Aberystwyth Castle

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Aberystwyth Castle
Part of Ceredigion
Aberystwyth Wales
Aberystwyth castle edit1.jpg
Remains of the north tower gateway at Aberystwyth Castle.
Aberystwyth Castle is located in Wales
Aberystwyth Castle
Aberystwyth Castle
Coordinates 52°24′48″N 4°05′23″W / 52.41324°N 4.08968°W / 52.41324; -4.08968
Type Diamond-shaped concentric castle
Site information
Controlled by Aberystwyth Town Council
Condition Ruin
Site history
Built 1277–1289
Built by Later work attributed to James of Saint George
In use Open to public
Materials Siltstone
Demolished 1649
Events Welsh Wars
English Civil War
Listed Building – Grade I

Aberystwyth Castle (Welsh: Castell Aberystwyth) is a Grade I listed Edwardian fortress located in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Mid Wales. It was built in response to the First Welsh War in the late 13th century, replacing an earlier fortess. During a national uprising by Owain Glyndŵr, the Welsh captured the castle in 1404, but it was recaptured by the English four years later. In 1637 it became a Royal mint by Charles I, and produced silver shillings. The castle was slighted by Oliver Cromwell in 1649.

History[edit]

Marcher lord Gilbert de Clare built an earlier Motte and bailey castle a mile south of the current site in around 1110.[1] It was called Castell Tan-y-castell, Aberrheidol Castle and Old Aberystwyth.[2] In 1116 it was sieged by Griffith ap Rhys, but his attempt to capture it proved fruitless. He was eventually successful in 1135, capturing it and burning it to the ground. He gave it to his brother Cadwalader, who rebuilt it, but a fracas with his elder brother Owen Gwynedd led to Owen burning it in 1142.[3] The castle was rebuilt and later reinforced with stone.[2] After a succession of at least three owners, it was taken by Welsh prince Llywelyn the Great in 1221. Llywelyn razed this castle and erected a new one in its place.[2] The castle was still being constructed when the Welsh briefly sieged it in 1282. Under master mason James of St George, the castle was eventually completed in 1289, though it was sieged extensively during the revolt of Madog ap Llywelyn in 1294-5.[2]

The town of Aberystwyth was flourishing by 1307;[2] its Welsh name was Llanbadarn Gaerog (English: Fortified Llanbadarn).[4] However, by the time of the Black Prince in 1343 the castle was in a bad state of disrepair; the main gateway and drawbridges, the king's hall and long chamber, the kitchen range, and the outer bailey were falling down.[5]

The ruins of Aberystwyth Castle in the 1890s

In 1404, Owain Glyndŵr annexed the castle during the national uprising. Four years later, it was taken by the English, and became an important seat of the government.[6] In 1637 Charles I turned the castle into a Royal mint, and it became a producer of silver shillings. The mint's operator raised a regiment of Royalist soldiers during the English Civil War. The mint closed down during the Civil War, but served as a warehouse for storing silver and lead.[6] Oliver Cromwell slighted the castle in 1649.[5]

Architecture[edit]

Building work started in 1277 at the time of the First Welsh War.[6][3] It was begun during Edward I's first Welsh campaign at the same time as work started at Flint, Rhuddlan and Builth Wells. The inner ward was built in a diamond-shaped concentric castle, with a twin D-shaped gatehouse keep and mural towers at each corner.[7] The outer ward is described as consisting of a "twin D-shaped gatehouse, a barbican, a rock-cut ditch and a large curtain wall with towers".[8]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Aberystwyth Castle". Britainexpress.com. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Aberystwyth Castle". VisitWales. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Aberystwth Castle". Castlesfortsbattles.co.uk. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  4. ^ Chadwick, Nora Kershaw (1958). Studies in the Early British Church. CUP Archive. p. 163. 
  5. ^ a b "Aberystwyth Castle". Castlewales.com. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c "Aberystwyth Castle". BBC. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  7. ^ "Castles of Wales - Aberystwyth Castle". Britainirelandcastles.com. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  8. ^ "Aberystwyth Castle". Aberystwyth.gov.uk. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]