United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Gwynedd, North Wales
N53 8 23 W4 16 37
Date of Inscription: 1986
Property : 6 ha
The castles of Beaumaris and Harlech (largely the work of the greatest military engineer of the time, James of St George) and the fortified complexes of Caernarfon and Conwy are located in the former principality of Gwynedd, in north Wales. These extremely well-preserved monuments are examples of the colonization and defence works carried out throughout the reign of Edward I (1272–1307) and the military architecture of the time.
The four castles of Beaumaris, Conwy, Caernarfon, Harlech and the attendant fortified towns at Conwy and Caernarfon in Gwynedd, North Wales, are the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe, as demonstrated through their completeness, pristine state, evidence for organized domestic space, and extraordinary repertory of their medieval architectural form.
The castles as a stylistically coherent group are a supreme example of medieval military architecture designed and directed by James of St George (c. 1230-1309), King Edward I of England’s chief architect, and the greatest military architect of the age.
The extensive and detailed contemporary technical, social, and economic documentation of the castles, and the survival of adjacent fortified towns at Caernarfon and Conwy, makes them one of the major references of medieval history.
The castles of Beaumaris and Harlech are unique artistic achievements for the way they combine characteristic 13th century double-wall structures with a central plan, and for the beauty of their proportions and masonry.
Criterion (i): Beaumaris and Harlech represent a unique achievement in that they combine the double-wall concentric structure which is characteristic of late 13th century military architecture with a highly concerted central plan and in terms of the beauty of their proportions and masonry. These are masterpieces of James of St George who, in addition to being the king’s chief architect, was constable of Harlech from 1290 to 1293.
Criterion (iii): The royal castles of the ancient principality of Gwynedd bear a unique testimony to construction in the Middle Ages in so far as this royal commission is fully documented. The accounts by Taylor in Colvin (ed.), The History of the King’s Works, London (1963), specify the origin of the workmen, who were brought in from all regions of England, and describe the use of quarried stone on the site. They outline financing of the construction works and provide an understanding of the daily life of the workmen and population and thus constitute one of the major references of medieval history.
Criterion (iv): The castles and fortifications of Gwynedd are the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe. Their construction, begun in 1283 and at times hindered by the Welsh uprisings of Madog ap Llewelyn in 1294, continued until 1330 in Caernarfon and 1331 in Beaumaris. They have only undergone minimal restoration and provide, in their pristine state, a veritable repertory of medieval architectural form: barbicans, drawbridges, fortified gates, chicanes, redoubts, dungeons, towers and curtain walls.
Buckley is a town and community in Flintshire, north-east Wales, 2 miles (3 km) from the county town of Mold and contiguous with the villages of Ewloe, Alltami and Mynydd Isa. It is on the A549 road, with the larger A55 road passing nearby. Buckley is the second largest town in Flintshire in terms of population. At the 2011 Census, its community had a population of 15,665. When the contiguous Argoed community is included, Buckley has a population of 21,502. A prominent nearby landmark is the Hanson Cement kiln just south of the town. Buckley was an Anglo-Saxon location, with some of its houses later recorded in the Norman Domesday Book of the 11th century. However, the first documented evidence of its existence dates from 1294 when it was described as the pasturage of the Manor of Ewloe, spelled as “Bokkeley”. The name Buckley may derive from the Old English bok lee, meaning meadow, or field [read more].
Liverpool is a city in Merseyside, England, within the historic county boundaries of Lancashire, famed for its football teams, the Grand National horse race, music (including The Beatles), vibrant nightlife and its links with the arts and culture. The city served as one of the leading ports linking Europe to the Americas, expanding to become England’s second most populated city by the census of 1861, before slowly declining after 1921 as levels of transatlantic shipping dropped. Before airline travel, many Europeans migrating to the New World passed through the city, particularly the Italians and Irish; to this day the city enjoys a large Irish community, with impressive cathedrals for the Anglican and Roman Catholic faiths. In the 18th and early 19th century the port also acted as a gateway for the slave trade, with echoes of this period still evident in places around the city (Penny Lane is named after a slave ship owner, for example) [read more].
Manchester is a vibrant, post-industrial gem at the heart of North West England. The city that used to be nicknamed ‘Cottonopolis’ (a reference to its most famous export) has hung up its clogs and, thanks to successive regeneration projects, is now a major centre for culture and commerce; seen by many as the capital of the north of England, and sometime regarded as England’s second city. The site of the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station and arguably the birthplace of socialism and the industrial revolution, Manchester remains at the vanguard of British culture and technology with a verve and vibe of its own. This vivacious spirit is augmented by the city’s two world-famous football clubs and large student population; whilst the mills have been swapped for Michelin stars and the warehouses for world-class shopping and museums, this is still a city that is very proud of its industrial past and of its influences on music and sport [read more].
When you visit Conwy Castle, you can climb the battlements to enjoy the view over the town and the ocean. You can also explore the great hall and wind your way through the inner corridors, bedrooms, and kitchen. The interior will give you a good sense of how a castle must’ve operated back in medieval times, even if it doesn’t beat the views from atop its stone towers.
Restored after a period of decline, today’s visitors can easily imagine the Caernarfon Castle’s grandeur in the past. You can climb up onto the higher walls before going even higher up inside the angular towers to emerge at the top of spiral staircases at gorgeous vantage points. Explore hidden passageways and peer into dark nooks and crannies. Do watch out for low ceilings and uneven surfaces!