Beaumaris Castle

From Academic Kids

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Beaumaris Castle and moat. (Photo by Mick Knapton licensed under GFDL)

Beaumaris Castle, located in Beaumaris, Anglesey, was built as part of Edward I's campaign in North Wales. Begun in 1295, it was designed by James of St George. It was designed using a concentric plan, with its inner ward completely surrounded by an outer ward. For various reasons, the castle was never fully completed.

Beaumaris (beau mareys - fair marsh) Castle was the last of Edward I's fortresses in North Wales and was built to complement Conwy, Caernarfon and Harlech castles in the same area. Many people regard Beaumaris as the most architecturally perfect castle in Britain, and it has been designated as a World Heritage site. However, the fortress was never fully completed as finances and material ran out before it reached its full height.

The King's architect, Master James of St George, brought all his experience to bear when constructing Beaumaris: its defences and lines of supply are superbly thought out. The castle has a tidal dock which allowed it to be supplied directly from the sea, and it is surrounded by a water-filled moat. The defences also include numerous ingeniously sited arrow slits, and the entrances are protected by murder holes from which substances such as hot oil could be poured over invaders. Any attack on Beaumaris Castle would have to overcome 14 separate obstacles and four lines of fortifications made possible by the clever 'walls within walls' design.

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The inner ward of Beaumaris. (Photo by Mick Knapton licensed under GFDL)

The castle is run and managed by Cadw, (the Welsh Assembly Government's agency for historic monuments), which provides visitors with a guidebook, an exhibition, gifts and souvenirs, good disabled access and picnic facilities in the castle grounds. Ducks and swans swim on the castle moat. Admission prices in 2004 were: 3 (adults), 2.50 (concessions), free (under 5s).


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