Wednesday, October 14, 2009


As much of Beaumaris as I could fit in the lens

Killing field, between wall and curtain

Interior corridor, sufficiently narrow that any fighting here
would be single combat, mano y mano

Structure in the yard

Chapel; Edward I was quite the international
king, with a French mother, Spanish wife, he
was Duke of Gascony as well as King of
England and Scotland and Ireland, close
pals with Saint Louis, the French king (they
went crusading together, except that Edward
got there too late, after Louis had died of
plague), and also a pal of Pope Gregory X,
the crusading pope

Arrow slits in wall

Beaumaris had a moat too as well as fortified access to the

British warning sign; should be prefaced by "I'm terriby
sorry to bother you, but..."

The isle of Anglesey sits north of mainland Wales, separated by the Strait of Menai, which in places seems more a river, hardly 100 yards wide, but is still subject to the significant tidal flows of the region. It was joined to the mainland by a bridge in 1826. We spent Monday seeing a variety of sights on Anglesey.

The first of these was Beaumaris Castle, the last and possibly largest of Edward I's Welsh castle construction projects. Though it was never actually finished, historians describe it as the "perfect" concentric castle, that is, a castle whose walls are surrounded by a lower "curtain" wall, itself with towers and turrets, thereby doubling the firepower with arrows and projectiles streaming from both sets of walls. If the curtain were breached, then the gap between curtain and high wall became a killing field. As I noted about Conwy, these castles were so designed that they could be defended by a very small number of men, even against an army. And, of course, the adjoining town was also fortified, walls, towers, etc.

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