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Conwy Castle and the bridges
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||LL31, LL32|
Conwy (Welsh pronunciation: [ˈkɔnʊɪ̯] (south), Welsh pronunciation: ['kɔnwi] (north); traditionally known in English as Conway) is a walled market town and community in Conwy County Borough on the north coast of Wales. The town, which faces Deganwy across the River Conwy, formerly lay in Gwynedd and prior to that in Caernarfonshire. The community, which includes Deganwy and Llandudno Junction, had a population of 14,208 at the 2001 census, and is a popular tourist destination. The population rose to 14,753 at the 2011 census. In the 2015 census "The size of the resident population in Conwy County Borough on the 30th June 2015 was estimated to be 116,200 people." The town itself has a population of 4,065.
Castle and town walls
Conwy Castle and the town walls were built, on the instruction of Edward I of England, between 1283 and 1289, as part of his conquest of the principality of Wales. The church standing in Conwy has been marked as the oldest building in Conwy and has stood in the walls of Conwy since the 14th century. However, the oldest structure is part of the town walls, at the southern end of the east side. Here one wall and the tower of Llewellyn the Great's Llys [court house] have been incorporated into the wall. Built on a rocky outcrop, with an apsidal tower, it is a classic, native, Welsh build and stands out from the rest of the town walls, due to the presence of four window openings. It dates from the early 13th century and is the most complete remnant of any of his Llys.
Conwy was the original site of Aberconwy Abbey, founded by Llywelyn the Great. Edward and his troops took over the abbey site and moved the monks down the Conwy valley to a new site at Maenan, establishing Maenan Abbey. The parish church still retains some parts of the original abbey church in the east and west walls. English settlers were given incentives to move to the walled garrison town, which for decades the Welsh were forbidden from entering.
Conwy has other tourist attractions that help draw visitors to the town. Conwy Suspension Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford to replace the ferry, was completed in 1826 and spans the River Conwy next to the castle. Telford designed the bridge's supporting towers to match the castle's turrets. The bridge is now open to pedestrians only and, together with the toll-keeper's house, is in the care of the National Trust.
The Conwy Railway Bridge, a Tubular bridge, was built for the Chester and Holyhead Railway by Robert Stephenson. The first tube was completed in 1848, the second in 1849. The bridge is still in use on the North Wales Coast Line, along with the station, which is located within the town walls. In addition to a modern bridge serving the town, the A55 road passes under the river by a tunnel, Britain's first immersed tube tunnel, which was built between 1986 and 1991. The old mountain road to Dwygyfylchi and Penmaenmawr runs through the Sychnant Pass, at the foot of Conwy Mountain.
Smallest house in Great Britain
The house named in the Guinness Book of Records as The Smallest House in Great Britain, with dimensions of 3.05 metres x 1.8 metres, can be found on the quay. It was in continuous occupation from the 16th century (and was even inhabited by a family at one point) until 1900 when the owner (a 6-foot (1.8 m) fisherman – Robert Jones) was forced to move out on the grounds of hygiene. The rooms were too small for him to stand up in fully. The house is still owned by his descendants today, and you can go on a tour around it for a small charge.
Vardre Hall is a 19th Century Grade II listed building set directly opposite to Conwy Castle. It was erected by Conservative Buckinghamshire MP William Edward FitzMaurice in the mid 1850's. In 1869 the building was sold to solicitor William Jones. The building was used as a solicitor's office until 1972, when it was bought out and became The Towers Restaurant. The Towers Coffee house remains next door. After laying empty for a number of years Vardre Hall changed hands again and, in 1999, was refurbished into a shop.
Conwy Morfa, a marshy spit of land on the west side of the estuary, was probably the location where golf was first played on Welsh soil. It was also the place where Hugh Iorys Hughes developed, and later built, the floating Mulberry Harbour, used in Operation Overlord in World War II.
A Conwy electoral ward exists for elections to Conwy County Borough Council. The ward extends west of the River Conwy only with a total population of 4,065. The other county wards within the Conwy community are Deganwy, Marl and Pensarn.
- Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Conwy
- "Town population 2011". Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- Llandudno: its history and natural history, 1861, Richard Parry
- A guide through North Wales, 1860, William Cathrall & Andrew Crombie Ramsay
- Transactions, 1822, Cymmrodorion society
- The pedestrian's guide through North Wales, 1838, George John Bennett
- "Conwy Castle Facts and Information". History for Kids.
- "Joining the Jackdaws". BBC Northwest Wales. September 2009. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- Evans, Kath (11 March 2011). "Jackdaw Society for those Born within Conwy Walls Folds". BBC Northwest Wales. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- "Aberconwy Abbey". Ein Treftadaeth (Our Heritage). Retrieved 27 January 2017.
- "Conwy Suspension Bridge". Engineering Timelines. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
- "Conwy Tubular Bridge". Engineering Timelines. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
- "Conwy Immersed Tube Tunnel". Engineering Timelines. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- "Aberconwy House". National Trust Collections. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- Plas Mawr website
- "History Points – Footnotes Vardre Hall, Conwy". historypoints.org. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
- "About Us – The Knight Shop | The Knight Shop". www.theknightshop.com. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
- "History". Bodysgallen Hall & Spa. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- "History". Conwy Golf Club. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- "Engineer Biography: Hugh Iorys Hughes". Engineering Timelines. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- "RNLI: Conwy". Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- "About Cyngor Tref Conwy Town Council". Cyngor Tref Conwy Town Council. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
Images showing changes over time
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Conwy (town).|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Conwy.|