• Lucy

Criccieth Castle (Gwynedd, North Wales)

Updated: Jan 15, 2019

The first castle on this site was built by Llewellyn the Great around the 1230s after relocating his princely seat of power from the nearby motte and bailey at Dolbenmaen. The new location at Criccieth was on a rocky peninsula overlooking Tremadog Bay, and was a much stronger defensive position.

Llewellyn build the inner ward and gatehouse at this point. In the 1260/70s an outer ward was added, along with a new gateway and rectangular tower. This created two circuits of defense.

The castle was taken by the forces of Edward I during his conquest of Wales in 1283. Under James of Saint George another two storey rectangular tower connected to the rest of the castle by a curtain wall was built, known now as the "Engine Tower", which might have been the foundation for a siege engine. The gatehouse also had another storey added and the towers were strengthened. An outer barbican was added to the outer curtain wall.

In 1294 Madoc ap Llywelyn began an uprising against English rule that spread quickly through Wales. Several English-held towns were attacked and Criccieth was besieged that winter. Its residents survived until spring when the castle was resupplied.

The castle was used as a prison until 1404 when Welsh forces captured the castle during the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr. The Welsh then tore down its walls and set the castle alight. Some stonework still show the scorch marks.

In the present day the castle is managed by CADW and a paid entry site. There is free on-street parking around the castle.

Pictures taken May 2018, and below the castle from a slightly different perspective take in October 2017

Criccieth Castle Gwynedd North Wales

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