Tag Archives: Castles in Wales

Circuitous Travel~Part 5

10 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

After a wonderful breakfast at the St. Valery Guest House in Edinburgh, we loaded up the car and headed to Wales.

Looking at the map, it is quite a distance from Edinburgh to the Eastern border of Wales. It has been so many years since we made this trip, that I honestly don’t remember all the towns and villages we passed through getting to Wales. I have a “log” where I wrote down where we went each day, and what we saw, but there are only two entries for this particular day.   I guess those two cities, with castles, were the main focus of our day.

And so, I will tell you what we saw that day. It was so awesome…and we enjoyed ourselves so much. I have not mentioned before that one of the things that has interested me and thrilled me so much on this trip – is all the castles and ruins that we have seen that were built by the Normans! And they are still standing! Many years ago, Fred and I made a trip to Greece, and the feeling of awe that I experienced there is much the same as it was on this trip to England, Scotland, and Wales. All these structures have been in existence for hundreds and hundreds of years – and are still standing! I remember Fred sitting on the stump of a column in Athens, on the Acropolis, and knowing that those buildings were there when Jesus walked the earth…and they are still standing! We stood on Mars Hill, where Paul preached his sermon. Yes, some structures or most are in ruins, but they are still there, to remind us of what was. Amazing!

 

Fred sitting in the priests seats in Dionysus Amphitheater at the foot of the Acropolis

In any case, our first stop in Wales was in the town on Conwy. It is on the north coast of Wales. From a website on the castles of Wales, I learned:

Jeff Thomas, author:

Words cannot do justice to Conwy Castle. The best, simple description is found in the guidebook published by CADW, the Welsh Historic Trust, which states: “Conwy is by any standards one of the great fortresses of medieval Europe.” Conwy along with Harlech is probably the most impressive of all the Welsh castles. Both were designed by Edward I’s master castle builder James of St. George, and while Harlech has a more storied past, Conwy’s eight massive towers and high curtain wall are more impressive than those at Harlech.

 

Credit Google Search and Jeffrey L. Thomas – Conwy Castle

 

 Unlike Harlech however, Conwy Castle and town are surrounded by a well-preserved wall lending an additional sense of strength to the site. Conwy’s well-preserved wall helps the town maintain a medieval character lost by other Welsh castle-towns over the years. Construction of Conwy began in 1283. The castle was an important part of King Edward I’s plan of surrounding Wales in “an iron ring of castles” to subdue the rebellious population. The highly defensible wall Edward built around the town was intended to protect the English colony planted at Conwy. The native Welsh population were violently opposed to English occupation of their homeland.

 

Conwy Castle entrance and bridge

 

Mr. Thomas continues:   Conwy is a town that time has simply chosen to pass by. Despite a few modern shops, Conwy still looks very similar to the town Edward envisioned some 700 years ago. The ancient town walls, castle and simple streets offer very little to remind the visitor of the modern world. Conwy is something of a paradox. Originally a symbol of English domination of Wales, in time the Welsh managed to reclaim the town, replacing English oppression with its own medieval character. Only at Conwy and St. Davids did we get the feeling of being transported back to ancient Wales.

 

Credit Google Search and Jeffrey L. Thomas

 

Credit Google Search and Jeffrey L. Thomas

 

Credit Google Search and Jeffrey L. Thomas

Credit Google Search and Jeffrey L. Thomas

Credit Google Search and Jeffrey L. Thomas

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

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