Castles

Welsh Castles and the Ghosts that Haunt Them

Welsh Castles and the Ghosts that Haunt Them

Throughout their history, the castles of Wales have seen war, death, treachery, and an invasion or two.  While castles stand as replicas of history and often incredible pieces of architecture they have also served as places of great suffering, it really isn’t surprising that many of these castles come with some pretty great ghost stories.  Let’s look at some Welsh Castles and the Ghosts that haunt them.

Bodelwyddan Castle

The story of the haunting of Bodelwyddan Castle originates from a diary entry by John Hay Williams back in 1829, and it describes a human skeleton that was found in the walls.  Since no one could identify who the remains belonged to, it was re-interred in the castle walls.  Today the remains are still within the walls of the castle.

There are two ghosts said to roam the halls of Bodelwyddan Castle, one is referred to as the “Blue Lady” and the other is referred to as the “Victorian Lady”.  These two aren’t the only ghosts said to haunt the castle, there is said to be another ghost haunting the basement.  It is said this ghost doesn’t like the women of the castle much and terrorizes the female staff.

Margam Castle

Located in South Wales near Port Talbot and it is the site of all kinds of ghost stories.  It is situated in Margam  County Park, and the Gothin mansion shares the space with the ruins of an old abbey that used to house Cistercian monks (who are supposed to haunt the place too).  As for Margram Castle, the story goes that it is haunted by a former gamekeeper who had been murdered back in 1898.  Visitors say you can see his ghost going up the staircase.  In addition to the gamekeeper, there is also the ghost of Emily Charlotte Talbot, a former owner of the castle is said to walk the halls still.

Gwydir Castle

Now we head north to the ancestral home of the Wynn family.  The story tells of a baronet who is supposed to have confessed to murdering a young woman on his deathbed and hiding the body behind a wall of the castle.  From this story, the ghost of the “Grey Lady” is said to haunt the castle for more than 200 years.  She is not the only one either there is supposed to be several ghosts roaming the castle.  Witnesses claim that one of the rooms referred to as the “Ghost Room” experiences drops in temperature and the smell of a rotting corpse.

If you are into ghost stories and the paranormal in general then these castles need to be added to your must-see list.

Castles

Exploring Castles in Wales

You have decided to take a holiday in Wales and are wondering what are some fun things to do while you are in the country.  Wales sees more than 8 million tourists every year; it has the perfect combination of things to do outdoors and a rich history to explore.  One of the fun ways to explore the history of Wales is to tour the castles that are scattered throughout the country.  If you want to go exploring castles in Wales then here are some must-see destinations.

Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle is a popular destination for tourists that come to look at castles.  It is a great place to take the whole family to learn about the history of the area.  This is one of the most significant medieval fortresses in all of the UK and the local authority stages events throughout the year to encourage tourism.  If you can schedule it, then you need to check out the annual Big Cheese Festival.  Come on the weekends and bring the whole family to explore the castle grounds.

Crow Castle

If you are a fan of the Da Vinci Code, then you will want to come and explore Castell Dinas Bran (Crow Castle).  The castle sits on a hilltop overlooking the town of Llangollen, and it is believed by many that the Holy Grail is hidden inside Crow Castle.

Powis Castle

Powis Castle is another medieval castle you will want to check out.  Built more than 800 years ago, it is one of the few castles built by the Welsh rather than by the English to keep the Welsh in line.  Today it stands as a combination of the castle, stately home, and tourist destination.  The castle has undergone some changes throughout its lifetime, and today most people visit the castle to see the lush landscaping and exotic plants rather than a fortress for past wars.

Beaumaris Castle

While Powis Castle may be known for its beauty, Beaumaris Castle has a much different history.  You can still find some incredible views here of the Welsh countryside this castle was built for war.  It has an extensive armory and defenders of the castle used to drop boiling oil onto invaders that came near the castle walls.  Despite its violent past, this is still one of the most visited tourist destinations in all of Wales.

The British Isles have a long and rich history and if you want to explore and experience it for yourself then take a tour of some of the local castles throughout Wales and step back in time to what life was like in the medieval period.

Castles

Head Over to Caernarfon Castle

Head Over to Caernarfon Castle

One of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Northern Wales is Caernarfon Castle; it merely has to be seen to understand.  It is the quintessential castle with massive stone walls, gigantic turrets rising overhead and intimidating looking buildings.  While there are no shortages of castles across the UK, many of them are just ruins that don’t even look like a castle.

If you head over to Caernarfon Castle, you won’t find ruins here but rather a fully functioning castle that you can explore to your heart’s content.  You can do a little research on the castle before you head over.  There is also lots of information available for the visitors at the site.  The place is awe inspiring, and it gives you some insight as to what Wales must have been like in the Medieval Period.  Here is a look at the castle and what you can expect to see.

 

History of the Castle

Like many of the castles throughout the UK Caernarfon Castle has a long and bloody history.  At almost 800 years old the castle was built by the English after conquering Wales.  The king, Edward I was having a difficult time controlling the newly conquered population after killing their prince, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd and capturing another, Dafydd ap Gruffudd.  In a bid to fortify Wales he started building castles and strongholds all over the country.

Caernarfon Castle was built so the locals would be cut off from the rest of the county.  At the time, the most significant resistance to English rule was Garth Celyn, and this castle was an attempt to stop the resistance.  Did it work?  Well, it did for a while, until the Welsh uprising.  In late 1294 and early 1295, the Welsh overran the castle and took control.  The coup wouldn’t last long, however, and the English took back the castle later in 1295.  The Welsh would try again in 1401, 1403 and 1404 to overrun the castle but never actually succeeding.

Never Completed

While the castle was an essential English stronghold in Wales the English never actually finished construction.  As it stands today, when you tour the castle, you can still see the areas that were left unfinished so the castle could be expanded.

Today the maintenance and care of the castle are handled by Cadw, the branch of the Welsh government that looks after historic sites.  This castle is definitely worth the trip when you head to northern Wales.

 

Castles

Visiting Conwy Castle

Visiting Conwy Castle

One of the things that attract tourist to Wales and all of the UK is the ability to visit castles.  North American tourists love to come and see many of the castles spread across the country as they tell the story of the region’s history with many of these castles being hundreds of years old.  There are several castles that you can visit in Wales but visiting Conwy Castle stands as one of the most popular.

The Appeal of Castles

Why do so many tourists flock to Conwy Castle and others across Wales each year?  There are a number of reasons that people take tours of castles; Castles often have a pretty interesting history.  Conwy Castle, for example, stands as a monument to the struggles between the English and the Welsh.  It is also incredible to see the sheer size of these structures and to understand how much work went into building them.  They also stand as some of the most incredible pieces of architecture man has ever put together.

Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle has been standing for over 700 years, marking the many conflicts between England and Wales.  The site of the castle is magnificent with some stunning views of the countryside.  The castle itself has eight towers where guards used to stand watch and keep an eye out for invaders.  These battlements link to the town wall which is still intact.  The town wall circles the old town and has 21 towers of its own that used to be used to guard the settlement.

Touring the Castle

The castle was constructed back in the 13th century by King Edward I with the idea of forcing the Welsh into submission by containing them.  What is most interesting is that it only took five years to build, the number of workers it must have taken to construct the castle is astounding. To appreciate that you need to walk around the walls of the castle.

As you walk around the castle, bring your camera, the views are incredible.  You can see the Conwy Estuary along with the mountains of Snowdonia.  Imagine as well as you walk around the walls that the Welsh were not allowed within the castle’s walls that were strictly for the English.  In nearby villages, there are even examples of Elizabethan homes that remain.  There are tours throughout the year you can take where you can see all that Conwy Castle has to offer.