One of the biggest attractions with historic significance is Caernarfon Castle. It is one of the best things worth seeing around here in part due to a few pieces of interesting information tourists might enjoy. Here are a few things that you may or may not know about the castle.
Quick but Not Cheap
Caernarfon Castle was built in the 13th century and its construction only lasted about five years. Considering the size of the edifice (and, quite frankly how long some of the modern buildings take to be constructed), the enterprise was certainly ambitious and impressive, almost as much as the price. Namely, King Edward I paid more than £20,000 to make the castle and brought in architects, labourers, craftsmen, and traders from entire England in order to complete the project.
Now, to you, this might not seem like a lot of money. Some people in the UK earn more in a year, right? Well, even if we don’t take the cost of living and inflation that might have fluctuated a tad in the past centuries, it was still more money than the King was able to obtain through taxation in a single year.
Why Build It?
Imagine you are England and in need of a fortification to conquer Wales. This is exactly the problem King Edward I was facing when he took on the Welsh and one of the reasons for this colossal castle. Another is the attempt to cash in on a myth. One of the Roman legends mentions a dream by a Roman Emperor in which he encounters a magnificent castle. It is supposed that the castle matching his description was found in Caernarfon.
It could have been a public image stunt, or Edward had some ideas regarding how great he was, but the castle was constructed to be amazing and unlike anything previously seen.
Conqueror or Builder?
Edward I took possession of several castles in Wales, restoring the damaged ones as well. For the task of constructing the castle, he chose an architect by the name of James of St. George, who also worked on a few other castles in Wales. Some of the castle’s features look like the design was influenced by the architecture of other countries.
The castle has proven to be quite sturdy in resisting conquests. However, it does not mean it could not be taken. The Welsh rebels didn’t take too kindly to Edward’s rule, so they stormed the castle and took a hold of it in 1294. They didn’t get to keep it, though, as Edward took it back a year later. He also restored parts of the castle that were damaged in the attacks.
During the 1400s, Owain Glyndwr attacked the castle twice and failed both times. The next successful attack on the castle was during the English Civil War when it was taken by the Parliamentary forces in 1646.
Unlike many castles, this one has two gatehouses, the colossal King’s Gate, and the less impressive and, ultimately, unfinished Queen’s Gate. The former is a force to be reckoned with, filled with murder holes and other strategically valid points and measures in case of an attack. The latter, on the other hand, simply took supplies from the sea.