Caernarfon castle

Medieval stone castles

About Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon castle is situated in Gwynedd, north west Wales. The function is to be a castle and the architect is James of Saint George.The History of the site of Caernarfon Castle goes back to the 13 century. The Romans built forts in this area and Hill forts, built by the Celts, and a Norman Motte and Bailey castle were also built in this location. Merlin was believed to have been born in a cave outside Caernarfon.

The name Caernarfon is believed to be derived from 'Caer Myrddin' meaning Merlin's town or fortress. King Edward the first was aware of the old myths and legends surrounding Caernarfon. King Edward knew that if he could be seen to fulfil an old Celtic prophecy that his invasion and triumph over Wales would be given the credibility. King Edward wanted to draw comparisons between hiself and King Arthur and other ancient Kings who were admired by the Britons. It's no coincidence that Caernarvon Castle was built differently to the other castles in Wales.

Caernarfon was seen as the capital of North Wales, and became the English administrative centre. Edward's son, who became King Edward the second, was born in Caernavon Castle and given the title of the ' Prince of Wales'. Since 1911 Caernarfon castle has been the location for the investiture of the Prince of Wales. The design and architecture of Caernarvon Castle is like an hourglass. Caernavon Castle was used by the Royalists during the English Civil War in 1642 and successfully with held three sieges during this war. Caernarvon castle was built to embody history and legend.

The octagonal towers of Caernarfon give away its high status. Caernarfon Castle was meant for great things from the very moment of its birth. Its 12 magnificent, multi-angled towers indicate that it was a castle designed to be greater than king Edward's other castles.The style of these towers are octagonal, others hexagonal, and others are ten-sided. caernarfon is significantly different to the gentler, more rounded profile of the other towers of king Edward The firsts.

Wood and stone castles

Stone or square castles were first built in Medieval England. Stone castles were the natural extension of mottes and baileys. Motte and bailey castles were only temporary features while stone keep castles were built to last. Stone keep castles were the ultimate sign of his power over the English.

The use of stone allowed stone castles to be built in an entirely different way from motte and bailey castles. Stone was a strong building material that allowed the builder to build up. However, with a strong foundation, stone keep castles could be built high. This gave them the great advantage of visibility. Allowing the defenders to see if an enemy was coming when they were still a distance away. Allowing the castle to get its defences ready to defend themselfs.

Stone keeps had other defensive mechanisms. Motte and bailey castles were able to be set on fire. This was almost inpossible with stone keeps but it was much more difficult to set a stone keep alight. Where as motte and bailey castles were surrounded by a wooden fence, the stone castles could rely on outer walls made of stone. Stone castles also had their ‘front’ door on the first floor. Wooden steps led up to it. If it was attacked, these steps would be knocked down.

Some parts of Caernarfon castle


I got the information from books and the Internet.

'See inside castles' by Katie Daynes illustrated by David Hancock