Rhuddlan Castle Clwyd
The story of Rhuddlan goes back much further than the fortress built by Edward I. Prior to the Norman occupation of lower Gwynedd, Rhuddlan was at the heart of a Welsh cantref. From here the Lords of Rhuddlan commanded the lands of North East Wales (Welsh Perfeddwlad) on behalf of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn (1007 – August 5, 1063), the last ruler of all Wales.
But in the late 11th century, the Normans invaded Gwynedd. Rhuddlan was fought over by the Princes of Gwynedd and the Earls of Chester. The remains of a Norman castle at Twthill, built in 1086, is just to the south of the current castle.
In July 1277, at the outbreak of the Welsh Wars, Edward I left Chester and established an advanced base at Flint, where building work immediately began on Flint Castle. With naval assistance from 25 ships of the Cinque Ports fleet, the army pushed along the coast. By August Edward had moved his forces onto Rhuddlan. Three months later it was ceded to the English Crown following the Treaty of Aberconwy between Llywelyn II of Gwynedd and Edward I.
Work on Rhuddlan Castle began immediately under the control of Master Bertram, a Gascon engineer, but construction was soon handed over to Savoyard master mason, James of St George who remained in charge until labour ceased in 1282. Edward I also created a new borough, north of his castle, away from the pre-existing Norman town and Dominican Friary. The 13th-century layout can still be seen in the modern town. The borough, like at Flint, was defended with a pair of ditch-separated earthworks and a timber palisade.
Elizabeth the eighth daughter of Edward I was born at Rhuddlan in 1282, the same year work at the castle was completed. Two years later the Statute of Rhuddlan was signed here following the defeat of Llewellyn the Last. It ceded all the lands of the former Welsh Princes to the English Crown and introduced English common law. This meant Edward I could now appoint Royal officials such as sheriffs, constables, and bailiffs to collect taxes and enforce English law throughout Wales. The Statute of Rhuddlan remained in effect until 1536, shortly after which Welsh law, which continued to be used in Wales after the conquest was fully replaced by English law under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542.
In 1294 the castle was attacked during the Welsh rising of Madog ap Llywelyn but was not taken. It was attacked again by forces of Owain Glyndwr in 1400. This time the town was badly damaged but the castle held out. In the later 15th and 16th centuries the castle’s condition slowly deteriorated and its importance waned.
However Rhuddlan Castle was again garrisoned by Royalist troops during the English Civil War. It was taken by Parliamentary forces after a siege in 1646. The fortress was then partially demolished with gunpowder to prevent any further use in 1648.(Wikipedia)
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