Caerphilly Castle OP#5

Caerphilly Castle was built in Southern Wales between 1268 and 1271. Including the artificial lakes surrounding it, it occupies about 30 acres making it the second largest castle in Britain. The castle has a very unique design is just breathtaking to look at in pictures (I cannot wait to see it in person). The castle has been used in pop culture frequently including episodes of Dr. Who and Merlin. It was one of the first castles in Britain to exhibit concentric walls in its design. This basically refers to a castle within in a castle, so multiple walls surrounding the main part of the castle. The castle was built by Gilbert “Red Gilbert” de Clare. He was an English nobleman that had been appointed the Earl of Glamorgan by the Crown. At the time, the Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd believed that he had rights to most of Glamorgan. This created constant conflict between Llywelyn and Gilbert, eventually leading to Gilbert beginning the construction of Caerphilly Castle to defend his land. Feeling threatened by the construction of this castle, Llywelyn attacked and burned down a large part of the castle before it was finished. This led to the Crown stepping in and sending two Bishops to seize control of the castle and attempt to resolve conflict between the two men, eventually leading to a treaty being made. Gilbert was not a fan of losing his castle that he was building and devised to plan to take it back. He sent a few men to do an allowed “routine checkup” on the inside of the castle. As soon as the men were let in, they opened the gate for the rest of Gilbert’s men and then evicted the two Bishops and their men. After being called to court, Gilbert was proven innocent as he claimed he had no knowledge of the actions of his men, leaving the king no choice but to let him keep the castle. Llywelyn felt betrayed by this and led a full blown revolt against the crown as a result. Gilbert finished the construction of his castle in record time and then Caerphilly Castle was used as the frontline defense against Llwelyn’s army. The English easily drove Llywelyn back, moving him all the way to Northern Wales. As a result, Caerphilly Castle became useless as a defense because there was no more threat for the time being. For a short while after that revolt, the castle served as a center of administration for the Crown. After about a decade of this, there was a second Welsh revolt led by Madog ap Llywelyn and Morgan ap Maredudd, forcing Gilbert to refortify his castle. When the Welsh lay siege to Caerphilly and the castle, the town burned but the castle stood tall. The Crown responded promptly by defeating the Welsh quickly, once again leaving Caerphilly Castle useless for defense purposes. During the 15th century, the castle entered a state of decline as a result of the male De Clare lineage had been broken. The castle decayed at a high rate because it wasn’t being used or maintained anymore. After a few decades of decay, the wealthy Bute family married into the Pembroke family, who currently held rights to the castle, and acquired the castle. The Bute men took particular interest in the castle and over four generations (1776-1939) they worked to restore it. In 1950, the castle came under state care and the final restorations took place.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s