Visiting Harlech Castle
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Harlechâ€™s battlements spring out of a near-vertical cliff-face. Men of Harlech. The nationâ€™s unofficial anthem, loved by rugby fans and regimental bands alike, is said to describe the longest siege in British history (1461-1468) which took place here during the War of the Roses. Edwardâ€™s tried and tested â€˜walls within wallsâ€™ model was put together in super-fast time between 1283 and 1295 by an army of nearly a thousand skilled craftsmen and labourers. Edward liked to use only the best masons from Savoy and Englandâ€™s finest carpenters and blacksmiths. At the time this was one of the cheapest of Edwardâ€™s castles. A snip at a mere Â£8,190. The structure, overseen by Master of the Kingâ€™s Works, James of St George, boasts two rings of walls and towers, with an immensely strong east gatehouse. It was impregnable from almost every angle. Its secret weapon was a 200-foot (61m) long stairway which still leads from the castle to the cliff base. Access via the stairway to the sea and crucial supplies kept the castleâ€™s besieged inhabitants fed and watered. When it was first built, a channel would have connected the castle and the sea. You could have sailed a boat up to the moat. Seven hundred years later, the sea has receded and you could say the castle appears almost stranded, waiting for the tide to turn once more.
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Telephone: 01766 780552
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