipRoyal castle
Build and owned originally by Edward I, King of England.
RemainsExcellent remains
Access to siteOnly open at certain times
TimeRef Rating
TimeRef Comments
One of the best castles in Wales. Take plenty of time to explore all of the towers and the corridors built into the thickness of the walls. I highly recommend a visit to Caernarvon Castle and the town itself where remains of the town wall can still be explored.

1090   Construction of Caernavon Castle
 The first castle to be built at Caernarvon was constructed by Hugh of Avranches in about 1090. He built a wooden motte and bailey castle. 
1283   Construction of Caernarvon Castle
 Edward and his master castle builder started the reconstruction of a new castle at Caernarvon.

Episode: Edward I and Wales  
1284 Apr 25  Edward (II) is born
 Edward, the future king of England was born at Caernarvon Castle on the 25th April, 1284. His father was Edward I and his mother was Eleanor of Castile. The castle was probably still under construction as work on it had only begun the year before.

Episode: Edward I and Wales  
1294 Qtr 3  Caernarfon Castle attacked
 Madog ap Llywelyn, one of the Welsh rebels, attacked and burnt Caernarfon Castle. 
Early Modern Period (1500-1800)
1644   Caernarvon Castle captured
 Since 1642 Caernarvon Castle had been held by Royalist forces for Charles I, but Parliamentarian forces attacked and captured the castle.[1] 


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