Denbigh castle sits above the town of Denbigh and commands views over the vale of Clwyd. A triple-towered gatehouse, thought to be the work of Edward's master builder James of St. George, dominates the castle. A carved figure, possibly that of Edward I, above the main entrance is a stark reminder that he built this fortification during his campaign to conquer Wales. The castle ruins on a steep hill still dominate the town.
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Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, started the construction of the castle in 1282 after the revolt led by the Welsh prince, Dafydd ap Grufudd. He destroyed the prince’s stronghold on the site before building on top of it. Projecting round towers were built on the southern and western walls. The medieval town walls were an integral part of the castle defenses. Two-thirds of a mile of the walls still remain. The present town is “new”.
The castle was briefly in the hands of the Welsh during an uprising by Madog ap Llywelyn in 1294. After recapturing the castle, the walls were reinforced with a different colour stone, and the gatehouse was added. When Henry died, Thomas, the earl of Lancaster, inherited the castle. He was executed in 1322.
Edward II gave the castle to Hugh le Dispenser. Owain Glyndwr attacked but did not capture it in 1400, and the castle also withstood two attacks led by Jasper Tudor in the 1460s. Charles I stayed at the castle for three days during the civil war. The castle fell to Cromwell’s army.
In addition to the town walls and gatehouse, there are ruins of the green chambers, treasure house tower, great kitchen tower (two massive fireplaces survive), bishop’s tower, white chamber tower, great hall, red tower, Badnes tower, prison tower, and porter’s lodge tower.
Denbigh, North Wales
Under the care of Cadw
Tel. 0 17454 813 385
Open: April-end Oct, daily, 10am-5pm; Nov-end March, Mon-Thu, 10am-4pm (unstaffed); Fri and Sat, 10am-4pm; Sun, 11am-4pm; closed 24-26 Dec and 1 Jan
Parking; site exhibition; guidebook; shop