Caernarfon Castle

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Caernarfon Castle, a castle in northern Wales, was built by the Normans to solidify their control over the Welsh. The castle was built during the reign of King Edward I, but it came from more humble beginnings. At first, the castle was an old Roman fort which was controlled by local Welsh after the Romans left. Then, the English invaded and an Earl built a small motte and bailey castle in the same place as the later castle would be built and the castle would incorporate the original motte of the Earl’s castle into the defensive works of the later castle built by King Edward I of England. The castle was built at the same time as two other castles were being built at Conwy and Harlech. Caernarfon castle holds a very strategic location by sitting so close to the river which feeds into the channel between the mainland and Anglesey Island. During the construction of Caernarfon castle, a rebellion broke out in Wales and the Welsh rebels destroyed much of the castle that was built which had yet to complete the outer walls. The castle was retaken by the English about a year later and a building spree began to repair and finish the castle. The castle of Caernarfon was picked by the English to be the administrative center for the region of Caernarvonshire. The castle also played an important role as the English prince Edward of Caernarfon who was both born in the castle and given the title of Prince of Wales in 1301. The building of the castle went on uninterrupted until the Scottish war in 1304 which was led by William Wallace. After its completion in the early 1300s, the castle was garrisoned and kept English rule in the area. The castle was besieged in 1403 by Welsh and French forces and held until the end of hostilities. This was during the rule of Henry Tudor who gave rights back to the Welsh after the war ended. This led to the end of garrisoning of the castle, but it still remained the administrative center for few more years until this responsibility was taken over by the town outside the castle. The castle continues to exist to this day although there was a point in the 1660s that there was a call for the destruction of the castle and to sell off its materials because the castle was not being used and was taking up space in the town.

Caernarfon castle is built as a reminder of the English presence in the area. The first tower that was supposedly completed was the Eagle Tower which was the housing apartment for the nobles of the castle and may have even been the residence of the Edward I when he visited and the place where Edward of Caernarfon was born although records do not say this for certain. There were nine towers built altogether with each one serving a purpose beyond the defensive measures they afforded. The castle had one main gate as well as two side entrances that led off towards the water ways. Caernarfon castle is still an impressive sight to behold.

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