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Caernarfon Castle, Gwynedd, Wales - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"

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Caernarfon Castle Gwynedd Wales - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"

Caernarfon Castle, is a medieval fortress in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, north-west Wales.

There was a motte-and-bailey castle in the town from the late 11th century until 1283 when King Edward I of England began replacing it with the current stone structure. The Edwardian town and castle acted as the administrative centre of north Wales and as a result the defences were built on a grand scale.

While the castle was under construction, town walls were built around Caernarfon. Despite Caernarfon Castle's external appearance of being mostly complete, the interior buildings no longer survive and many of the building plans were never finished. The town and castle were sacked in 1294 when Madog ap Llywelyn led a rebellion against the English. Caernarfon was recaptured the following year. During the Glynd?r Rising of 1400–1415, the castle was besieged. When the Tudor dynasty ascended to the English throne in 1485, tensions between the Welsh and English began to diminish and castles were considered less important. As a result, Caernarfon Castle was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. Despite its dilapidated condition, during the English Civil War Caernarfon Castle was held by Royalists, and was besieged three times by Parliamentarian forces. This was the last time the castle was used in war.

Caernarfon Castle was neglected until the 19th century when the state funded repairs. In 1911, Caernarfon Castle was used for the investiture of the Prince of Wales, and again in 1969. It is part of the World Heritage Site "Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd".

War broke out between England and Wales on 22 March 1282. The Welsh leader, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, died later that year on 11 December. His brother Dafydd ap Gruffydd continued to fight against the English, but in 1283 Edward I was victorious. Edward marched through northern Wales, capturing castles such as that at Dolwyddelan, and establishing his own at Conwy. War finally drew to a close in May 1283 when Dolbadarn Castle, Dafydd ap Gruffudd's last castle, was captured. Shortly after, Edward began building castles at Harlech and Caernarfon. The castles of Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech were the most impressive of their time in Wales, and their construction, along with other Edwardian castles in the country, helped establish English rule.

According to the Flores Historiarum, during the construction of the castle and planned town, the body of the Roman emperor Magnus Maximus was discovered at Caernarfon and Edward I ordered his reburial in a local church.

In 1294, Wales broke out in rebellion led by Madog ap Llywelyn, prince of Wales. As Caernarfon was the centre of administration in Gwynedd and a symbol of English power, it was targeted by the Welsh. Madog's forces captured the town in September, and in the process heavily damaged the town walls. The castle was defended by just a ditch and a temporary barricade. It was quickly taken and anything flammable was set alight. In the summer of 1295, the English moved to retake Caernarfon. By November the same year, the English began refortifying the town. Rebuilding the town walls was a high priority, and £1,195 was spent on completing the job two months ahead of schedule. Attention then shifted to the castle and on finishing the work that had halted in 1292.

Once the rebellion was put down, Edward began building Beaumaris Castle on the Isle of Anglesey.

Caernarfon Castle's design was partly influenced by a desire to make the structure impressive as a symbol of the new English rule in Wales. This was particularly acute as Caernarfon was made the centre of government in the northern part of the country. The Edwardian castle's layout was mostly dictated by the lay of the land, although the inclusion of the previous castle's motte played a part.

Studded along the curtain wall are several polygonal towers from which flanking fire could be deployed. There were battlements on the tops of walls and towers, and along the southern face were firing galleries.

Caernarfon's appearance differs from that of other Edwardian castles through the use of banded coloured stone in the walls and in its polygonal, rather than round, towers. It is argued that the design of the castle was a representation of the Walls of Constantinople. The conscious use of imagery from the Byzantine Roman Empire was therefore an assertion of authority by Edward I, and influenced by the legendary dream of Magnus Maximus, a Roman emperor. In his dream Maximus had seen a fort, "the fairest that man ever saw", within a city at the mouth of a river in a mountainous country and opposite an island. Edward interpreted this to mean Segontium was the city of Maximus' dream and drew on the imperial link when building Caernarfon Castle. Recent academic work suggests that the design of Caernarfon was indeed an assertion of Edward's authority, but that it drew on imagery from Roman sites in Britain with the intent of creating an allusion of Arthurian legitimacy for the king.


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