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Conwy, like other formidable royal castles built by Edward I, had a fortified town colony attached to the castle and was designed to be supplied by sea if the land approach was cut off by the Welsh. As long as it could be supplied by sea, Conwy was virtually unassailable
Conway castle was built in 1283-88. The town wall, integrated with that of the castle in a single defensive system, has 3 gateways and 21 towers.
One of Edward I's second tranche of castles in Wales Conwy was designed by Master James of St George and completed very quickly - 1283-87. Over 1500 men of one skill and another worked on the huge structure during the summer of 1285, and the workforce could hardly have been much less for the remaining building time. The bill came to nearly British Pounds 20,000, which was the biggest sum spent on any castle in Wales between 1277 and 1304. And at the end of it, Edward I was presented with an almost perfect structure of a high, thick curtain wall with eight huge cylindrical flanking towers, the most compact agglomerate of turretry in the British Isles.
Conway Castle in Gwynedd is situated on top of a rock on the south-west bank of the river Conway, close to its estuary. Tailored to fit the rock site chosen for guarding the entrance to the River Conwy, the castle was a vast enclosure divided into an inner and an outer ward, separated by a thick wall at each end of which was one of the eight flanking towers. The towers themselves are massive, well over 9.1 meters (30 ft) in diameter with walls up to 4.6 meters (15 ft) thick. Reaching to over 21.3 meters (70 ft) tall, they are like great towers, with several stories equipped with rooms and staircases.
This massive construction represented all that Edward I stood for strength, terror, dominion, permanence and it was hated by the Welsh for just those things. Yet it was not besieged until the Civil War, perhaps because it really did seem too big to challenge, and within a generation the mighty fortress began to show signs of decay. Timber in the tower roofs was rotting away and stonework was crumbling here and there.
Allen Nyhuis, 43, from Indiana, wrote:
My 13-year-old daughter and I were doing a real whirlwind tour of Britain, so we quickly went into Northern Wales and stopped in the wonderful town of Conwy. Though we missed being able to tour the castle there by 15 minutes, the view of the castle from the outside was still worth going there! This castle is exactly what I've always imagined a medieval castle should look like. It looks like it's straight out of a storybook! Walking on the high, equally historic city walls was incredibly fun and we felt they were equal to entering the castle itself. Conwy, Wales was our overall favorite place that we went to during our 7-day trip to Britain.
Jen, 20, from Utah, wrote:
This was the first castle I ever saw, and I loved it. It had eight towers, all accessible, with great views from each. It was right next to a river, and looked over a quaint little village. The castle was mostly in ruins, but the rooms their functions were still easily discernable. Very very interesting
Aileen Bidwill/Conway, 11, from Chicago, wrote:
I have not visited this castle but my aunt has and she sent my a picture. She said how it was very beautiful and how she would like to bring me and my family there some time. The view is also gorgeous. My other side of the family on my moms side is related to the Conwys. My moms maiden name was Conwy.
Anne, 42, from Texas, wrote:
I especially liked the way the castle is nestled by the Irish sea. I love castles and have seen them in many countries, but last spring's tour of Wales and the castles of Edward I are in such great condition. I saw it shortly after leaving Beaumaris, so I was really in the mood to see more castles. The town of Conwy is lovely and the wall walk around the town offers some of really neat medieval views. I shall go back very soon and revisit and highly recommend anyone who's interested in castles to head to Conwy as soon as possible
Rick Stanley, 30, from Alaska, USA, wrote:
This village is remarkable for it's complete circuit of town walls (you can walk along a good deal of them). The castle itself is impressive and sits on a rock outcrop overlooking the Irish sea. The overall impression is a well preserved town of the Middle Ages and is well worth a visit. Try some of the local mead.
Rebecca, from Southern USA, wrote:
All of the Castles built by Edward I in Wales are extraordinary, including Conwy. I spent three months in Wales and visited several of them. If you get the chance, see them all! Most are still in extremely good condition and are being renovated to include museums and recreations of what some aspects of life might have been like in Edward's time. And always, whenever possible, take the guided tours! You'll learn more exciting tidbits then you'd could ever glean from the brochures!
Nigel Hughes, 27, from Wales, UK, wrote:
This beautiful castle set in the adorable town of Conwy itself was truly breathtaking. I am not generally a “castle” person (or even into history or architecture) but combined with the walk around the wall, this castle is a joy. I can only re-itterate the praise another reviewer has given the elderly gentleman who gave the tour of the castle. He added a whole new dimension, and I am certain that walking-stick has a life of its own! Visit this unique castle (it is not of typical Norman construction), and enjoy the surrounding countryside. I can recommend a great hotel too!
Christopher Taylor, 27, from England wrote:
I spent 2 weeks in the summer with my partner visiting basically all the castles in Wales . This is after being an English Heritage member for the last three years and totally exhausting the castles available in England. Without exception the castle that holds the fondest memories was Conwy. The castle itself just breaths of medieval life and is in remarkable condition considering the damage British history has inflicted to the majority. The town of Conwy is gorgeous and the wall walk around the town offers some of the best views of a medieval castle anywhere in the world. We had a guided tour around the castle and if you are lucky enough to visit when the gentleman in his 70's is on duty one of his 4 days a week then you are in for a real treat. He totally brought the whole castle to life like no other means of communication ever has before. If you like castles like I do then Conwy will never be forgotten. It is almost incomprehensible to understand why the King who built it in under 6 years throughout his remaining 17 years in power only stayed for 5 days. The whole castle was built for accommodating Edward I; in the heart of his enemy. Visit it and marvel.