Denbigh Castle, Wales


Denbigh Castle overlooks the market town of Denbigh in north east Wales. It is another of Edward I's chain of castles designed to keep the Welsh in check. The name, Denbigh, comes  from the Welsh word, "Dinbych", meaning "little fort",

As with many castle sites, Denbigh was used by earlier rulers to safeguard their domains. For example Dafydd ap Gruffydd, the  brother of Llywelyn the Last,Prince of Wales, had a stronghold at Denbigh, which he may have inherited from his famous
ancestor, Llywelyn the Great . Llywelyn the Great met an abbot who journeyed to Denbigh from a monastery in England for a meeting in 1230. The powerful Welsh Princes of Gwynedd had a fortification here in 1282 when Edward I  crushed the  Welsh with his mighty army.

The Welsh castle has been entirely erased after the English took the site. Edward I then continued his castle building plan
The lordship and castle at Denbigh were given to Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, who established of the fortress we see today.
de Lacy  probably used a design of Master James of St. George, the kings castle architect. The castle was started  around 1284, and progressed in two phases - the first of rather insubstantial outer defences along the southern and western
sides plus the erection of town walls. The gatehouse was strengthened and a thicker, higher curtain wall were part of the second phase and were not finished until the14th century.

The inner ward, which would have had the various halls, kitchens and apartments is now ruined

At the south of the curtain walls, the town walls meet the castle walls. Here a complex structure of deep pits and a sloping gateway added to the defence of the castle

Beside this structure is "the Mantlet" which was a series of terraces cut into the rock face, acting much like a moat to deter attack

Denbigh Castle withstood siege both during the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War. In 1646, the
Cromwellian army finally took the castle after a four month pounding by cannon

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