Conwy Castle was built by Edward I of England, during his conquest of Wales between 1283 and 1289. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of late 13th century castle architecture in Europe.
Conwy Castle History and Design
The rectangular castle is built from local and imported stone and occupies a coastal ridge, originally overlooking an important crossing point over the River Conwy.
You enter the castle through the western barbican in front of the main gate. The barbican was once reached fromer a drawbridge and ramp that came up steeply from the town below. Interestingly, this barbican features the earliest surviving stone machicolations in Britain, and the gate would originally have been protected by a portcullis. Machicolations are holes in the battlements where defenders could throw stones, oil or anything down onto an unsuspecting intruder!
The gate leads through to the outer ward where administrative and service buildings would have existed. On the south side of the ward are the great hall and chapel, sitting above the castle cellars. On the north side of the ward are other small buildings like the kitchen, brewhouse and bakehouse. The inner ward would have been separated from the outer ward by an internal wall, a drawbridge and a gate. Inside, the ward was the royal private household.
These royal rooms were on the first floor which ran around the outside of the ward. The four towers have an additional watchtower turret, probably intended for security and to show the royal flag clearly. On the east side of the inner ward is another barbican, surround the castle garden. There have been many changes in the garden, including a lawn, vines, crab-apple trees and formal ornamental flowers. A gate once led down to the river where a small dock was built, allowing important visitors to enter the castle in private, and also to resupply the castle.