Cadw, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government, has reached an agreement to become the custodian of Caergwrle Castle. This will be forty-third castle in Cadw’s care, but the first to be added in 25 years.
The castle dates back to 1277 having initially been built by Dafydd ap Gruffudd. It holds a unique place in Welsh history as the last castle to be built by a native Welsh Prince and played a significant role in events which culminated in Llywelyn’s death near Builth in 1282 and Dafydd’s own capture and gruesome execution at Shrewsbury in 1283.
Dafydd Elis-Thomas, the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport for the Welsh government, commented, “From Caerphilly to Caernarfon, Conwy to Castell Coch, we are a country blessed with some of the most magnificent, imposing castles in the world, attracting record visitor numbers and boosting the economies of many of our towns and cities.
“But there are a whole host of castles on our doorsteps that are, perhaps, less well known but both individually and as a collective serve as precious physical reminders of our history and our heritage. These, to me, are the true Welsh castles – those built or inhabited by distinguished Welshmen of the past – by Llywelyn, Lord Rhys and Glyndwr amongst others. Welsh Princes who fought for and over Wales and helped shape the Wales and Welshness we recognise today.
“Cadw already cares for many of these castles of the Welsh prince including Dinefwr and Dryslwyn in the south and Dolbadarn and Castell y Bere in the north. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work with the community council to add Caergwrle to their number – ensuring it remains open, cared for and accessible to all.”
Caergwrle Castle has until now been managed by Hope Community Council. Christine Cunnah, Chairman Councillor of Hope Community Council, added “Hope Community Council is absolutely delighted to be in partnership with Cadw, which will ensure that our unique historical site of Caergwrle Castle is protected for future generations to enjoy. Together, we will aim to provide a special place for the local community and visitors. The Council would like to thank Lord Dafydd Ellis-Thomas for supporting this venture and also it is extremely grateful to Cadw for recognising the great historical significance of this site.”
To learn more about the castles of Wales during the thirteenth-century, check out issue VIII:2 of Medieval Warfare magazine.