Aberystwyth – castle


   The construction of Aberystwyth Castle was started on the initiative of the English king Edward I in 1277. Its cost amounted to over 4,000 pounds and although the stronghold was completed only in 1289, the main works were carried out in the first three years. In 1282 an unfinished castle was conquered and burnt along with the town by the Welsh. However, already in 1294, during the rebellion of Madog ap Llywelyn, it withstood the next Welsh siege, mainly thanks to its seaside location, allowing to deliver supplies to the castle.
In the mid-fourteenth century Aberystwyth Castle was in bad condition. The main gate, the drawbridges, the royal hall, the long chamber, the kitchen and the ward were especially ruined. It was used by Owain Glyndŵr, who in 1404 won the stronghold during the Welsh uprising. In 1406, Owain retorted the English siege, carried out by prince Henry, future English king Henry V, but in the second siege, two years later, Henry regained castle.
In 1637, the castle was turned into a royal mint, in which silver shillings were produced. A few years later, during the English Civil War, it was garrisoned by Royalists, which caused the attack of the Parliamentary forces in 1646, and consequently its blowing up and destruction. What has survived, unfortunately, was used in the following years as a source of free building stone for the developing city.


   The castle was built on a diamond plan with a double circuit of defensive walls with two gates on the eastern side, equipped with two D-shaped towers and one gate from the north-west side. In addition, the foregate was given to the outer eastern gate, probably in the form of a barbican. The main inner gate from the side of the ward had two cylindrical turrets containing spiral staircases. The walls were reinforced with towers in every corner, and additionally, the north-western and south-western curtains of the inner perimeter were provided in the middle with semi-cylindrical towers. Residential and commercial buildings adjoined the inner walls of the castle walls. The stronghold was coupled with the town walls.

Current state

   The outer circumference of the defensive walls with the north and south corner towers has survived to the present day in the best condition. In the form of a far-reaching ruin there is an inner eastern gate, and from the inner circumference of the fortifications only the western tower, currently the most characteristic element of the castle, has survived. The whole site is comprehensible thanks to the preservation of foundation parts.

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Gravett C.,  The Castles of Edward I in Wales 1277-1307, Oxford 2007.

Kenyon J., The medieval castles of Wales, Cardiff 2010.
Taylor A. J., The Welsh castles of Edward I, London 1986.