With spring and some drier weather finally here I am trying to tick off the last items on my ‘castle list’. There are many castles in North Wales, some well known and popular (like Caernarfon Castle) and some a bit more overlooked. Particularly those that were left in ruins and are more difficult to get to because of their location. But sometimes it’s exactly that location that makes them spectacular.
Here are a couple of historic facts for those of you who are interested: Caergwrle Castle, also known as Queen’s Hope in scholarly texts, is located (as the name suggests)in the town of Caergwrle, in Flintshire. Built on a steep hill near the Anglo-Welsh border, it was the final castle to be built by Welsh rulers before the loss of Welsh independence in 1283.
Construction of the castle began in 1277, after King Edward I gave the lordship of Hope to Dafydd ap Gruffudd as reward for his service in the Welsh war concluded earlier that year. The castle was apparently still unfinished when Dafydd revolted in 1282. By the time Edward had gathered an army to invade Wales in June, Dafydd had already retreated from Caergwrle, and had slighted the castle, even blocking up its well to deny it to the English. Edward promptly began rebuilding the castle, and gave it to his wife, Eleanor of Castile. However, a fire in 1283 gutted the castle and it was never rebuilt.
One down on my list, three more to go. And I already picked up a leaflet in the local TIC with more castles to visit…