Beaumaris Castle World Heritage Site

Castle in Beaumaris, Anglesey, Wales

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Beaumaris Castle
Beaumaris, Wales
Beaumaris aerial.jpg
The castle seen from the air
Beaumaris Castle is located in Anglesey
Beaumaris Castle
Beaumaris Castle
Coordinates53°15′53″N 4°05′23″W / 53.2648°N 4.0897°W / 53.2648; -4.0897Coordinates: 53°15′53″N 4°05′23″W / 53.2648°N 4.0897°W / 53.2648; -4.0897
TypeConcentric castle
Height36 feet (11 m)
Site information
Controlled byCadw
Site history
Built1295 – c. 1330
Built byJames of St George
Nicolas de Derneford
MaterialsLimestone, sandstone and schist
EventsRevolt of Owain Glyndŵr (1400–09)
English Civil War (1642–48)
Part ofCastles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd
Inscription1986 (10th session)
Listed Building – Grade I

Beaumaris Castle (Welsh: Castell Biwmares), in Beaumaris, Anglesey, Wales, was built as part of Edward I's campaign to conquer north Wales after 1282. Plans were probably first made to construct the castle in 1284, but this was delayed due to lack of funds and work only began in 1295 following the Madog ap Llywelyn uprising. A substantial workforce was employed in the initial years under the direction of James of St George. Edward's invasion of Scotland soon diverted funding from the project, however, and work stopped, only recommencing after an invasion scare in 1306. When work finally ceased around 1330 a total of £15,000 had been spent, a huge sum for the period, but the castle remained incomplete.

Beaumaris Castle was taken by Welsh forces in 1403 during the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr, but recaptured by royal forces in 1405. Following the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642, the castle was held by forces loyal to Charles I, holding out until 1646 when it surrendered to the Parliamentary armies. Despite forming part of a local royalist rebellion in 1648, the castle escaped slighting and was garrisoned by Parliament, but fell into ruin around 1660, eventually forming part of a stately home and park in the 19th century. In the 21st century, the ruined castle is still a tourist attraction.

Historian Arnold Taylor described Beaumaris Castle as Britain's "most perfect example of symmetrical concentric planning".[1] The fortification is built of local stone, with a moated outer ward guarded by twelve towers and two gatehouses, overlooked by an inner ward with two large, D-shaped gatehouses and six massive towers. The inner ward was designed to contain ranges of domestic buildings and accommodation able to support two major households. The south gate could be reached by ship, allowing the castle to be directly supplied by sea. UNESCO considers Beaumaris to be one of "the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe", and it is classed as a World Heritage site.[2]

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Taylor125 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ "Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd", UNESCO, retrieved 22 September 2012

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