castles historcal sites. history

Castle watch. Harlech castle

Today I have mostly been…. Driving round Wales seeking castles from land and aerial views. I thought it would be nice to share with the group. First stop was Caernarfon airport where a helicopter awaited for a flight around the Menai straits. Looking at castles from above always helps to appreciate the majestic dominance they hold over the surrounding area. Following that was a trip to Harlech castle. I thought i would share with the group.

Beaumaris castle which was added to the ring of castles ordered by Edward 1st following a rebellion in 1294 and completed the ring of castles.

You may notice that despite this being a very expensive castle the moat is evidently not complete. this is because the sea used to come up to the walls on that side and allow supply by boat. A common theme for these four castles. Where there is a square of water. This is the old loading bay.

Caernarfon castle which I have written about in an earlier post.

As the day progressed we made the short trip down to Harlech to visit arguably one of the more famous castles. Many who have watched the classic film ZULU will be familiar with the song “Men of Harlech” used during the sing off between the troops and the thousands of Zulu raiders. While the real action may not have featured that important battle of the tenners, the castle certainly is real. And the event took place during an intense siege lasting from 1461 to 1468 while Margret of Anjou was seeking shelter there.

Built in 1283 around the same time as Caernarfon and Conwy in the wake of the second war against Llewelyn ap Gruffudd and with the later addition of Beaumaris, these castles formed a ring around the north of Wales via which Edward could exert control. Harlech, despite its intimidating scale and excellent location has fallen victim to multiple sieges over its history.

The sea is now blocked off and built on but when this castle was in use it would have come up to the bottom of these cliffs.(pictured left) This is the sea gate which allowed the defenders to be re supplied by ship. Margret of Anjou was held by an army of 7-10,000 troops under Lord William Herbert. For many years. According to the castle historians the troops who eventually surrendered numbered 50.

It is strange to see how the landscape changes with the passage of time. To think that the sea made it to the foot of this cliffs yet now it is nearly a mile back behind sand dunes. The area and the in between is a flatland with some partially placed hills. During the Middle Ages they may well have been little islands accessible at low tide or even by sea. It does make you wonder if there are any sites of interest around them as we know early settlers would have flocked to places like that. Just a thought.

And so concludes another excursion into the past. I do plan to visit more castles and historic places. Normal SAGA posts will resume soon as well. I have added a section on events and will be starting to improve this page once my university course is done. If you have any suggestions of information you would like added. Feel free to comment and I will review the options.



By Jim

I spent most of my days on building sites involved in and around brickwork. I've recently been following my passion for history and decided to jump in fully by starting university in my 30's.

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