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Conwy Castle
from a picture dated 1908

Conwy Castle was designed for King Edward I by Master James of St. George  and was built between 1283 and 1289.  James of St. George was a master mason summoned from mainland Europe to implement Edward's plans. He was born around 1230 and worked on a number of great European castles before starting on his massive undertaking for Edward. The beautiful Beaumaris Castle was his last design in Wales and with this he had perfected the concept of the "concentric castle". 

Conwy is said to have been captured as the result of a trick in 1401. On Good Friday, with most of the garrison at church, a carpenter gained access and admitted a group of Welsh rebels who proclaimed their allegiance to Owain Glyndwr. Most were pardoned when the castle was finally returned to the crown, others were jailed. 

For many years the castle was not properly maintained and it was bought by Viscount Conwy in 1628 for just 100 pounds. The local authority took over in the 19th century and now the castle is cared for by Cadw (Welsh Historic Monuments). 

Conwy was more than a castle, a small town was protected by 1,400 yards of wall on average 24 feet thick. Some of this can be walked upon and it provides a view of what has been called a masterpiece of military engineering. 

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