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Fri, 11/09/2012 - 00:50
There is nothing that says Wales in the United Kingdom better than its castles. Ok, maybe the Welsh boxing legend Joe Calzaghe, but that’s another story altogether. Oh, and maybe the Prince of Wales, too (if he MUST be added to the list).
Actually, he does because if it wasn’t for what happened at Caernafon Castle, the British monarch son wouldn’t even hold the title. King Edward’s son was born at this castle and since then all first born sons of the ruling king or queen are given the title, Prince of Wales. With castle history like this, it’s no wonder when the order came to destroy the castle in the mid-17th century it wasn’t carried out.
There was an order to destroy Castle Harlech around the same time; that order was never obeyed, either. Harlech Castle overlooks the beautiful Cardigan Bay and took seven years to build in 1283. Pay particular attention to the details on the castle’s statues.
One statue found at Criccieth Castle is now in the National Museum in Cardiff. A statue of Christ was found in the ruins of this castle, built by Llywelyn the Great. Criccieth has been abandoned since 1404 and has now been in ruins longer than it was even built.
Criccieth Castle is close to Deudraeth Castle, a gem of a castle that was one of the earliest made from stone. Who cares that the castle has been in ruins since the 19th century, isn’t this why you came to Wales?
Arthurian Legend might be why you came, so it’s nice that it ties to one of Gwynedd’s castles. Dinas Castle is much older than all the others, believing that Merlin the Magician practiced his craft right here. It is also said that two dragons fought underneath it more than ten centuries ago.
How do you top a castle ruin like that? You don’t, but, a visiting Carndochan Castle is a great start. This is grand example of Welsh castle building, well—it was—the castle’s in ruins. But, it is located close to the Llanfor Roman Camp.
There’s just one more castle you need to see and Beaumaris is it. It’s got a moat and isn’t that the epitome of a castle anyway? Beaumaris was never completed when it was commissioned by Edward I back in 1295.
While Beaumaris, found on the Island of Anglesey, is worth a great deal of time in exploration; the Parish Church of Sts. Mary & Nicholas needs some attention, too. Sts. Mary & Nicholas houses the tomb of Joan, Lady of Wales & wife of Llywelyn the Great.
She was quite the feisty one, having fought the Papacy for the right to be declared legitimate since her parents were not married to others at the time of her birth. In the process she gave up the right to rule in her own right. How is this possible? Her father was King John of England.
It’s possible you’ve heard of King John, he was famous for the signing of the Magna Carta; but, most know him as the king in the Robin Hood legends. But, that’s another story altogether.