Caerphilly Castle (Wales)

Caerphilly     See list of castles in Galles

Caerphilly Castle is one of the largest Western European medieval castles. Several factors give this pre-eminence - its immense size (1.2H), making it the largest in Britain after Windsor, its large-scale use of water for defense and the fact that it is the first truly concentric castle in Britain . The time of its construction in the late 13th century, was a revolutionary masterpiece of military planning

One of the most powerful and ambitious barons of Henry III, Gilbert de Clare, Lord of Glamorgan, built this castle. Its purpose was to protect the area and prevent lowland South Wales fall into the hands of the Welsh leader Llywelyn the Last, who controlled most of the middle and north Wales. De Chiara built other castles on the northern edge of its territory, for the same purpose, such as Castell Coch. He had taken control of the Senghenydd mountain district, where is located in Caerphilly, Wales in 1266 to act as a buffer against the ambitions south of Llywelyn. Llywelyn realized the threat and tried but failed to prevent the castle to be built; was started on 11 April 1268, it was attacked by Llywelyn in 1270, and was started back in 1271. This time it was completed without hindrance. His message was not lost on Llywelyn, who retired to the north. In addition to the restructuring of the large room and other household chores in 1322-6 for Hugh le Despenser, no more changes are made, which makes it a very pure example of military architecture in the late 13th century.

Caerphilly is unusual in being a late castle built on a virgin site. This allowed a rare conception unit in medieval castles. It is a parallelogram double wall surrounded by the large-scale water defenses. The concentric arrangement was more flexible than previous plans. Gave quick access to any part of the castle wall ducts and wall-walking, towers and gatehouses could be arranged independently, the attackers could be covered and there was no possibility of mounting war machines against the walls internal. cellular structure of the castle and strength is indicated by the presence of numerous shutters.

The outer skin or the department is formed by a crenellated curtain wall with large semicircular projections in the corners and gatehouses at the center of the east and west sides. Only a narrow strip that separates the inner courtyard much stronger that high curtains, round corner towers and two large strong gatehouses corresponding with the external ones. The great gatehouse to the east is the highest part of the castle and it was his core. As you will see, it could be defended separately if required.

The lakes to the south and the north around the castle formed an almost insurmountable barrier for attackers. The same dams are a major achievement of medieval engineering. The south, the earliest one is a massive earthen platform revetted in stone and reinforced on its underside of eight large buttresses (bottom left). To the right of the castle is the north dike, a narrower platform with an external high wall with three large towers (below right) who are now, unfortunately, they suffer from sagging on the marshland. At its end is a strong postern and drawbridge. Outside of the dam is a moat fed by the closed dam in the south.

The outer defenses have been completed by an artificial island 1.2H to the west of the castle, known as hornwork. A trench had been dug in the early stages of construction at the outside of the west side of the castle; now another has been excavated to the west and the area between was raised, leveled and revetted in stone to form the hornwork. The north-west side has two semi-circular protrusions that cover the drawbridge, the ruins of which can be seen between them.

The outer gatehouse on the east side (right) is the present and the original entrance. Here are the main features of the castle as a deterrent become evident - his great strength, its severity, the lack of windows and lack of ornamentation. Inside the gatehouse is an exhibition about the castle, and the stairs lead up to the roof level, from which a panoramic view. It crossed rather than mere slits in this gatehouse and other buildings on Dams shows that are a little 'later than the main castle. To the left is the dam of the South platform, wider at the northern end of which can be partly natural, but the southern end of which is completely artificial. Halfway along is the ruins of a mill, and at the south end are two towers and a rectangular gatehouse which gave access to the medieval village (bottom).

Next is the outdoor courtyard entered through a bridge leading to its concierge east with two towers in the shape of D, only the outer walls of which are restored. His counterpart in the west (right) is a bit 'better preserved. There, the stone pillars that support the drawbridge leading to Horn-work can be seen, such as chimneys and fireplaces can on two floors, indicating comfortable house. The false trap doors, poorer and masonry chimneys may indicate that the gatehouse was rebuilt later. the southeast corner is the base of a large rectangular building, perhaps a barn. The south side is completely blocked by a double-decker D-shaped tower kitchen, shops and the servants' quarters. Below is a water-door to the lake.

Images of the castle

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Useful infos

Latitude: 51.576089
Longitude: -3.220249
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Map of Caerphilly Castle