Rhuddlan Castle - History and Facts | History Hit

Rhuddlan Castle

Rhuddlan, Wales, United Kingdom

Rhuddlan Castle was one of the iron ring of strongholds built by Edward I in his conquest of Wales.

Peta Stamper

25 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Rhuddlan Castle

Rhuddlan Castle was one of the iron ring of strongholds built by Edward I in Denbighshire, Wales. Today, the castle is managed by Cadw, a Welsh government body aiming to protect, conserve and promote Welsh building heritage.

Rhuddlan Castle history

Begun in 1277, Rhuddlan Castle was the first concentric castle designed by master architect James of St George for King Edward I as he consolidated his dominion in Wales. Prior to Edward’s fortress, Rhuddlan was at the heart of a Welsh cantref, a Welsh administrative division.

While supply routes often utilised the sea, Edward had hundreds of diggers to deepen the river Clwyd, with a deep dry moat linked to the castle. The work allowed ships to sail inland, allowing troops and supplies to reach Rhuddlan in-case of overland siege.The castle was built with an inner diamond shape stronghold and twin-towered gatehouses, inside a ring of lower turreted walls, guardian the new town.

Completed in 1282 at the cost of £9613, Rhuddlan became the symbol of English rule in Wales. The castle’s completion preceded the Statute of Rhuddlan following the defeat of Welsh Prince, Llewellyn the Last, which laid down English law in Wales for 250 years until Henry VIII’s Act of Union in 1536. Edward then made his son Prince of Wales, much to the insult of the Welsh chieftains, in 1301.

Yet it was a century later when Owain Glyndŵr ravaged the town in 1400, the castle standing firm until it was garrisoned by Royalist troops during the English Civil War. Parliamentarians destroyed a lot of the castle to prevent further military use.

Rhuddlan Castle today

Today, you can visit the magnificent castle at Rhuddlan for free. Walk within the still imposing remaining walls of this 13th century fortress, sharing the views of its former inhabitants out across the surrounding countryside to the River Clwyd.

Dogs are welcome, and there is good disabled access for wheelchair users, the grounds having been level and laid to grass. You can also grab a pamphlet guide to tour you around the castle.

Getting to Rhuddlan Castle

If driving, Rhuddlan is off the A525 or A547 and parking is available. By public transport, Rhuddlan is 4 miles from Rhyl station on the Chester-Prestatyn/Llandudno route, or 220 metres from the nearest bus stop where bus services 35/36 and 51 run to Prestatyn and Denbigh.

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