Beaumaris Castle in Summer
Photo : Tim Snow

Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle was started in 1295 by King Edward I. This outstanding fortress is a World Heritage inscribed site and is in the care of CADW.

The building of Beaumaris Castle started in 1295 and was the very last, and the largest of the castles to be built by King Edward I.

Beaumaris Castle from the air

Concentric Castle

It is quite possible that Beaumaris Castle was planned when King Edward I visited Anglesey in 1283 and chose the Welsh village of Llanfaes to be its seat of government.

Almost a perfect military architectural design, comprising of the high inner ring of defences looking down on the lower ring of walls, creating a fantastic advantage of strength and firepower. Any potential attackers would be faced with an almighty task to penetrate the mighty castle.

In 1294-5 the Welsh revolted against the English under the leadership of Madog ap Llywelyn and after a gruelling winter campaign, the Welsh rebels were defeated, and in the April of 1295 the construction of Beaumaris castle finally began. Such was the fear and threat of further attack and disruption to impending construction, the entire neighbouring area of Llanfaes was moved to an area some 12 miles away and named Newborough.

Beaumaris Castle inner harbour

Inner Harbour

The castle was built on the “fair marsh” and was given the Norman - French name of Beau Mareys meaning beautiful marsh. Originally the tide of the Menai Strait would have come right up to the castle walls allowing the Kings ships to bring supplies and much needed building materials.

It is hard to visualise the coastal town of Beaumaris without its “Green” where the cars now park today.

Unfinished Castle

Construction of Beaumaris Castle slowed down in 1296, debts still continued to mount up, work slowed down even more the following year and stopped altogether by 1300. At this point it is believed that £11,000 had been spent on its construction.

In 1807 Lord Thomas Bulkeley purchased Beaumaris Castle for £735.00 which was incorporated into his local residence of Baron hill. In 1925 Richard Williams-Bulkeley gave Beaumaris Castle to the Commissioners of Works who then undertook a large scale of works including cutting back the huge growth of ivy, restoration to a lot of the stonework and digging out the moat.

In 1950 the castle was designated as a Grade 1 Listed building due to being “one of the outstanding Edwardian medieval castles of Wales”

In 1986 UNESCO declared Beaumaris castle as a World Heritage site considering it one of “the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe”

Today this magnificent castle in Beaumaris is in the care of CADW the Welsh Assembly Government’s agency for historic monuments. The castle is one of the main tourist attractions in Beaumaris and has in the region of 75,000 tourists a year.

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