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Ian Dalgliesh | profile | all galleries >> Castles of the Welsh Princes tree view | thumbnails | slideshow | map

Castles of the Welsh Princes

Following a trip to North Wales in 2008,I've been gripped by the remorseless struggle of the Welsh Princes against first the Saxons and later the Normans.The great dyke built by King Offa around AD800 is an early indication of the troubled history,with Welsh heroes such as Rhodri Mawr who turned the tide against the Saxons.The Normans swept into Wales,building "castellum" or mottes where ever they went.It took the Welsh some time to recover,but copying the Normans,they too began building mottes and taking back land that was theirs.That there are some 500 recorded castle sites in Wales,is testament to this titanic struggle,finally laid to rest by the intervention of the greatest warmonger of his age,namely,Edward I of England,and his stranglehold on Wales,applied through his building enormous castles throughout the land.By comparison to these giants,most of the castles of the Welsh Princes,are small affairs,often located high on a rock,as lookout towers,such as Carndochan,or Pen-y-Castell,or tucked away in secluded valleys,more like country retreats,such as Mathrafal.That the Welsh Princes were a thorn in the side of their adversaries for so long,is testament to their never say die attitude,but also to the fact that their adversaries,both Saxon and Norman,had limited call on available troop numbers.Consequently,both sides were rarely in a position to deal a decisive blow to the other,until Edward I decided to quell the Welsh once and for all.I hope in time to visit as many of the Castles of the Welsh Princes as possible and to record such on these pages.
To anyone interested in this leisurely pursuit I can thoroughly recommend the book by Paul R.Davis entitled "Castles of the Welsh Princes",published by Y Lolfa Cyf.,Talybont,Ceridigion,SY24 5AP,www.lolfa.com
ISBN : 978086243 970 5,ISBN-10:0 86243 970 1.
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Dolbadarn Castle guarding the Llanberis Pass.
Dolbadarn Castle guarding the Llanberis Pass.
Dolforwyn Castle,looking east
Dolforwyn Castle,looking east
Dolforwyn Castle,the interior
Dolforwyn Castle,the interior
Dolforwyn Castle overlooking the Severn Valley
Dolforwyn Castle overlooking the Severn Valley
Dolforwyn Castle,the southern wall.
Dolforwyn Castle,the southern wall.
Dolforwyn Castle,during excavation and renovation.
Dolforwyn Castle,during excavation and renovation.
Dolforwyn Castle,perched on its hilltop.
Dolforwyn Castle,perched on its hilltop.
Dolforwyn Castle,interior detail.
Dolforwyn Castle,interior detail.
Plan  of  the  site  at  Mathrafal
Plan of the site at Mathrafal
 Mathrafal / 1
Mathrafal / 1
 Mathrafal / 2
Mathrafal / 2
Mathrafal / 3
Mathrafal / 3
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